The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday announced a Rs 7 lakh bounty on top Naga insurgent SS Khaplang who is the prime suspect in an attack on an army convoy in Manipur three months ago that killed 18 soldiers.
The 75-year-old heads a faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland - Khaplang (NSCN-K) that has been part of a decades-old rebel movement demanding an independent, ethnic Naga homeland uniting parts of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and areas of Myanmar.
The federal anti-terror agency also declared a reward of Rs 10 lakh on Myanmar resident Khaplang’s top military commander, Niki Sumi, who coordinated the June 4 attack in the northeastern state’s Chandel district.
Last month, the NDA government signed a framework agreement with the NSCN(IM) faction, marking the resolution of peace talks that began in 1997 between New Delhi and the group. The Khaplang faction is adopting a wait-and-watch tactic on the Naga peace accord, a leader of the Naga Mothers Association (NMA) who met top functionaries of the Khaplang faction inside the outfit’s camps in Myanmar said.
“Our deliberations went on for two days on August 30 and 31 with the outfit’s leaders. The NSCN (K) leadership told us that it neither opposes nor supports the Naga Peace Accord but would wait to see what comes out of it and accordingly decide the next course of action,” Rosemary Dzivichu, adviser, NMA, told HT.
The NSCN(K) junked a 14-year truce with New Delhi in March and has since killed about two dozen Indian soldiers in ambushes, some of them carried out with associate groups fighting for sovereignty in Assam and Manipur under the banner of the United National Liberation Front of West South East Asia.
Latest intelligence inputs suggest more than 40 NSCN(K) members have gathered in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tirap district with plans to attack security forces in retaliation to their operations against the group.
In retaliatory strikes that followed the Chandel ambush, Indian army commandos hit two insurgent camps at different locations along Myanmar’s border with Nagaland and Manipur, inflicting significant damage and casualties.
Naga groups propose 'real solution'
Meanwhile, three Naga extremist groups have come together to pursue a practical and acceptable-to-all solution to the 70-year-old Naga political problem.
They have offered to talk with New Delhi for a pact different from the ‘stage-managed’ framework agreement. These three groups are the Khole-Kitovi faction of NSCN, Naga National Council and Federal Government of Nagaland.
In a joint statement, these groups said that Nagas expected the Centre-NSCN(IM) accord to set a positive tone for a rational political discussion for a final solution acceptable to all Nagas.