Even as the centre’s efforts to iron out roadblocks in the peace talks with the north-east’s largest insurgent group NSCN(IM) continues, the Indian Army and its operational adjunct Assam Rifles that have been involved in counter-insurgency have been told to intensify operations against armed NSCN(IM) members and dismantle their camps in states neighbouring Nagaland that are not under the ambit of the ceasefire agreement.
Last Wednesday, a fierce encounter broke out between suspected NSCN(IM) insurgents and security forces in Manipur’s Tamenglong district.
According to Manipur Police sources, one NSCN(IM) insurgent was killed and three were injured in the encounter at a forest. This forest area is 12 km south of Khoupum police station in Tamenglong district and a big camp of the NSCN(IM) was operational in the area, the police sources said. The Assam Rifles has dismantled the camp now. The area is mostly populated with Rongmei tribe.
The Tamenglong operation assumes significance since the Assam Rifles along with the Nagaland Police had in July busted an extortion racket allegedly operated by the NSCN(IM) in Nagaland’s commercial capital Dimapur, and arrested top NSNC(IM) leader Rayilung Nsarngbe and his two associates on July 5.
Rayilung is an aide of NSCN(IM) general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah, police sources added from Nagaland’s capital Kohima.
At that time, security forces reportedly found Rs 1.59 crore in cash and 2 kg of RDX explosive with a large number of guns and ammunition from the home of another top NSCN(IM) leader.
This case is now being handled by the National Investigation Agency as part of its probe into terror-funding cases. The investigation so far has found an Indian Administrative Service officer in Manipur allegedly involved in financial transaction being diverted from government funds and central projects both in Manipur and Nagaland.
Assam Rifles sources have said more Tamenglong type operations would be carried out targeting other NSCN(IM) hideouts in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, where NSCN(IM) camps are illegal as the ceasefire don’t extend there.