A photograph of a rebel leader's son and his bride posing with automatic rifles at their Nagaland wedding reception has created a major controversy at a time when the centre is trying to close a historic peace deal with Naga groups in the northeast.
The son of Bohoto Kiba, a top National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Unification (NSCN-U) leader, can be seen posing with AK56 and M16 automatic rifles in the photograph that has been circulated widely on social media. According to sources, guests invited to the event were shocked at the public display of firearms at the November 9 reception.
"I haven't seen the picture (of the bride and groom brandishing automatic rifles), and I am not aware of it," news agency IANS quoted Nagaland police chief T John Longkumer as saying.
The names of the bride and the bridegroom were not immediately known.
The NSCN-U is one of the seven Naga rebel groups -- jointly forming the working committee of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPG) -- that are negotiating the peace deal with the centre. However, the NNPG hasn't always been on the same page as the NSCN-IM - another influential stakeholder - on the terms and conditions set by the centre.
The NSCN-U was formed on November 23, 2007, by breakaway leaders of the Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) and the Myanmar-based Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang.
In the past, the rebel leader had courted controversy by allegedly threatening to shoot journalists for prefixing the military designations given to members of the rebel group with the phrase "self-styled".
Although the centre meant to wrap up the 22-year-old Naga peace talks on October 31 amid disagreements over a separate flag and constitution, it cited lack of consensus among stakeholders to stop short at the last moment. Neighbouring Manipur is wary of the centre signing the Naga peace agreement because it believes that such a pact could compromise its territorial integrity.
(With inputs from IANS)