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Indian Army op against NSCN (K): All you need to know about the Naga militant group

The Indian Army inflicted heavy casualties on Naga militants belonging to NSCN (K) along the Myanmar border early on Wednesday, the Eastern Command said.

india Updated: Sep 27, 2017 22:22 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian Army,NSCN (K),NSCN
NSCN (K) leader SS Khaplang. (HT File Photo)

The Indian Army inflicted heavy casualties on Naga militants belonging to National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K) insurgent group along the Myanmar border early on Wednesday.

An army officer and three insurgents were killed in an encounter with militants believed to be from NSCN (K) and the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent), in Nagaland in June.

The group was also behind the ambush and killing of 18 soldiers in Manipur in 2015, the worst attack on security forces in two decades. The army retaliated by crossing into Myanmar on June 10, 2015 and damaging Naga terror camps, six days after the NSCN(K) ambush.

The NSCN was formed after the failure of the Shillong Accord of 1975, signed between the government of India and the Naga National Council. SS Khaplang, Muivah and Isak Chishi Swu -- who created the separatist group in 1980 -- almost ran a parallel government in Nagaland and in several districts of Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh for years.

It was a group that many in Nagaland felt was headed by outsiders – the Burmese Khaplang and the ‘Manipuri’ Muivah. But it soon became one of the strongest outfits in the Northeast until the split in 1988.

The outfit eventually split in 1988 – with Khaplang leading one faction (NSCN-K), and Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah leading the other (NSCN-IM).

It is said Indian agencies allegedly used Khaplang to trigger frequent fratricidal battles between the two factions that killed more rebels than in encounters with the armed forces.

The split was also attributed to clan rivalries between the Konyaks of Nagaland’s Mon district and the Tangkhuls of Manipur’s Ukhrul district. Muivah is a Tangkhul.

PM Narendra Modi with home minister Rajnath Singh, chairman of NSCN (IM) Isak Chishi Swu, NSCN (IM) general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and others at the signing ceremony of historic peace accord between the government and the NSCN faction. ( PTI File Photo )

But the two factions invariably agreed on ‘Greater Nagalim’ that envisaged bringing all Naga-inhabited areas of Myanmar and India under one administrative umbrella.

NSCN-K declared truce with Delhi in 2001, four years after the rival Isak-Muivah faction. But it walked out of the truce in March 2015 and renewed the “war of independence” against India. Khaplang added a new dimension to insurgency in the Northeast by cobbling together a front of disparate rebel outfits. He became the head of this front – United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia -- that carried out an ambush on the army’s Dogra Regiment in Manipurs’ Chandel district in June 2015.

Khaplang, one of the most dreaded rebel leaders in the Northeast and a foe-turned-friend-turned-foe of the Indian armed forces, died in his Myanmar base in June this year.

First Published: Sep 27, 2017 22:21 IST