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Arunachal Pradesh Timeline - 2009

Date Incident

February 9

Telegraph reports that the Unified Command Structures of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have launched a joint operation to neutralize transit camps set up by the militants in Changlang and Tirap Districts to prevent them from reaching Myanmar. The counter-insurgency operations would target militants of the ULFA and NSCN, besides militants operating from West Bengal and Sikkim, who take shelter and receive training in the Districts of Arunachal Pradesh with support from larger outfits.

Apart from Changlang and Tirap, camps in Tamulpur, Darrang, Kajalgaon and Udalguri areas of Assam bordering Bhutan would also be targeted. "This (the camps) is where we want to stop them. Our main focus area will, therefore, be Changlang and Tirap, as these are their getaways. The mega crackdown should be over before the parliamentary elections," an unnamed senior official said. "The objective is to stop the militants from moving out of Bangladesh and from reaching Myanmar. The Sheikh Hasina regime has made her stand very clear vis--vis militant groups from India operating from Bangladeshi soil. Things will only get tough for the rebels in Bangladesh," he added.

March 12

At least four militants are killed during a clash between the combined cadres of the NSCN-K, UNLF and ULFA on one side and the NSCN-IM on the other in the Tirap District. Two slain militants are from the NSCN-IM and the other two were the combined group of the three militant outfits.

March 13

Two NSCN-IM militants and a cadre of the rival NSCN-K are killed in two separate factional clashes in the Tirap District. The report added that the ULFA and the NSCN-K are holding joint training sessions in the hilly interiors of Tirap District to win the "turf war" over the NSCN-IM.

March 19

Two NSCN-IM militants are killed and three other injured during an internecine clash with the rival NSCN-K cadres at Lapnam village in the Tirap District. The Assistant Superintendent of Police in Tirap District, A.K. Ojha, says about 50 armed cadres of the NSCN-IM carried out a sudden attack on the NSCN-K hideouts. "The gunbattle, which continued for an hour and left two NSCN (I-M) cadres dead and three injured, was pre-planned," he adds. Ojha says a Police team which visited the spot could not trace the dead bodies, which are believed to have been taken away by the outfit.

Another Police official in Tirap District has said three NSCN-K cadres were killed and three of them injured during the clash at Lapnam. According to him, the NSCN-IM, which is dominant in the Tirap District, has been facing a tough challenge from its rival group in recent months. He says the NSCN-K has been able to establish its grip in the area with the help of the ULFA and the UNLF.

The report adds that nearly 30 ULFA recruits finished a two-month advanced training in villages in the Changlang District of the State as well as on the other side of the India-Myanmar border under the supervision of 'sergeant commander' Anjan Borthakur of the B company of ULFA's 28 battalion, the outfit's 'publicity secretary' Michael Deka and NSCN-K 'commander' Siv Konyak in February 2009. The NSCN-IM's self-styled 'major' K. Ngaimong is leading the charge for the faction against NSCN-K 'captain' H. Thangkul.

April 25

The ULFA has started extorting money from traders in Arunachal Pradesh. The State Police said that two cadres of ULFA's 28 battalion, Ghanakanta Saikia and Deepak Bhuyan, were arrested from Bihpuria in Assam's Lakhimpur District on April 24, for serving an extortion notice for INR one million to a trader at Banderdewa in Arunachal Pradesh last week and intimidating him. They were remanded to Police custody for 14 days by a local magistrate next day.

July 8

A senior official of a retail chain was seriously injured in an attack by armed militants at Maxmart Guest house in capital Itanagar. Police sources said four armed militants intruded into the Maxmart Guest house in the morning and started firing on Mukesh Choudhury, local manager of the Maxmart shopping mall chain, seriously injuring him.

July 28

The Union Government expresses concern over the violation of cease-fire agreement by the NSCN-IM and NSCN-K groups active in the Tirap and Changlang Districts of Arunachal Pradesh, and states the matter has been taken up with the neighbouring countries to ensure that they do not give shelter to these groups. "I concede that despite ceasefire arrangement with insurgent groups, violations do happen and we have taken a grave notice of this," the Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram says during the question hour in Parliament.

The Union Home Secretary held discussions with the State Government in March 2009 to review the situation, the Minister says adding that the Government has strengthened security on India-Myanmar border. On whether the insurgent groups were operating with support of neighbouring countries, he says "successive governments have taken up this matter with the neighbouring countries and continue to take up with limited success." There is a new Government in the neighbouring country of Bangladesh and "our assessment is that the new government is more responsive than the previous one," he says.

August 24

Two NSCN-IM linkmen, Joshua Ngobang and Samchang Wangsu, are arrested by the Police from a hotel in capital Itanagar, for trying to extort money from three politicians in Tirap District. Police have reportedly arrested them after the Arunachal Pradesh Forest Minister Newlai Tingkhatra has tipped it off about the NSCN-IM linkmen taking money from him. The duo has also extorted money from a Legislator belonging to the Congress party, Kamthok Lowang, and another politician from the District, Anok Wangsa of the Naga People's Front. Each of them is asked to pay INR 500, 000. The report adds that Naga militant outfits are targeting politicians from the Naga-dominated Tirap and Changlang Districts for extortion as the Legislative Assembly elections are drawing nearer.

