Nagalim: Press Statement
Below is a statement issued by the Nagalim International Support Centre:
Issued 14 August 2009
The Tangkhul frontal organizations—Tangkhul Naga Long (Tangkhul Hoho), Tangkhul Shanao Long (Tangkhul Women’s League), Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (Tangkhul Students Union), Tangkhul Mayar Ngala Long (Tangkhul Youth Council), Tangkhul Naga Wungnao Long (Tangkhul Village Chiefs Association), and Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights—representing all the Tangkhul Naga population, are deeply concerned by the recent incident of unprovoked firing by the Assam Rifles, under 10 Sector, upon a group of NSCN (IM) cadres between Godah and Shakok villages under Phungyar Police Station in Ukhrul district on 12 August 2009. We are also concerned and deeply aggrieved by the cold-blooded murder of Mr. Salmon Hungyo, aged about 28 years, of Chahong Village, a cadre of NSCN (IM) by the Assam Rifles after being arrested and tortured near the site of the incident.
We see this as a disturbing development, and as an effort to destabilize and butcher the hard-earned peace and stability in the region. Such incidents, instead of resolving problems further exacerbate, promote, and feed violence.
Random bombings by Assam Rifles in civilian areas are taking place, particularly in and around Godah, Shakok, Loushing, and Loushing Khunthak villages under Phungyar Police Station in Ukhrul District, Manipur. This goes against all the accepted fundamental principles, norms, and foundations upon which the Indian Republic is founded, and in international norms and conventions.
The incident has put a huge number of populations in the area at risk and has violated their fundamental right to personal and emotional security. We would like to draw the attention of the media as well as the general public that a large number of villagers who are in their paddy fields, in hunting grounds, etc, being their hearth and home as forest people, are unable to return to their villages as a result of the present incident. We would like to further draw attention to the most uncalled for and unacceptable harassment of the public in many villages in Phungyar block who have been restricted from moving out of their house. There are still many individuals, who were carrying out their normal course of daily activities, whose whereabouts are still not known. These practices are manifestations of an unhealthy trend towards violence and confrontation.
We are profoundly disappointed by the callous attitude of the Assam Rifles in preventing the civil societies from visiting the villages affected by the incident on 12 August 2009. A team of civil society leaders including representatives of the United Naga Council, Manipur, North East Indigenous Women Forum, Tangkhul Naga Long, Tangkhul Shanao Long, etc were stopped from proceeding further at Shakok village by the CO 23 Assam Rifles.
It is pertinent to mention that Phungyar Block has been declared as a drought hit area by the Government. However, the Assam Rifles in Shangshak village has prohibited food supplies from being taken to the villages. This is a blatant violation of the fundamental right to food, security, and physical wellbeing.
The Assam Rifles personal have also cut the Optical Fibre Cables (OFC) at Hundung Cement Factory, the only existing means of communication from Ukhrul to other parts of country. This is illegal and calls for stringent punishment.
We appeal to the appropriate district authorities to immediately ensure and guarantee the personal and physical security of the villagers. We further demand from the Government of India to properly ensure the compliance and conformation to the Ceasefire Ground Rules in the larger interest of stability and peace in the region.
To mourn the demise of our peace and physical security, and to resist the move towards violence, the Tangkhul people numbering almost 20, 000 marched to the resident of the Deputy Commissioner of Ukhrul to submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister of India through the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Ukhrul. Amongst others, the memorandum demanded from the Prime Minister:
a. To clarify once and for all whether there is a cease-fire in Naga areas outside Nagaland.
b. To immediately stop the current operations being carried out in the area
c. To immediately withdraw Assam Rifles, “Friends of the Hills People” from Ukhrul District.
d. To ensure and guarantee the safety and well being of the population of the area.
Further, the Tangkhul people have resolved to start a non-cooperation movement against the Government of India from 6.00 PM today [14 Aug 2009] until our physical and emotional security is guaranteed and ensured.
We underline and stress that the Nagas believe in the preeminence of peace for holistic, stable development of the society, and to resolve problems. We also reiterate our faith in amicable negotiations as a means to resolve any problems in the society.
President, TNL President, TSL President, TKS
Zanyo Varam, Kaphungkan K. Shimray Alung Rungsung
President, TMNL President, TNWL Coordinator, NPMHR