Unease among Naga rebel groups as peace talks reach decisive phase
Two violent incidents within four days involving rebel outfits, in which one person has been killed and another sustained injury, have rocked Dimapur.Updated: Aug 21, 2019 13:46 IST
With the Naga peace talks reaching a decisive phase, two violent incidents within four days involving rebel outfits, in which one person has been killed and another sustained injury, have rocked Dimapur, Nagaland’s commercial hub.
On Tuesday evening, Khekato Kinny, a leader of the Naga insurgent outfit National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Reformation), (NSCN-R), was injured in a shooting at his home in Chekiye village, on Dimapur’s outskirt.
“A shooting took place and one NSCN (R) member has been injured. We are conducting further investigations,” Limasunep Jamir, Dimapur commissioner of police, said.
Tuesday’s incident comes four days after Toishe Yeptho, a mid-level functionary of the Isak-Muivah faction of NSCN-IM, was shot dead at his Dimapur residence by two assailants.
Both the incidents have come at a time when Naga insurgent outfits are engaged in talks with the Government of India and are close to resolving the decades old Naga peace talks.
Condemning Tuesday’s incident, NSCN (R) issued a statement blaming NSCN-IM cadres of firing without provocation at Kinny, who was with his family and children.
The outfit expressed surprise at the “offensive action” at the time when Nagas are “yearning for peace and trying to hammer out a political solution with the government”
While Hindustan Times was not able to get NSCN-IM’s version of Tuesday’s incident, some local media in Nagaland quoted an unnamed functionary of the outfit where he admitted NSCN-IM cadres fired after they were shot at.
“At this stage it would be premature to say Tuesday’s shooting was between two outfits. We also can’t say for certain that the shooting was in retaliation to the Friday’s shooting incident in which an NSCN-IM functionary got killed,” Dimapur commissioner of police Jamir said.
On Tuesday, Western Sumi Hoho, a council of the Sumi tribe, issued a statement condemning the recent shootings and killings “amongst the cadres of various factions” and urged all to maintain peace.
“At a time when the entire Naga people are yearning for peace and entering a crucial phase of our long protracted Naga issue towards a solution, these spates of killings and taking of lives amongst the different warring factions only show our narrow vision which belittles our sacred cause,” the statement read.
The government of India and NSCN-IM, the biggest Naga insurgent outfit, had signed a framework agreement in 2015 in a bid to find a solution to the Naga political issue. Talks have been underway between the Centre, NSCN-IM and seven other Naga outfits to conclude the peace talks.
Last week, newly appointed Nagaland Governor RN Ravi, who was earlier the government’s interlocutor for the Naga peace talks, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given three months to find a resolution to the long-pending issue.
“There may be no connection between the recent violent incidents and the peace talks. It could be due to personal rivalry or some differences between the outfits. They should restrain themselves as everyone is expecting peace and Nagas don’t want any killing among our own people,” said Neivetso Venuh, professor of history at Nagaland University.