Shangwang Shangyung Khaplang no more

The chief of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland was born in April 1940 in Waktham village just east of Myanmar’s Pangsau Pass, Khaplang is the youngest of his 10 siblings and is also leading the newly-formed  United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFW).

Hailing from Hemi Naga tribe of Myanmar, Khaplang has two homes — one in China’s Yunan province and one in Myanmar. Khaplang has three sons and a daughter and they are settled far from the rebellion. The seeds of insurgency were sown very early in Khaplang’s life after he witnessed events of the World War II as a child.

Khaplang floated Naga Defence Force in 1964. In 1965, Khaplang went on to become the vice-chairman and then the chairman of Eastern Naga Revolutionary Council. According to the report, Khaplang during this period assisted young recruits to go to China for training and it was then when he grew closer to Thuingaleng Muivah, an MA from Gauhati University.

The two later collaborated and formed one of the strongest factions in northeast — Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland. The alliance was a strategic step taken by Khaplang so that the rebels from across the Burmese border can easily infiltrate into the Indian territory. And thanks to Khaplang, the main insurgent group was able to build base in the Burmese side.

The outfit became so strong that it was almost running a parallel government, not only in Nagaland, but also in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. But the partnership did not last for too long.

In 1988, the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) was formed after it broke out from NSCN (Isak-Muivah), Thuingaleng Muivah. “Clan rivalries between the Konyaks of Nagaland’s northernmost Mon district, and the Tangkhul Nagas of Manipur’s Ukhrul district, which dominated the NSCN (IM), is cited as one of the main reasons for the split,”.

The Khaplang faction’s main demand was independence of Nagaland.

Objective of the NSCN-K is the formation of a ‘greater Nagaland’ comprising of the Naga dominated areas of the neighbouring states within India and adjoining areas in Myanmar.

Apart from heading NSCN(Khaplang) and UNLFW, Khaplang is also referred “President” of the ‘Government of the People’s Republic of Nagaland.”

Khaplang has emerged as one of the most important insurgent leader in the northeast in the past two decades. His recent and biggest success was being able to bring five other rebel groups — United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent), Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), Kamatapur Liberation Organization (KLO) and National Democratic Front of Boroland (Songbijit) — under one umbrella and coalesced to form UNLFW.

However, Khaplang signed a truce deal with the Indian government on 27 April, 2001. While the government has had 80 rounds of peace talks with the NSCN-IM, Khaplang has not been invited even once. While the Indian government was trying to broke peace, Khaplang refused to budge and went back to his demand of an independent Northeast and the Naga-inhabited areas in Myanmar.

Tired of waiting, Khaplang repealed the ceasefire agreement in April 2015. Khaplang has come to an understanding with the Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s armed forces), even securing permission to host his allies from the Northeast. He enjoys freedom and autonomy to run his own government. But such a scenario is difficult to imagine in India’s Northeast.

Abrogation of the ceasefire was followed by six attacks on Indian forces – in Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal, including the one that took killed 18 security personnel in Manipur’s Chandel district on 4 June. 

NSCN agrees to ‘shared sovereignty’

TNN | Updated: May 10, 2017, 03.26AM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

In 2015, the NSCN (I-M) and the Centre signed a ‘framework agreement’ in the presence of PM Modi for a final settlementThis development comes after 37 years of armed struggle and 20 years of negotiations

GUWAHATI: The National Socialist Council of Nagaland, Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM), after 37 years of armed struggle and 20 years of negotiations, has finally settled for ‘co-existing together with shared sovereignty’ — a new experiment that a federal India with strong unitary features will embark on with the signing of apeace agreement soon. In a statement, a spokesperson of NSCN (I-M) said, “As of now, the Nagas have agreed to co-exist together under shared sovereignty. The ongoing Indo-Naga political talks are progressing smoothly. The framework agreement, which will ensure peaceful coexistence between the Nagas and India with shared sovereignty, will surely usher in peace and a brighter political era for the Nagas.”
In August, 2015, the NSCN (I-M) and the Centre signed a ‘framework agreement’ in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a final settlement. Though the exact meaning of shared sovereignty hasn’t been divulged yet, sources hinted at the possibility of Nagas getting a separate constitution, flag, parliament and judiciary. The spokesperson added that the government, in the ‘framework agreement’ has recognized the Nagas’ sovereignty and has also accepted that the Nagas are unique people with a separate entity and sovereign rights. “India has recognized the uniqueness of Naga history and culture.

