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Crackdown on Kukis, Myanmar infiltr

Subject: Crackdown on Kukis, Myanmar infiltrators (The Hindu, 11/12/96.)

Crackdown on Kukis, Myanmar infiltrators 
The Hindu, 11/12/96.
IMPHAL, Dec. 10. 
The State and Central forces have launched a two-pronged 
offensive along the Indo-Myanmarese border against armed 
Kuki insurgents, who are creating law and order problems, and 
Mynamarese students and pro-democracy activists, who have 
been trying to sneak into Manipur by masquerading as common 
smugglers and traders who move daily between Moreh and 
Tamu, border towns of Manipur and Myanmar. 
Of late, tribals of the Kuki National Front have stepped up their 
activity, looting bus passengers and truck drivers along the 
national highway 39, which connects Moreh with Assam, apart 
from the normal collection of "taxes" from Government 
employees and traders.  Now and then, the passengers going to 
other States or going to Tamu to fetch foreign goods are 
robbed of cash kind valuables. 
Last week, the attention of security forces was distracted by 
KNF insurgents, who detained some trucks coming to Imphal 
with LPG cylinders and demanded Rs. 50,000 a truck as tax.  
The insurgents asked the drivers to park their trucks near 
Kangpokpi and then they seemed to have rushed to Chandel 
district.  There insurgents, numbering more than 50 and armed 
with sophisticated weapons, allegedly looted the people of their 
cash and valuables at Lokchao.  The looting lasted for more 
than three hours.  At the time of the incident, no State and 
Central forces rushed there; all they did was not to allow other 
buses and trucks to enter the Lokchao area.  The drivers and 
passengers were angry that no police help came. 
But a police officer told this correspondent that police could not 
have done anything since the insurgents were holding the 
drivers and passengers at gun point.  Had the police ventured to 
go there, the insurgents would have killed a number of 
policemen and then escaped into mountains and forests. 
All drivers have refused to ply vehicles in protest against the 
police "inaction".  They plan to resume the service only when 
enough security arrangements are made.  Police believe that the 
Kuki insurgents fled to Myanmarese villages, where there are 
numerous Kuki tribals, with the result that they can neither be 
smoked out nor the booty recovered.  The BSF and other 
forces and agencies have been alerted to be on the lookout for 
insurgents who may cross the international border by 
masquerading as traders.  Police believe that this group, which 
looted the passengers, was also behind the killing of two army 
personnel near Moreh some time ago. 
Police, however, told this correspondent that as all vehicles 
were not plying towards Moreh it would be comparatively easy 
to single out KNF elements trying to cross the international 
border' to evade arrest. 
The process is to fix responsibility for the failure of the forces 
to rush to Lokchao while the KNF insurgents were robbing 
Meanwhile, intelligence reports say students and pro-democracy 
activists from Myanmar have been trying to sneak into Manipur 
since they feel Insecure after the military crackdown on 
university students who had demonstrated in the capital, 
Yangon, demanding a right to form unions.  The students' 
agitation synchronised with demonstrations and other activities 
by the National League for Democracy in the capital. 
Reports filtering in from across the international border say that 
selective raids and rounding up of students in the region 
bordering Manipur have already started, But the Manipur 
Government, in the absence of clear instructions form the 
Centre, is not ready to welcome the foreign students and pro-
democracy activists.