Naga rebel SS Khaplang forgiven in death

SS Khaplang

Khaplang died on Friday night following a cardiac arrest at Takka in Kachin state of Myanmar at the age of 77. However, no official announcement has been made from the NSCN (K) yet on the appointment of a new chairman.

Khaplang's group NSCN-K signed a ceasefire with the government of India in 2000 in the hope of settle the Naga issue that had been dragging for decades but was abrogation of ceasefire in April 2015.

Since 1980s, the outfit has engaged in subversive activities, including attacks on security forces, extortion and looting. The UNLFW claimed responsibility of the 4 June 2015 ambush in Manipur that had killed 20 Indian soldiers and had triggered an Indian cross border raid on a common camp of the alliance near Momo and Onzia villages inside Myanmar, just four-five km from the border on 9 June 2015.

However, the group split in 1988, with Khaplang parting ways with Swu and Muivah due to clan rivalries between the Konyaks of Nagaland's Monday district and the Tangkhuls of Manipur's Ukhrul district.

Even as members of the rival Thuingaleng Muivah-led NSCN is engaged in talks with New Delhi, Khaplang's forces have continued to wage war with Indian troops.

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Khaplang, who was popularly known as "Baba", belonged to the Hemi Naga tribe from Myanmar's Eastern Naga Hills in Sagaing Division. The group, however, split up soon after.

Swu had died in Delhi on June 28 previous year.

Rijiju said this on Saturaday while interacting with the newsmen here on the sidelines of a programme and added that the Government of India had banned the NSCN (K) in 2016 by a special notification after the organisation abrogated from the undergoing ceasefire agreement.

"The Naga Nation has lost a true and uncompromising Nationalist", Asom said, adding that as the Chairman of the United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia, Khaplang brought about a rare affinity amongst the armed cadres and the united stand had been reverberating across the region and beyond ever since".

This was so especially at a time when the Naga people are extremely in need of elderly and experienced wisdom of their national movement leaders, to set right the course of the Naga destiny, which is being misinterpreted and re-interpreted in the present day scenario of internal conflicts, he said.

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