July 2009 News

July 2009 News

PM’s help sought for NC malady

July 7:

The Naga Students’ Union of Delhi today wrote to the Prime Minister of India seeking his intervention into what the union said is the militarization of Naga areas and “its menacing activities” in Assam’s troubled North Cachar Hills. The NSUD in its representation addressed to Dr. Manmohan Singh referred to “the ongoing brutal violence against Zeliangrong Nagas by the banned organizations Dima Halam Daoga (Jewel) and Dima Halam Daoga (Dilip Nunsia) in NC Hills.”

In the representation today, the NSUD listed out the genesis and course of events that NC Hills is enmeshed in, and set a number of points for the centre to act with. The NSUD said the “militarization” in NC Hills “is against cease-fire principles”. In spite of the ongoing political dialogue between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM), the students stated, “The Nagas have been facing incessant state repression and army atrocities.”

The NSUD referred to the recent cabinet decision of Manipur “to overrule the principles and conditions of the ceasefire agreement signed by the central government with the NSCN.” This was done by deploying Indian Reserve Battalions (IRB) and commandos in the four Naga Hill districts of Manipur, the union stated. “… (It is) not only unprecedented but, it is suspicious aversion from peaceful political dialogue and overt attempt to create tension in the region,” the NSUD said in solidarity with the protest from the four districts of Manipur. The militarization in NC Hills must stop and “refrain from inculcating inter-community conflict in the region”, according to the NSUD.

The NSUD lamented that the recent development has sufficiently indicated the “non-seriousness” of the government of India in resolving the Indo-Naga problem “by resorting to the tactics of derailing the peace processes at the behest of the Indian military personnel.” It is also understood that the involvement of Indian military forces in inter-community discord and the recent provision of designated camps to the Kuki militants in the four Naga districts in Manipur by the Government of India are attempts to create disharmony in the region, the union claimed.

The NSUD urged for a number of measures the PM can take to contain the situation in NC Hills and to restore. The union sought the central government’s assurance to “ensure that the Indian military forces are not terrorizing the Naga villages” but “ascertain the security” of the lives of the Nagas in the region. Relief materials should be provided immediately to the displaced Naga refugees, while compensation must be granted for the loss of lives and properties, the union said. The union also took note of what it said is the “suspicious conduct of the Indian military forces” and demanded that Naga village volunteers “must be equipped by the Government of India to regain their confidence and security in their own land.”

The centre was asked to take ‘appropriate action’ immediately to contain both the Dimasa militant groups DHD (J) and DHD (D) in all possible means for the safety of the lives of the Nagas and the “minor tribes” in NC Hills, and that the government must ensure that the DHD (D) faction does not breach the ceasefire ground rules. The central government must warn the Dimasa militants of strict action against the claim for ‘Dima Hasao Raji’ (‘kingdom of the Dimasa’) in the Naga areas, the union added.

Further, the central government has been urged to look into the “loopholes of the administration of Assam state government and reproached for its inaction” and ensure “safety of passage for passenger and commodity cars plying on the economic roadways leading to the Naga areas”.

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India silent on Myanmar, eyes natural wealth

By Elizabeth Roche

July 7

NEW DELHI —

Amid the international outcry over the trial of Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, neighbouring India has been conspicuous in its silence.

Once a staunch and vocal Aung San Suu Kyi supporter, India began engaging Myanmar’s junta in the mid-1990s — a shift that has seen security, energy and strategic priorities override concerns over democracy and human rights.

As well as needing Yangon’s help to counter ethnic separatists operating along their remote common border, India is eyeing oil and gas fields in Myanmar and fears losing out to China in the race for strategic space in Asia.

“India is following a nuanced approach which is the right policy on Myanmar because New Delhi has to balance its larger strategic interests with support for democracy and human rights,” said former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal.

Western democracies don’t see it that way.

Both the European Union and the United States have argued that India and China share a moral imperative to use their economic leverage with Myanmar to promote change in the country.

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is expected to raise the issue again when she visits India next week.

