Naga and Karbi rights bodies appeal for calm
DIMAPUR, JANUARY 3
THE Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), the Karbi Human Rights Watch (KHRW) and the Indigenous Women Forum of North East India (IWFNEI) have appealed to the Rengma and Karbi communities to cease from provoking each other and come together to identify the factor which triggered the recent spate of communal violence.In a joint statement, the three organizations called for assessing the chronology of armed confrontations and social unrest, allegedly caused by suspicions and deep misunderstanding between the cadres of
the Karbi People’s Liberation Tigers (KPLT) and the Rengma Naga Hills Protection Force (RNHPF).
The statement stated that it was in June 2013 when KPLT asked RNHPF to surrender to them or else face dire consequences which heightened tensions.It was after the intervention of the Karbi and Naga civil society organizations that calm prevailed.
The KPLT was also asked to withdraw their ultimatum, but fear and suspicions did linger on, the statement added.
But the situation remained undisturbed till December 14, 2013 when suspected cadres of the RNHPF beat up some Karbi villagers to which KPLT cadres retaliated and burned down villages and killed Rengma Naga villagers which led to the displacement of many Rengma Nagas, mostly women and children. This is but just a tip of the ice burg which is engulfing the entire age-old harmonious relationship of the Nagas and Karbis who lived together for however long one can remember. All however has not been lost, it said.
The statement further said ‘in this small reflection, it is interesting to note that, when “suspected” RNHPF were beating up Karbi Villagers as reported above, there were a few cadres who were very fluently speaking “Assamese”.
And, while questioning the lackadaisical attitude of the Assam government, the statement said it is also interesting to note that sometime in August 2013, around 50 cadres of the KPLT with six leaders have left the organization to surrender to the government of Assam, but till date there whereabouts are unknown and there are also no records of them laying down their arms.
The assessment of the situation by the human rights organizations opined that the problem may basically lie with the armed conflict between the KPLT and the RNHPF, but not necessarily between the entire Karbi and Rengma Naga communities. So it will be worthwhile, the statement added, to address this problem within the context of the confrontation and not pull in the communities as a whole which will only be self-defeating
The statement ended with a note of appeal to both the KPLT and the RNHPF to come across the table and remove the elements that have exploited the situation and enable the displaced Rengma Nagas to come back to their villages and respective settlements.
The joint statement also stated that while the concerns of all people are well and truly appreciated, it will be in the greatest interest of the effected people if one can engage with the issues confronting our people and fellow brethrens, mindful of the fact that “they are the sons and daughters of the soil” who will live on, and not us.