The Nagas were independent before the arrival of the British. Only a part of Nagalim was conquered by the British. There is no merger agreement between the Nagas and India. India invaded Nagalim and set up arbitrary boundaries ” the spokesperson further said.

Pangsha Range Council slam construction of trench along Intl border

Pangsha Range Council (PRC) under Tuensang district has expressed strong condemnation against destruction of environment by the “felonious act” of both the governments of India and Myanmar of construction the ongoing trench at the International Trade Centre (ITS, Dan) that seeks to divide the same Khiamniungan Nagas who find themselves on both sides of the international border.
PRC pointed out that the construction of the trench dividing Khiamniungans was being done by cutting of forests belonging to the indigenous people besides destroying the water pipeline connection in addition to “merciless act towards the people of Wolam(Pangsha).
While condemning the Indian and Myanmar governments for the inhuman act, the PRC reiterated its belief in peaceful environment and freedom without separation of the tribe by the trench.
PRC said Khiamniungans have always lived as one community but after British colonialism, an imaginary line was drawn between India and Myanmar where blood relations found themselves separated by the trench.
In conclusion, PRC has reiterated that the community will not be divided by the imaginary line and would not have any biased feelings just because of the “egoistic motive” of those involved in construction of the dividing trench.

On Christmas eve in Manipur, quiet churches, restless stranded students

Written by Esha Roy | Imphal
NTIMES 24 Dec: It will be a dark Christmas for the residents of Imphal city. The night before Christmas eve, Tanghkhul Lane, in Chingmeirong, is pitch black and the lit Bethlehem Stars that adorn the top of every house at this time of the year are stark in their absence. The mood is sombre. Young and old are headed, under the weak streams of light thrown by their mobile phones, to the Tangkhul Lane Community Centre. The frantic activity at the centre has abated since yesterday, but a long line of applicants nevertheless snake out. They are registering themselves with the volunteers at the community centre who have promised to try help get them back home to Ukhrul district.
The road to Ukhrul has been blocked off to prevent Manipur’s Naga population from leaving Imphal city. This is a counter to the blockade called by the United Naga Council over the recent creation of new districts, which it sees as an attempt to divide the Naga people. Those stranded due to the counter-blockade have taken shelter at Imphal’s Tangkhul Lane community centre, as well as another such centre in Chingmeirong. Some have taken shelter with relatives, or been taken in by other Tangkhul families. On Thursday night, around 300 stranded Tangkhuls were given shelter at the centre. By Friday morning though, the community centre doors were locked due to the rush of those coming in.
Leishichon Rungsung, 24, is among those waiting patiently in line to be registered at the centre. By 5.30 pm, the volunteers’ notebook has 700 names. Rungsung, who is in the line with a cousin sister, admits her “desperation”. “I tried once before to leave but couldn’t manage. We couldn’t even leave the boundaries of Imphal city. I would actually have given up trying, but my parents are really forcing me to return,” says Rungsung, adding they are worried about the law and order situation in Imphal.
Rungsung came to Imphal city earlier this year to join a coaching centre, and will be appearing for civil services exams. “There is no such coaching centre back home,” she says. While her parents are telling her to return for good, Rungsung says she will come back to finish her coaching. “If I don’t manage to go back home for Christmas, I will simply stay here and attend classes if there are any,” she says.
Rungsung has four brothers and an elder sister. Only the eldest brother, who is married, stays at home with his family and parents. One brother is pursuing Masters in Bangalore, a brother and sister are in Delhi also preparing for their civil service exams, and the youngest brother is studying medicine in Russia.
While all of them were to return home for Christmas, the other four have cancelled their trip “because of the trouble”. Ngasan Shokwungnao, 33, who lives in Tangkhul Lane with his family and is volunteering at the community centre, says they are struggling to deal with the rush. “We told them to go back to their rented rooms or stay with relatives. If there is any news of convoys heading out to Ukhrul, we will inform them,” he says.
Since Saturday, when 22 vehicles headed to Ukhrul under police protection were stopped and burnt, convoys have been leaving in the dead of night. But the convoy accompanied by Assam Rifles that left carrying 1,000 such stranded residents early Friday morning had to turn back.
“As you can see, all the celebrations have been cancelled. By now, there should have been carol singing in colonies with groups moving from house to house. We are not doing it this year because of the trouble,” says Shokwunghao. The president of the All Naga Students’ Association Manipur, Seth Shatsang, says they will help “the thousands of stranded students” get home. “The Naga community is under siege, the central forces have not been effective. If we can, we will make sure everyone can go home for Christmas,” he says.
The president of the United Council of Manipur (an apex body of Meitei organisations in the valley), Johnson Elangbam, claims they have been holding peace meetings with different tribal communities as well as Meitei civil society to ensure that the situation is eased and the Naga students can go home. “We have urged our people to lift the counter-blockade,” he says, adding, “Even if the UNC does not lift the blockade, we will make sure that Christmas is held peacefully and that there are no untoward incidents.”
However, even the churches in Imphal are not taking any chances after Saturday’s attack. While the Tangkhul Baptist Church, Imphal city’s second largest church, has put up some decorations, the revellers are missing. The lights strung on the church steeple will not be lit this year “to avoid trouble”. In the compound, a large stack of hay lies bundled. It was to be converted with white fluffy cotton and buckets of talcum powder into a snowman. Outside the church, someone has stuck a poster saying that the church cannot open for worship without the locality’s permission.
Pastor Reverned Ngamlee Zimik says Meitei elders had reassured them that they could remain open. “They have condemned the incidents in which churches were attacked,” he says. However, he adds, “We are keeping it quiet, trying not to make any noise. So all the festivities around Christmas have been cancelled — the caroling, the singing competitions, the Bible quizzes etc. People can come and worship on Christmas day, but nothing more than that.”
The Manipur Baptist Church, a stone’s throw away and Imphal’s largest, is quieter still. The church was attacked last Saturday by a mob of stone-pelters. While no real damage was done, apart from a few broken window-panes, the church authorities are shaken.
Rev S R Onesima says that while Christmas will be celebrated, things will be low key. “This is the first time Christmas will be barely celebrated by any church in Imphal. We have cancelled our grand feast,” he says.
Ironically churches employ Meitei Brahmins to cook a large part of the Christmas grand feast, with popular Manipuri fish and vegetarian dishes. Indian Express

