NSCN-IM absent from ceasefire monitoring group meeting

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Kohima, May 28 (NNN): The 61st meeting of the Ceasefire Monitoring Group (CFMG) was held on Saturday at Hotel Japfü, Kohima. However, representatives of the NSCN/GPRN were absent from the meeting.

Briefing media persons after the meeting, the chairman of the Ceasefire Monitoring Group, Eapen Jacob Kochekan Major General (Retd.) said representatives of the NSCN/GPRN chose to stay away from the meeting, while divulging that the group members had been keeping away from the meeting for the past several months adding that, earlier meetings were cancelled for this reason.

In this regard, he reminded that the CFMG is a mechanism set up by the Government of India and NSCN leadership to strengthen the ongoing political dialogue process whereby, certain ground rules had been set up. The chairman felt that the absence of the NSCN/GPRN is for consideration as to whether non-participation in the deliberation of the ceasefire monitoring group is in line with the spirit of the agreement. He said while many issues were discussed during the meeting, most of the points required the views of the NSCN and informed these issues have been conveyed to the organization by the office of the chairman and response would be awaited. As chairman, he expressed hope that all parties would attend future deliberations of the CFMG so that the group would be able to help and support the political Elaborating on this, the chairman disclosed that since the shooting incident at Namsa in August, 2010, the NSCN/GPRN has not attended the meeting citing several reasons as stated by the NSCN/GPRN which include, ground rules are not being implemented and that the previous meeting was chaired by a representative other than the proper chairman. He said the NSCN/GPRN further argued that the chairman had been appointed without consultation. Stating that the NSCN/GPRN has been giving one reason or the other, the chairman explained that discussions during the meeting are held when the parties give their views and on questions of ground rules, the chairman decides and directs parties involved within the ambit of the ground rules set up.

On extortion and taxation, the chairman read out a reference section from the Ceasefire ground rules where it is stated the government of India had raised concern on forcible intimidation on individuals including government officials. It is mentioned, the NSCN representative had stated that they being a people`™s organization did not resort to such activities. However, in view of the concern expressed by the GoI, and the interest of promoting the peace process, the NSCN representatives reportedly agreed that such activities would be prevented. The chairman opined, if somebody is indulging in extortion, since the NSCN claims it is against their mandate, people have to be made aware that whatever activity is taking place is not with the expressed approval of the group and people should desist from giving.

On the rape incident at Chedema, the chairman said he had not received any complaint so far, but information had been received from the Assam Rifles. He felt everyone feels the pinch of extortion and taxation and people need to be bolder, while lamenting that, unfortunately, fear is all pervading in such cases. He further opined a lot of criminal activities are taking place in the name of various groups and it has now become a convenient excuse for a lot of unscrupulous business people and the entire brunt is being borne by the poor people.

The Ceasefire Monitoring Group consists of five representatives each from the Government of India including the State DGP, IGAR, DIG (CRPF), and Secretary to the chairman from the GoI, the NSCN/GPRN and civil society, NSCN/GPRN. However, representatives from the civil society have reportedly not attended a single meeting so far. Besides the chairman, the meeting on Saturday was attended by Thechamo Lotha, Addl. DGP Nagaland, Banuo Z. Jamir, Addl. Chief Secretary and Commissioner Nagaland, Major Sandeep Kumar IGAR (N) and Prabhanjan Kumar, Commandant CRPF.

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