TODAY -

Security agencies suspect NSCN (IM) is regrouping
Source: The Sangai Express / Courtesy The Hindu

New Delhi, October 07 2015: A series of developments in the North East, especially in Manipur, since the August peace accord between the Centre and the Naga rebel group NSCN (I-M), have raised serious concern that the security situation in the region could dramatically worsen in the coming months.

Dim is the assessment from sources in the military and other security agencies about developments in Manipur, where the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) has probably set up a training camp, has already recruited a few hundred new cadres, and is contributing to possible new flare-up of inter-tribe tensions in the fragile State.

Sources said inputs show that since the August 3 peace accord, signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his official residence, reports of extortion, arms and drugs smuggling have registered a rising trend in Manipur.

"Most of it is being done by IM cadres," a senior official said.



File pic of NSCN (IM) cadres-Courtesy The Hindu
File pic of NSCN (IM) cadres-Courtesy The Hindu


A couple of sources said they believe the outfit has already set up new camps in the hills of Manipur to accommodate fresh cadres recruited since the peace accord.

One official said about 400 Nagas may have been recruited by the NSCN (IM) since the accord.

There were reports last month of the group recruiting new cadre from parts of eastern Nagaland.

"Various temptations are being offered, among them that the IM cadres would get absorbed into the Indian military or paramilitary in the future," one senior military officer said.

The NSCN (I-M) is believed to have had about 2,500 cadres before the peace accord.

The insurgent group could be targeting recruitment of another 1000 cadres, mostly from Manipur, he said.

"Their parallel Government is running well in Nagaland.

Now they are trying to build on their influence in the Manipur hills.

That is dangerous," one official pointed out.

He said this would add to the tension between the hill tribes and the Meiteis, who reside in the valley.

Officials said Manipur could slip back into violence if the Government failed to take steps to ensure that NSCN (IM) does not exploit the legitimacy gained out of their peace accord to expand operations in Manipur.

"There are historical reasons for tensions between Meiteis and hill tribes.

Now they are adding fuel to the fire," one senior official said.

From privileges enjoyed by the hill tribes to land shortage in the crowded valley, all have contributed to flare-up of tensions in Manipur.

The official warned that the NSCN (IM)'s flexing of muscles could also unite the various Manipuri militant groups.

And these groups could enjoy tacit support from the NSCN (K), which has been sidelined in the new strategy and has been lying low.

Informed sources have also expressed concerns over similar trouble in Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh because of their strategic location and influence of the Naga rebel groups.


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