Tirap massacre and NSCN (IM)’s silence

[ Tongam Rina ]
The arrest of Anok Wangsa, the NSCN (IM)’s area commander of Longding in Arunachal, Charaideo in Assam and Mon in Nagaland, is a major breakthrough in the case of the Tirap massacre which claimed 11 lives, including that of MLA Tirong Aboh.
A joint team of the Indian Army, the Assam Rifles and the Assam Police arrested Wangsa from Tizit in Mon district.
According to the defence spokesperson, the joint team later recovered arms, ammunition and weapons, including one AK-56 rifle, pistols, and more than Rs 5 lakhs in cash from Wangsa’s house on the Nagaland-Assam border.
Wangsa is a native of Konnu village, in Longding district.
Reportedly, the NSCN (IM) has denied its involvement in the massacre, though it is yet to come out with a statement as it usually does otherwise. However, whether or not it comes up with a statement, ground reports point to the involvement of the group.
During the parliamentary and state legislative assembly elections, Aboh had repeatedly called out the NSCN (IM) for its involvement in the electioneering process.
On 29 March, in Khonsa, addressing a public rally after NPP worker Jalley Anna had died after having been tortured by NSCN (IM) operatives, Aboh had told the NSCN (IM) not to interfere in the election process, and that politicians should win elections on their own merit.
“Politicians who do not have the guts to fight elections on their own merit should not use underground elements,” he had said, making it amply clear who were behind the killings.
Meanwhile, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is investigating the massacre, has reportedly made considerable progress. But it’s not enough unless the main bosses are arrested.
Wangsa’s boss, Absolom Tangkhul, the outfit’s operation commander for Tirap, Changlang and Longding and one of the masterminds behind the massacre, is still absconding. So is ‘kilonser’ James Kiwang of the outfit’s civil wing, a Myanmarese national who is settled in Tirap.
Unless these two are caught, the investigation will not be complete.
On the other hand, if the top bosses of the NSCN (IM) were not involved in the massacre, it is high time it handed over Thangkul and Kiwang to the NIA. If the NSCN (IM) is not involved, why would it want to shield its two major workers in Tirap, Changlang and Longding?
The onus is on the NSCN (IM) leadership to explain to the families of those who lost their loved ones, and the people of Arunachal, who were left shaken by the massacre. The families of those who were killed and the people of this state deserve to know the truth.
The NSCN (IM) has to answer, and silence is not a respectable answer. The sooner the silence is broken the better it is for the outfit.
Along with 47-year-old Tirong Aboh, his workers Wangngoi Hakhun (35), Jalin Hakhun (33), Wangngu Hakhun (30), Gamwang Hakhun (28), all from the same family, teacher Tangro Atoa (47), PSOs Poanhang Agi (38) and Khundong Siksa (50), driver Patwang Sumpa (20), Aboh’s son Along and nephew Matlam were killed in the massacre.
Along and Matlam were 20-year-old college students.
The injured were Wangdan Hakhun (26) and Wangsen Hakhun (32).
PSO Nokliam Tekwa and a worker in the Aboh household, Nyajut Hakhun, escaped the massacre unhurt.
Aboh defeated his BJP rival, Phawang Lowang, in the legislative assembly election.
The elections were held on 11 April, and the results were declared on 23 May. Aboh and 12 others were massacred on 21 May in Bogapani, some 20 kilometres from Khonsa, a day before the declaration of the result. One of the cars in the convoy had fire crackers meant for celebrations on 22 May.