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Arunachal Pradesh Timeline - 2003

Date Incident

January 22

A 'lance corporal' of the NSCN-K was arrested following an encounter with Assam Rifles, at Laju in Tirap District. He was later handed over to Police personnel in Laju. An M-21 rifle, a magazine and 45 rounds of M-21 ammunition were recovered from him.

January 22

10 Northeast-based terrorist outfits have given a Republic Day (January 26) 'boycott call'. A joint statement by these outfits said, " It is, therefore, in the interest of the entire people of the region that the Republic Day be boycotted as a symbolic rejection of India's Constitution."

The outfits also asked the people to observe a general strike on that day in five States-- Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Meghalaya of the Northeast. However, Nagaland and Mizoram were reportedly not mentioned in this list. The outfits that gave the 'call' included the Assam-based ULFA, Tripura-based National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) of Manipur.

January 24

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Mukut Mithi in capital Itanagar said that no part of the State could be brought under Nagalim (Greater Nagaland) that the NSCN-IM demands. He clarified that the area was never part of Nagaland. He also said the State Assembly had passed a resolution in this regard in September 2002. The Chief Minister, however, welcomed the peace process between the Union Government and the NSCN-IM.

February 12

The Arunachal Pradesh Government is apprehensive of the presence of Assam and Nagaland based militants in the Tirap and Changlang Districts of the State. The State's Education Minister Takam Sanjoy reportedly said that following a cease-fire agreement with the Union Government, cadres of both the NSCN-IM and the NSCN-K have set up base-camps in these Districts.

The Minister said, "We want a solution to the Naga problem and the Government of Arunachal Pradesh is ready to extend full cooperation to the ongoing peace talks". However, the State is against altering of present boundaries of the States in the Northeast. He also said that Arunachal's areas bordering Assam have also allegedly become 'sanctuaries' for the Assam-based ULFA.

March 24

Panchayat (local body) elections in Tirap District scheduled for April 2 have been put off apprehending interference by the NSCN-IM. State Election Commissioner J M Tangu, in a press release in Itanagar, reportedly said the prevailing situation in the District was not conducive for holding free and fair elections.

April 30

A Minister and a Legislator were arrested in Arunachal Pradesh for their alleged links with the NSCN. Reports said Arunachal Pradesh Minister for Rural Works Department T. Wangham and a Member of the Legislative Assembly T. L. Rajkumar were arrested under the APCOCA, 2002 in capital Itanagar, but were later granted bail by a local court. The Minister, however, denied any links with either the Isak Muivah or Khaplang faction of the NSCN. Reports added that Police are searching for another legislator, Lowangcha Wanglat, on the same charges.

May 2

A special investigation team of Arunachal Pradesh Police would launch a crackdown on suspected conduits of either faction of the NSCN, Isak Muivah and Khaplang, following the arrest and subsequent release of a State Minister and State legislator on April 30.

Other reports said, at least 13 politicians, including some Ministers and a Member of Parliament, are reportedly under surveillance for their alleged links with militants.

May 23

The proscribed ULFA has asked its cadres to prepare to leave Bhutan camps following latter's warning to do so by the end of June 2003. Bhutan had also asked the NDFB and the Kamtapur Liberation Organisarion (KLO), to vacate its territory. However, the report has added that following this, cadres of the outfit might look for hideouts in the forest areas of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.

May 30

A NSCN-IM militant, identified as Teliam, was arrested by the SFs at Nirjuli near capital Itanagar.

June 3

ULFA has agreed to share the proceeds it would extort from the Tirap, Lohit and Changlang Districts in Arunachal Pradesh with the NSCN-IM. Three NSCN-IM cadres who were arrested from Margherita of Tinsukia district in Assam on June 1 reportedly disclosed this.

June 13

The hitherto dormant Arunachal Dragon Force (ADF), believed to have been formed three years ago, has spread its network and is attempting to forge a link between terrorist outfits operating in India's Northeast and foreign agencies. The report quoted the State Government spokesperson and Education Minister Takam Sanjay as saying "This organisation has been seeking for a long time to establish a link between the various insurgent groups in the region and China. We have definite information on this and have also brought the matter to the notice of the Centre (Union Government)."

The outfit is reportedly led by Chaw Nawmee Namsoon and has recruits drawn mainly from the Khamti, Tsingpho and Tangsa tribes of Lohit district. Its purported objective is said to be resisting the domination of the Adis, a dominant tribe in the area. Although the current strength of the outfit is estimated to be approximately 60, its strategic importance lies in its familiarity with the adjacent districts of Upper Dibang Valley, Tirap and Changlang and the routes to China and Myanmar. The report further said that the NSCN-IM and NSCN-K factions of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland and the Assam-based ULFA have tried to reach out to the outfit. Some of their cadres have also supposedly undergone training in Bhutan.

