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Ibobi talks tough on killings by NSCN-IM

Imphal, July 14: Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh today announced in the Assembly his government’s firm stand against criminal activities by NSCN (I-M) rebels.

“We will not tolerate it if they take the law into their own hands and start attacking and killing elected leaders. Come what may, we will track them down. They will have to face the music,” Ibobi Singh told the Assembly today.

Ibobi Singh’s tough stand against the militant group, which is in peace talks with the Centre, came after suspected members of the group killed Ngalangzar Malue, a member of the Ukhrul autonomous district council member in Ukhrul on Saturday.

The police arrested eight suspected members of the outfit in a crackdown in Ukhrul after the killing.

Trinamul member I. Ibohalbi Singh raised the issue of “repeated attacks” by the NSCN (I-M) and wanted to know the stand of the state government regarding such unlawful activities by the group during the discussion on governor V.K. Duggal’s address to the House.

“The NSCN (I-M) attacked former minister D.D. Thaisii and deputy chief minister (Gaikhangam) in the past. Now they have killed a member of the ADC. What is the stand of the government on these attacks?” Ibohalbi Singh asked.

Stating that his government would welcome a solution to the NSCN (I-M) peace talks, Ibobi Singh said killing would not solve any problem.

“We will not tolerate attacks, extortion and kidnapping for ransom by groups in peace talks with the government,” he said.

Ibobi Singh’s tough talk came as Ukhrul town continued to be under prohibitory orders for the second consecutive day today.

Residents of the town yesterday protested the arrest of the eight suspected rebels from Ukhrul town yesterday, where more than 500 state forces were rushed from Imphal to track down the attackers. Protesters burnt tyres and put up roadblocks in the town.

The town limped back to normality today, with the shops reopening and people resuming their routine work.

After the police used the public address system to encourage people to resume normal activities, attendance in schools and government offices was normal today.

Despite a demand by the United Naga Council, the apex body of the Nagas, to withdraw the additional forces rushed in the wake of the member’s killing, the forces continued to be deployed in and around Ukhrul town.

Manipur Naga People’s Front, a militant group, condemned the killing of Ngalangzar and urged social organisations, churches and the public to stand up and rise in one voice to revolt against “atrocities” of the NSCN (I-M).

In a statement today, Thomas Numai, assistant publicity secretary of the front charged that rebels of the NSCN (I-M) killed 11 persons, including a government officer and Naga leaders, during the period of its ceasefire with the Centre.