CJNCSD Condemns the Communal And Ethnic Persecution Of The Nagas In Manipur

New Delhi, 20th December, 2016 – Taking serious note of the escalating communal and ethnic tension, the Joint Naga Civil Societies, Delhi (CJNCSD) today strongly condemns the unleashing of communal violence against the Naga community, wanton desecration, vandalization and torching of Churches and “surgical” implanting of improvised bombs in the Naga populated residential areas, terming the whole sequence of events as state-sponsored and a handiwork of the State Government to terrorise the Nagas.
CJNCSD cries foul of the State Government and UCM for sponsoring and triggering the menacing communal violence and dubs the State Government and UCM as rabidly communal and anti-Naga. CJNCSD, in particular, takes exception to the incendiary and anti-Naga slogans such as “There are no Nagas in Manipur”, and “If you are a Naga, go to Nagaland and the Nagas are refugees in Manipur” and terms the same as a form of ethnic persecution.
CJNCSD regrets that UCM volunteers and its cohorts have chosen the blood-path of spewing brutal communal violence against the Naga community for the last more than a week, committing daylight robbery, vandalizing, destroying and looting properties belonging to the Nagas. More than 70 private vehicles and properties including personal belongings, luggages, hand bags and valuable gifts and presents meant for the loved ones during Christmas worth crores of rupees were looted, destroyed and torched. Innocent Naga civilian passengers are still continuously being physically assaulted, harassed, looted, attacked and targeted with stones, slingshots and bottled-petrol bombs.
CJNCSD takes a jibe at the subsequent call of the Chief Minister of Manipur and UCM for communal harmony and compensation for the victims as nothing but a height of political gimmick and hypocrisy to further insult the Nagas. CJNCSD terms the inaction of the State Government of Manipur as a deliberate act and demands for immediate CBI enquiry into the whole sequence of events including the role of the State Government.
CJNCSD states that the present communal turmoil caused by Ibobi Government is the last straw for the Nagas to reaffirm its stand that total separation of the Naga areas from the valley is the only recourse to permanent solution and thus appeals the immediate intervention of the Government of India to that effect.
CJNCSD states that on 19th December, 2016, the Committee along with the UNC delegation met the Hon’ble Minister of State, Sh. Kiren Rijiju seeking immediate intervention of the Government of India and reiterated the following demands: immediate nullification of the creation of the seven new districts; unconditional release of the UNC leaders; to expedite the finalization of the Framework Agreement; imposition of President’s Rule in the State of Manipur; deployment of security forces in the Naga areas to protect the Nagas and their properties from the communal forces of the State; immediate CBI enquiry into the incident, and compensation for the victims.
Meanwhile, in view of the prevailing tense situation, CJNCSD appeals the Nagas not to panic but cautions for personal safety to avoid travelling to Imphal valley till the situation returns to normalcy.

