New Delhi: Tension gripped the tiny village of Sihai in Manipur’s Ukhrul district as Naga insurgent group NSCN (IM) has violated ceasefire by setting up an unauthorised camp here.

According to security forces, NSCN (IM) has made a camp at Sihai Khunou-Khamosam area of Ukhrul which was spotted on April 25, and despite communication, they have not vacated the camp. Troops were deployed to verify the existence of an unauthorised camp of NSCN (IM) in the area.

The commander requested the villagers and the pastor to inform NSCN-IM cadres to vacate the camp immediately as it was unauthorised and “in gross violation of existing ceasefire ground rules”. The same day, General Secretary of United Naga Council made a phone call to the commander of the Assam Rifles Sector and confirmed the presence of NSCN (IM) camp in the area.

“The Chairman of Ceasefire Monitoring Group (CFMG) was briefed about the prevailing situation and the existence of unauthorised camp of NSCN(IM) in general area Sihai Khunou/Khamasom, Ukhrul at 6 pm on April 26 April by IG, Assam Rifles,” said Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh, Defence PRO, Shillong.

The Chairman, CFMG confirmed that the group had issued instructions for the immediate vacation of the NSCN (IM) camp. Accordingly, Assam Rifles troops contacted the villagers to confirm the vacation of the camp.

“In the meanwhile, the area was reinforced by additional troops and the unauthorised camp is under constant surveillance by air and other means,” said the Defence PRO.
However, aerial reconnaissance in the morning of April 27 revealed that the camp had not been vacated.

The village Sihai is located in the north-east corner of Manipur’s Ukhrul district and is very close to the Myanmar border. The village is about 37 km north of Ukhrul town and is connected partially by National Highway 150.

The spokesperson alleged that the inconvenience caused to villagers is “entirely due to the irresponsible actions by NSCN (IM) cadres.”

“The security forces have shown great restraint. The villagers who were again sent towards the camp met SS Lt Col David Rambo who is awaiting instructions from Hebron,” said Wing Commander Ratnakar.

Despite extreme restraint being shown by Assam Rifles troops, no action has been taken by NSCN (IM) to vacate the unauthorised camp, and this was a severe violation of ceasefire ground rules. The onus for further escalation rests with the NSCN (IM) hierarchy if the unauthorised camp is not vacated immediately, the sources said.

NSCN (IM) has entered into a ceasefire agreement with Union Government in 1997 and maintaining since then. The Central government is even negotiating a peace deal to find a permanent solution to the problem.