Killing of NSCN(K) cadres may cast shadow on Naga peace process

Killing of NSCN(K) cadres may cast shadow on Naga peace process

The gun battle between security forces and NSCN(K) cadres on August 28 close to the Indo-Myanmar border in Tuensang district of Nagaland where at least eight NSCN(K) cadres were killed and three other injured, might cast its shadow on the fresh efforts of peace in Nagaland with Naga civil societies groups asking the Army to exercise ‘restraint’.

The Naga Hoho, the apex body of Nagas, have asked security forces  “exercise utmost restraint and not to vitiate the atmosphere anymore” in a press statement. 

 According to Assam Rifles source, at least eight people were killed,two injured and two other overground collaborators of NSCN(K) nabbed in the Friday operation by the Assam Rifles along with the commandos  of the special forces from the 21 Para regiment at Pangsha near Noklak of Tuensang.

Although Assam Rifles claim it was an encounter, reliable sources from Nagaland Policeisaid that  the NSCN(K) cadres were “ambushed”. The incident took place near the International Trade centre (ITC) in Pangsha, 30 km away from Noklak.

The attack came on a day when a delegation from the Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA) were scheduled to meet some of the top NSCN (K) leaders at the border area.  The informal meeting was to discuss possibilities of  entering into a ceasefire agreement  with New Delhi again. This week, the Centre appointed interlocutor for peace talks with NSCN(IM) R N Ravi was in Kohima and he discussed the issue with different civil society groups, sources added.

“On one hand, New Delhi is talking peace, on the other hand, they are using AFSPA act to hit militants and in the process, civilians are getting hit. This dichotomy will not work. We have supported them in the peace initiative .We want all the groups including Khaplang’s boys to join the process but New Delhi is playing double game” said a noted Naga intellectual who did not wanted to be identified. 

A NSCN (K) spokesperson who called Deccan Herald from an undisclosed location claimed that it was a “planned ambush”.

He also added that five of their cadres along with two top woman cadres had gone to the Pangsha market for shopping’ or the proposed meeting with NMA leaders for a peace initiative near the Indo-Myanmar border on Saturday.

“We had sent the woman cadres to do shopping in the international trade centre in Pangsha where  traders from both Indian Naga and Myanmarese Naga side trade together. Five cadres had gone with them since we also wanted to mend the road across the border for the NMA delegation meeting. It was criminal and inhuman act of Indian Army who ruthlessly attacked, at point-blank range” said the NSCN(K) spokesperson. NSCN(K) military adviser Niki Sumi has reportedly asked his cadres to ‘hit back’.

Among those injured are wife of top NSCN(K) leader Col Isak Sumi’s wife .
If local sources are to be believed then three civilians who were in a vehicle behind the NSCN(K) cadre’s vehicle  have also been killed.

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