Naga leader Isak Chishi Swu dies in Delhi hospital
Isak Chishi Swu, chairman of the Isak-Muivah faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland, died at a private hospital in Delhi on Tuesday. He was 87.Updated: Jun 28, 2016 19:27 IST
Isak Chishi Swu, one of the most dreaded rebel leaders of the northeast, passed away at a Delhi hospital on Tuesday. He was 87.
Swu was the chairman of Isak-Muivah faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM). He formed a combine with the outfit’s general secretary, Thuingaleng Muivah.
Swu had been unwell for nearly a year and was undergoing treatment for renal disorder and other health complications in Delhi. Many members of his tribe, Sumi, mourned.
“Swu was the Nagaland face of the NSCN-IM while Muivah is its Manipur face. Swu also provided the outfit with psychological and spiritual strength, which the Naga rebels will miss,” a political leader based in Nagaland’s Dimapur, where NSCN-IM has its peace headquarters, said on condition of anonymity.
Many of some 5,000 members of NSCN-IM have been living in Dimapur since Swu and Muivah inked a ceasefire agreement in July 1997. The outfit had several rounds of talks that culminated in a Framework Agreement last year. Swu’s signature for the agreement was taken in the Delhi hospital.
“The Nagas have lost one of their most influential and courageous leaders,” Nagaland governor PB Acharya said in a message condoling Swu’s death.
Swu was born in 1929 at Chishilimi village in Nagaland’s Zunheboto district. He studied at the American Mission School in the village before graduating in political science from St Anthony’s College in Meghalaya capital Shillong.
Swu joined the Angami Zapu Phizo-led Naga National Council (NNC) in the 1950s when it transformed from a political to a militant organisation seeking secession of Naga-inhabited areas from India.
With Muivah and SS Khaplang, the Myanmar-based Naga rebel, Swu broke away from the NNC and formed the NSCN on 31 January 1980. This was to protest the “sell-out” Shillong Accord of 1975 that NNC had signed with New Delhi.
In 1988, Khaplang broke away from the NSCN and formed the Khaplang faction while Swu and Muivah stayed together to form the Isak-Muivah group.
During his days with NNC, Swu married Khulu. They have five sons and a daughter.