A vicious nexus

The arrest of prominent Khonsa-based businessman Jaikishan Sharma by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the murder of MLA Tirong Aboh and 10 others has the possibility to open a can of worms. Sharma is alleged to have close ties with the NSCN (IM), whose members have been named as suspects in the murder case. The arrest points to the possibility of a nexus between businessmen and underground groups. Most of the government contract works in the militancy affected districts of Tirap, Changlang and Longding (TCL) are reportedly executed by businessmen from outside the state, with a majority of them based in towns like Dibrugarh and Tinsukia in Assam.
It is often alleged that they pay huge amounts of protection money to various UG groups and also fund politicians during elections. This ensures that all the big government contract works are given to them. The nexus between politicians, businessmen and underground elements is a big threat to the future of TCL region. It will be interesting to see what kind of information the NIA manages to extract from the arrested businessman. The NIA should widen the scope of investigation and also look into other cases of allegation of nexus between contractors and underground elements. Further, contractors who use UG groups to get contract works should be blacklisted and not allowed to execute any contract work in the state.