he 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 commercial hub.
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.
After two decades of long negotiation, Government of India and NSCN-IM had mutually agreed and signed the historic ‘Framework Agreement’ on August 3, 2015, at New Delhi. The ‘Framework Agreement’ was signed in the presence of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, general secretary of the NSCN-IM Thuingaleng Muivah, Home Minister of India Rajnath Singh and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.
On June, 28 2016 Isak Chisi Swu, co-founder of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM), passed away. Swu was one of the founding members of NSCN.
On 25 February 2017 NSCN claimed that the centre has recognized the legal rights of the Nagas and proclaimed “integration the legitimate rights of the Nagas and here will be a transformation in the history of the Naga very soon.
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
NSCN K has constantly opposed to any compromises on issues such as sovereignty band formation of Nagalim.
NSCN-K on 27 March 2015 unilaterally abrogates the 14-year ceasefire with the Government of India. The insurgent outfit had signed a truce in 2001 but talks had not begun. This decision was accompanied by expulsion of two senior leaders of the outfit by chairman S.S. Khaplang namely senior minister (kilonser) Wangtin Konyak and Khaplang’s personal secretary cum the spokesperson for the outfit, T. Tikhak, for their alleged "anti-Naga nationalism". They were expelled on the same day when they were attending the ceasefire meeting with the Indian government at Chumukedima in Nagaland. They went on to found a new faction called NSCN (Reformation).
Approximately 10 attacks were carried out by NSCN-K and its associate groups in Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh on Indian security forces since the group abrogated the ceasefire with the Govt. of India on March, 2015. At least 40 security personnel were killed till 2017 by NSCN-K militants.
As specified by an estimate by intelligence agencies until 2015 NSCN-K possessed strength of around 1,500 men and of whom 600-700 were in Myanmar. Of the remaining, about 200 cadres each are in Nagaland and Manipur, and about 100 in Arunachal Pradesh.
Government of India on 16 March, 2015 declared the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), all its formations and front organizations as a terrorist organization under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. On September 16 that year, the government had banned NSCN (K) as an “unlawful association” under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
On 7 June, 2017 three NSCN (K) cadres were killed by security forces in a encounter in Nagaland’s Mon district. One AK 56, 2 Chinese AK, 2 grenades, 3 IEDs, 270 AK rounds were recovered from the three slain terrorist. Again on 27 September, 2017 at least 3 Indian Army personnel killed and several others injured in a gunfight between Army and mobile unit of NSCN-K in Lankhu village of Myanmar. Making a statement about the incident NSCN-K leader Isak Sumi said that the group of Indian Army was probably trying to perform a surgical strike which was successfully warded off by Naga rebels.
S.S. Khaplang died on 9 June 2017 at the NSCN-K Council Headquarters in Taga in Myanmar`s Sagaing Division. he was 77 years old. Following Khaplang’s death, vice-president of NSCN (K) Khango Konyak replaced him as the new chairman of NSCN(K) in 2017. Khango had been in the post of vice-chairman of the outfit since 20 May 2011
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.
On March, 2016 President of NSCN (Unification), Khole Konyak had formally joined NSCN-IM. Following Konyak’s expulsion from the outfit NSCN (Unification) had appointed ‘General’ MB Neokpao Konyak, ‘C-in-C’, Naga army as the group’s new President.
On 26 January 2018 NIA has arrested self-styled ‘Brigadier’ of NSCN-Unification Aheto Chopey in connection with his involvement in a six-year-old case of supplying robbed government arms and ammunition to the Naga underground. An AK-56 rifle, two 9 mm pistols along with magazines, assorted ammunition and Rs 1.32 lakh in cash were recovered from him.
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.
On September 2015 NSCN-KK had withdrawn support to the Naga peace accord inked between NSCN-IM and Government of India on August that year and sought a separate solution for ‘only the Nagas of Nagaland.’
Assam Rifles troops on 16 November 2015 shoot down four members of the NSCN-KK. AR recovered several weapons including one AK-47 rifle, one M-16-assault rifle and two .303 assault rifles etc. At the time of the attack, NSCN-K was in ceasefire with the Govt. of India.
Soon after the Framework Agreement signed between NSCN-IM and Government of India, NSCN-KK said that firstly Nagas of Nagaland, be it land or people, cannot be sacrificed to fulfill the political aspiration and desire of Nagas living in the states of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Secondly GPRN/NSCN shall not accept imposition of NSCN-IM peace deal in Nagaland because the political future of the tribes of Nagaland is best understood by them alone and therefore it is up to them to decide. They rejected the idea of Nagalim as adopted by NSCN -IM and championed the concept of "cultural integration of the Nagas.
On 6 April 2015 Y. Wangtin Naga and P. Tikhak during a joint council meeting held at Mon district officially announced the formation of a new Naga political group by the name ‘National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Reformation)’ or NSCN-R and its government as ‘Government of the People’s Republic of Nagaland’ or GPRN. Wangtin and Tikhak wanted to continue with the ceasefire maintained by other NSCN factions upholding the moto that “violence has never served a good purpose and the Naga political problem can only be resolved through peace and negotiation”. The principal agenda of NSCN-R would be to “develop a sense of brotherhood among the Naga family and also to rebuild the trust and faith among the Naga society. Wangtin and P. Tikhak, former personal secretary to NSCN-K chairman S.S. Khaplang, were expelled from the outfit last just before formation of NSCN-R after being accused of "anti-government, anti-national and anti-people conduct and hatching conspiracies with India to destabilize the Naga cause".