National Socialist Council of Nagaland

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Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland/Nagalim
Participant in the Insurgency in Northeast India
Unofficial flag of Nagaland.svg
Unofficial flag of Nagaland, used by the NSCN
Active January 31, 1980 (1980-01-31)–present
Ideology Naga nationalism[1][2]
Evangelical Christianity[3]
Groups NSCN-IM
NSCN-R (2015–present)
Leaders Thuingaleng Muivah
S. S. Khaplang<Khole-Khetovi>
Headquarters Hebron Camp
Suhroto Camp
Jhaluki Hidings
Other mobile camps
Area of operations
Size ~4,500 fighters[4]*<500 in Myanmar (Burma)[5]
Allies Zomi Revolutionary Army


 Myanmar (until 2012)

Battles and wars

The Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (abbreviated NSCN) is a Greater Naga Revolutionist, Christian[6][7] Naga nationalist insurgent group operating mainly in Northeast India, with minor activities in northwest Myanmar (Burma) until 2012.[1][8] The main goal of the organisation is to establish a sovereign Naga state, "Nagalim",[9] which would consist of all the areas inhabited by the Naga people in Northeast India and Northwest Myanmar.[4]

Two major factions of NSCN include NSCN (K), led by Khaplang; and NSCN (I-M), led by Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muviah.[10] The NSCN (K) has been designated a terrorist organisation in India under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.[11] As per the Indian Government report this is the major insurgent group operating in Nagaland.[12]


The word "Naga" denotes several ethnic tribes living on the Himalayan Range in Northeast India, which were brought under the control of British India during the 19th century. After India's independence, some Naga leaders tried to assert independence. In 1975, the separatist Naga National Council (NNC) gave up violence and signed the Shillong Accord with the Government of India. Some of the NNC leaders disapproved of this peace treaty: these leaders included Isak Chishi Swu of Sumi (Sema) tribe, Thuingaleng Muivah of Tangkhul tribe and S. S. Khaplang. These leaders formed the NSCN as a new separatist organization. NSCN started an underground Naga Federal government having both civil and military wings. Later, a disagreement surfaced within the outfit leaders over the issue of commencing dialogue with the Indian Government. On 30 April 1988, the NSCN split into two factions; the NSCN-K led by Khaplang, and the NSCN-IM, led by Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah. The split was accompanied by a spate of violence and clashes between the factions.

On 6 April 2015 a new faction NSCN (Reformation) was formed. Y. Wangtin Konyak and P. Tikhak officially announced the formation of a new Naga political group going by the name 'National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Reformation)' or NSCN (R). The decision came after Wangtin Konyak, a senior minister (Kilonser) and personal secretary to Khaplang and Tikhak, the spokesperson of the outfit were expelled by Khaplang after misunderstanding arose over the recent abrogation of ceasefire with the Government of India.

The duo, wanted to continue with the ceasefire maintaining that "violence has never served a good purpose and the Naga political problem can only be resolved through peace and negotiation" while Khaplang had it abrogated because the "14 years of ceasefire between NSCN (K) and India has become a mockery and futile exercise." The primary agenda of the new NSCN-R would be to "develop a sense of brotherhood among the Naga family and to rebuild the trust and faith among the Naga society.

On 3 August 2015 NSCN leader T Muivah signed a peace accord with the Government of India in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and NSA Ajit Doval.[13]


The objective of the NSCN was to establish a Sovereign, Naga State by unifying all the Naga-inhabited areas in the North East of India and Northern Burma which the organisation 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 organisation. Its manifesto is based on the principle of Socialism for economic development.

Jouranlist Bertil Lintner has described NSCN's ideology as "a mixture of evangelical Christianity and revolutionary socialism".[3] NSCN, and later NSCN (I-M), have explicitly stated that their vision of a sovereign Nagaland is a Christian one.[14] The NSCN (I-M) manifesto envisages the formation of an "Independent Sovereign Christian Scoialist Democratic Republic".[10]

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 organisation is felt. Its presence in neighbouring 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]

Late Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah, the founding fathers of NSCN-IM, was Chairman and General Secretary of NSCN-IM respectively and S. S. 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’ – Defence, 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 organisation 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/Nagalim (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. The group was previously backed by India’s intelligence agencies to weaken the main Naga insurgency.[15]

It is believed that NSCN patronised smaller extremists outfits in the North East of India by giving warfare and intelligence trainings and providing logistics for waging war against India.NSCN had also extreme links with its extremist partner ZRF and ZRO.

The government in India's north-eastern state of Tripura says it has evidence that the state's Baptist Church is involved in backing separatist rebels.[2]

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dholabhai, Nishit (18 February 2011). "NSCN wants swift solution". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. 
  2. ^ a b "BBC News - SOUTH ASIA - 'Church backing Tripura rebels'". Retrieved 29 November 2016. 
  3. ^ a b A. S. Atai Shimray (2005). Let Freedom Ring?: Story of Naga Nationalism. Bibliophile South Asia. p. 175. ISBN 978-81-85002-61-3. 
  4. ^ a b Lyle Morris (22 March 2011). "Is China Backing Indian Insurgents?". The Diplomat. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  5. ^ O2. "NSCN-K". Retrieved 29 November 2016. 
  6. ^ Buddhists allege NSCN-IM threat, Indian Express
  7. ^ Dr. Kunal Ghosh (1 January 2008). Separatism in North-East India: Role of Religion, Language and Script. Suruchi Prakashan. pp. 57–. ISBN 978-81-89622-33-6. 
  8. ^ "Police, NSCN militants exchange fire". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 2 July 2004. 
  9. ^ "National Socialist Council of Nagaland - Isak-Muivah". Retrieved 29 November 2016. 
  10. ^ a b Jangkholam Haokip (14 August 2014). Can God Save My Village?: A Theological Study of Identity among the Tribal People of North-East India with a Special Reference to the Kukis of Manipur. Langham Monographs. pp. 41–42. ISBN 978-1-78368-981-1. 
  11. ^ "Government declares NSCN (K) as terrorist organization under UAPA". Retrieved 2015-11-17. 
  12. ^ Chapter 2, Annual Report 2016 -17 (2017). Internal Security. New Delhi: Ministry of Home Affairs. p. 17. 
  13. ^ "Government signs landmark Nagaland peace treaty with NSCN(I-M) in presence of PM Narendra Modi". The Economic Times. India. 3 August 2015. 
  14. ^ Minoru Mio; Abhijit Dasgupta (2017). Rethinking Social Exclusion in India: Castes, Communities and the State. Taylor & Francis. p. 186. ISBN 978-1-351-98322-8. 
  15. ^ "India’s north-east: The spoils of peace". The Economist. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 

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