So far, New Delhi and Beijing have appeared unmoved by the pleas for diplomatic intervention.

“India no longer comments on the internal affairs of other countries and aims to maintain cordial relations so as to sustain economic engagement,” said Marie Lall, associate Asia Programme fellow at London’s Chatham House think-tank.

In 1993, India gave Aung San Suu Kyi a humanitarian award created in memory of its first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Since then it has rolled out the red carpet for a roster of visiting Myanmar generals including junta chief Than Shwe.

Besides cultivating political ties, New Delhi has made major investments in large-scale energy and infrastructure projects, partly, analysts say, to counter China’s presence in Myanmar.

“India has always had concerns that China has been increasing its political and diplomatic influence in its periphery,” said Uday Bhaskar, director of the New Delhi-based Maritime Foundation think-tank.

Both the Asian giants are particularly interested in Myanmar’s oil and gas reserves as they seek energy sources to fuel their economic growth.

Indian officials reject the argument that New Delhi’s cooperation with Myanmar — despite the military regime’s human rights record — has tarnished its democratic credentials.

“The issue of human rights is a very convenient stick for the developed world to beat developing countries with when it suits them,” an Indian government source told AFP.

“If you look at the human rights record of some developed nations, it is hardly better than those who they criticise,” he said, adding that India had always pushed the issue of democratic reforms in “private” discussions with Myanmar’s leadership.

Chatham House’s Lall also pointed to some apparent double standards, noting that countries like the United States, Britain and France “have dealings with military governments and dictatorships the world over – and have had for decades”.

“We deal with China — a country which has a greater percentage of political prisoners than Myanmar. In that sense India is not acting any differently from the way western countries have been acting for decades,” she said.

Lall also questioned the effectiveness of the sanctions championed by the West.

“The international sanctions regime has not brought about change,” she said.

“The Myanmar regime will not listen to anyone regarding its internal affairs — not even China. In fact isolation from the West is exactly what suits this regime best.”—

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North East India supports democracy in Burma

Civil society and advocacy groups in North East India, continue their support of the pro-democratic movement in military-ruled Burma. There is unanimous support in the region for release of pro-democracy icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

CJ: Nava Thakuria,

Sun, Jul 12, 2009

Contrary to New Delhi’s policy on Burma (Myanmar), civil society and advocacy groups in North East India continue supporting the pro-democratic movement in the military-ruled country. While the Central government is willing to engage the Burmese junta for various strategic and trade reasons, the student-youth-journalist and also political party workers of the region maintain their demand to snap all ties with the dictators in Nay Pyi Taw (the new capital of Burma after Rangoon).

They also demand that the pro-democracy Burmese icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi must be released and allowed to continue her political agitation. The latest interaction between a group of Burmese exiles and local citizens in Guwahati, revolved around those issues. The meeting at Guwahati Press Club on July 4, which saw the participation of an exiled Burmese parliamentarian , concluded with a number of resolutions in support of the democratic movement in the Southeast Asian country.

Organised jointly by Burma Centre Delhi and Journalists’ Forum Assam, the meeting on ‘India’s Policy on Burma: A Northeastern Perspective’, also witnessed a discussion on the probable ways by which people from the North East could extend support for the movement led by Suu Kyi.

Addressing the gathering, Dr Tint Swe, an exile Member of Parliament, National Coalition Government of Union of Burma, argued that New Delhi should play a major role in democratisation of Burma. The elected Parliamentarian (in 1990 general election of Burma), who has been living in India for more than a decade, did not forget to mention about the help and cooperation from Indian people in general and the Northeastern in particular in their endeavour.

“India being the largest democracy in the globe should review its policy on Burma and make it as pro-democratic movement,” insisted Dr Tint Swe adding,“ New Delhi should also review its Look East Policy, as the military dictators of Burma will never support the initiative to be successful.”

