Security sources said that death of Khaplang has been a setback for the insurgent groups, which were operating from Myanmar.
Guwahati: Prior to his death on Friday, Shangwang Shangyung Khaplang, chief of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) has created a second rung of leadership led by his deputy Khango Konyak who may take over the responsibility of the organisation soon.
However, security sources said that death of Khaplang has been a major setback for the insurgent groups, which were operating from Myanmar.
Pointing out that Khaplang was pillar of the insurgency thriving from Myanmar, security sources said that Khaplang has created a command area on both side the international border.
Informing that a “Command Certificate” given by Khaplang to the cadres of all the insurgent groups operating from his base in Taga in Myanmar used to facilitate a free movement of armed cadres in Naga dominated villages on either side of the international border, security sources said that no other Naga rebel leader has such influence to issue command certificate which will be honoured by all the Naga village heads.
After Angami Zapu Phizo, Khaplang was the tallest Naga rebel leader who dominated the insurgency of Northeast for last 50 years, security sources said adding that Khaplang was the unifying factor for the insurgent groups of the region. He was also heading – United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFW) – an umbrella organisation of Northeast insurgent groups. Security sources said that it has to be seen that who succeeds Khaplang in UNLFW. Though, elusive Ulfa (I) chief Paresh Baruah is the most senior leader, he doesn’t have strength of his organisation to stake claim.
Security sources said that Khaplang had very strong connection with Chinese agencies also. Pointing out that split had started in NSCN (K) on the issue of leadership, security sources said that his death would widen the divide of “Myanmar origin” and “Indian origin” Nagas in the outfit.
The NSCN (K) led by Khaplang had not only been facilitating shelter for insurgent groups of Assam and Manipur in Myanmar but also helping them in procurement of arms and ammunitions.
Khaplang had started his liberation struggle first by setting up the Naga Defence Force (NDF), one of the early Naga revolutionary group, in 1964 and became the leader of the Eastern Naga Revolutionary Council (ENRC) four years later. When the Naga National Council (NNC) under Angami Zapu Phizo formed in 1946, sought China's help, its two senior leaders Isak Chisi Swu and Thuinaleng Muivah came in close contact with Khaplang, who became part of NNC.
The trio formed National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) on January 31, 1980 after breaking away from NNC opposing the Shillong Accord signed between NNC and the Indian government. Eight years later Khaplang broke away from NSCN-IM.
Khaplang had also entered into a ceasefire agreement with New Delhi in 1999 but walked out of it after 14 years on March 27, 2015.
A Burmese national and hailing from the Hemi Naga Tribe, Khaplang was born in 1940 in Waktham village just east of Myanmar's Pangsau Pass, next to the international border with India in Nagaland.