A tribal community in Assam has claimed that it has raised a militant outfit in protest against a proposed tiger reserve.
The project is planned in Karbi Anglong bordering Nagaland where the Rengmas (a Naga tribe) have a sizeable population.
The Council of Naga Rengma Hills (CNRH) said the project would deprive the Rengmas of infrastructure and development. It justified the purported formation of the armed outfit Naga Rengma Hills Protection Force saying efforts to move the state government with democratic protests and representations did not yield any positive results in the past.
The CNRH said the project had been initiated without the approval of its people. “In the course of our struggle, if any undesirable incidents take place, both the state government and the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council will be held responsible,” it warned.
The tribal body castigated the state government for its decision to set up the tiger reserve in “entire length and breadth” of the Rengma-inhabited areas instead of building infrastructure there. It alleged that the project was premeditated to drive out the locals on the pretext of possible human-animal conflicts in future.
Official sources said the project was yet to be ‘formalised’. “It’s an idea being debated and discussed,” Suresh Chand, Assam’s principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife) told DNA, adding, “If it comes into being, it’ll have an area of 200 square km.”
The police expressed ignorance about the formation of the rebel group. “We haven’t received any reports as such as yet,” SN Singh, inspector general (law and order) said.
The tribal body said the outfit was raised to fight for the creation of a separate autonomous council for the Nagas living in Assam.