Imphal, Dec. 16: The All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur, today renewed its demand for the release of NSCN (I-M) leader Anthony Ningkhan Shimray without any pre-conditions.
Shimray, head of foreign affairs of the NSCN (I-M), was arrested at Kathmandu on September 27, 2010, and is now lodged in Tihar jail of New Delhi on charges of procuring arms and waging war against India.
The Naga students’ body said Shimray was arrested while he was on his way for peace talks. “We appeal to all who stand for peace to condemn such threats, arrests and arbitrary detention and urge the government of India to unconditionally release Anthony Ningkhan Shimray and all other political prisoners,” the students’ body demanded in a statement here.
The demand came on the eve of the next round of talks between the militant group and the Centre, slated to be held tomorrow in New Delhi. The chairman of the group, Isak Chishi Swu, and its general secretary, Thuingaleng Muivah, will attend the talks.
For the past 16 years, the Centre and the NSCN (I-M) have held over 80 rounds of talks. The joint secretary home (Northeast) in the Union home ministry recently ruled out an immediate settlement with the militant group.
The NSCN (I-M) leadership considers tomorrow’s talks “crucial” as the group is trying to find an amicable solution. The statement said though peace talks, ceasefire and suspension of operations were taking place in the last few years, there were forced disappearances, arrests and imprisonment of leaders of the group during the peace process.
The students’ body accused the Centre of being disinterested in solving the “political unrest” as demonstrated by the protracted Naga talks.
Urging the Centre to uphold and respect the peace process, the statement said Shimray’s arrest and continued detention was a “dishonour” to the peace process as he was one of the prominent participants in the talks.