September 3

The Security Force personnel recover a cache of explosives from the Hatiduar reserve forest of Lohit District. The seizure includes five detonators, 26 kilograms of improvised explosive device and packets of explosives.

September 21

28 militants from various outfits surrender at Assam Rifles battalion headquarters in Khonsa of Tirap District. The militants deposit a large cache of arms and ammunition.

October 4

A NSCN-IM cadre is arrested by the troops from Zedua village of Longding circle in Tirap District.

October 5

A NSCN-IM cadre, Jupha Sungam, is arrested by the troop from Zedua village in Tirap District. He confesses during his interrogation that he met Panthai, 'town commander' of the NSCN-IM, at Longding and handed over a pistol to him. Later, the self-styled 'town commander' moved to carry out extortion in the area. Interrogation also reveals that the NSCN factions were trying to influence the outcome of Assembly elections scheduled to be held in Arunachal Pradesh on October 13.

The Assam Riffles personnel arrest two NSCN-IM cadres from Pongchau area in Tirap District. One 9-mm pistol with 20 rounds of bullets and one single-barrel gun with 66 rounds of ammunition are recovered from their possession. Police sources said that two NSCN-IM cadres had infiltrated in civil dress with an intention of disrupting the Assembly polls.

October 11

Suspected NSCN-IM militants abduct 16 activists of the Congress party from Tirap District, fanning fears in the area ahead of Assembly elections in the State on October 13. Sources said armed militants entered Chanu, Longsam and Chattong villages under Kanubari circle in two groups, abducted 16 Congress activists, including the party's block president Abu Wangpan, at gunpoint and took them away to Mon District in the neighbouring State of Nagaland. The report adds that on October 3, the NSCN-IM militants had abducted five Congressmen, including the village chief, from Langhua Basti in Kanubari and taken them to Lakhunbasti in Nagaland. All the five were "released" on October 11 and returned to their respective families.

October 12

The Nationalist Congress Party's State unit president and former Home Minister Lowangcha Wanglat said that one self-styled NSCN-IM area 'commander' threatened of killing him if he ventured into Shoha near Deomali under Namsang Assembly constituency of Tirap District to campaign for his party candidate, Wanglong Rajkumar.

October 20

The arrest of five youths by West Siang District Police from Aalo has exposed the designs of NSCN-IM to rejuvenate the National Liberation Council of Taniland outfit by supplying arms to trained youths from Arunachal Pradesh.

October 30

The manager of a road construction company is abducted by around seven suspected NDFB militants at Sereng under Nari Police Station in West Siang District along the Arunachal Pradesh-Assam border.

December 13

The All Arunachal Pradesh Students' Union (AAPSU) has alleged that 18 youths, aged between 18 and 23, were recruited by the NSCN-K from Pongchau circle in Tirap District on November 19. Of the 18 reported recruits, 16 were from Pongchau village while two others belonged to Bonia village under Pongchau circle.

December 1

Nagaland Post quoting UNI sources reports that 14 youths were abducted from Ninu village under Wakka Circle of Tirap District in November 2009 by the NSCN-IM, as part of its ongoing recruitment drive. However, according to another source, a local man of Ninu Village, suspected to be an NSCN-IM cadre, has reportedly recruited 16 youths from the village, besides two from Longsom, three from Bera and one from Konsa in the District, with a target to recruit 50 youths from Khonsa, Longding and Kanubari Circles. The report adds that the District administration is, however, not sure whether the youths had been abducted or they voluntarily joined the outfit. Moreover, they are also resorting to extortion and have employed some locals for the purpose, the sources claimed, adding these were violation of the cease-fire ground rules, the report said.

Reports also mention that the ULFA and NSCN-K were conducting joint training for 30 newly recruited ULFA cadres in Mahadevpur, Pongchau and Bordumsa Circles of Lohit, Tirap and Changlang Districts to prepare for a possible Army crackdown in Assam and Nagaland.

December 19

Arunachal Pradesh Government stated that Northeast militants, including ULFA, were getting arms and ammunition from China. "The Centre is also aware of it. ULFA and other militant groups of the North-East are procuring arms and ammunition from China," state Home Minister Tako Dabi told reporters on the sidelines of a function at North Eastern Police Academy (NEPA) at Umsaw here. He said the militants, particularly those of ULFA, were using Arunachal Pradesh as a 'corridor' to China. Though Dabi denied the presence of permanent ULFA camps in Arunachal Pradesh, he said "they use Changlang and Tirap districts in the state as sanctuaries." Asked what steps the government was taking against the militants, Dabi said, "the government is on alert. Para-military and Army personnel have been deployed in adequate numbers in the areas."

