Guwahati, Dec. 25: After trying not to cross one another’s path for decades, the two dominant militant groups of the Northeast look set for a confrontation with Ulfa today, firing a salvo at the NSCN (I-M)’s “greater Nagalim” dream and another at Nagaland for allegedly encroaching on Assam’s territory.
Ulfa chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa said in an emailed statement to the media that Nagaland had set up four subdivisions on Assam’s land, taking advantage of Dispur’s laxity.
The four subdivisions referred to in the statement — Kohoboto, Niuland, Uriamghat and Hukaiare — are in the disputed zone of the inter-state border in Golaghat and Karbi Anglong districts.
Rajkhowa also criticised political parties for not taking a strong stand on the NSCN (I-M)’s demand for a “greater Nagalim”, including the Naga-inhabited areas of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. He accused the political leadership of just paying “lip service” to the task of protecting Assam’s territory.
Until Rajkhowa’s statement, Ulfa had avoided airing its views on contentious issues involving the two states. It has no relationship with the NSCN (I-M), but shares camps with the NSCN (Khaplang) in Myanmar.
“For the failure of the political parties and their leaders to take any fruitful step to resolve the border dispute, this sensitive issue has remained unsettled (sic) for another year,” the Ulfa statement said.
The Assam-Nagaland boundary dispute is an old one. Several rounds of discussions between the neighbours, including at the level of chief ministers, have failed to break the deadlock.
A Supreme Court-constituted panel last month began the task of “identifying” the boundaries of Assam, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh in a bid to end the territory disputes among the three northeastern neighbours.
Apart from fuelling the territory dispute, Ulfa accused the police and army of extorting money in its name and fomenting trouble to “malign” its image.
Rajkhowa claimed that the police and the army have been printing Ulfa stationery to collect money and triggering blasts in public places.
On the fractured peace process, the Ulfa chairman said his organisation hoped to finalise the agenda for talks with Delhi early next year.