IMPHAL, January 3: Looking back at the series of armed confrontations and social unrest caused by suspicions and deep misunderstanding between the cadres of the Karbi Peoples Liberation Tigers (KPLT) and the Rengma Naga Hills Protection Force (RNHPF), the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), the Karbi Human Rights Watch (KHRW) and the Indigenous Women Forum of North East India (IWFNEI), have appealed to all sections of the two communities to immediately cease all kinds of provocations and take a moment to reflect on what could have triggered the destruction of the age-old relationship between the Nagas and Karbis.
A joint press statement said without going into the details and nitty-gritty of the whole episode, it was only in June 2013 that when KPLT asked RNHPF to surrender to them or else face dire consequences, that tensions ran very high and only on the intervention of the Karbi and Naga civil society organizations, this was brought under control by making the KPLT withdraw their ultimatum. However, fears and suspicious lingered on despite the containment of the situation by the two communities, till December 14-15, 2013, when suspected cadres of the RNHPF had beaten 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 though all has not been as well as one would have wanted, it added.
In this small reflection, it is interesting to note that, when “suspected” RNHPF were beating up by 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, it is also interesting to note that sometime in August 2013, around 50 cadres of the KPLT with six leaders had left the organization to surrender to the Government of Assam, but till date, their whereabouts are unknown and there are also no records of them laying down their arms, it continued.
“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 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 NPMHR, KHRW and IWFNEI would therefore once again appeal 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. 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 – the well-wishers and sympathizers,” the statement said.