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Naga militant groups merge

Two Naga rebel groups have merged to “rewrite” history and Nagaland’s political equation with New Delhi.

india Updated: Aug 06, 2010 18:26 IST
Rahul Karmakar/HT Correspondent
Rahul Karmakar/HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Two Naga rebel groups have merged to “rewrite” history and Nagaland’s political equation with New Delhi.

The Khaplang faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K) and the Non-Accordist faction of Naga National Council (NNC) declared the merger of their two ‘governments’ at Vihokhu village, 20 km east of here on Thursday.

The NNC led by the legendary A.Z Phizo had declared independence of Nagaland on 14 January 1947 before fighting a long battle with Indian security forces. It signed the Shillong Accord in 1975, but the truce bred resentment and several factions.

One group formed the NNC (Non-Accordist) while the other formed the NSCN in 1980. Eight years later, the NSCN split into the Khaplang and Isak-Muivah (IM) faction. Fratricidal battles have marked Naga insurgency since.

Infighting did not end even after the NSCN-IM declared ceasefire with New Delhi in July 1997 and NSCN-K in January 2001. Of the two, only NSCN-IM has held peace talks with the Centre.

“This is a historic day, and we have taken a step toward unification of all Naga tribes and political entities,” said NSCN-K leader Kughalu Mulatonu at a ‘Thanksgiving Service’ to mark the merger. “Today, two governments have become one.”

According to NNC leader Zhopra Vero, the merger move began in June laster year after a covenant of reconciliation was inked. “We will now be working on the modalities of renaming the new government and its military wing,” he said.

The merger was also a “reminder” to NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah about where he stands in Nagaland’s political scenario. “There is no role for him in Nagaland,” said Mulatonu, indicating NSCN-IM was a “terror group” that New Delhi was talking to.

First Published: Aug 06, 2010 18:24 IST