By: Bidhayak Das
Guwahati :Barely 15 days after the Indian military claimed to have killed many Naga rebels belonging to the NSCN-K in an encounter near Langkgubasti village in Arunachal Pradesh, sources close to the Naga rebel groups have claimed that 40 Indian soldiers were killed in a similar encounter which took place between 1 am upto 3 am of October 10 morning at Nyausau under the Longding district of Arunachal Pradesh.
Although senior Indian army officials have denied the report as a rumour, the sources close to the NSCN-K have shared social media feeds stating that al “all out offensive” was carried out near Nyausau, Longding district of Arunachal Pradesh in the wee hours of Tuesday morning lasting until 9 am. The social media feeds also claimed that the operation was carried out a combined operation group comprising of around “70 Naga army fighters,” and rockets, 40 mm, mortars, explosives and assorted automatic weapons were used.
If what sources say are true, then it appears that there was no injury to the Naga rebels who have since returned to their safe heavens in side Myanmar.
What is rather intriguing is that the Eastern Command of the Indian army had in a tweet on September 23 claimed that Indian para commandos had conducted a pre-dawn operations against NSCN-K at Langkhubasti on the Indian side and inflicted heavy casualties on the Naga rebel outfit. However, the NSCN had not confirmed and the news media went with what seemed as piece meal information emanating out of the Eastern Command.
Interestingly, the Indian news media lapped up what was said by the Indian army albeit without any specific information of the encounter and the casualties. There were no attempts whatsoever established the veracity of the claim from any other source. The lack of proper details from the Eastern Command’s claims raised a lot of brows especially as there were no interest shown by the local media in Arunachal Pradesh or Nagaland and even in Myanmar to make anything from the reports which were dismissed as rumours by number of news media groups.
So given how information about fire fights between security forces and armed rebel are being spread on social media, without any field reporting whatsoever, would it be safe to conclude that this will be the trend of things to follow. Perhaps gone are the days when encounters between security forces and armed rebel groups in North East would send journalist scurrying for breaking the news but after ascertaining the truth or at least attempts would be made to get to the truth. Today, in the age of “fake news,” and “supari journalism,” do we even care about the where, when, who… etc ?
(The writer is an independent journalist and a scholar on clean elections and governance )
Photos for representational purposes only