Fire And Fury

It was a crisis the Union home ministry could have avoided had it seen the writing on the wall. Opposition to the extension of the four-year-old ceasefire with the dominant Naga insurgent group—the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagalin (Issac-Muivah)—to areas outside the state in a tribal-dominated region has for long been simmering in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. Leaders from these states have been warning the Centre against extending the truce to ethnic Naga pockets in their domain.

That the Centre was treading tricky turf became clear when mass anger exploded in violence and arson that overtook Manipur last fortnight. Only last September, over 800,000 people had gathered in Imphal and declared their total opposition to any move to extend the ceasefire to neighbouring states. The turnout at the rally should have been warning enough of the serious trouble at hand should the Centre arrive at an arrangement with the nscn(im) that was not acceptable to states outside Nagaland.