Naga leader Khaplang dead

A Hemi Naga from Myanmar, he led the rebels for decades

June 09, 2017 11:39 pm | Updated 11:39 pm IST

S.S. Khaplang, chief of National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K), died on Friday after a prolonged illness at the outfit’s camp at Taga in Myanmar, a senior government official said. he was 77

Khaplang, a Hemi Naga from Myanmar led the Naga insurgency movement for decades. He formed his own outfit in 1988 after he fell out with Isak Chisi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah, the other two Naga leaders, who went on to form the NSCN-IM, which signed a framework agreement with the government in 2015 to find a permanent solution to the issue.

Mr. Swu died of illness last year in Delhi.

Naga outfits envisage a “Greater Nagalim” or a contiguous land for the Nagas spanning the States of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Myanmar.

“S.S Khaplang died around 7 p.m. on Friday at the outfit’s camp in Taga,” R.N Ravi, joint intelligence committee (JIC) chief and the interlocutor for Naga peace talks told The Hindu .

BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav, posting on Twitter about Khaplang’s death, said the leadership would be taken over by Khango Konyak. Mr. Konyak was elected Vice-chairman of the outfit in 2011 and Mr. Khaplang had issued a statement saying that “Konyak stood steadfast for the rights of the Naga people through thick and thin.”

In 2015, the NDA government banned the outfit for five years for its alleged involvement in a series of attacks on security forces, including an army convoy on June 4 in Manipur’s Chandel district killing 18 army men. NIA even declared a reward of ₹17 lakh for Khaplang’s arrest.

India has on multiple occasions asked Myanmar to hand over four top leaders of NSCN-K, including Khaplang.

NSCN-K abrogated the ceasefire with the government in March 2015 and following the Army convoy attack the same year, a special team of Army launched an attack on the insurgent camps of various militant outfits, 20 kms within Myanmar on June 9 where they are believed to have killed at least 20 militants.

Besides Khaplang, India sought the custody of the outfit’s military commander Niki Sumi, Kirichu and Asang, who were believed to have planned and supervised the attack in Manipur's Chandel district.

NSCN-K is in a ceasefire pact with the Myanmar government. Khaplang, a Naga from Myanmar, was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Yangon and he was later moved to the Taga, considered to be a hotbed of anti-India insurgent group camps in northwestern Myanmar.

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