Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

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Cadres of KNA-B at one of their camps

Claims and Counter-Claims of NIA and NSCN (IM) add More Narratives and Complexities to Continued Violence in Manipur

Amidst the myriad of narratives including of the illegal immigrants from Myanmar about the over a year-old violent conflict between the Kuki-Zomi militants and Meiteis, India’s top investigating body, National Investigation Agency (NIA) has added another one.

The NIA has claimed that “China-Myanmar Module” of the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland – NSCN (IM) supported the cadres of two banned Meitei outfits to infiltrate India from Myanmar in order to exploit the ongoing violent conflict between the Kuki-Zomi Militants and Meiteis in Manipur with a larger goal to destabilise the State and wage a war against the Government of India.

The violent conflict erupted on May 2, 2023 with Kuki-Zomi militants attacking Meiteis in Churachandpur district and its neibhouring areas of Bishnupur district and other Kuki dominated areas where Meitei population is lesser to Kuki-Zomis.

The violent conflict has claimed at least 227 lives including 20 women and 8 children, of which 54 lives in the first three days from May 3, 2023. At least 61,387 persons have been internally displaced while another 31 are still currently missing and presumed kidnapped or murdered and 1,559 persons have been injured in separate incidents of violence over the past year.

Adding another dimension to the ongoing violent conflict, the NIA in a chargesheet submitted to NIA Special Court in Assam’s Guwahati alleged that the “China-Myanmar Module” of NSCN (IM) extended support to the banned Meitei militant organisations People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL).”

Reports quoting the NIA chargessheet said the Centre had received intelligence about a transnational conspiracy hatched by the Myanmar-based leadership of the “terror outfits” to destabilise the security situation in Manipur, and “wage a war against the Government of India”.

For this purpose, “NSCN (IM) promised a safe passage along with arms, ammunition, explosives and other terrorist hardware to Manipur-based terrorist outfits and proscribed organisations.”

“In addition, these outfits have also been tasked to identify, recruit and train impressionable youths and get them involved in the ongoing violence with the larger goal of destabilising the security situation in Manipur and to further wage a war against the Government of India.”

Further, the NIA in the chargesheet said Moirangthem Anand Singh, the primary accused person in the case, mobilised youth for arms training in order to escalate the violent conflict in Manipur.

“The accused criminally conspired with intent to carry out violent terror attacks targeting the rival Kuki-Zomi community with prohibited arms and ammunition which were looted from various government sources,” the NIA alleged.

On September 16, 2023, Moirangthem Anand Singh, 45, along with four others – Athiokpam Kajit Singh, Keisham Johnson, Loukrakpam Michael Mangangcha and Konthoujam Meghajit Meitei – were arrested by the Manipur police commandos in Imphal East district after they were found travelling in a vehicle impersonating security personnel. Three weapons and ammunition stolen from police armouries were recovered from their possession.

All the five later got release on bail following protests by Meira Paibis and other civil society organisations saying they are ‘village volunteers’ who were protecting Meitei villagers from ‘Kuki-Zomi militants’.

However, Moirangthem Anand was immediately picked up by the NIA in the “transnational conspiracy” case and flown to New Delhi. He was formally arrested on September 22, 2023 in Delhi in connection with a case registered on July 19, 2023.  The NIA identified him as a cadre of the PLA and it transpired that he had been arrested six times in the past. It continuously opposed his bail at the special court.

The NIA said the accused breached prohibitory orders issued by the district administration “to spread hatred and enmity among the communities, escalate the ongoing ethnic strife, disturb peace and tranquility and to pose threat to the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the country”.

However, NSCN (IM) has taken strong exception to such outrageous NIA attack against them.

In response to the report, the NSCN (IM) on May 15 said, “This is not only misleading but cruel and vicious as it is too far from the point of accuracy and morally not ethical at all.”

“The NSCN is sensitive to the propaganda war waged by the Government of India against NSCN who had signed ceasefire with GOI and engaged political talks for the last 27 years. Ironically GOI agencies keep hitting below the belt,” the release said.

Moreover, the NSCN (IM) claimed that Indian security forces were aiding Kuki militants in waging war against Meitei revolutionary groups in Myanmar.

“Things have become very clear that this Indian Security Forces is extending their logistics and material support to KNA (B) to wage war against the Meitei revolutionary groups stationed there. These Indian Security Forces even allow the Kuki militant groups operating in Tengnoupal district, Manipur, to enter inside Myanmar and fight with the Meitei revolutionary groups. Nothing is left to doubt about the dubious role of Indian Security Forces, as they use the Kukis as frontal forces to engage in bloody discord against the Nagas giving all logistics support to the Kuki militant groups.”

NSCN (IM) shall minced no word to put on record that this is a proxy war of Indian security forces in the name of KNA (B) and PDF against NSCN. But to put the matter straight, Naga Army had not taken a single step to fight against the KNA (B). Neither did we find the reason to go against PDF.

What is going on now in the Myanmar border with India is something that is exposing the hidden war or proxy war against the NSCN (IM). Indian security forces consisting of AR and para- regiment are constantly raining bombs on NSCN (IM) position on daily basis in the name of KNA (B). The reason is not far to seek. The Indian Security Forces do not want Naga Army to be stationed in the Myo Thit(Tab) area in Myanmar.

Deceitful as the Indian Security Forces, they sealed off the international border along Namlee and Wanglee areas in Kamjong district, Manipur. No one is allowed to enter Myanmar and no one is allowed to come out from the Myanmar. Even CSOs people are also put under heavy restriction. NSCN (IM) is compelled to issue this statement as nothing is further from the truth, the statement said.

Given the new developments, the recent claims of the Government of India and counter claims by the NSCN (IM) add more narratives and complexities to the over a year-old continued violent conflict in Manipur than restoring normalcy.

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