TODAY -

Post June 4 - Will pressure mount on key players in the north east ?

Nirendra Dev *



Pressure could be mounting on two northeastern state capitals Kohima and Aizawl. The issues are somewhat different.

The Zo Reunification Organisation (ZoRO) expressed "strong opposition" to the proposed fencing of the international border with Myanmar in Mizoram section and said that the scrapping of the Free Movement Regime (FMR) between the two countries will not be acceptable.

ZoRO general secretary Ramdinliana Renthlei told a public rally in Champhai district near Zokhawthar village close to Myanmar border on Thursday (May 16) said that the people and the state government had voiced their strong protest against lifting of FMR; but the Centre has remained adamant so far.

"If the Centre continues its plan to fence the border and ditch the FMR, the youths will have no other alternative but to take up arms again,” he sought to caution.

The ZoRO is an Aizawl-based group which seeks the reunification of all Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi tribes of India, Bangladesh and Myanmar by bringing them under one administration.

The decision to ensure foolproof border sealing "will impact" the social and family lives of indigenous tribes such as Nagas and Mizos who share ethnic affinity and kinship ties that cut across political borders.

However, it is argued in many quarters that the tribes would not like to be seen as creating hurdles in the Government of India's effort to secure its border. All these will put pressure on Mizoram Chief Minister Lalduhoma.

He said that the state government or he as a Chief Minister has "no authority and we cannot stop" any border fencing if the central government in Delhi decides so. The newly elected Mizoram Chief Minister Lalduhoma, whose party ZPM came to power in November 2023, could feel the pressure in more ways than one.

A political functionary considered close to the Chief Minister's party also said that people living on both the eastern and western side of the Mizoram-Myanmar border river Tiau cannot be divided by this boundary originally conceptualized by the British colonial rulers.

There are many complexities in the entire story. Home Minister Amit Shah’s announcement in January this year and later formal issuing of an official order would have been treated as a routine affair in another border region.

But in northeast India, these things can easily trigger a raw nerve among multiple ethnic groups of people -- who are tribals and also Christians.

The other issue relates to Nagas and Nagaland but it also links to Meiteis in Manipur and of course two other tribal communities Nagas and Kukis of Manipur. No less than the NIA has made a few serious allegations.

The NIA has alleged that the potent insurgent group the NSCN-IM has "nexus" with two banned Meitei armed groups and that the group is actually supporting the cadres of the Meitei-based militant outfits People's Liberation Army (PLA) and Kanglei Yaol Kanba Lup (KUKL).

The worry in Delhi is the "rule of law" is at stake as the main "aim" of some forces is to destabilise India (including parts of Manipur) which has been witness to Kuki-Meitei clashes since May 3, 2023.

The NIA charge says there is a 'larger goal' to destabilise Manipur state and also 'wage a war' against the Government of India.

The NSCN-IM has been in peace parleys with the government since 1997 and over 80 formal rounds of talks have taken place. Hence those in the know of things in Delhi say -- in such a situation if a group enjoys good rapport with Indian negotiators - why they should open any channel with banned PLA and KYKL.

The pressure could be felt in NDPP-BJP dispensation in Kohima and also in Manipur capital Imphal. Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has said that the Kuki groups such as Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United People's Front (UPF) were involved in incidents of violence and 'violating ground rules' of a ceasefire pact.

The Chief Minister did not send any representative to an important meeting and hence a tripartite pact between the Ministry of Home Affairs, the militant bodies and the agreement is now in a virtual stage of limbo.

On the other hand, what NIA found seriously 'objectionable' is the fact that few Meitei armed cadres (allegedly in nexus with a Naga militant group) were involved in some questionable actions. Five accused Anand Singh, A Kaljit Singh, Keisham Johnson, Michael and Ronojit Meitei were arrested on Sept 16, 2023 by the Manipur police. Some ammunition and weapons looted from police armouries were also recovered.

NIA later brought Anand Singh to Delhi and the agency now says Anand Singh has disclosed that in 2023 (when Manipur was burning), he had played some roles in subversive activities along with valley-based insurgent outfits.

Moreover, both NIA and other central agencies are also displeased over the fact that when Anand Singh and his associates were arrested; the influential Meira Paibi staged a protest and also clashed with police.

NIA now says the accused people "conspired" with the intent to carry out violent terror attacks targeting Kukis with arms looted from government armouries etc.


* Nirendra Dev wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be reached at nirendev1(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on May 26 2024.



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