New Delhi, Dec 31: The Centre is closely monitoring the situation in Nagaland following clashes between NSCN (IM) militants and local Sumi tribals that led to the killing of seven persons, throwing the ongoing peace talks in tatters.
Official sources said the violence in Nagaland's Zunheboto district may spread to other areas as locals have been protesting against the collection of so-called "taxes" by NSCN (IM) in many parts of the State.
"We are closely watching the situation in Nagaland. We are committed to ensuring the ceasefire with NSCN-IM. However, the protests reflect how public opinion in Nagaland is going against the insurgents," a source said.
The NSCN (IM) designated camp at Mukalimi village in Nagaland's Zunheboto district was overrun and torched by the Sumi people angered over the alleged attempted rape and molestation of two women by cadres.
The people attacked the NSCN (IM) camp and set on fire with the cadres being chased away. The seige also cut off food and water to the hill-top camp, after which the NSCN-IM cadre ran out of supplies.
While five protestors were killed and one injured when the insurgents opened fire, two insurgents were found dead in the camp.
People in different parts of Nagaland have also been protesting against the collection of so-called "taxes" by NSCN(IM) and many of them have stopped paying the rebels, creating tension in the State in the past few month.
NSCN (IM) chairman Isak Chishi Swu and general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah are camping in New Delhi.
The peace dialogue between the Government's interlocutor and the group has been going on at a very slow pace with both sides sticking to the respective stands.
Interlocutor for the talks R S Pandey has also resigned and joined BJP, ostensibly to contest the Lok Sabha elections.
NSCN (IM) entered into truce with the Government of India in 1997 and since then more than 80 rounds of talks were held between the Centre and NSCN led by Swu and Muivah without concrete outcome in the last 16 years of truce.