The government on Wednesday banned the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), the Naga insurgent group suspected to be behind the killing of 18 soldiers in an ambush in Manipur in June.
The decision to declare the outfit an ‘unlawful association’ under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act was taken at a meeting of the Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The NSCN(K), responsible for explosions, ambushes and bombings, has been declared as an unlawful organisation for a period of five years,” communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
The NSCN was formed on January 31, 1980, but in April 1988, the outfit split into two factions — NSCN (Isak-Muivah) and NSCN (Khaplang). The Isak-Muivah group entered into a peace agreement with the government. The Khaplang faction also entered into a ceasefire agreement but it unilaterally abrogated it on March 27 this year.
After abrogating the ceasefire pact in March, the group forged ties with several other insurgent outfits, including the ULFA faction headed by Paresh Barua, in May and formed the United Liberation Front of South East Asia. The ministry also says the Khaplang faction wants to create a sovereign Nagaland in alliance with the new outfit.
The ban came days after the National Investigation Agency, probing the June 4 ambush in Manipur which left 18 army men dead, declared a reward of Rs 7 lakh for information about Khaplang.
Members of the Naga community, however, seemed upset with the move. Khekiho Zhimomi, the lone Rajya Sabha member from Nagaland, said, “In my view, this decision by the Indian government is too early. NSCN(K) should have been given more space for dialogue, so that they could have entered into the ceasefire once again.”