National Socialist Council of Nagaland- Isak Muivah
(NSCN-IM) was formed on April 30, 1988 following a violent
clash between the NSCN cadres over the issue of starting
a negotiation process with the Government of India.
The undivided NSCN was, however, formed on January 31,
1980 by former Naga National Council (NNC) leaders,
Isak Chisi Swu, Thuingaleng Muivah and S.S. Khaplang.
The purported aim of the NSCN-IM has been the establishment
of a sovereign Nagalim (liberally described as Greater
Nagaland that includes the areas inhabited by the Naga
tribals in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh in addition
to the state of Nagaland). The outfit’s manifesto
is guided by an overtly spiritual fervour and it speaks
of the establishment of ‘Nagaland for Christ’.
The NSCN-IM is led by its chairman Isak Chisi Swu and
general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah. The outfit maintains
a ‘ministry’ consisting of kilonsers (ministers)
for various departments. The outfit’s headquarter
is presently based in Camp Hebron, near Dimapur, Nagaland’s
Subsequent to a decade of armed violence, the NSCN-IM
entered into a peace process with New Delhi in 1997
and since then, the group has held several rounds of
dialogues with the government representatives. The talks,
in the recent years, have hit a deadlock over the outfit’s
demand for the merger of the Naga-inhabited areas of
Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh with Nagaland.
The ceasefire agreement has been extended periodically
over the years, and in 2007, both sides agreed to extend
it indefinitely, thus doing away with the need for its
regular extension. Several rounds of talks have taken
place since then in Delhi and elsewhere, but no concrete
outcome has come out of the talks.
According to ceasefire ground rules, the NSCN-IM cadres
are supposed to stay within the confines of the designated
camps. But this requirement has been violated with impunity
and the outfits cadres have moved out of the camps to
carry out their activities. Several incidents of extortion
and factional clashes have been reported with the rival
Khaplang faction and the NNC from almost all districts
of Nagaland and the hill districts of neighbouring Manipur.
Reports indicate that taking advantage of the ceasefire
agreement, the NSCN-IM has increased its cadre strength
to about 2,500.
In August 2009, Union Home Secretary G.K.Pillai said
that the Centre is drafting a proposal to place before
the NSCN-IM leaders as a solution to the Naga problem
and may even consider amending the Constitution to accommodate
their demand. The Centre also decided to wind up the
term of K. Padmanabhaiah as interlocutor for talks with
NSCN-IM. Centre then appointed R.S.Pandey as the new
interlocutor to facilitate talks with the NSCN-IM on
February 12, 2010. Pandey is a 1972 batch Indian Administrative
Service (IAS) officer, belonging to Nagaland cadre.
He was the Union Petroleum Secretary and had retired
in January 2010.
On March 2, 2010, an NSCN-IM delegation, lead by its
chairman Isak Chisi Swu and general secretary Thuingaleng
Muivah, met the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union
Home Minister P Chidambaram in New Delhi. The Naga leaders
also held a series of meetings with interlocutor R.S
Pandey during their stay in New Delhi. The visiting
NSCN (IM) delegation put forward 30 demands, which included
sovereignty for Nagaland, and unification of all Naga-dominated
areas of neighbouring states.
After the talks Muivah came to Dimapur and decided
to visit his native village Somdal in Ukhrul district
of Manipur. This was to be his first visit to his birth
place after 40 years. The union government also granted
his request and the visit was scheduled to take place
during the first week of May. Muivah was also expected
to visit other Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur during
the visit. But, on April 30, 2010, Manipur government
announced that it would not allow Muivah to come to
Manipur as there are possibilities of disturbances if
the NSCN-IM leader comes to Manipur. The government
also clamped restriction under Section 144 of CrPC in
Senapati district in addition to deployment of additional
forces in order to prevent Muivah from entering Manipur.
On May 6, 2010, the situation in Mao border gate, through
which Muivah was expected to enter Manipur, turned tense.
A number of locals stormed a temporary security barrack
which lead the security personnel resort to firing leaving
two locals dead and fifty others, including women, injured.
After this incident and after requests from the Prime
Minister’s Office (PMO) and some Naga civil society
organizations, Muivah postponed his visit to Somdal
and camped himself in Viswema village near the Mao gate
on the inter-state border of Nagaland and Manipur.
On June 4, 2010 Muivah moved to Pfutsero in Phek district
on a “Goodwill mission”. In the same month
he visited Jotsoma village near Kohima, Pughoboto in
Zunheboto district, Tuensang and Peren as a part of
his peace mission where he held consultations with civil
society leaders on the Naga talks issue.
Two more rounds of talks were held in Delhi with the
Centre on July 23 and July 29, 2010 with both the sides
expressing satisfaction over the way the talks are progressing.
NSCN-IM is described as the mother of all insurgencies
in Northeast India and over the years, its assistance
has been vital for the survival and sustenance of several
outfits in various states of the region. NSCN-IM has
trained cadres of almost all other militant outfits
in the region and had provided them with arms and camping
facilities as well. It has linkages both outside and
within India. It has a longstanding relationship with
Pakistan’s ISI. Reports also indicate its linkages
with Harkat-ul Jehad-al Islami (HUJI), a fundamentalist
group in Bangladesh.
