| File picture of Jewel Gorlosa being taken to court |
Guwahati, July 26: The government is in no mood to ease the pressure on the Dima Halam Daogah (Jewel) in spite of the outfit’s “willingness” to come forward for talks.
Confirming the government’s position, Union home secretary G.K. Pillai said over telephone from Delhi that the DHD (J), despite its occasional overtures of peace, was yet to abjure violence completely.
“As long as the group continues in this vein, there cannot be any change in the government position,” the official said.
He said although the DHD (J) has once again “expressed its willingness” to return to the mainstream, the situation was still too fluid to expect any positive and concrete outcome immediately.
About the surrender of weapons, which is a prerequisite the government has laid down for any militant group before negotiations can begin, Pillai said the DHD (J) still did not seem sure.
“At one time it said it would surrender 138 weapons and at another time it has said it would surrender 198 arms,” he said.
The official said he would be reviewing the situation in the North Cachar Hills district during a daylong visit to Haflong, the district headquarters town, on July 30.
“I’ll discuss the state of affairs in the district with the government and security officials at a meeting,” he said, adding that the following day he would hold a meeting in Guwahati.
“As of now, though, I don’t see any surrender of weapons by the DHD (J) during my visit. We have not yet reached that stage,” he said.
“Besides,” he said, “it is for the state government to sort out such matters.”
A source close to the DHD (J) said the outfit was worried about the security of its cadres if it had to surrender the weapons, given that it has many rivals.
“There are several militant groups operating in the district, which are gunning for the DHD (J) members and they are heavily armed. This is one area of concern for which the outfit is feeling uncertain about laying down weapons,” a source said.
He alleged that government agencies were encouraging and instigating some of the rival groups against the DHD (J).
These rivals include the two factions of the NSCN.
“Even during the ongoing ethnic violence in the district, it is the Dimasa villages where the DHD (J) cadres used to take shelter. These villages are being particularly targeted by the Naga armed groups,” the source said. Both the NSCN factions are currently in a ceasefire with the government.
A senior police official posted in the district, when asked about the allegation, only said the security forces would do everything within their means to neutralise the DHD (J) as the outfit had caused immense harm to the two national projects — East-West corridor and the railway gauge conversion.
“These projects cannot be held to ransom forever. The government needs to get tough at some point of time,” the official said.
The government’s seriousness about dealing with the DHD (J) in a decisive manner is evident from the fact that the state director-general of police, G.M. Srivastava, is directly looking after the operations in the district.