June 20

The Assam Government has issued directives to the Deputy Commissioners and District Police Chiefs in Assam to remain vigilant following intelligence reports that some ULFA militants would sneak into the State. As reported earlier, ULFA cadres might seek safer havens if heavy rains during the monsoon force them to descend from their current hideouts located in the mountainous region in the States of Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya and also in Bhutan and Myanmar. The report further indicated that ULFA cadres in small groups have already entered Lakhimpur, Darrang, Nalbari, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Dhubri, Goalpara, Jorhat, Tinsukia, Sivasagar, Dibrugarh and Karbi Anglong Districts in Assam.

June 22

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Mukut Mithi asked the public, particularly of the militancy-affected Tirap and Changlang Districts, to maintain a tight vigil and fight the militant outfits active in the area. While addressing a public meeting at Khonsa, the headquarters of Tirap District, he said, "If we submit to them meekly today, they will rule the State tomorrow. The prevailing fear among all sections of the people, including chieftains, gaon burahs (village elders) and government officials, created by the insurgents in the two districts has been the greatest hindrance towards development."

Chief Minister further said that funds allocated to Tirap could not be properly utilized due to interference by the terrorist outfits, including factions of the Nagaland-based NSCN-IM and NSCN-K, and Assam based ULFA and the NDFB. He added that the State Government had been trying to curb terrorists; however, the NSCN factions attempt to recruit local youths to spread their network in the State's western part.

June 25

Two NSCN-IM cadres with six others under trials managed to escape from Police lock-up in capital Itanagar, after breaking open a ventilator.

June 29

Arunachal Pradesh has mobilised a 3,000-strong force comprising surplus personnel in the State from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and India Reserve (IR) Battalion. The force would conduct a likely Operation Hurricane to flush out terrorists from Tirap District.

An unnamed official from Khonsa, the headquarters of Tirap District reportedly said, "All arrangements, including positioning of security forces, have been made." According to official sources approximately 250 NSCN-IM cadres under 'lieutenant colonel' Absalom Tangkhul Rockwang are based in Tirap. Operation Hurricane was reportedly planned in May, after the Election Commission had postponed the panchayat (local body) polls in Tirap citing interference by the NSCN-IM the reason.

The Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani ordered a probe into the alleged links between six State Ministers and five congress Members in Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly and the Isak Muivah and Khaplang factions of the NSCN.

July 4

The NSCN-IM the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Mukut Mithi for saying that the outfit still has greater Nagaland on its agenda and was also trying to destabilise his Government.

July 6

Arunachal Pradesh initiated counter-terrorism operations against NSCN-IM under Operation Hurricane in the Tirap District. However, most of the NSCN-IM cadres might have escaped from the District.

July 7

SFs arrested six NSCN-K militants and rescued 11 young boys from their captivity in the Changlang District of Arunachal Pradesh. According to SF personnel, the militants were forcibly taking them for arms training to an undisclosed location.

July 8

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Mukut Mithi has alleged that the Union Government has not taken adequate steps to tackle terrorism in the State. During a conversation from Itanagar over telephone to a journalist in Guwahati, Assam he said, "The Centre (Union Government) is simply letting the Naga rebels roam about freely in Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh although after the ceasefire, cadres of the NSCN-IM (National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak Muivah) and others are supposed to be confined to their designated camps in Nagaland."

Chief Minister further said that an estimated 400 to 500 Naga terrorists, mostly NSCN-IM, and armed with sophisticated weapons are present in these two districts. He said, "Tirap and Changlang districts have been in the grip of rampant extortion, killings and kidnappings. My party's (Congress) Tirap district vice-president too had been kidnapped".

Chief Minister also denied that he had received any communication from the Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani to probe into the alleged links of six of his cabinet Ministers to terrorists. However, he added, "But, why should the Centre make any such inquiry when trial of some of my own party MLAs is on in the state on just such charges. After all, the question of an alleged politician-militant nexus in my State has come up only because the Centre has allowed these people (rebels) to operate, rather freely, in Arunachal Pradesh."

July 11

Union Minister of State for Home (MoS) Swami Chinmayananda reportedly suggested the Arunachal Pradesh Government that it should not take steps in a hurry against the NSCN-IM. Speaking at a public rally in Itanagar, he further said that the reported plan of State Government to launch Operation Hurricane against the NSCN-IM would not be helpful when talks with the outfit and also with its rival, the NSCN-Khaplang were in progress.

The NSCN-IM alleged that Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Mukut Mithi had paid Rupees 700,000 to its cadres to 'ensure stability' of his Government.

July 13

Union Minister of Tribal Affairs, Jual Oram, said that aid from the Tribal Affairs Ministry to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) suspected to have links with terrorist groups in the Northeast would be stopped immediately. Several NGOs functioning in the States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura are suspected to have diverted funds provided to them under various Government-schemes to terrorist outfits and in May 2003 the Union Home Ministry even put approximately 824 NGOs under surveillance in this connection.