A Following the violent clash of 30 April 1988, S
S Khaplang led a group of NSCN cadres to form the National
Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K). The
purported objective of NSCN-K, is not too different
from the Isak-Muivah faction (NSCN-IM), although the
former emphasises more on the inclusion of the Naga-inhabited
areas of Myanmar into the proposed Nagalim (Greater
Nagaland) and not so much on such areas in the neighbouring
states of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
NSCN-K chairman S S Khaplang is a Hemi Naga from Myanmar
and is based in Myanmar, where the outfit maintains
several camps. Starting 1988, the outfit has engaged
in a bitter fratricidal warfare with the NSCN-IM. The
latter, on the other hand, has described the NSCN-K
as an agent of the Indian government and an ally of
the security forces. Other senior leaders including
Kughalo Mulatonu are mostly based in Nagaland.
Following NSCN-IM’s example, the NSCN-K entered
into a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India
in 2001. The outfit has consistently voiced its opposition
against the Government’s decision to continue
its dialogue with the NSCN-IM and hence, has not held
a single round of dialogue with New Delhi, although
both sides have extended the ceasefire agreement periodically,
the latest being on May 3, 2010 for one year till April
28, 2011. Its cadres, supposed to have been staying
within the designated camps, like those of the NSCN-IM,
have moved out to extort and intimidate civilian population
in the state.
Of late, NSCN-K has decided to come over for talks
with the Government of India and it has also modified
its stand on sovereignty, saying “sovereignty”
could be redefined once the negotiation begins with
the government. It, however, insists that the letter
for talks should come from the Prime Minister’s
The NSCN-K’s area of influence, mostly confined
to its traditional strongholds such as Mokokchung district,
has shrunk over the years. A number of its cadres and
middle level functionaries have deserted the outfit
to join the NSCN-IM. The NSCN-K, on the other hand,
has joined hands with the NNC (the first Naga insurgent
group founded by Angami Zapu Phizo), to carry out attacks
on the NSCN-IM. The NSCN-K was also involved in the
formation of NSCN-Unification (NSCN-U) on November 23,
2007 and both these outfits are engaged in clashes with
The outfit maintains strategic linkages with the United
Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and allows the outfit’s
cadres to use its facilities in the Sagaing division
On November 23, 2007, several NSCN (IM) cadres led
by its one-time ‘home minister’ Azheto Chopey
broke away from the group and formed a new outfit called
the NSCN - Unification. These cadres assembled at the
village of Hovishe, in Niuland sub-division in the Dimapur
district, and met with leaders of the NSCN (K). Apparently,
the two groups, the newly formed NSCN (U) and the NSCN
(K)—both rivals of the NSCN(IM)—signed an
inter-factional ‘truce agreement’ declaring
the unification of the two factions for a common goal.
It was clear that the NSCN (U) and the NSCN (K) had
On January 21, 2008, the NSCN (IM) 'dismissed' 27 of
its cadres, who had defected along with Chopey from
'national service' with effect from January 22, 2008,
for 'deliberately defying' a directive of the 'yaruiwo'
(prime minister) Isak Chishi Swu to return from the
"reactionary camp" and report to the Council
Headquarters. Samson Jajo, 'chief principal secretary'
of the NSCN (IM), said a decision towards this effect
was taken in exercise of the decision of the "National
Security Council". Since January 2008, the NSCN
(U) was involved in bitter clashes with the NSCN (IM),
culminating in the death of 14 of its cadres near Dimapur,
Nagaland’s commercial hub, on May 16, 2008. However,
the unification faction of NSCN has not been involved
in much incidents since 2009.
The NSCN (Khole-Kitovi) faction was formed on June
7, 2011. The faction was formed by a dissenting group
of cadres of NSCN-Khaplang faction (NSCN-K) under the
leadership of Khole Konyak and Kitovi Zhimoni. They
severed ties with the Khaplang faction alleging `dictatorial
leadership' of Khaplang. They described S.S. Khaplang
as a `Burmese national' and asked him not to interfere
in `Naga affairs'. The NSCN-K in reply said that Khole
and Kitovi Zhimoni had become "prisoners of the
NSCN (IM)". The Khole-Kitovi faction tried to reconcile
with the NSCN (IM) but differences between Muivah and
Kitovi didn’t allow this to happen.
Clashes between the two factions began in December
2011. In 2012, 14 incidents of clashes between these
two factions were reported. Some of these incidents
February 5: Two NSCN (Khole-Kitovi) cadres were killed,
and another was injured, after NSCN-K cadres attacked
a 'mobile camp' of NSCN (Khole-Kitovi) on the outskirts
of Athibung area in Peren district, Nagaland.
February 29: Suspected NSCN-K militants killed two
NSCN (Khole-Kitovi) cadres at Phomching Town under Mon
March 15: Three dead bodies of NSCN (Khole-Kitovi)
cadres were found a few hundred metres away from Chui
Village Junction in Mon district, Nagaland. The deceased
were `arrested' some days earlier by NSCN-K cadres,
who killed them on March 14.
March 17: A kapur (area administrator) of NSCN (Khole-Kitovi)
was shot dead by suspected NSCN-K cadres at Naga Hospital
in Kohima. A civilian was also injured in the incident.
March 28: NSCN (Khole-Kitovi) and NSCN-K cadres clashed
at a place between Natha Old and Natha New, on the outskirts
of Zunheboto District, Nagaland, though no casualty
was reported. NSCN-K claimed that firing had occurred
due to "provocation" by NSCN (Khole-Kitovi)
cadres, who had threatened to chase the NSCN-K out from
On April 27, 2012, the Centre signed a ceasefire agreement
with the NSCN (Khole-Kitovi) faction for one year.