NIA’s allegations against NSCN

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What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in News?
  • Main ethnic groupings of Manipur
  • Insurgency in Manipur
  • Naga Insurgency
  • Charge sheet filed by NIA accusing NSCN

Why in News?

  • In March 2024, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a charge sheet in a court in Guwahati. The charge sheet accuses the "China-Myanmar module" of the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN).
  • According to the NIA, this group is helping members of two banned Meitei outfits. These outfits are the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Kanglei Yaol Kanba Lup (KYKL). The NIA claims that these groups are being supported to infiltrate India.

Main ethnic groupings of Manipur

  • The Meitei, Naga and Kuki-Zomi-Mizo are the three main ethnic groupings in Manipur.
  • The Meiteis, the largest community, account for about 53% of the State’s total population of 27.21 lakh (2011 Census).
  • The Nagas and the Kuki-Zo which are categorised into 34 Scheduled Tribes constitute 17% and 26% of the population respectively.

Insurgency in Manipur

  • About
    • There is an ongoing armed conflict between India and a number of separatist rebel groups in Manipur.
    • This insurgency in Manipur is part of the wider Insurgency in Northeast India which combines elements of a national liberation war as well as an ethnic conflict.
  • Historical background
    • Following the brief Anglo-Manipur War of 1891, the Kingdom of Manipur was conquered by Britain.
      • After this war, Manipur kingdom became a British protectorate.
    • Manipur became a part of India in October 1949 and became a separate state in 1972.
  • Rise of insurgency
    • Manipur's incorporation into the Indian state led to the formation of a number of insurgent organisations.
      • These groups demanded the creation of an independent state within the borders of Manipur, and dismissed the merger with India as involuntary.
    • The insurgency problem in Manipur came into existence in the late 1960s and 1970s.
      • There was no problem of insurgency when Manipur merged into India.
    • The first separatist faction, United National Liberation Front (UNLF), was founded in November 1964.
    • Later, the insurgency took another form when the Kuki-Naga clashes started to take place in the 1990s where hundreds were killed.
      • The clashes and killings happened after the NSCN demanded that Kuki-Zo-inhabited areas be included in its proposed ‘Greater Nagaland’ project in the 1980s.
    • The insurgent groups demanded an independent land for the Kuki-Zo people.
  • Are there other active insurgent groups?
    • There are nearly 30 Kuki insurgent groups in Manipur, of which 25 are under tripartite Suspension of Operations (SoO) with the Government of India and the state.
      • In 2008, 24 Kuki-Zo insurgent groups under the umbrella of the United Peoples’ Front (UPF) and the Kuki National Organisation (KNO) signed a tripartite SoO pact with the MHA and the Manipur government.
    • In February 2024, when the pact came up for an annual extension, the Manipur government refused to send a representative.
      • Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh has accused the groups of violating the ground rules and instigating violence in the State.

Naga Insurgency

  • Background:
    • The Naga National Council (NNC) was formed in April 1946 to carry out social and political upliftment of the Nagas.
    • After the return of the radical leader of Naga cause, Angami Zapu Phizo, from Burma in 1947, the faction of NNC demanding full impendence grew strong.
  • Shillong Accord and the split of NNC
    • The Shillong Accord was signed in 1975 by Government of India with a section of the NNC leaders.
    • As part of the accord, the leaders agreed to abjure violence and work towards the solution of the Naga problem within the framework of the Indian Constitution.
    • It was opposed by Phizo, Isak Swu and Muivah. Later, Isak Swu and Muivah formed the "National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN)" in January 1980.
    • Later, NSCN split into two factions, namely NCSN (I-M) led by Isak & Muivah and NCSN (K) led by Khaplang.
  • Demand for Greater Nagaland
    • The NSCN-IM, has been demanding:
      • ‘Greater Nagaland,’ an extension of Nagaland’s borders by including Naga-dominated areas in neighbouring Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, to unite more than 1.2 million Nagas,
      • a separate flag and
      • a constitution.
  • Naga Peace Accord
    • Since 1997, NSCN (I-M) has been involved in negotiations with the Government of India and signed many ceasefire agreements.
  • 2015 Framework Agreement (FA)
    • On August 3, 2015, the Centre signed a framework agreement with the NSCN (I-M) to resolve the Naga issue.
    • The agreement was only a framework, with many details still to be hammered out.
      • Talks were being held regularly to chart out the finer details of the FA.
      • In June 2022, talks broke down after the NSCN accused the interlocuter appointed by the Centre of excluding three political points.

Charge sheet filed by NIA accusing NSCN

  • Significance
    • The charge sheet was filed against five persons and is the first official statement of links between the NSCN-IM and Imphal valley-based insurgent groups during the current ethnic crisis.
      • On 3 May 2023, ethnic violence erupted in India's north-eastern state of Manipur between the Meitei people, a majority that lives in the Imphal Valley, and the Kuki-Zo tribal community from the surrounding hills.
      • Tensions boiled over when Kukis began protesting against demands from the Meiteis to be given official tribal status.
      • The Kukis argued that this would strengthen their already strong influence on government and society, allowing them to buy land or settle in predominantly Kuki areas.
    • The NIA said the accused criminally conspired with intent to carry out violent terror attacks targeting the rival Kuki-Zo community with prohibited arms.
      • These arms and ammunition were looted from various government sources.
  • NSCN’s stand
    • The NSCN issued a statement, accusing the Indian security forces of helping the Kuki militant groups to wage war against the Meitei revolutionary groups in Myanmar.

Q.1. What is the National Investigation Agency (NIA)?

The NIA Act was enacted on 31-12-08 and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was born. At present NIA is functioning as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency in India.

Q.2. What is Suspension of Operations (SoO)?

Suspension of Operations (SoO) is a tripartite agreement between the Government of India, the Manipur government, and Kuki-Zo insurgent groups that was signed in 2008. The agreement requires insurgents to remain in designated camps and keep their weapons in locked storage for regular monitoring.

Source: What are the NIA’s allegations against NSCN? | Explained

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