NSCN (I-M) not to decommission arms

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HT Correspondent

Dimapur, Aug 18: The NSCN (I-M) will not decommission arms after the final accord is signed with the Government of India, a local daily here reported on Friday. According to the report, an NSCN (I-M) source said they will not decommission the arms and that the present “Naga army” will be commissioned as a regular army as part of the agreement to have a joint defence between the NSCN-IM and the Union Government to look after the security of Nagaland (Nagalim).

“There shall be no decommissioning of arms in our agreement as we will have a joint defence force,” said a source from NSCN (I-M). A source said Naga army will be commissioned as a regular armed force and jointly look after the defence of Nagaland. According to another local daily, setting at rest various media speculations that Government of India and NSCN (I-M) would be signing “final accord” by September 2017, interlocutor for Naga talks RN Ravi and NSCN (I-M) member, collective leadership, VS Atem made it clear that there is no such deadline for signing a permanent agreement between the Government of India and the NSCN (I-M).

There are around 6000 regular “Naga armies” in NSCN (I-M) set-up, spread over Nagaland, Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. There was also report of presence of NSCN (I-M) cadres in Myanmar. Apart from armed cadres there are also several hundreds of workers in civil establishment of the group’s shadow government-Government of the People’s Republic of Nagalim (GPRN).

“Our army will look after the borders of Nagalim,” a source said.

To commission “Naga Army” into a regular force, the Union Government is most likely to create around 7 battalions, according to a source. The cadres are likely to be absorbed into paramilitary forces. The new battalions are likely to be deployed along Indo-Myanmar border as part of the effort to seal the border to check the movements of Northeast militants.

In 1972, when cadres of “Revolutionary Government of Nagaland” surrendered the Union Government absorbed the cadres into Border Security Force (BSF). Hundreds of arms were surrendered to the authorities.

The 1975 Shillong Accord also witnessed surrender of dozens of arms by the cadres of Naga National Council (NNC). According to a source, the newly created battalions are likely to be looked after by the union home ministry.

Earlier, Nagaland Governor P B Acharya also said the Centre would create new battalions for the activists. Absorbing cadres into regular force would be part of rehabilitation. It is not known what package the Centre would offer to cadres working in administration set-up.

According to NSCN-IM, 90% of the negotiation has been finalised. Sources said the Centre and NSCN-IM have agreed for political and cultural integration for the time being. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this time solution cannot be 100% but that does not mean there will not be further discussion. If the final agreement is signed, the Centre is expected to dole out several thousand crores from its exchequer as economic package, which is expected to be key component in the agreement.

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