Ban on NSCN-K for 5 years

Move sparks worry in state

By Nishit Dholabhai
  • Published 17.09.15
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The army convoy vehicles that were attacked in Manipur's Chandel district. (PTI)

New Delhi, Sept. 16: The Centre today banned the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) for five years, days after declaring S.S. Khaplang a "wanted terrorist".

Government sources said the Centre has, in a report, mentioned four major grounds for the ban.

The NSCN (K) wants to create a sovereign Nagaland in alliance with Ulfa, National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) and CorCom, a conglomerate of six Manipur valley-based outfits. The ban was imposed on the basis of reports that Khaplang heads the United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia, an umbrella organisation that includes Ulfa and NDFB and has the support of CorCom, the report said..

It added that the outfit has engaged in extortion, kidnapping and systematic drive for recruitment of fresh cadres.

It has established camps and hideouts across the country's borders (in Myanmar) to carry out secessionist activities, the report pointed out.

It has obtained help from "anti-India forces in other countries" to procure arms and other assistance for creation of a separate state. The sources claimed that the trigger for the decision to ban the outfit was intelligence inputs that Ulfa, which enjoys asylum under Khaplang, had procured a huge consignment of arms from a foreign country.

The Centre has also used the argument that the NSCN (K) ambushed the Assam Rifles and Naga Territorial Army on May 3, killing eight personnel, ambushed the Assam Rifles on May 26, injuring four personnel, and planted an IED on February 6, killing a jawan. The report, however, does not mention the attack on 6 Dogra Regiment of the army in Chandel district of Manipur in June that killed 18 personnel.

The ban assumes significance because the Naga peace talks, according to the government's own admission, must have all Naga rebel outfits, including the NSCN (K), on board to be successful. In fact, the framework agreement of August 3 was signed against the backdrop of the decision that all Naga outfits would be taken on board.

Yet, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) declared a bounty of Rs 17 lakh on the head of Khaplang and his deputy, Niki Sumi, last week, declaring them "terrorists", and declared the NSCN (K) a banned outfit today.

"There is a joke in Nagaland that with Rs 17 lakh they want to catch the top NSCN (K) leaders," said Rosemary Dzuvichu of the Naga Mothers' Association, a powerful women's organisation of Nagaland.

The government move has sent ripples among civil society groups in Nagaland who were hoping for a resolution of the Naga problem through negotiations, especially after the Centre signed the framework agreement on August 3.

Dzuvichu said they were upset with the government's move because they were close to getting the NSCN (K) on the negotiating table. She feels the government is not serious about the Naga talks. She said her association would submit evidence in a meeting with Union home minister Rajnath Singh tomorrow about how unarmed leaders of the NSCN (K) were killed in cold blood by security forces.

The association's delegates had met NSCN (K) leaders last month on resuming the ceasefire and the latter had indicated a possibility of doing so.

Naga Hoho, the apex organisation of the Nagas, has also taken strong exception to the ban. Its president Chuba Ozukum said the decision was not positive at a time the Naga organisations were trying to bring the outfit on board the peace process. "We are not happy with this development when we are trying to reach out on peace mission," he said.

Representatives of the Hoho will visit Myanmar soon to request NSCN (K) to resume its ceasefire with the Centre, Ozukum added.

Khaplang, a former associate of Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah, had formed a separate outfit in April 1988 after bloody battles in Myanmar and India.

In 2001, the NSCN (K) signed a ceasefire agreement with the Centre after the latter revoked its ban on the outfit. The following year, the Centre also revoked its ban on the NSCN (Isak-Muivah). No Naga rebel outfit was proscribed after that.

In March this year, the NSCN (K) abrogated its 14-year ceasefire with the Centre. Today's development makes NSCN (K) the 39th outfit on the Centre's list of banned outfits.

Sources said the Centre's decision to ban the NSCN (K) comes at least three years after it received information that an umbrella organisation had been formed and that Khaplang grants asylum to cadres of other rebel outfits.

Additional reporting by H. Chishi in Kohima