“Burma and India has a strong historical and geographical link where Northeast shares a very close connection in terms of trade, political beliefs and culture. In 1988, during democracy uprising in Burma, New Delhi as well as the people of India strongly supported the movement and provided shelter to those who fled to Indo-Burma border by setting up refugee camps in Mizoram and Manipur,” highlighted M Kim, another Burmese exile in India. Kim, who is living in New Delhi for two decades, also added, “However, from the mid 1990s, a shift took place in New Delhi’s attitude when it launched its Look East Policy and began engaging the military junta in bilateral cooperation.”

Today New Delhi maintains a sustained strategic relationship with the ruling State Peace and Development Council, under which a series of agreements and memorandums of understanding were signed. More over, the government of India remains silent on the issue of Suu Kyi’s re-arrest and trail, even though the great Lady was hounoured with Jawaharlal Nehru Peace Prize and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose award. The daughter of Aung San, the father of modern Burma, Suu Kyi was also awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mentionable that Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for nearly 13 years out of 19 years stay in her country. More recently, Suu Kyi was shifted to the Insein prison of Rangoon, where she has been tried at a special court with the charge of violating rules under her house arrest. Suu Kyi is recognised as one of the world’s most renowned freedom fighters and the SPDC is understood to try its best to prevent her (with her party National League for Democracy) participating in the forthcoming General Election during 2010.

“Asia had given birth to many great women leaders. But it can be said without doubt that Suu Kyi will be regarded as one of the greatest heroic women not only of Asia but of the world. While presenting the Congressional Medal of honour to Suu Kyi, Washington formally recognised her a status equal to other non-American recipients of the medal like Sir Winston Churchill, Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Mother Theresa,” commented Rajen Barua of Friends of Assam and Seven Sisters (FASS).

Speaking to this writer from Houston, Barua also added, “For the Burmese people, Suu Kyi represents their best and perhaps only hope that one day there will be an end to the country’s military repression. Today, from the isolation of her house arrest Suu Kyi radiates a moral authority that exposes the illegitimacy of the Burmese regime and all of its pretensions to appear different from what it really is.”

Earlier in an official message to the organisers, the FASS argued that the people of Northeast‘ as a neighbour of Burma need to keep in touch with the people of Burma and especially the enlightened Burmese who are living outside their counrty’.

“We in the Northeast have more important roles to play. After all, we are very much concerned about the hardship that Suu Kyi is going through. We also urge the government of China, Russia and other countries with strong ties with Burma, to pressurise the military rulers for immediate release of Suu Kyi, so that she can freely move in Burma for advancement of democratic values and human rights,” the message, which was read out by Jayanta Barman in the Guwahati meeting, added.

Meanwhile, in a message sent to the organisers of Guwahati meeting, the All Assam Students’ Union and the North East Students’ Organisation leader Dr Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya expressed their support to the pro-democracy movement in Burma and demanded release of Suu Kyi.

The meeting meanwhile urged New Delhi to stop forthwith sales of all arms to the military rulers of Burma, who use the weapons to suppress the ever-growing movement for democracy in the country. It also demanded immediate release of over 2000 political prisoners in Burma including Suu Kyi. India should have a non-discriminatory refugee policy as early as possible, another resolution said.

The speakers including Dr Alana Golmei, Htun Htun from Burma Centre Delhi and journalists Rupam Baruah, Hiten Mahanta, RK Goswami with others were of the opinion that trade relations between India and Burma should not be at the cost of the democratic movement in that country. Mentionable that both the neighboring countries did business to the tune of nearly US $ 900 million in the 2007-08 fiscal year.

The major outcome of the meeting was the proposal to form a regional forum to pursue democracy in Burma. The proposed ‘Northeast India Forum for Democracy in Burma’ is supposed to provide space for the people of Northeast and Burma to join hands with an aim to continue the campaign against the military junta.

Similarly, few days back, hundreds of Mizo and Burmese activists organised a demonstration at Aizawl with the primary demand for an early release of Suu Kyi. Initiated by Mizoram Committee for Democracy in Burma, the programme on June 25, also included the decision to send a memorandum to the Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, through the state government of Mizoram-bordering Chin State of Burma-with an appeal to pursue with the Burmese government for the release of Suu Kyi and also restoration of democracy in Burma.

