The Council of Naga Rengma Hills (CNRH) has justified the formation of the Naga Rengma Hills Protection Force, saying the pro-tiger project would deprive the Rengmas of development.
“The decision to set up the tiger reserve in the entire length and breadth of the Rengma-inhabited areas was premeditated to drive out locals on the pretext of possible human-animal conflicts,” the CNRH said.
Forest officials said the project was yet to be formalised. “This is just an idea being debated. We are looking at more than 200 sq km area in the Karbi Anglong hills south of Kaziranga National Park where animals taking refuge from floods often fall prey to poaching,” Assam’s principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife) Suresh Chand said.
The police said they had no information about the new rebel group.