December 20

Arunachal Pradesh called for a joint regional approach by all north eastern states to deal with different militant groups who have close nexus among themselves. State Home Minister Tako Dabi said though no home grown ultra group operates in the state, militants from the neighbouring states like Nagaland and Assam use the dense forests in Arunachal as corridor for their movement to and fro their bases across Myanmer border. "Unless all the states in the north eastern region join hands and take a regional approach to root out militancy from all affected areas, it is difficult to tackle the problem," he said on his return from Delhi after having a discussion with union Home Minister P. Chidambaram. "The ultras of all states help each other and to fight them, police and other security agencies operating in different states in the region should also have a regional approach," he said.

Tako Dabi, who also met CBI director in New Delhi recently, said the CBI investigation into the murder of former Lok Sabha member Wangcha Rajkumar had progressed well and the names of culprits are expected to be announced shortly. Dabi said he will visit Tirap and Changlang districts, declared disturbed under Armed Forces Special Power Act because of activities of both the factions of NSCN, from the second week of next month. During his trip to Tirap and Changlang, instead of staying in circuit house, he will stay in the homes of villagers to listen to their problems and get a first hand knowledge of the situation.

In a X-mas appeal to the militants, Dabi said both factions should abjure violence and continue talks with the government to find a solution to the socio-economic problems. Instead of solving the problem of militancy with army, police and paramilitary forces, the state government wants to control and contain it by trying to be compassionate and building confidence among the people, he added.

December 22

Addressing people at Nari Seren in East Siang, Arunchal Pradesh Home Minister Tako Dabi informed that his office promptly asked the State Police to take immediate action and investigate extortion notices served to some contractors and Government officials by the NDFB at Seijosa in East Kameng District. He said that the Government would not tolerate such subversive acts by anti-social elements within the territory of Arunachal Pradesh. Dabi reiterated his 'Christmas message' to all underground outfits active in the State to shun violence and create a congenial atmosphere for the growth of the State. He kept the doors of the Government open for talks. The Home Minister also informed that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is investigating the killing of former Parliamentarian Wangcha Rajkumar, assured to submit its report within three months.

The Army deferred a plan to storm ULFA hideouts in Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, apprehending confrontation with Naga militants in ceasefire with the Centre. Sources in the Army said there was concrete evidence about ULFA militants taking shelter in NSCN-K camps in Nagaland, bordering Myanmar, and also at a few places along the Nagaland-Arunachal border. "Our spotters have located these camps but the fear is that there are also a large number of Naga militants there and we do not want any kind of confrontation with the NSCN," an Army officer said.

The NSCN-K is in cease-fire with the Centre. The sources said the plan to storm the camps was made soon after the arrest of a woman ULFA cadre, Mina Gogoi, from Assam's Sivasagar District in November 2009. Mina, one of the oldest woman cadres in the outfit and wife of Ulfa militant Roman Dhodomia, was apprehended while she was crossing over to Assam from Nagaland. Her husband and a few other Ulfa cadres in the group fled to Nagaland. "We recovered several photographs of these camps from Mina and got vital information from her. We soon sent spotters and ascertained the presence of these camps," the officer said. However, the plan to barge into these camps had to be shelved as there were a large number of NSCN-K cadres there. "Our hands are tied, otherwise we would have had many Ulfa cadres in custody by now," the officer said.

The sources said ULFA was not only using these camps in Nagaland to train cadres but also as transit camps to move to-and-fro from Myanmar-based general headquarters. Senior ULFA leaders based at Myanmar - Jibon Moran, Michael Dekaphukon, Sujit Mohon, Horen Phukon and others - frequently visit these camps, the sources said. "Had the NSCN (Khaplang) not provided logistical support to the Ulfa, by now we could have easily choked the routes the militants take to travel to Myanmar," the officer said. It was in such a camp recently that Ulfa's "2nd lieutenant" Seema Bora was killed and another woman cadre, Satyama Bailung, was injured when "sergeant" Atula Gogoi, alias Prasant, of the outfit fired on them following a quarrel. A meeting was scheduled to be held at the camp prior to the incident and several senior cadres were present there. The sources said there were similar camps in Arunachal Pradesh, bordering Nagaland, where ULFA militants were taking shelter with NSCN-K militants.

An Assam Police official said that several ULFA cadres had fled their Myanmar camps and were contacting security forces expressing their willingness to come overground. But these cadres were undecided on whether to join the pro-talks group of the Ulfa or surrender. A leader of the pro-talks group said the NSCN-K had been providing logistical support to the ULFA in exchange of money for a long time.

December 27

The NSCN-K has brought in heavily armed cadres of the Myanmar-based KIA group to take on its rival NSCN-IM in a renewed turf war in Tirap and Changlang Districts. "NSCN-K has turned to the Kachin Independent Army for logistical help to build up bases in the twin districts of Arunachal Pradesh - Tirap and Changlang - and heavily armed KIA fighters have already entered these two districts along the Indo-Myanmar border," an unnamed senior Police official said.

The Police official said the NSCN-K had also started a recruitment drive in the twin Districts to take on the rival faction. "Altogether 16 youths from Pongchau and two others from Bonia village under Pongchau circle were recruited by the NSCN (K) in November," he said. Besides, nine youths from Nyinu village under Wakka circle of Tirap District were recruited by the NSCN-K in December 2009 and these youths are currently undergoing training under the guidance of the KIA in Myanmar.





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