Mentionable that over 50,000 Chin people have been taking shelter in Mizoram. Most of them are economic migrants, who crossed the Indo-Burma border for a better future in India.

Many of them are activists, who fled their country to escape the repression of the junta. Amazingly, the Chin and Mizo people share similar historical, cultural and religious backgrounds. But time to time, the state witnesses resentment against those unwelcome guests from Burma.

Representatives from the ruling Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee, Mizo National Front (the main opposition party of Mizoram), Zoram Nationalist Party, Bharatiya Janata Party, Miozram Peoples Conference with Mizo Zirlai Pawl, Mizo Students’ Union, Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl, Mizo Women Association, Human Rights and Law Network, People Union for Civil Liberties etc joined the programme.

Earlier more than hundred Indian MPs, including those from Northeast, called on the Union government to intervene for the release of Suu Kyi and for the restoration of democracy in Burma. The lawmakers under the banner Indian Parliamentarian Forum for Democracy in Burma submitted a petition on 10 June to the Indian Prime Minister urging him to take personal interest to resolve the issue amicably.

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NSCN (IM) on Padmanabhaiah

17 July

The NSCN (IM) today said it has taken serious note of the government of India’s “reported statement” to replace interlocutor Padmanabhaiah. He was appointed by the Vajpayee government on July 28, 1999, after the “unceremonious removal of Mr. Swaraj Kaushaul for taking firm and positive stand on the issue to arrive at a just and honorable solution acceptable to both the parties,” the MIP said today.

“…we are to state that the Government of India will commit the same mistake if it would replace Mr. Padmanabhaiah at this crucial point of time. In fact, there have been some noted progresses even if it is at a slow pace,” the MIP asserted. Still, it explained, “it cannot crack the hard nut so far just because of the Indian leadership, not that of Mr. Padmanabhaiah.” It is for this reason, the MIP said, it is “unwise” on the part of the Government of India to make him the ‘scapegoat’ of its own failure. In another matter, the NSCN (IM) refuted the allegation that it is harboring and helping what it called “revolutionary organizations” in the North East.

It has no clandestine or official relation with “others” to create “situations” in any part of India after the signing of cease-fire agreement, the ‘MIP’ note asserted. “We are deeply committed to political solutions and we have been working accordingly. And that, no one should doubt about it,” it added.

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GoI, NSCN (IM) seek to mitigate touchy issues

Dimapur, July 17 (MExN):

The Government of India and the NSCN (IM) today  met in New Delhi where ceasefire ‘bottlenecks’ and ‘many other issues’ were paddled out in an effort to at least ‘mitigate’ some touchy issues before the actual next round of political talks begin. While basically referred to as a ‘meeting to review’ the ceasefire ground rules (CFGR), the meeting gains much significance considering it has been touted as a ground-clearing work before the Center and the NSCN (IM) take to the table for the next round of talks.

The central government was represented by the Special Secretary of Internal Security R. Srivastava and Joint Secretary (Northeast in-charge) Naveen Verma, sources said. The NSCN (IM) was represented by special emissary to the collective leadership Retd “General” VS Atem, “Maj. Gen” Phungting Shimrang, kilonser Kraibo Chawang and Jacob. Additional sources added that the GOC (for the north east) of the Assam Rifles and the ‘Assistant Director General of military operations’ was also among top military officials present.

When contacted, the special emissary to the collective leadership of the NSCN (IM), Retd “General” VS Atem said “we cannot allow anything to vitiate the situation.” He informed that ceasefire review meetings were normally held once in every three months. But this time, Atem said, the meeting was prompted “due to the situation.”

Atem informed that today’s meeting was a ground-clearing effort before the actual political talks. “Yes,” he responded when queried if the review meeting was a “clearing work” before the next round of political talks. He however said the meeting had in essence “nothing to do with the political issue.”

