Naga insurgent group behind Manipur ambush banned

RSTV Bureau
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FILE: Remains of the army truck after the Indian army convoy was attacked by the insurgent outfit in Chandel area of Manipur on June 4, 2015. 18 soldiers of Dogra regiment were killed in the ambush. Photo – PTI

Naga insurgent group NSCN(K), responsible for the ambush on army convoy in Manipur this year has been banned by the Union government for at least five years. The outfit was in news after an ambush on army convoy in Chandel area of Manipur in June this year. 18 soldiers of elite Dogra regiment were killed in the ambush. Another reason cited for banning the outfit was its indulgence in the blatant violation of ceasefire agreement.

The decision to outlaw the outfit was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The decision was announced on Wednesday.

“The NSCN(K) responsible for explosions, ambushes and bombings has been declared as an unlawful organisation for a period of five years,” Union Communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the press in New Delhi after the cabinet meeting.

Prasad said the decision was taken after deliberations that took into account the recent activities of the insurgent group.

According to the government, the group had reneged from the ceasefire pact in March this year. Following that, the group led by its chairman SS Khaplang, a Myanmarese national, forged ties with several other insurgent outfits, including the ULFA faction headed by Paresh Barua to form United Liberation Front of South East Asia.

The decision to ban the outfit came days after the National Investigation Agency (NIA), probing the June 4 ambush incident, declared a reward of Rs 7 lakh for information about Khaplang and Rs 10 lakh for one of his deputies Niki Sumi. According to the authoritative sources, Khaplang is believed to be in Taga, a border town in Myanmar.

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FILE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with TH Muivah, the chief of naga insurgent outfit NSCN (IM) after signing peace accord in New Delhi. Photo – PTI

NSCN(K) is believed to have strength of around 1,000 cadres with several camps across the border. Few camps of the insurgent outfit were attacked by the Indians Army commandos on June 9 in a special operation retaliating against the Manipur ambush.

Importantly, another insurgent outfit NSCN (IM), which signed a peace accord with the Central government on August 3, bringing an end to over six decades-long armed movement, has also been demanding a ban on the rival outfit. The two have been locked in a fratricidal conflict for long.

A delegation of Naga civil society, with government’s consent, has already gone to Myanmar to persuade Khaplang to come to the negotiating table.

Detailing about the cabinet decision, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said the NSCN(K) was declared a banned organisation after deliberations and following due legal process.

Sources said there were differences within the government over declaring the NSCN(K) an outlawed organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. While the Home Ministry officials had been insisting on banning it, Union government-appointed interlocutor for Naga peace talks, RN Ravi, was reportedly in favour of restarting negotiations with the group.

(With inputs from the PTI)