SILCHAR: A 21-year-old resident of Assam’s Cachar district was shot by members of insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagaland, Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) near the Assam-Manipur border on Tuesday morning, Assam police officers said. The man was shot twice on the leg and has been hospitalised.
The incident took place at Chamtilla area of Lakhipur assembly constituency in Cachar district at about 11am on Tuesday.
Kulapradeep Bhattacharya, sub divisional police officer, Lakhipur, said the firing was reported by local residents who complained that some NSCN (IM) cadres tried to get them to pay up.
“A 21-year-old resident named Gaimei Pao sustained severe leg injuries after NSCN (IM) members open fired. He has been rushed to a nearby tea garden hospital,” Bhattacharya said.
Senior Cachar district police officers including superintendent of police Ramandeep Kaur rushed to the spot and spoke to local residents about the incident.
The Chamtilla area where Tuesday morning’s firing was reported is located near Barak River along the Assam-Manipur border.
Kulapradeep Bhattacharya said there are reports that these groups from Manipur attemp to come into Assam mostly to collect food. “We are investigating the reason behind today’s firing incident,” he said.
NSCN-IM, which is known to extort money that it calls a ‘tax’, recently started raising its demands ahead of Christmas. Some residents on Tuesday opposed the higher ‘tax rate’. The shooting was aimed at scaring people into paying, a local resident said on condition of anonymity.
Rajdeep Goala, a former legislator who lives in Lakhipur constituency, said, “Insurgent groups have been active from the Bhuvan Hill range to Dima Hasao border. Local traders are victims but they cannot oppose it because of security reasons.”
Goala said there was a need to establish more camps of security forces along the border with Manipur to stop extortion and illegal trade.
“There are areas along the border where illegal trade is possible and even drugs can be supplied from Manipur to Assam. In the past, there were camps of security forces but later those were withdrawn. We have written to the home department several times and requested them to open camps here. Today’s incident shows that our demand is legitimate,” Goala said.