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NSCN-K puts Cong in a spot - 'Imkong paid us Rs 5 lakh'

NSCN-K puts Cong in a spot - 'Imkong paid us Rs 5 lakh'

Author: H. Chishi
Publication: The Telegraph
Date: February 20, 2007
URL: http://telegraphindia.com/1070220/asp/northeast/story_7413888.asp

Nagaland's worst-kept secret tumbled out today when the NSCN (Khaplang) claimed to have received a "donation" from the Congress, thanked it for being generous and conjectured that the party was courting it with an eye on the elections next year.

The Khaplang group's "ministry of finance" issued a statement conveying its gratitude to the Congress for the Rs 5 lakh received through the leader of the Opposition, I. Imkong Ao. It did not mention any date.

Kughalu Mulatonu, the outfit's chaplee kilonser (finance minister), then made an even more sensational statement. He said the donation might have been made in anticipation of "help" in winning the Assembly elections, slated for early next year.

"The money could be to play the buy-and-win game for the coming elections," Mulatonu said.

He claimed that Imkong was trying to court the Khaplang faction to "consolidate" his position. "The chaplee ministry is grateful to I. Imkong Ao for assisting the Ao region (unit of the outfit) with Rs 5 lakh," the militant leader added.

The leader of the Opposition could not be reached for his comment on the NSCN (K)'s claim.

For the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland, it is most certainly payback time. Accused by the Congress of being partial towards the NSCN (Isak-Muivah), chief minister Neiphiu Rio and his colleagues can be expected to use the NSCN (K)'s statement as political ammunition against the party.

The NSCN (K) had written to legislators from Mokokchung district last year, seeking Rs 1 lakh each. One of the legislators later leaked a copy of the letter to the media.

The letter explained that the money collected from the legislators would be used to "reorganise our Ao region", disbanded after the 2003 public uprising against the outfit.

Several leaders from the Ao region defected to the NSCN (I-M) in the wake of the uprising in Mokokchung. Since then, the Khaplang group's relationship with the Ao community has been tenuous at best.

More recently, the NSCN (K) accused industries and commerce minister Khekiho Zhimomi of pocketing a huge amount of money meant for its coffers. It said the minister embezzled money from the Transport Subsidy and Industry Development Fund.

Zhimomi refuted the allegation.

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