The Indian Army launched Operation Kekru Naga in Manipur for about five days resulting in arrest of a cadre of NSCN (IM) and recovery of large numbers of weapons and war-like stores. Army also charged the NSCN (IM) of breaking ground rules and harassing and extorting from the masses.
Brigadier Ravroop Singh, commander 59 Mountain Brigade operating under 57 Mountain Division addressing the media in an army camp in Imphal on July 12 said the operation was conducted by Indian Army in Noney and Tamenglong districts and has been formally called off.
He said regular intelligence inputs were being received over a prolonged period of time, regarding presence of some insurgents belonging to NSCN (IM) in the remote jungle areas astride NH-37 in Noney and Tamenglong districts of West Manipur.
The civilians of Nungba sub division, Todaijang, Kekru Naga, Muktina and Mukti Khullen had reported regular presence of some armed cadres belonging to NSCN (IM) who were carrying out harassment and extortion. Their activities in these areas were confirmed by army sources as also by intelligence agencies. It emerged that these cadres were ruthlessly carrying out extensive illegal extortion from villagers, local businessmen, vehicles plying along the NH-37 and various contractors engaged in infrastructure projects of railways and National Housing Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL) among others, he added.
Brigadier Ravroop Singh said once confirmed inputs were received regarding presence of 8-10 armed cadres of NSCN (IM) in area of village Kekru Naga, a small village of about 90 houses approximately eight Kilometers South of Nungba town, a well synergized operation by the Army commenced on the night of July 5 and extensive search of the area was carried out from July 6 morning onwards.
Sensing the multiple columns of security forces, the armed cadres fled the area after hiding their weapons and warlike stores at multiple locations in the periphery of village, nearby jungle and the Jhoom huts.
One armed cadre of NSCN (IM) was apprehended during the operations while he was trying to merge with the local population. He has been identified as SS Private Thailik Panmei. Recoveries included four rifles, two grenade launchers and large quantities of ammunition and other warlike stores. The recovery also included incriminating documents, diaries and other administrative stores of NSCN (IM).
Brigadier Ravroop Singh said this operation and the recovery of huge arms, ammunition and warlike stores has yet again exposed the duplicity of NSCN (IM). While the proscribed group on one hand is in cease fire with Govt of India but yet continues with such illegal activities. The Cease Fire Ground Rules lay down the basic framework under which both Government agencies and NSCN (IM) are required to operate, however, NSCN (IM) has continuously been violating the laid down Ground Rules he said. The attempts for setting up of new camps, fresh recruitments, extortion and tax collection specifically along NH-2 & NH-37 impacting infrastructure projects like railway lines, road construction etc are all indicative of their effort to undermine the peace process.
This approach by the NSCN (IM) is clearly indicative of their insincerity in implementation of cease fire ground rules. The security forces are aware of these tactics and would continue to carry out relentless operations to provide security to the local population he further said.
The Army commander, lieutenant general MM Naravane, has complimented all troops of spear corps for executing such a surgical and professional operation.