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NIA Charges China-Myanmar Module of NSCN in Infiltration Case

Context:

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a charge sheet in March 2024, alleging the involvement of the “China-Myanmar module” of the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) in aiding two banned Meitei outfits, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Kanglei Yaol Kanba Lup (KYKL), to infiltrate India. The charge sheet, filed in a court in Guwahati, marks a significant development in efforts to counter cross-border infiltration activities.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Charge Sheet Filed by NIA Accusing NSCN
  2. Insurgency in Manipur

Charge Sheet Filed by NIA Accusing NSCN:

  • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a charge sheet against five individuals, marking the first official statement linking NSCN-IM with Imphal Valley-based insurgent groups amidst the ongoing ethnic crisis.
    • Ethnic violence erupted on May 3, 2023, in Manipur, Northeast India, between the Meitei majority living in the Imphal Valley and the Kuki-Zo tribal community from surrounding hills.
    • Tensions escalated as Kukis protested against Meiteis’ demands for official tribal status, fearing it would enhance Meitei influence in governance and society, affecting land rights and settlements in Kuki areas.

NIA Allegations:

  • The accused were charged with conspiring to carry out violent terror attacks against the rival Kuki-Zo community using prohibited arms, which were reportedly looted from various government sources.

NSCN’s Response:

  • NSCN issued a statement accusing Indian security forces of supporting Kuki militant groups to engage in warfare against Meitei revolutionary groups in Myanmar.
Main Ethnic Groupings of Manipur:
  • The Meitei, Naga, and Kuki-Zomi-Mizo are the three primary ethnic groups in Manipur.
  • Meiteis constitute the largest community, comprising approximately 53% of the state’s total population.
  • Nagas and Kuki-Zo, categorized into 34 Scheduled Tribes, make up around 17% and 26% of the population, respectively.

Insurgency in Manipur:

  • Manipur is embroiled in an ongoing armed conflict between India and several separatist rebel groups.
  • The insurgency is part of the wider insurgency in Northeast India, blending elements of a national liberation war and an ethnic conflict.

Historical Background:

  • Following the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891, the Kingdom of Manipur became a British protectorate.
  • Manipur merged into India in October 1949 and attained statehood in 1972.
Rise of Insurgency:
  • Manipur’s integration into India led to the emergence of insurgent organizations seeking an independent state within Manipur’s borders.
  • The insurgency arose in the late 1960s and 1970s, with the founding of the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) in November 1964.
  • Kuki-Naga clashes erupted in the 1990s, fueled by the demand for inclusion of Kuki-Zo-inhabited areas in the proposed ‘Greater Nagaland’ project by NSCN.
  • Insurgent groups demanded autonomy for the Kuki-Zo people.
Active Insurgent Groups:
  • Nearly 30 Kuki insurgent groups operate in Manipur, with 25 under tripartite Suspension of Operations (SoO) with the Indian government and the state.
  • In February 2024, Manipur government refused to extend the SoO pact, accusing groups of violating ground rules and instigating violence.

Naga Insurgency:

Formation of NNC:

  • The Naga National Council (NNC) was established in April 1946 to advocate for the social and political advancement of the Nagas.
  • Following the return of the influential Naga leader, Angami Zapu Phizo, from Burma in 1947, the faction within NNC pushing for complete independence gained momentum.

Shillong Accord and NNC Split:

  • The Shillong Accord, signed in 1975 by the Indian Government and certain NNC leaders, aimed to renounce violence and seek a resolution to the Naga issue within the Indian Constitution.
  • Phizo, Isak Swu, and Muivah opposed the accord. Subsequently, Isak Swu and Muivah formed the “National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN)” in January 1980.
  • NSCN later divided into two factions: NSCN (I-M) led by Isak & Muivah, and NSCN (K) led by Khaplang.

Demands of NSCN-IM:

  • NSCN-IM has been advocating for:
  • ‘Greater Nagaland,’ which entails expanding Nagaland’s boundaries to incorporate Naga-dominated regions in neighboring Assam, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh, aiming to unify over 1.2 million Nagas.
  • A separate flag and constitution.

2015 Framework Agreement (FA):

  • The Central Government signed a framework agreement with NSCN (I-M) on August 3, 2015, to address the Naga conflict.
  • This agreement served as a framework, with several details yet to be finalized.
  • Talks continued to refine the specifics of the FA.
  • However, discussions hit a roadblock in June 2022 after NSCN accused the appointed interlocutor of omitting three crucial political points.

-Source: The Hindu, Indian Express


June 2024
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