Itanagar, Dec. 13: The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) has voiced concern over the Khaplang faction of the NSCN’s “recruitment” of 18 youths from Tirap district, bordering Nagaland, last month.
The students’ union alleged that 18 youths, aged between 18 and 23, were recruited by the NSCN (K) from the remote Pongchau circle in Tirap district on November 19.
Of the 18 reported recruits, 16 are from Pongchau village while two belong to Bonia village under Pongchau circle.
Takam Tatung, the president of the apex students’ body, in a statement issued to the press last evening, condemned the recruitment drive by the Nagaland-based outfit and urged the state government and Delhi to act tough on the outfit immediately to stop such drives in the future.
“The recruitment of 18 youths from Pongchau and Bonia villages in Tirap district on November 19 has laid bare the loopholes in the state’s security system, making the youths vulnerable to external elements like the NSCN (K), which has been carrying out a recruitment drive in the district. The act on the part of the outfit within the territory of our state where there is an elected government is a matter of real concern and disturbing. Blame it on the security agencies operating in the area, which were caught napping during such a recruitment drive in the district.”
The union sought the immediate intervention of the state government and the Centre to bring the youths back to the mainstream. It also said law and order in the district was “dismal”.
The deteriorating law and order in the insurgency-ridden district had paved the way for the frequent recruitment drives by the Nagaland-based rebel outfits, it added.
Tatung said the CRPF, Assam Rifles, police forces deployed by the Centre and state police force have miserably failed to contain militancy in the district, which had been at the receiving end of insurgency spilled over from neighbouring Nagaland.
Sources said 39 youths were abducted by the NSCN (K) from Tirap in February last year. Of them, 29 returned home.
AAPSU had called for the boycott of goods coming from Nagaland and a statewide bandh on February 29, 2008, demanding the release of 10 Arunachalee youths allegedly abducted by the NSCN (K).
The sources said the youths were taken to the insurgents’ camp at Kamka, 40km inside Myanmar, the union then alleged, demanding a quick persuasion by the state government to pressurise the Centre to take up the issue with the authorities in Myanmar.
The students’ union also demanded that the state Assembly pass a resolution on the lines of the Assam Assembly for protecting the territorial integrity of Arunachal Pradesh. The Nagaland House had recently passed a resolution for the recognition of Naga outfits struggling for a “Greater Nagalim”.
The student body also decided to extend its ultimatum from a week to a month for the business community to dispose of Chinese goods in the state. This decision came after a request made by the Arunachal Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
The union welcomed “the concern shown by the leaders of the BJP in Lok Sabha” regarding China’s claim over Arunachal Pradesh.