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NIA’s claims against the NSCN.

NIA's claims against the NSCN.
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-National Investigation Agency filed charges against five individuals in a Guwahati court.
-Connection with the Naga insurgent group.
-Three primary ethnic groups in the state.

-Does the hill tribal group support valley-based rebels in Manipur?

On March 7, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a chargesheet in a Guwahati court accusing the “China-Myanmar module” of the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) of assisting banned Meitei organisations, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Kanglei Yaol Kanba Lup (KYKL), to infiltrate India. The NIA claimed to be exploiting ethnic strife in Manipur since May 2023 to undermine the state and wage war against the Indian government.

Primary ethnic groups.

Manipur has three primary ethnic groups: Meitei, Naga, and Kuki-Zomi-Mizo. The Meiteis, the largest community, make about 53% of the state’s total population of 27.21 lakh (2011 Census). The Nagas and Kuki-Zo belong to 34 Scheduled Tribes, accounting for 17% and 26% of the population, respectively. India and Myanmar have a 1,643 km unfenced border, including 398 kilometres along Manipur.
In January, the government fenced the border and ended the Free Movement Regime (FMR), which enabled people to travel without documentation or passports. Since 1968, people on both sides of the border have shared ethnic links, necessitating this arrangement.

Purpose of the chargesheet.

The chargesheet against five individuals, M. Anand Singh, A. Kajit Singh, Keisham Johnson, L. Michael Mangangcha, and K. Romojit Meitei, is the first official statement of linkages between the NSCN-IM and Imphal valley-based insurgent groups during the present ethnic crisis. On September 16, 2023, the Manipur Police arrested the accused in a vehicle disguised as a security vehicle. Three weapons and ammo stolen from police arsenals were retrieved. Following the arrests, Meira Paibi, a women’s collective in Manipur, protested and battled with police, demanding their release. Although the court granted them bail, Anand Singh was apprehended by the NIA and taken to Delhi.

According to the NIA, Anand Singh is a trained cadre of the PLA, one of eight Meitei insurgent groups outlawed by the MHA for campaigning for Manipur’s independence through armed conflict. The NIA reported that Singh participated in subversive actions alongside other valley-based rebel groups during ethnic conflicts. In July 2023, Singh participated in a weapons training programme held by PLA cadres at the Selloi Langamai Ecological Park near Keikhu. The course trained 80-90 young men in handling firearms, according to the NIA.

The PLA, founded in 1978, remains a deadly terror organisation in the northeast, led by M.M. Ngouba.
According to the NIA, the defendants “criminally conspired with intent to carry out violent terror attacks targeting the rival Kuki-Zo community with prohibited arms and ammunition which were looted from various government sources.”

Any other active insurgency groups.

In 2008, 24 Kuki-Zo rebel factions affiliated with the United Peoples’ Front (UPF) and the Kuki National Organisation (KNO) agreed to suspend activities with the MHA and Manipur government. On February 29, the Manipur administration refused to send a delegate for the annual extension of the accord, leaving it in limbo. Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh has accused certain groups of breaking ground norms and inciting violence in the state. After signing a peace deal, cadres are assigned to camps, and their weapons are regularly accounted for by a government-appointed security force.

The deal was signed following the 1990s Kuki-Naga hostilities, which resulted in hundreds of deaths. Insurgent organisations sought a separate country for the Kuki-Zo people. In the 1980s, the NSCN wanted the inclusion of Kuki-Zo-inhabited lands in its projected ‘Greater Nagaland’ project, which led to conflicts and deaths.

ABHISHEK VERMA

 

 


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