Manipur crisis: A complete account from economic blockade to attacks on civilians

By Raymond Ronamai

Manipur may be a small state with a population of just over 25 lakh, but the divide between the people living in the valley and the hills is so wide that not a year goes by without bandhs and other protests over several disagreements. Imphal valley is predominantly inhabited by the Meiteis, and the hills are predominantly inhabited by the Nagas and Kukis.

The state is once again in turmoil with the capital city being turned into a war-like situation after the majority Meitei protesters waylaid and attacked hundreds of Naga civilians travelling to their villages for Christmas celebration on Sunday, injuring dozens of innocent commuters, and setting several vehicles aflame. The protest was held against the killing of three policemen by some unknown people last Thursday. Manipur government has held the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) or NSCN-IM, an insurgent group which signed “peace accord” with the Narendra Modi government last year, responsible for the killing but no group has claimed responsibility so far.
The violence that erupted in the state in the last few days was a culmination of several events, displeasure and disagreements between the government of Manipur dominated by the majority community Meiteis and the Nagas (minority).

It all unfolded with the Manipur government’s decision to create two more districts — Sadar Hills and Jiribam. The United Naga Council (UNC), the apex civil organisation of the Nagas in Manipur, objected to the plan saying that it should be done only after consulting with all the tribal organisations. However, the state government didn’t pay heed and decided to go ahead with its plan without consulting the stakeholders.

This angered the UNC as creation of new districts will endanger and encroach upon the traditional land holdings of the Nagas that is protected by the constitution of India. The government argued that the creation of new districts was for administrative convenience, but the UNC expressed the sentiment of the Nagas to live together under the same administrative roof.
Left with no other choice after the state government gave a deaf ear to their plea, the UNC finally called for an indefinite economic blockade along two national highways, the lifeline of the state, on November 1 and it still stands (as of December 19).

It caused lots of hardship to the people of the state, especially those staying in state capital Imphal. Price of essential goods shot up and normal life of the people in the valley was crippled. The state security personnel managed to escort vehicles carrying goods to the valley a few times but that didn’t help much. This led to counter protests by the Meiteis, who resorted to confiscation of materials, especially vegetables that were brought in by the Nagas for sale.
At this volatile juncture, Manipur police arrested UNC President Gaidon Kamei and Publicity Secretary Sankhui Stephen on November 25 and filed FIR against them for the economic blockade that has caused sufferings to thousands of people in the state. But their arrest aggravated the Nagas even more.

As if that was not enough, Manipur Chief Minister Ibobi Singh announced not two but seven new districts — Kangpokpi, Tengnoupal, Pherzawl, Noney, Kamjong, Jiribam and Kakching — earlier this month, taking the number of districts in the state from nine to 16. Some communities welcomed the move, but it was like rubbing salt on the wounds for the Nagas.

Last week, police personnel patrolling for the inauguration function of Tengnoupal district were ambushed by unknown miscreants, killing three policemen. The state government has accused NSCN-IM for the attack, but no organisation has claimed responsibility till date.

Things took a different turn last weekend with Meitei protestors threatening Nagas staying in the valley. The Manipur Baptist Church (MBC) in Chingmeirong was attacked with stones by the valley protesters on Saturday. The mob also warned the church not to conduct Sunday services.

Meitei protestors got more violent on Sunday by attacking vehicles carrying Nagas, who were on their way to their respective villages to celebrate Christmas. Many civilians were reportedly injured due to stone pelting, and dozens of private vehicles were set ablaze. All these happened despite the vehicles were escorted by security convoy. Hundreds of innocent civilians were stranded after the vehicles on which they were travelling were either burnt, vandalised or pushed into the river.

Sensing the volatile situation that could lead to communal riot, the state government has imposed indefinite curfew in Imphal East and West districts besides suspending Internet services across the city but harm seems to have already been done, as the protesters were allowed to take law into their own hands while the state armed forces looked on. ibtimes.co.in