‘Insisting on SOP may lead to CF breakdown’
Dimapur | March 6 : The NSCN (IM) has sounded a caution that insistence on the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) by security forces, State police and civil society, may lead to possible breakdown of the ceasefire between the Government of India and the organization, which is into its twelfth year.
Talking to media-persons here at the ceasefire monitoring cell (CFMC) office, CFMC convener “brig” Phungthing Shimrang said the SOP, issued by the Home Ministry during the brief stint of President’s Rule in Nagaland in 2007, was in ‘total violation’ of the revised Ceasefire Ground Rules (CFGR) between the GoI and NSCN (IM) on January 13, 2001.
Phungthing said the SOP especially violated clauses (a) and (j) of the revised CFGR, which stated that the Indian Army would not carry out offensive operations against the organization, and that all cases of violation of the ground rules would be referred to a “monitoring group comprising of the NSCN, NGOs and representatives nominated by the Government of India.”
On the other hand, he alleged that the security forces and police are ‘arbitrarily harassing’ and arresting the outfit’s cadres under National Security Act (NSA) ‘taking advantage’ of the SOP, without bringing such cases to the notice of the Ceasefire monitoring Group (CFMG). Stressing on the need to strengthen the ceasefire monitoring mechanism, Phungthing said so long as the Assam Rifles and police continue to enforce the ground rules in an ‘arbitrary manner’, “the NSCN will not be a party to it.”
He also alleged that the Government of India and its agencies are ‘creating confusion’ “among the public”. This is by ‘mixing up’ the ceasefire GoI had entered with other groups and the SOP with that of the revised CFGR, he alleged. The NSCN (IM) leader cautioned that there might be possible breakdown of the ceasefire if civil society and GBs and DBs do not ‘understand the magnitude of the confusion’ created by the SOP. He said even the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) constituted by the DAN government was asking the NSCN (IM) to follow the SOP.
Making it clear that the ceasefire between the GoI and NSCN (IM) was declared under three principles – unconditional talks, at the highest level and outside India – Phungthing further alleged that the government agencies are trying to ‘bring down the status of the Naga issue’. He said that in the past as well, Nagas were also talking at the prime minister-level but “some FGN representatives” reduced the Naga issue to the governor’s level, culminating in the Shillong Accord.
Likewise, if talks with NSCN fail, then talks with other groups may be ‘lower than that of the Shillong Accord’, he asserted. “We cannot afford to forget history, it is only history that has taught us to move forward,” the CFMC convener said. Just because of some “few irritants”, the Naga issue cannot be allowed to be buried, he added.