Also, while it was informed that a second ‘meeting’ has been scheduled, he did not disclose when it would be. On today’s meeting, the NSCN (IM) leader explained over the phone that “a lot of issues were covered today.” One of these issues included the reported activities of the NSCN (IM) that it was harboring other insurgent elements of the north east. Atem categorically stated that his organization was ‘not sheltering’ any armed group “that is inimical to the NSCN and Government of India.”

Also, when contacted, the convener of the ceasefire monitoring cell, NSCN (IM), “Maj. Gen” Phungting Shimrang informed that the meeting deliberated on “how to go about the ceasefire.” Declining to comment further on the minutes of the meeting, Phungting however said the meeting went quite well and that the ceasefire review committee has decided to meet again next month.

Union tells state to act stronger

The Union Government is understood to be ‘unhappy’ with the Nagaland government  and the law enforcements’  failing to check law and order situations.  Union Home minister P Chidambaram is reported to have said “enough is enough” at the criminal activities in the state, especially in Dimapur. The centre has reportedly told the state government to act and take stronger action against extortion activities by various groups and anti-social elements. The Union Home minister P Chidambaram has reportedly asked Nagaland Government to adopt stronger measures to curb the activities of the groups and anti-social elements. The Home minister’s firm message was conveyed to Nagaland  Chief Secretary Lalthara and Nagaland’s Director General of Police K Kire when the duo called on Chidambaram Thursday in Delhi.

The Nagaland police chief , who was in Guwahati en-route to Kohima told The Morung Express Friday evening that the Union Home minister was “not at all happy” with the criminal activities, especially extortion, being carried out by various groups and anti-social elements in the state’s commercial hub of Dimapur.  “We explained to him the steps taken by administration and police to check extortion related activities. We also told him about the improvement of law and order and the decrease in the crime rate….still, he was not happy,” Kire said. The police chief further said that the Union Home minister was quite firm on the issue of extortion and told the state officials that “enough is enough.”

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Naga women ready to fight militarization

Dimapur, July 19 (MExN):

Naga women in Manipur are not ready to let Manipur government ‘militarize’ the hill districts without a fight. The Naga Women’s Union of Manipur has assured that it is ready to take to a series of “programs” to resist the decision of Manipur cabinet to deploy more security forces to the state’s hill districts.

The Naga Women’s Union of Manipur held an emergency executive meeting on July 13 to deliberate on the “deteriorating situation” impacted  from the increased militarization in Manipur. The meeting was attended by representatives of all its 16 tribal units. “Women have suffered too long from militarization and till today all of us are experiencing untold hardships. In Manipur, militarization has cost us many human lives and the continuing uncertainty and anxiety has led us to work for demilitarization and women like Sharmila who is on hunger strike since 2001, for the repeal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. 1958 is sacrificing her life,” the union said.

The members denounced Manipur state cabinet’s decision to deploy Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) and police commandos in the hill areas. The “sinister ploy” of the Manipur government “to further curb the constitutionally given fundamental freedom of the hill people,” is noted. “…our land is already heavily militarized,”  the union said in a statement received here today.

The union questioned the wisdom of Manipur government for the fact that the overwhelming presence of military personnel in the land will only increase the people’s misery. “While recalling the bitter past experiences of the people resulting from the conduct of IRB, we strongly condemn the step taken by the Government of Manipur of enhancing military entrenchment in our land. We urge the Government of Manipur to immediately stop its policy of engaging in a systematic and prolonged  discrimination and deprivation plan toward the hill people. We do want a truly democratic and peaceful society where our Human Rights are not violated. We never ask for more military presents,” the statement said.

NWUM also questioned the intention of the Hill Area Committee (HAC) and its failure to intervene in this matter. The role of HAC is to safeguard the interest of the hill people but “we are surprised at the inability of HAC to represent and assert  the sentiment and voice of the hill people,” the union said. The union has demanded that the cabinet decision should be immediately revoked. In the event of the government failing to do so, the women will initiate series of “programs” to protest it, the union stated.

