Indian security personnel from the Assam Rifles inspect their arms and ammunition during the handing over of the seized arms at Monglumukh Villages, outskirt of Dimapur, India’s north eastern state of Nagaland on Tuesday, April 24. Five arms belonging to the Assam Rifles were seized by the Naga outfit on April 19 when a group of Indian paramilitary troops cross the red line and came close to the proximity of the NSCN-IM designated Hebron camp, which the NSCN-IM claimed to be clear violation of the cease-fire agreement between the Indian government and the Naga outfit. (Photo by Caisii Mao)
GoI directs AR to cease military operations near designated camps; NSCN (IM) returns seized weapons to AR
The six-day stand-off between the NSCN (IM) and Assam Rifles was finally diffused after the Government of India reportedly asked the Assam Rifles to cease their stepped up activities near the NSCN (IM) designated camps.
In return, the Naga group Tuesday handed back the arms and ammunitions earlier seized from the 29 Assam Rifles in presence of staff officer, ceasefire monitoring group (CFMG), G Rengma, Dimapur district administration and police led by ADC, Sedevikho Khro and Superintendent of Police, Z. Mero, at Monglumukh community hall, some few kilometers from NSCN (IM)’s Hebron Camp.
The seized weapons and other accessories including four AK-47 rifles, one INSAS rifle, ammunitions, two wireless sets, bullet proof vests and helmets were returned to the 29 AR led by their commandant Col. Rakesh Bhardwaj, and camp commander, Maj. Sukanta. Women folks of the area also thronged the fences of the community hall to witness the handing and taking over of arms.
Later, officiating Convenor of Ceasefire Monitoring Cell, NSCN (IM), Vikiye Sumi, told media persons that the arms were returned “in the interest of peace and as per yesterday’s discussion, Government of India has given clearance to withdraw all military operations in entire Naga areas.”
On arms of the NSCN (IM) seized by the Assam Rifles in the past, Vikiye said that process is on to return the NSCN arms and that they have already contacted the district administration. He also disclosed that the AR have seized a total of five arms belonging to four NSCN (IM) “card holders” in the recent past.
It may be mentioned simmering tension between the Assam Rifles and NSCN (IM) reached another breaking point on April 19 last when a truck of the 29th AR carrying five armed jawans almost gate crashed into the NSCN (IM) council headquarters, Camp Hebron.
The truck (MN-7430) with the five AR jawans on ROP duty was halted by NSCN (IM) cadres just 20 metres away from the entrance gate of Hebron Camp around 8am.
Irked by the “intrusion” of their space and violation of ceasefire ground rules by the AR jawans, NSCN cadres detained the five jawans and seized their weapons, forcing the intervention of the CFMG chairman who after visiting the spot of the incident, also admitted that the AR troops had violated the ground rules. The five AR jawans were released the same day.