Kohima, April 22: After thriving on public support for long, the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) has suddenly found itself on the wrong side of people power.
An outpouring of public outrage against the militant group’s alleged arm-twisting tactics today led to arson on the streets of Dimapur, Nagaland’s commercial hub, and left several houses gutted. Property worth lakhs of rupees was destroyed.
Hundreds of Sumi youths went on the rampage in retaliation to the torture of three Naga boys last night by militants suspected to be from the NSCN (I-M). The mob set over 30 houses ablaze and damaged property at the Tangkhul Naga Colony in Dimapur’s Purana Bazaar.
The three Sumi boys were allegedly picked up last evening and tortured in the same colony, where most of the top NSCN (I-M) leaders reside.
Those behind the retaliatory mob attack said the boys were brutally tortured by NSCN (I-M) members.
A witness said the Sumi youths stormed the well-fortified colony despite militants firing blank cartridges to scare them away.
Most residents of the area fled the area immediately. Policemen, paramilitary personnel, fire service personnel and NSCN (I-M) were mere spectators to the riot. The rampaging youths warned them not to intervene, saying they were there to “flush out” members of the Tangkhul community.
Thuingaleng Muivah, the general secretary of the NSCN (I-M), is a Tangkhul tribesman.
Sources in the Dimapur administration and the police said they were “prevented” from entering the area. The mob seized three AK 47 rifles, a shotgun and a large quantity of ammunition from several houses.
Dimapur superintendent of police Didu Shekhar said the police were trying their best to bring the situation under control. The reason why the three boys had been tortured has not been confirmed. A source said they may have been targeted for being alleged sympathisers of the NSCN (I-M)’s rival faction, led by S.S. Khaplang.
NSCN (I-M) activists allegedly tortured to death another youth at Selophe near Dimapur last Tuesday.
The source said today’s incident was the “direct fallout” of last Tuesday’s incident as well as the recent bombing of NSCN (Khaplang) general secretary Kitovi Zhimomi’s residence at Amiphoto Colony in Zunheboto. The Sumi Hoho was the first to issue a statement condemning the NSCN (I-M)’s role in the Zunheboto incident.