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Union Home Minister's Statement on Situation in North Cachar Hills District

The following is the text of the statement made by the Union Home Minister, P. Chidambaram, in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) on July 10, 2009 in response to calling attention motion regarding situation arising out of the disturbance of peace in the North Cachar Hills District of Assam:

"North Cachar hills district of Assam with an area of 4,888 sq. km. is densely forested. It is sparsely populated, with a majority of the total population of 1.51 lakh (2001 census) belonging to the Dimasa tribe. The other major tribes are Zemie Naga, Hmar and Kuki.

2. There has been ethnic tension in the NC Hills district between Zemi Naga tribes and Dimasas since March, 2009 following the killing of 4 Zemi Naga tribals in Mahur Sub-division between March 19 to 23, 2009. The cadres of a Dimasa militant outfit, Dima Halam Daogah (Joel group), who had been indulging in large-scale violence in the last 2-3 years, were suspected to be behind the incident. Some Nagas migrated to Tousem sub-division, Tamenglong district in Manipur.

3. Seven persons belonging to the Dimasa community were killed and 97 houses were burnt by Naga extremists suspected to be cadres of NSCN factions between 28th April, 2009 and 9th May, 2009 in NC Hills district.

4. The violence perpetrated by the militants belonging to both Dimasa and Naga tribes has continued to occur on a regular basis. As per report received from the Government of Assam, 63 persons have been killed of whom 39 belong to the Naga community and 24 to the Dimasa community. 528 houses have been burnt of which 228 belonged to Nagas and 300 to Dimasas. The Government of Assam has set up 32 relief camps and is providing gratuitous relief. At present 11,737 persons are staying in the relief camps. Among them, 6841 persons belong to the Naga community and 4896 belong to the Dimasa and other communities.

5. The situation is being closely monitored and the Government of Assam has been advised to take all necessary measures to contain the violence. The State Governments of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland were also sensitized that there was a likelihood of mobilization and movement of Naga militants who would use this opportunity to make their presence felt in NC Hills district capitalizing on the wide-spread resentment and reaction among the Naga civil society.

6. The security situation in NC Hills was periodically reviewed at various levels including at the level of Union Home Secretary and Cabinet Secretary. The Government of Assam was requested to intensify counter insurgency operations against the extremists and take necessary measures to control the violence. The State Government was also requested to provide relief to the affected persons and take steps for their rehabilitation. A Central Team headed by Special Secretary (Internal Security), MHA, was also deputed to Assam on 26-27 May, 2009 to review the situation. The train services on the Lumding-Badarpur Hill Section, which were suspended due to attacks by militants of DHD(J), have since been restored.

7. I reviewed the security situation on 1st June 2009. Additional central forces including Army units, CPMF companies and State police personnel have been deployed in the district. DHD(J) has been declared as an ‘unlawful association’ under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. Sustained CI operations are continuing against DHD(J). The Chairman of DHD(J) and his two associates were arrested on 4.6.2009 at Bangalore. During the period between 19.3.2009 to 6.7.2009, 6 cadres of DHD(J) have been killed in action by the Security Forces and 24 cadres/linkmen have been arrested. The Security Forces have also recovered arms & ammunition and also Rs.1.51 crore from the linkmen of the DHD(J).

8. The Government of Assam has informed the Central Government that 3 border posts have been set up along the Assam-Nagaland areas to provide security to the villages and to check the movement of militants. Armed policemen have been deployed at 12 pickets to provide security to the sensitive villages. In view of the difficulties in providing security to the widely scattered villages and hamlets in remote and inaccessible areas of the districts, the Government of Assam has identified 12 clusters for the Zemei Nagas and other communities in discussions with the Apex bodies of the tribes. Measures are being taken to provide one platoon of force in each cluster for their security. Village Defence parties have also been activated and regular meetings are being organized with the Village Headmen (Gaon Burhas). Several ‘Peace Meetings’ have been convened by the State Government officials with both the Apex bodies and representatives of the Naga and Dimasa tribes. A proposal for the rehabilitation of affected families whose houses have been burnt in the violence is under consideration of the Government of Assam.

9. The security situation in NC Hills district is being reviewed on a regular basis. The Government is committed to provide all possible assistance to the Government of Assam for restoration of normalcy in the NC Hills district and also the rehabilitation of the affected people."

Source: Press Information Bureau, Government of India





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