In what would come as a breather for Indian government and security forces, the Chairman of banned rebel Naga outfit – National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang – S S Khaplang died in a Myanmar hospital on Friday evening after prolonged illness.
NEW DELHI: In what would come as a breather for Indian government and security forces, the Chairman of banned rebel Naga outfit - National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang - S S Khaplang died in a Myanmar hospital on Friday evening after prolonged illness.
According to top government and intelligence sources, 77 year old Khaplang, who was being treated in a Yangon hospital in Myanmar since 2015, died in Taga area around 8 pm on Monday.
The NSCN (K) leadership including military commander Niki Sumi were presently operating from Taga. Khaplang was reportedly being treated in Myanmar with the help of authorities there because of medical complications due to diabetes, sources said.
He had become one of the most important Naga insurgent leaders over the years and had managed to bring several groups under one umbrella with a demand of freedom of Nagaland.
Khaplang, alongwith top ULFA chief Paresh Barua and leadership of other northeast based insurgent groups, had in April 2015 formed the United National Liberation Front of West South East Asia (UNLFWSEA), a platform of NSCN (K) and other groups after abrogating the ceasefire agreement with Indian government and had engineered the June 4 attack on Indian army in Manipur, considered the biggest attack ever, in which 18 soldiers were killed.
It was after this attack Indian army carried surgical strikes inside Myanmar territory and destroyed several camps of insurgent groups and killed several ultras.
Sources say that with Khaplang's death, the Vice Chairman of the outfit - Lt Gen Khango Konyak, whose last known location was a camp in Lahe area of Konyak, Myanmar, will take over the charge of the outfit.
NIA had filed a chargesheet against S S Khaplang and announced a reward of Rs 7 lakh for him and even sent a detailed dossier on him to Myanmar through diplomatic channels. The Indian government, in the leadership of NSA Ajit Doval, even asked Myanmar government to arrest the NSCN (K) leadership and hand them over to India.
According to intelligence agencies, NSCN (K) has a strength of around 900 cadres in Myanmar while some 300-400 cadres operate from the Nagaland and other states in the north eastern states.
Over the years, Khaplang was also making efforts to get help from Chinese forces and Pakistan's ISI to support the groups with finances and weapons.