GUWAHATI: Like the common man, the insurgents in Northeast too have been badly affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.
So, to help them in these tough times, some locals in Manipur’s Senapati district came forward the other day. They offered rice, pulses, masks, hand sanitisers etc, to the members of major rebel group National Socialist Council of Nagalim or NSCN-IM.
The items were distributed under an outreach programme called “A touch of goodwill on the pandemic watch”.
To ensure that the rebels can gainfully utilise their time in the lockdown in farming, the locals distributed vegetable seeds and farming tools to them.
KS Pauleo, who is a former president of United Naga Council -- the largest social organisation of the Nagas in Manipur - said the villagers wanted to show solidarity with the group. He urged it to promote peace and harmony.
The NSCN-IM, which is active in Manipur, Nagaland, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Myanmar, has been engaged in peace negotiations with the Central government for the past 23 years. However, solution to the vexed “Naga political problem” continues to elude both sides as they failed to come to an agreement on certain contentious issues.
There are several insurgent groups of the Nagas. Each runs a parallel government with different ministries including finance. They survive on myriad taxes collected from traders, truckers, government employees and households. Their economies have been badly hit by the COVID-19 lockdown.