Kohima: In a “major breakthrough”, troops of the Indian Army and Assam Rifles busted a “recruitment racket” of the NSCN-IM at Mon district in Nagaland on November 21.
An official statement from the PRO (defence) Lt Col Sumit K Sharma said that the operation was launched based on specific inputs regarding a group of youth being taken by NSCN (IM) cadres to Aopao camp from villages of Mon district for recruitment.
It has been informed that troops of the Indian Army and Assam Rifles pursued the Bolero pick-up vehicle and intercepted it on Mon-Aboi road.
Two NSCN (IM) rebels — self-styled SS Corporal Loajah and SS Sgt Manza — were apprehended and 32 youths hailing from Laokkun, Tizit town, Jaboka, Nokzang, Hatothi (Naginimora) and Chingphoi villages were rescued.
It was said that on spot questioning, it was revealed that youths from local areas were lured by various underground (UG) groups on the pretext of providing jobs post Naga solution.
“The apprehendees along with the innocent youth have been handed over to the Mon police Station on November 22 for further investigation,” it said.
Meanwhile, sources from the NSCN-IM told EastMojo that such operations carried by the Indian Army shows the “double standard” nature of the government of India. Informing that the youths were released, the source said, “They were going on their own volition. There was no forced recruitment as claimed by the Indian Army. The ceasefire ground rules (CFGR) clearly allows voluntary recruitment.”
“There is no FIR against us (NSCN-IM) for any forced recruitment by any of their parents or families,” the source added.
Backing the claims of the NSCN-IM, a source from the NSCN (Reformation) said that during the joint meeting of the NSCN(R), NSCN (U) and NSCN-K (Khango) with the Ceasefire Supervisory Board (CFSB) held on November 20, “it was openly discussed that as far as it is not a forceful recruitment as reflected in the CFGR Clause 12, it is not violation of the ceasefire agreement”.
“As far as people comes to join voluntarily and not forcefully, we make our stands clear that it is not a violation of the CFGR,” the source added.
The source added that is “a double standard game”, as the NSCN groups, in the ceasefire meeting with CFSB/CFMG chairman and top security leaders deliberated that if an FIR was not filed by parents, family members or kin against the groups citing “forceful recruitment”, it cannot be regarded as a CFGR violation.
It was later informed by an Army source that the two apprehendees are still in the custody of the police for further investigation.
Meanwhile, on November 21, NSCN-IM members held a ceasefire review meeting with the office of the Ceasefire Monitoring Group (CFMG) at Kohima, a day after the maiden joint meeting of the three NSCN groups.
While the three NSCN groups have denied forcible recruitment of cadres at the meeting, it was later informed that the NSCN-IM has also denied the same.