Thousands of people fled after suspected Naga militants had gunned down three Adivasis and torched over a hundred houses in Assam. The incident, which also left several others injured, took place on the Assam-Nagaland border on Tuesday. It flared up on Wednesday when angry locals fought pitched battles with CRPF personnel, deployed near the border as 'neutral force', demanding they move to the border areas to take on the Naga militants.
What the locals in Assam say?
The locals in Assam alleged that they were fired upon by the Naga militants while they were staging a peaceful protest in front of a CRPF camp against the abduction of two Adivasi youth by suspected Naga militants.
What the Nagas say?
According to P Phuleshe Yepthomi, border magistrate and sub divisional officer in Nagaland, the trouble started when the Adivasis surrounded two Naga villages and damaged a couple of houses before opening fire on Naga villagers. He said the situation forced the Naga villagers to retaliate. Nagaland MLA, M Kikon, claimed the Adivasi militants were involved.
How is the situation now?
Assam government officials claimed the situation was under control following the deployment of additional forces. But the locals claimed it only worsened after the Naga militants went on a shooting spree for the second day on Wednesday. The militants had also torched houses in 13 villages inside Assam leaving people to run for their lives. Close to 7,000 people were lodged in relief camps in the affected Golaghat district.
Protesting the incident, some organisations in Assam have enforced an indefinite 'economic blockade' on some roads leading to Nagaland. Nagaland depends heavily on Assam for the supply of essential commodities.
What is the Assam government doing?
In a telephonic conversation with Union home minister Rajnath Singh, chief minister Tarun Gogoi sought additional central paramilitary forces for deployment in the trouble-torn areas. The chief minister asked the chief secretary to take up the matter with his Nagaland counterpart and to explore all possible ways to defuse the tension. Senor Assam government officials were camping in the affected areas to monitor the situation.
The bitter border row –
Assam and Nagaland have been embroiled in a bitter border dispute ever since Nagaland attained statehood in 1963. The dispute continues despite a mediation process initiated by the Supreme Court. Nagaland often accuses Assam of encroaching upon 59,000 hectares of its land along the inter-state boundary. Assam claims it is Nagaland that has encroached upon large tracts of its land.