Violence,fear grip Nagaland as NSCN factional feud intensifies

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Dimapur, May 5 (UNI) Violence, fear and uncertainty have gripped Nagaland after last few years' of relative calm as fighting among the three factions of National Socialist Council of Nagalim(NSCN) for territorial domination has intensified.

With the Naga peace process extending to the tenth year, there was call of unity of the NSCN(Khaplang) and NSCN(Isak-Muivah) by the top leadership. The NSCN(Unification) came into existence as they were trying to unite all Nagas living within Nagaland into one force. But in the process undermining the NSCN(IM) to some extent, as they are predominantly of Tangkhuls Nagas, who live in Manipur.

Defying directives of the government and civil societies, armed confrontation between rival Naga underground factions continued with two NSCN(I-M) cadres shot down by rival NSCN(Unification) at the commercial capital of Dimapur in late April.

Condemning the killing, NSCN(I-M) accused NSCN(Unification) of going on the offensive against its members and resorting to random killing without exercising any restraint in the name of Naga unification.

While the Opposition Congress has hit out at the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland government for "failing" to control the situation, Home Minister Imkong Limchen has said the Nagas will 'finish' themselves if the trend does not end.

A report from Tuensang quoted him as saying the Naga struggle had now become a factional fight and warned that if the present trend continued the Nagas would 'finish themselves for good'.

''In the name of Naga freedom cadres were carrying AK-47 rifles, extorting money and threatening and killing innocent Nagas.Is this Naga independence?'' a newspaper quoted the home minister as saying.

While most of the incidents have been reported from Dimapur district, the Angami Public Organisation (APO), an influential Naga tribal body, last weekend called for an end to factional feud, extortions and abductions. It also asked the groups to sit together to resolve their differences.

''A government installed with the people's mandate must provide security to life and property of the citizens. Instead, it was leaving the people to fend for themselves,'' opined leader of the Opposition I Imkong.

Meanwhile, in a significant development after two decades of hostilities, the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim has invited Khole Konyak, 'commander-in-chief' of its long-time bete noire, the NSCN(Khaplang), for talks in Bangkok, NSCN sources informed.

Outfit sources said Konyak had received a letter from NSCN (I-M) chairman Isak Chishi Swu, inviting him to come to Bangkok for talks to push forward the ongoing reconciliation and unification process among the Naga warring groups.

Both top leaders of the NSCN(K)--chairman Khaplang and Konyak-- live in the jungles of Myanmar. They have even suggested that if the Naga factions unite, they would quit their respective posts to pave the way for other capable leaders to take over the unified organisation.

Recently, the collective leadership of the NSCN(K) Khaplang, general secretary N. Kitovi Zhimomi and Konyak appreciated the unification process being initiated by some militants and Naga NGOs.

They also cautioned that efforts to bring about unification of warring factions to stop bloodshed and a sense of hope should not be jeopardised by ''one's ulterior motives''.

UNI MT PL SS1425

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