Naga frontal organizations in Manipur have demanded that NSCN-IM leader Anthony Ningkhan Shimray and all the “political prisoners” be released unconditionally by the government of India.
On Monday, Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), Naga Women’s Union (NWU) and All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM) said in a communiqué: “The government of India has initiated peace negotiations and peace talks with many insurgent groups in the northeast and currently has formal ceasefire and suspension of operations with as many as 31 groups in the region but we are very concerned about the outcome of these processes as we have every reason to doubt the sincerity of the government of India to resolve the issue of political unrest with the groups they are engaged with”.
The Naga organizations said the continuing fratricidal violence and killings, the splintering of groups and the formation of many new groups not only demonstrates how incapable are these processes but it also clearly shows the lack of political will and the absence of clarity and direction to resolve conflicts in the northeast. “We have instead, been witnessing a surge of arrests and detention of key leaders who matter in the success of these process of negotiation and peace talks. Many leaders have been arrested, jailed and made immobile,” the communiqué added.
According to these organizations, on September 27, 2010, Anthony Ningkhan Shimray, ‘head of foreign affairs’ of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) disappeared after he landed at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International (Nepal). He was on his way to attend the peace talks between government of India and NSCN. Five days later, India admitted to arresting him. Subsequently, he has been languishing in Tihar Central Jail, New Delhi, on charges of procuring arms and waging war against the State (India), claimed the NPMHR, NWU and ANSAM.
It is important to point out that the government of India by arresting Anthony Ningkhan Shimray in such a manner not only violated its own laws and the national sovereignty and the law in Nepal with its unlawful abduction/arrest of Anthony on Nepalese soil, but has also violated the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, to which India is a signatory, the Naga bodies alleged.
The arrest was made despite the fact that Anthony Ningkhan Shimray had actively participated in the peace talks as part of the NSCN’s negotiating team, they said while adding, “Government of India cannot deny that he is one of the prominent leaders in the peace talk and jailing him bears testament of their insincerity and their complete disregard for all the effort that has gone in to initiate peace talk with NSCN. His arrest also strongly suggests that there is no honor in the numerous ceasefire agreements that the Government of India has entered into and peace talks do not hold any value”.
“If this is the way key leaders in the peace talks are treated how do we expect solutions and results out of the many ceasefire agreements and peace talks. We condemn his continued detention and demand his immediate and unconditional release.