National Socialist Council of Nagaland

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Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland
Founded 31 January 1980
Membership ~4,500 fighters[1]
Ideology Naga Nationalism
International affiliation Operations in India

The Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) is a Naga nationalist militant group operating in Northeast India.[2][3] The main aim of the organization is to establish a sovereign state, "Nagalim" [4] unifying all the areas inhabited by the Naga people in Northeast India and Burma.[1]


The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) was formed on January 31, 1980 by Isak Chishi Swu, Thuingaleng Muivah and S.S. Khaplang opposing the Shillong Accord signed by the then Naga National Council (NNC) with the Government of India. Later, misunderstanding surfaced within the outfit leaders over the issue of commencing negotiation dialogue with the Indian Government and on April 30, 1988, the NSCN split into two fractions; the NSCN-K led by S S Khaplang, and the NSCN-IM, led by Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah. The split triggered spat of violence and factional clash between the factions.


The objective of the NSCN was to establish a Sovereign State by unifying all the Naga-inhabited areas in the North East of India and Northern Burma which the organization and the people of the area proposed as Nagalim. Unification of all Naga tribes under one administration and 'liberating' Nagalim from India is listed as one of the supposed main objectives of the organization.

Area of operation[edit]

NSCN is active in North East India. The state of Nagaland and the hill districts in Manipur inhabited by the Nagas are the main areas where strong influence and presence of the organization is felt. Its presence in the neighboring states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are also widely acknowledged. On the international level, the presence and influence of the NSCN in the Northern part of Myanmar that are inhabited by the Naga tribes dates back to the time when the Nagas started their freedom struggle.

Leadership and structure[edit]

Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah, the founding fathers of NSCN-IM, is Chairman and General Secretary of NSCN-IM respectively and SS Khaplang is the Chairman of the NSCN-K.

On the political front, the [NSCN-IM] has divided its area of influence into 11 regions based on sub-tribe considerations and administrative convenience. In many areas, it runs a parallel government. There are four major ‘Ministries’ – Defense, Home, Finance and Foreign Affairs. Moreover, there are five other Ministries including Education, Information and Publicity, Forests and Minerals, Law and Justice and Religious Affairs. The most prominent among the Ministries is the ‘Home ministry’, which is considered as a replacement of the Indian State government machinery. The heads of 11 administrative regions report to the ‘Home Minister’ (Kilo Kilonser). The devolution of administrative arms of the organization goes down to the town and village levels in the NSCN-IM’s areas of influence.

The outfit has also established a government-in-exile called the Government of the People’s Republic of Nagaland (GPRN) which, interacts with formal and non-formal world bodies and media. The GPRN sends emissaries abroad to garner support and raise funds for the Naga cause..


Over the years, the NSCN-IM has tried to develop extensive linkages both within and outside India. It is alleged that Pakistan and China are providing finance as well as arms and ammunition to NSCN in their fight for independence against the Indian Government.

It is believed that NSCN patronized smaller extremists outfits in the North East of India by giving warfare and intelligence trainings and providing logistics for waging war against India.

The outfit has also opened up contacts with international organizations like the UN Human Rights Organization in Geneva, Unrepresented Nations People's Organization (UNPO) at the Hague and the UN Working Group on Indigenous People (UNWGIP).

China is also instrumental in providing training and arms, which was established after the arrest of the top NSCN IM leader Anthony Shimray. After his arrest by the Indian intelligence agencies he also revealed that he was tasked by Chinese intelligence agencies to collect and gather intelligence on Indian troop deployments in north eastern states of India. Further it is also alleged that NSCN is the major faction that helps many other minor militant outfits in north east and is widely accepted as the main reason of continued insurgency in north eastern states of Indian republic.

A brief history of Naga insurgency[edit]

The word "Naga" denotes a conglomeration of ethnic tribes living on the Himalayan Range in North East India. Angami, Ao, Chakesang, Konyak, Lotha , Pochury, Rengma, Sumi, Maram, Mao, Tangkhul, Thangal, Sangtam, Poumai, Zeliangrong, Phom, Nocte, Maring, etc. are some important sub-tribes of Naga. It is not to be confused with the Hindu Naga (Sadhus).It is the British who brought the several tribes on these Hills under the umbrella of "Naga" probably on the basis of ethnicity founded on their dissimilarity with people in the region.

The origin of Naga Struggle is traced back to the founding of the Naga Club, in Kohima in 1918 by a group of educated Nagas. They submitted a memorandum to the Simon Commission to exclude the Nagas from any constitutional framework of India. With the coming of Angami Zapu Phizo, popularly called as Phizo, the Naga Movement gained momentum in the late 1940s.

Phizo along with some other prominent leaders fought on the side of the Indian National Army (of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose) under the Japanese command against the Allied Force with the hope of attaining freedom. The Naga Club later became the Naga National Council (NNC) in 1946, the precursor of the NSCN to voice for Naga freedom. Disappointed by the policy frameworks of the Indian National Congress, they went underground and started engaging in guerrilla warfare against Indian Security Forces.

The NNC under Phizo's leadership declared Independence of Nagaland on the 14th of August 1947. It was greeted with great euphoria which echoed all over the Naga hills. Phizo was arrested in 1948 by the Indian Government on charges of rebellion. On his release, Phizo was made the President of the NNC in 1950. In 1952, he met Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India to chalk out pathway for Naga's Independence. The meeting was un-successful with both the parties remaining steadfast to their view points and demands.

The Indian army then marched in to suppress the rebellion and to track down Phizo, however, Phizo managed to escape to East Pakistan and from there to London, where he remain exiled till his death in 1990. The armed rebellion continued led by a section of the NNC leaders. An agreement was reached by the Indian Government and the NNC in the year 1975. This came to be known as the Shillong Accord, which some leaders in the NNC called as total betrayal including Isak Chishi Swu, Th Muivah and Khaplang. This led to the formation of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland or the NSCN in the late 1970s under the leadership of Isak Chishi Swu, Thuingaleng Muivah and Khaplang. It started an underground Naga Federal government having both Civil and Military wings. It again split into two factions in the late 1980s: the NSCN (IM) and the NSCN (Khaplang).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lyle Morris (22 March 2011). "Is China Backing Indian Insurgents?". The Diplomat. Retrieved April 27, 2011. 
  2. ^ Dholabhai, Nishit (18 February 2011). "NSCN wants swift solution". The Telegraph (Calcutta, India). 
  3. ^ "Police, NSCN militants exchange fire". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 2 July 2004. 
  4. ^

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