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Mukut Mithi criticised the NSCN-IM for alleging that he had paid Rupees 700,000 to the NSCN-IM cadres to save his Government.

July 14

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Mukut Mithi said that merger of State's Tirap and Changlang Districts with Nagaland would be opposed by the State. The NSCN-IM's demand of Nagalim (greater Nagaland) purports to include, among others, parts of other States in the Northeast. He reportedly said, "We have nothing to do with the demand of greater Nagaland and would never be a party in any kind of negotiation with factions of NSCN." He also criticised the Union Government's stand on State's decision to launch operation hurricane against the NSCN-IM. He said, "the Centre wanted that part of Arunachal be ruled by NSCN ultras who had been engaged in intimidation, abduction, extortion and murder of innocent people in the area and the State Government to remain a silent spectator".

July 26

SFs were conducting a search operation at Namsai in Lohit District to rescue a civilian who was abducted by the ADF and Assam-based ULFA on July 16.

July 29

After his Government was reduced to a minority, the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Mukut Mithi alleged that a nexus between the NSCN-IM and some of the State's politicians, among others, were responsible for the seemingly imminent fall of his Government.

August 4

A self-styled 'lance corporal' of the NSCN-K was arrested at Longding in Tirap District.

August 6

A media report has indicated that the new Arunachal Pradesh cabinet led by Gegong Apang has decided to repeal the Arunachal Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Act (APCOCA). The Act was passed in 2002 by the previous Mukut Mithi Government to counter the activities of terrorist groups, including the Isak Muivah faction of the NSCN-IM who are alleged to be using the Tirap, Lohit and Changlang Districts of the State as safe hideouts. The State Power (electrical) Minister Lijum Ronya reportedly made an announcement in this regard in Itanagar saying the previous State Government had abused this anti-crime legislation as a tool against its rivals.

August 9

A NSCN-IM cadre was killed and an unspecified number of them were injured during an encounter with SFs at Motong in the Changlang District. One m-51 rifle, 71 rounds of ammunition and a Chinese grenade were recovered from the incident site.

August 19

The State Legislative Assembly repealed the APCOCA. State Chief Minister Gegong Apang had made an announcement earlier in this regard on August 3, following his swearing-in ceremony. The Act was promulgated during the tenure of his predecessor Mukut Mithi in August 2002 to contain the alleged subversive activities of the NSCN-IM.

September 7

Suspected militants of the ADF reportedly killed an Army Official and injured two other personnel of the Border Road Task Force (BRTF) in an ambush on a BRTF team at Meer in the Kurung Kumey District. The armed militants managed to escape with a self-loading rifle from the BRTF team, while the latter managed to seize two rifles from the terrorists.

September 30

The NSCN-K launched a tactical operation code named 'Operation Rocket' to regain lost ground in the Tirap and Changlang Districts of Arunachal Pradesh and to extend its base to parts of neighbouring Assam. Official sources said that the outfit has launched an extensive extortion campaign, targeting residents of the border areas of Assam, especially in the Margherita subdivision of Tinsukia District.

October 3

The Union Government's chief interlocutor for Naga talks, K. Padmanabhaiah, has forwarded a truce proposal to the former seeking major concessions in order to solve the Naga insurgency. Among the suggestions included in the proposal are: appointment of a boundary committee to examine the redrawing of Nagaland's boundaries to include the 'Naga-inhabited' districts of Ukhrul and Senapati in the State of Manipur and Tirap in the State of Arunachal Pradesh. Reports further added that the proposal also suggests for a separate Constitution and flag for Nagaland.

November 16

At least 10 People's Liberation Front of Adi and Idu Mishmi (PLF-AIM) militants have reportedly surrendered before the Deputy Inspector General of Police at the Police training center at Banderdewa near Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh Police sources said that PLF-AIM was formed in 2000 and has been active in the Adi and Idu Mishmi dominated areas of upper Siang and East Siang Districts.

November 17

The Arunachal Pradesh Police arrested one person and recovered approximately 60 kilograms of gelatin, two rolls of fuse wire and at least four-and-half packets of detonators from his residence at Pasighat, headquarters of the East Siang District.

December 15

At least 18 youths, including six girls, have been abducted by NSCN-K cadres from the villages of Langpan, Langton, Tinoung and Keyam in the Changlang District. Citing State Home Minister, Lowangcha Wanglat, reports added that the youths were abducted for forcible recruitment. However, the Telegraph has indicated that 20 of them were abducted.

December 20

Three ULFA militants were reportedly killed at an unspecified location in the State of Arunachal Pradesh.

A militant, suspected to be the 'chief ' of Arunachal Dragon Force (ADF), was arrested in Arunachal Pradesh.

December 22

All 18 youths, abducted by the NSCN-K on December 15, near the India-Myanmar border in the Changlang District, were reportedly released unharmed in Nampong circle of the District.

December 29

Tribal king and his son were abducted by the suspected NSCN-IM cadres from Kolan village in the Tirap District.





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