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Two FGN join NSCN (IM)

Dimapur, July 19 (MExN):

The NSCN (IM) has explained the reasons for the recent defection of two former officials of the FGN/NNC, “by the name LL Sangtam, U.S.R. Regional Secy., and Capt. Atringse Sangtam”, to the NSCN/GPRN.

A press release issued by the MIP/GPRN states that the “two FGN officials” who had recently defected from the FGN/NNC explained their reasons for leaving the organisation as “not because they have any grudge against the FGN government but only because of the arbitrary incompatible activities of Mr. Thripongse, Medan Peyu, U.S.R. and 19th Battalion Commander I/C Lithrichunl, who declined to go any further digging the wrongs of their higher-ups”.

The release adds that the duo categorically disclosed that while the United Sangtam Likhunl Pumji and Kiphire district GBs/DBs as well as the public “were not in a position to cooperate with their self-centred higher-ups”, it had “become impossible for them to work any further with FGN government under the leadership of their immediate superiors”.

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Myanmar detains NLD members on Martyrs Day

Members of the National League for Democracy gather to remember General Aung San during ceremonies to honor Myanmar’s Martyr’s on Sunday, July 19, in Yangon. Gen. Aung San was the father of detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.  (AP Photo)

YANGON, July 19 (AP):

Authorities in military-run Myanmar detained dozens of opposition party members Sunday as they returned from ceremonies marking the death of the father of jailed pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, witnesses said. The arrests came after riot police set up barricades around the Martyr’s Mausoleum where the official ceremony took place to commemorate the death of Gen. Aung San, the country’s independence hero.

At least 50 members of the opposition National League for Democracy party were walking in small groups when they were arrested, witnesses said on condition of anonymity for fear of official reprisal. It was not immediately clear why police detained them. Some of the NLD members had been attending a ceremony at party headquarters to mark Gen. Aung San’s death 62 years ago, while others had been at the official commemoration.

“Some members were roughly taken into trucks, and those who ran away were chased,” a witness said. Some who ran onto public buses were dragged out and taken away. Gen. Aung San and other government leaders were assassinated by gunmen during a Cabinet meeting on July 19, 1947, shortly after Britain granted independence to the Southeast Asian colony.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi marked the anniversary of her father’s death inside Yangon’s Insein prison. She is on trial on charges of violating the terms of her house arrest by giving shelter to an uninvited American man who swam to her lakeside home in May. If convicted, she faces up to five years in prison. Her trial is to resume Friday.

Earlier Sunday, hundreds of riot police erected barricades secured with barbed wire and blocked streets leading to the Martyr’s Mausoleum. More than two dozen trucks carrying riot police and four prison vans were parked near the monument, located near the famed Shwedagon pagoda. Flags were flown at half-staff at the mausoleum as officials placed flowers at the tomb, and families of the slain leaders joined the tightly guarded wreath-laying ceremony.

Suu Kyi, 64, who used to attend the official ceremony, was absent for a sixth consecutive year and instead marked the day by donating food to patients at the hospital inside the prison, said Nyan Win, a spokesman for her party. Martyr’s Day was an important event on Myanmar’s calendar for years, but has been gradually downgraded as Suu Kyi has become more popular, particularly since a 1988 pro-democracy uprising that was crushed by the junta.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been under military rule since 1962. Suu Kyi has been under detention for 14 of the past 20 years. Her opposition party won national elections in 1990, but Myanmar’s generals refused to relinquish power. Her trial has drawn condemnation from the international community and her supporters within Myanmar, who worry that the ruling junta has found an excuse to keep her detained through elections planned for next year.

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Sweet & sour mix on Muivah platter

NISHIT DHOLABHAI

New Delhi, July 17:

Union home minister P. Chidambaram has offered a tough choice for the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) over future steps that could lead to a final and lasting solution to the Naga political problem.

A sweet-and-sour mix is on the platter Chidambaram proferred. One, the Centre wants a solution; two, the solution mustlie within the Indian Constitution and will be dependent on the ground situation.

Chidambaram sent the message through Parliament last week that talks with all militant groups will be within the ambit of the Constitution.

