Dead Khaplang in NIA 'wanted' list

Dead Khaplang in NIA 'wanted' list

S S Khaplang, a Myanmarese and founder of NSCN (K), a banned militant group, figures in the “Most wanted” list of National Investigation Agency (NIA), despite his death in June last year.

The list of 258 most wanted persons, which was reportedly “updated” recently, also contains at least 58 names of militant leaders and cadres belonging to rebel groups, that have kept the Northeast restive for decades, either in their hideouts in neighbouring Myanmar and Bangladesh or within the region.

Khaplang, a resident of Sagaing province in Myanmar, died at 77, reportedly due to a cardiac problem, following which Khango Konyak, a senior leader of the outfit was made its chairman. Konyak, however, was “impeached” in August and Khaplang’s nephew Yung Aung was declared the new NSCN (K) chairman.

The NIA’s wanted list does not have Konyak’s name.

The list, which was recently uploaded on social media by the investigation agency, comes amid reports that Konyak could soon join the Naga peace talks between NSCN (IM) and the Centre. The two had signed a “Broad Framework Agreement” in August 2015 and hope to sign a final agreement soon for a lasting solution to Naga insurgency, the country’s longest political conflict.

NSCN seeks a “sovereign homeland for the Nagas,” comprising Naga-inhabited areas in the Northeast and in Myanmar. The NSCN (IM), led by Th. Muivah, having its headquarters at Hebron in Nagaland, had signed a ceasefire in 1997. The NSCN (K), however, had abrogated its ceasefire in 2015 and resumed attacks, mainly on security forces, killing of 18 Assam Rifles jawans in Manipur in 2016. The NSCN (K) had formed United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia, comprising Ulfa (Independent), NDFB (S), Kamtapur Liberation Organisation and at least six other rebel groups in Manipur and continued “joint operations” against security forces.

In a statement emailed to media here on Friday, the NSCN (K) led by Yung alleged that government agencies were trying to create factions within the group to foil its fight for a Naga homeland and resolved to carry ahead with its fight.

Paresh Baruah, “commander-in-chief” of Ulfa (Independent), Abhijit Asom, chairman, I K Songbijit, a former leader of a faction of National Democratic Front of Bodoland and G Bidai are some of the “dreaded names” that figure in the NIA’s “Most Wanted” list. The 58 names belong to rebel groups such as NSCN (K), NSCN (IM) (Naga group), Ulfa (Independent), NDFB (S) and KLO  of Assam, UNLF, KCP and KYKL of Manipur. Most of these rebel leaders are believed to be taking shelter in their camps on Myanmar-China borders. Songbijit and Bidai are wanted in the killings of at least 86 Adivasis in Assam in December 2014.  

The list also includes names of at least three alleged arms smugglers—Moni Tripuri, Kiran Chakma and Sabuj Chakma, hailing from Bangladesh. They are wanted in a case related to illegal arms recovery in Mizoram.

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