GUWAHATI, April 20 - The Government of India has made it clear that no militant outfit under ceasefire agreement, including the NSCN(I-M), would be allowed to indulge in unlawful activities and the concerned State governments should take strict actions against anyone involved in such illegal activities.
Reacting to media reports about the involvement of the NSCN(I-M) and NSCN(K) in large scale extortions in Upper Assam districts, particularly from the tea gardens, highly placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told The Assam Tribune that the ceasefire agreements did not give license to any militant group to indulge in unlawful activities.
Sources pointed out that it is the responsibility of the concerned State government to ensure proper implementation of the criminal justice system. The State governments must ensure that the laws of the land are strictly implemented and if anyone is found involved in unlawful activities, strict action should be taken as per the provisions of the law. Sources said that it is up to the concerned State government to ensure that all criminal cases are properly investigated and those involved in criminal activities are brought to book.
MHA sources said that taking action against anyone involved in criminal activities and the process of talks are two different issues and those should not be mixed up by anyone. If any member of the NSCN(I-M), which is under ceasefire agreement, is found involved in extortions in Assam, the State government should take strict action against the person. The Central government is very clear on its stand on the issue and the process of talks did not authorize any member of militant groups to indulge in extortions.
Sources further pointed out that very often, the tea garden owners and managers are apprehensive of reporting extortion demands to the police. But since the issue has come up in the media, the Assam government should investigate the matter on its own and take immediate action against those involved to ensure that the laws of the land are implemented properly, sources added.
Meanwhile, the process of talks with the NSCN(I-M) slowed down because of the failure of the Government of Assam to take part in the consultations with the Central government�s Interlocutor RN Ravi for the Naga talks.
MHA sources said that as the Assam government was not keen on signing the final agreement with the outfit without thorough talks with all the stakeholders. The Centre�s Interlocutor had a series of meetings with the governments and civil society of Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. Ravi also wrote to the Chief Secretary, Government of Assam, for a meeting on the issue, but the State government was slow to respond and later wrote back that it would be able to go for consultations only after the election process is over.
The NSCN(I-M) has already signed a framework agreement with the Central government and the final agreement would be signed only after the Centre gets the views of all the stakeholders, including those of the neighbouring States.