With that, he made it clear that the NSCN’s opposition to a “pre-condition” will not take the negotiations very far.

At a time when the NSCN groups are talking reconciliation but facing public outcry over extortion, preparing a conducive ground situation for the final talks was the focus of today’s discussions between NCSN emissary V.S. Atem and special secretary (internal security), Raman Srivastava.

The NSCN’s five-member delegation also included steering committee member, Kraibo Chawang, while the home ministry team had joint secretary (Northeast) Navin Verma.

The home ministry team basically acted on the brief that was extracted out of their meeting with Chidambaram yesterday.

“We have decided to meet in August again and look at the ground situation from all angles,” said the ceasefire monitoring cell convenor of the outfit, Phunthing Shimrang.

For the NSCN, “tax collection” has been a traditional job with little opposition from even state government employees. Of late though, home ministry sources said the Centre has been concerned over excessive extortion.

At the political level, the government is clear about finding a solution, perhaps with more autonomy permissible under the Constitution.

However, Muivah has been told that a “special federal relationship between India and Nagalim” as he demands, will not be possible.

The NSCN (I-M) wants to bring Naga-inhabited areas under a single administrative umbrella which Delhi has not accepted.

One of the areas claimed by NSCN is the North Cachar Hills district, currently witnessing ethnic clashes between Nagas and Dimasas, which the rebel outfit is accused of partially fomenting.

Chidambaram said in Parliament that in the NC Hills district, “the Dimasas outnumber the Nagas almost 4:1”, making it amply clear that it does not fall within the claimed Nagalim.

The problem for the outfit is also in Muivah’s maturing perception but, as one home ministry official pointed out, “the attitude of the 1960s and 1970s” that is imperceptible to a changing Naga society.

For the NSCN, the hope seems to lie in reconciliation with rivals to firm up its own consensus on a lasting solution.

Muivah wants to reach a solution on his own conditions and here is where the outfit will need to think hard, government sources said.

Unlike his predecessor, Chidambaram means business and he has made this clear to the rebels as well.

In such a situation, the NSCN has been told to come around for what is available through negotiation and the state government has been asked to clamp down on extortionists and violators of the ground rules.

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IRB use won’t solve problem: IWFNEI

Dimapur, July 24 (MExN):

Deploying more security forces to Manipur’s hill districts won’t  solve any problem, the Indigenous Women Forum of North East India today said. The organization was standing in solidarity with other organizations against the recent decision of the Manipur state cabinet to deploy IRB personnel and police commandoes to the hill districts. The IWFNEI on Thursday condemned  Manipur government categorically saying that the decision would not solve any problem; rather, it will create more problems in the hills, it said.

Interacting with The Morung Express, IWFNEI’s convener Dr. Gina said the objective of Manipur government in deploying  IRB personnel was to show ‘that there is no ceasefire in Manipur, to suppress the Naga movement and to kill more innocent public members like in the valley of Manipur.’

Also, Naga Women Union of Manipur’s president Grace T Shatsang said that the IRB of Manipur does not have a good record in the state. The IRB has killed nearly 5, 000 people “as militants.” She expressed fear that the IRB and police commandoes would resort to fake encounters as being done in the valley areas of Manipur.

Besides, the two women leaders asserted that the government of Manipur is trying to impose anti-people policies in the hill districts through militarisation. Whenever the people protest against government policies which are not favourable to the people, the government imposes it through the use of military power. In this regard, the two women leaders did not ‘rule out’ the issue of Tipaimukh Dam in Barak River against which the people have been protesting relentlessly. The government on its part is trying its best to construct the dam despite environmental issues and problems, pointed out by various organisations.

Nonetheless, the two leaders said to explore ways and means to fight against the deployment of the IRB in the Manipur hills. “Women and children are always at the receiving end of militarisation, so if the men can consider their women folk as their mothers and sisters, they should understand it and support it (the stand of the women against militarisation),” said Grace T Shatsang.

