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Naga Villagers at "Great Risk" from COVID-19: NSCN-IM on Kashung-Bungdung Conflict

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Dimapur, April 26, 2020:

Firing salvos at the Centre as well as Manipur Government, the Isaak-Muivah faction of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) has claimed that the recent standoff in Kamjong district between Assam Rifles jawans and Naga villagers puts the Naga locals at “great risk” of contracting a COVID-19 infection.

The NSCN claims that the “intrusion” of the Assam Rifles column into the Kashung-Bungdung area has put the villagers at great risk from the coronavirus. “What is blatantly seen in Kashung-Bungdung under Kasom Khullen Block, Ukhrul district is the ill-timing of the unwarranted provocation against the Tangkhul Naga people when every single person is engaged in maintaining social distancing protocol in the midst of lockdown as laid down by the World Health Organization (WHO)”, the NSCN-IM said.
“Such a blatant violation of Covid-19 protocols when the whole world is gripping with the spread of Covid-19 pandemic is nothing but highly irresponsible and condemnable”, the rebels further added. By doing this, the Manipur Government has committed “an act against humanity”, claimed the NSCN-IM.
Assam Rifles and Manipur police, the NSCN-IM claimed, “are recklessly going belligerent to throttle the NSCN in Manipur on the pretext that there is no Indo-Naga ceasefire in Naga areas of Manipur state.”
Stating that “there is every indication that ‘carte blanche’ order has been given by the Government of India in dealing with the NSCN under the Unified Command of Manipur of state police and security forces”, the NSCN-IM said that “this Unified Command was allegedly formed recently with the direction of the Home Ministry, Government of India to crush the aspirations of self-determination movement of the people in Jammu & Kashmir and Manipur by the State and Para”military forces.
“They (Government of India) have also taken the antiquated stand that there is no NSCN designated camp in Ukhrul district”, the rebel body further said.
The NSCN-IM has said that former Chairman of Ceasefire Monitoring Group Lt. Gen. R.V. Kulkarni in a 2007 letter to Naveen Verma, Joint Secretary (NE), Ministry of Home Affairs had approved Khangkhui-Shirui forest area as NSCN designated camp. “The present Phungtha Brigade Camp is the alternative arrangement after Naga Army vacated Khangkhui-Shirui forest area. The stand of the Unified Command is that there is no ceasefire with the NSCN in Naga areas of Manipur state”, the NSCN-IM explained in its communique.
The NSCN-IM said that Centre should stop the Manipur Government from going against “what has been officially sanctioned”.
“The 24 AR personnel who are in the thick of the storm in the present standoff with the women folks of the area should also learn to draw the line and not go overboard to bring about acrimonious situation”, the NSCN-IM further said in its statement.
Accusing the Government machinery of behaving “in total contravention of the spirit of peace talks”, the NSCN-IM said that it is baffled at the inconsistency on the part of the Government of India in “managing the Indo-Naga political peace process”.
“Placed under such unwarranted situation we do not see any political wisdom in this kind of avoidable confrontation as no party stands to harvest any military or political benefit”, the rebel body said, apparently calling for an end to the ongoing standoff at Kashung-Bungdung, under Kasom Khullen Block, Ukhrul district.

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