Tripura's Militancy Woes
Tripura Times (15 February) editorial, 'Terrorists extradition from Bangla' said, "It is a matter of concern that Paresh Baruah, Arabinda Rajkhowa are carrying on trade and commerce in Bangladesh. They have made partnership deals with relatives of Begum Khaleda Zia. The ATTF of Tripura has prepared a VCD 'Muktir Path' with heroine and actress from Bangladesh. Even after that Bangladesh cannot find any trace of ultras from the Northeast camping and loitering in the soil of Bangladesh."
Commenting on the visit of Home Minister Shivraj Patil to the State, the Tripura Times (2 February) editorial 'Home Minister's visit and after' said, "Mr. Patil did not agree on the view of the State government about the north-east terrorists' camps inside Bangladesh. The Home Minister holds that the issue of insurgency is a political issue and that should be taken up politically with our neighbours. But Chief Minister Manik Sarkar differed with the Home Minister. For this reason he was even reluctant to joining the Guwahati press conference called by the Home Minister."
Elections to the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) have always hogged the limelight in the State because of power tussle between the political parties and the militants to gain control over the autonomous body. Tripura Times (21 February) editorial "Very sensational election' summed up the mood and said, "Reports are that most of the constituencies in the rural areas are very much sensitive. Already the terrorists are issuing warning to the voters to cast votes in favour of their selective candidates failing which they will have to face with serious consequences."
Extortion in Manipur
Commenting on the government's moves against the people paying extortion to the militants, The Imphal Free Press (14 February) editorial, 'Tax Wars' commented, "No taxes, underground or overground, are paid voluntarily by an any taxpayer (or an overwhelming number of taxpayers to be fair), and these are extracted by the taxing authorities through overt or covert coercion. The obvious response of the UG "taxation" system to the present strategy of the Manipur police would for it to go further underground. But it would need no prophet to pronounce that the 'taxation' or extortion is not about to be brought to a halt. Insurgency predicates extortion and vice versa."
Referring at the fragile relations between the valley and the hills areas of the State, The Imphal Free Press (5 February) editorial, 'The Unity Theory' commented, "In all sincerity, we Manipuris must admit, there are innumerous attempts against peace and harmony in the state time and again resulting in a threat to the very existence of the state. In both the remote and recent past, challenges have been made to the territorial integrity, peaceful co-existence and above all many hindrances to development have been witnessed. Such challenges have shaken the state to such an extent that its inhabitants are living in a near dark age presently. We all have to make a collective endeavour to deliver ourselves from this situation."
Talks with ULFA
Commenting on the non-initiation of talks with the ULFA, The Assam Tribune (18 February) in its editorial, 'Uncertainty over talks' said, "It has now been established that only political dialogue can bring a lasting solution to the problem of insurgency and cross sections of people of Assam are also in favour of talks, but the question is of breaking the deadlock over the issues to be discussed. But the question on whether any Government can talk on sovereignty is the question that has to be cleared by the Constitutional experts." The editorial commenting on the AASU's demand of initiating a unilateral ceasefire with the outfit, the editorial further said, "The AASU also demanded that the Government should declare unilateral cease-fire to create a congenial atmosphere for talks and the militants should also reciprocate by stopping all kinds of violence. But it would be difficult for the Government to suspend the anti-insurgency operations without getting any guarantee from the militants that it would also reciprocate in a positive manner, as the Government would have to face the blame for any untoward incident that might occur after the suspension of anti-insurgency operations."
Previously, on 13 February, in an edit page article in The Assam Tribune, 'Sovereignty or special status for Assam?', N Changkakoti, who served as the Director General of Police in the State, said, "it appears to be highly desirable on the part of the people of Assam to deeply ponder over the issue and express their considered views whether secession of Assam from the Indian union is indispensable for peace and prosperity of Assam or granting a special status to the State of Assam like Jammu and Kashmir state with much more political and financial authority through required amendment of the Indian Constitution will suffice."
Naga Peace Talks
The Shillong Times, in a front-page item, quoting the NSCN(IM) General secretary, Th. Muivah, reported, "Indicating a forward movement in arriving at an understanding on the Naga peace process, top NSCN(IM) leader Thuingaleng Muivah said the Nagas would be prepared to respect the "realities" facing the government if there was reciprocity." The report further said, "On the issue of 'sovereignty' of the Naga people, the NSCN(I-M) General Secretary said 'sovereignty of the Nagas belong to them. It is the Nagas who should decide their future and their fate. If that right is not there, then there shall be no solution'."