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NSCN (IM) denies ‘bootleg’ calls to FNR

27 July, 2009

The NSCN (IM) today clarified reports that its functionaries at Hebron Camp made “forceful phone calls to the members of Forum for Naga Reconciliation to get released those bootleggers detained by them” on July 14 “as NSCN/GPRN sympathizers.”

The NSCN (IM) quoted reports that “officials at Hebron Camp made a number of forceful phone calls to the members of Forum for Naga Reconciliation to get released those bootleggers detained by them on 14th July 2009 as NSCN/GPRN sympathizers”.  “NSCN/GPRN never condones any anti-social element. And hence it never approached any organization to get the safe release of those bootleggers,” a note from the ‘MIP’ of the NSCN (IM) today stated.

“Whoever did so impersonating or taking the name of NSCN/GPRN might have done so at their own risk and on their own individual capacity but NSCN/GPRN as an organization has no knowledge about it whatsoever,” it added.

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Hmar group joins Tipaimukh fight

Shillong  | July 27 :

The Hmar Peoples Convention-Democratic (HPC-D) has said that the proposed Tipaimukh Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project is a war imposed on the indigenous Hmar people and other communities who share the river.

HPC-D “northern command” leader Lalthutlung Hmar told Newmai News Network that power-hungry governments and dam builders in India are being driven by capitalist interests. In their blind pursuit for profit  and securing energy in distant foreign lands, they are poised to cross into indigenous peoples’ territory to dam the two life-giving rivers, Tuiruong and Tuivai, the group said.

“They don’t have the approval and consent of the people in whose land the dam is proposed. We are closely watching their every move. Hmar Peoples Convention Democratic shall never tolerate and allow their efforts to bear any fruit,” he said. The HPC-D leader said the rivers that nurse and feed ‘our honored generations before shall continue to flow for all the generations to come.’

“We cannot allow the rivers to be disturbed. We are obligated to see that no outsiders, their forces and might will dam, destroy or disturb the natural flow of the rivers of life. Whoever steps in shall do so at their own risk. They shall pay for their own action,” he added sternly.

The HPC-D leader also said that Tuiruong and Tuivai rivers are central to the existence and survival of the indigenous Hmar people, who are fragmented by five state boundaries – Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya.

“Although the divisive state boundaries made our people politically insignificant in their respective State, the rivers weaved our people together through thick and thin. We shall never sacrifice them; never in the name of development; never in any elusive name. Our rich culture, tradition, history, language and memory flow in these rivers,” he said The HPC-D leader said it won’t “bow before any foreign interests to become mere fodder when our human quest is also to live and progress like equal human being.”

He said the rivers did not flow to be dammed and “our land and forest did not stand to be submerged; our people did not live to be uprooted and displaced”. There can be no compensation for the loss and cost to be paid by the people,” the Hmar outfit leader said.

The HPC-D pledged that it will fight to the end to see that the continuity and survival of these resources are not cornered. “We shall not allow the inheritor of these resources, the Hmar people, to be murdered by the same rivers that has given them life through the ages,” he said.

The outfit has appealed to the visiting parliamentary delegates from Bangladesh to steadfastly share the people’s concern to save river Tuiruong and Tuivai for all purposes. “Work together for collective good; to save the rivers from irreparable damage and public calamity,” he added.

The “northern command” leader of the outfit further said that HPC (D) was responsible for destroying NEEPCO’s drilling machine in the year 2008. “We hope everyone read our message loud and clear. We shall ever be committed to resist the destructive forces that go against the will of our people. Let this be a warning to all the other actors who are eyeing to intervene and injure our land and resources,” he said.

Advising to “stop all your vain efforts,” the outfit said it will not allow anyone to become “profit makers, share-holders and beneficiaries at the cost of our blood, land and rivers.”

“Let the governments and dam builders hear if they have ears; let them reason with their clear conscience before they initiate the structure of mass destruction. Let them not push us against the limit. If, today, they don’t retreat, HPC (D) shall be proud to become a sacrifice to take our own course of action. We shall fight this war. None can stop us, for God is with us,” Lalthutlung Hmar added.

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