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Border blame game

July 3: The border spat between Assam and Nagaland took a new twist today with Naga militants blaming a Dimasa outfit for the sudden spurt in violence.

The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), which has been accused by Dispur of fomenting trouble in Karbi Anglong district, today pointed an accusing finger at the militant Dima Halam Daoga.

It held the DHD responsible for the killing of an extra assistant commissioner and a police constable on Thursday.

Dhansiri extra assistant commissioner Dipankar Das was shot dead allegedly by NSCN(I-M) militants when government officials were carrying out an eviction drive at Monglamukh in the Dhansiri reserve forest in Karbi Anglong district.

Assam home commissioner B.K. Gohain had urged the Centre to shift the NSCN(I-M)’s council headquarters yesterday from near its boundary, saying the outfit was abetting encroachment in the area.

K. Chawang, deputy kilonser (minister) of the NSCN(I-M)’s ministry of information and publicity, claimed there was not a single NSCN activist in the Aturkimi model village. He added that the outfit had nothing to do with land acquisition in Karbi Anglong district.

Blaming the Dimasa outfit for the attack, Chawang said, “The Dimasa group was observed coming in from the south and north with sophisticated weapons,” adding that the outfit’s on-the-spot inquiry revealed that the new settlers were equipped with three .315 and one .303 rifle.

He said just because the NSCN (I-M)’s camp was close to the affected area, they were being accused of fomenting trouble.

Chawang clarified that his outfit was not even claiming the disputed village “as part of Nagalim”.

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio claimed there was no encroachment at all, saying, “It is a dispute over land papers and should be investigated by authorities of the autonomous council.”

Rio held a meeting with Lt Gen. (retd) R.V. Kulkarni this morning. Gen. Kulkarni, the head of the ceasefire monitoring group, visited the spot with leaders of the outfit along with Assam Rifles and Dimapur district officials.

Assam ministers Rockybul Hussain and Bhumidhar Barman reached Diphu this morning and met senior police and civil officials at the circuit house to take stock of the situation.

Assam inspector-general of police (border) Rajendra Kumar and director-general of police P.V. Sumant also attended the meeting.

The Karbi Students’ Association has attributed the border row to a well-entrenched land transfer racket involving officials and politicians of the twin hill districts of Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills.

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