The encounter in which six NSCN (K) cadres were killed by an Assam Rifles unit three days ago was fake,the United Naga Council,an umbrella body of Naga groups in Manipur,has alleged. It alleged that the cadres were actually assisting the Assam Rifles in busting an NSCN (IM) camp in the area and were shot in cold-blood.
The Army has refuted the allegations,saying the slain militants were planning strikes against security forces and had procured arms from Myanmar. In a statement,the Army said its Red Shield Division had reliable information on the presence of 15-20 heavily armed NSCN (K) insurgents in the area where the encounter took place,at K Songlung village in Senapati district.
According to the Army,a team of 10 Assam Rifles personnel and paratroopers of 73 Loktak Brigade killed the NSCN (K) cadres after a six-hour gunbattle. Four rifles of the AK series,one M-16 rifle and one A-3 rifle were recovered from the site.
A Defence statement said the operation was based on inputs over the past one month over the presence of eight mobile units of the NSCN (K) in the area.
The United Naga Council,however,alleged that last week the NSCN (K) cadres in plainclothes and unarmed had gone to an Assam Rifles camp where they had been invited for tea. Their cellphones had remained switched off since then,it alleged.
The Assam Rifles Noney post in Tamenglong district had invited the cadres to their camp. When they arrived at the camp they were taken into custody. Out of the six slain cadres,four went to the camp on June 18 and had been in Assam Rifles custody since then. Two others went on June 21. We believe they were killed between June 21 and June 23 in a fake encounter, alleged United Naga Council member Asinpou Gangmei.
One of them managed to talk to a family member on his phone before he died. He told his family they were being held at an Assam Rifles camp in Koplien in Senapati district, he alleged.
Gangmei said the encounter was a violation of human rights in the state especially since the NSCN (K) was under a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India. If the government doesnt take action on this count then the United Naga Council will meet and decide an appropriate course of action, he said.