National Socialist Council of Nagaland

National Socialist Council of Nagaland
Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland
Founder Isak Chisi Swu, Thuingaleng Muivah, S.S. Khaplang.
Founded 31 January 1980

~4,500 fighters[1]

website = [1]
Ideology The establishment of sovereign "Greater Nagalim" (Naga homeland)
International affiliation Operations in India

The Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) is a Naga nationalist militant group operating in Northeast India.[2][3] Its aim is to establish a Christian socialist state based on Maoism[4] in 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 Chisi 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, differences surfaced within the outfit over the issue of commencing a dialogue process with the Indian Government and on April 30, 1988, the NSCN split into two fractions, namely the NSCN-K led by S S Khaplang, and the NSCN-IM, led by Isak Chisi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah.


The outfit aims to establish a ‘Greater Nagalim’ (‘Nagalim’ or the People’s Republic of Nagaland) based on Mao Tse Tung’s ideology. Its manifesto is based on the principle of Socialism for economic development and a spiritual outlook – ‘Nagalim for Christ’.

Area of Operation

The NSCN (IM) primarily consists of the Nagas in Nagaland and Naga tribes in other northeastern states like Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur, and some in Myanmar. The four hill areas of Manipur are occupied and belongs to Naga Tribes. Its influence inside Manipur is mainly to the four districts namely, Senapati district, Ukhrul district, Chandel district and Tamenglong District. The outfit has also established its presence in Wokha, Phek, Kohima, Mokokchung and Tuensang districts of Nagaland. It has also been able to extend its influence to the Naga-inhabited areas of Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong districts of Assam, some parts of Arunanchal Pradesh and Myanmar.

Leadership and Structure

Thuingaleng Muivah, the General Secretary, and Isak Chisi Swu, Chairman of the NSCN-IM are based in Thailand. I Shimray is another top leader of the outfit. Hungshi is the ‘press and publicity secretary’ of the group. The outfit also has a military wing — the Naga Army, comprising one brigade and six battalions. There are also several ‘town commands’ and specialised mobile groups. S Hungshi is the ‘Commander-in-Chief’ of the Naga Army.

Kraibo Chawang is the 'Deputy Kilonser (cabinet minister), Ministry of Information & Publicity (MIP)' and A K Lungalung is the 'Home Minister' (Kilo-Kilonser) of the outfit. Further, while V. Horam is the 'Deputy Home Minister', V. S. Atem is the 'Convener, Steering Committee'.

On the political front, the [NSCN-IM] has divided its area of influence into 11 regions, which are organised primarily on tribal considerations. In many areas, it runs a parallel government. There are four major ‘Ministries’ – defence, home, finance and foreign. Besides, 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 seeks to replace the State government machinery. The heads of 11 administrative regions report to the ‘Home Minister’ (Kilo Kilonser). The ‘administration’ deepens down to the town and village levels in the NSCN-IM’s areas of influence. R H Raising and Himpa Pochury are ‘Home’ and ‘Defence’ ‘Ministers’, respectively. Angelus Shimrah is the spokesperson of the NSCN-IM.

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.

It has an estimate of more than 10,000 strong cadre base. It is supported by people of civil societies among Nagas cutting across the present states of Nagaland, Manipur, sections of Assam and Arunachal; and people of Nagas at Mayanmar.

The [NSCN (IM)] has been passing its annual budget to the tune of Rs 200 million to Rs 250 million each year.

Mention may be made that NSCN(IM) used to view Kukis (another ethnic tribe in Manipur) as their enemy since the latter came to engage in a portion of the territory claimed by NSCN(IM) to be part of their dream "Nagalim". Kukis like Nagas are hill tribe and follow Christianity as their faith. Both sides are at loggerhead as Kukis opposed the merger of land they occupied to be a part of Nagalim. And then a bloody conflict erupted between the two opposing ethnic tribes in the nineties in which several lives and properties have been loss. It was a fight between the Kaccha Nagas and the kukis for territory and the Kaccha Nagas unnecessarily dragged the whole of the Nagas even though the tactics followed by the Kaccha Nagas were vehemently opposed by the Nagas of Nagaland. It is understood that the kaccha Nagas instigated by the NSCN(IM) were able to capture majority of the lands engaged by kukis. Thousands of Kukis fled their homesteads for their survival in safer areas after losing their land. Till today, the Kukis are crying for justice. Now an understanding seems to prevail among the ethnic groups even though this understanding is held together by just a thread.


Over the years, the NSCN-IM has developed extensive linkages both within India and outside, and has also been receiving substantial assistance from neighbouring countries. The form of this assistance ranges from supply of arms and ammunition and other logistical support, to provision of safe havens, camping and training facilities. Till 1971, the US was a major provider of arms, finance and intelligence.

The erstwhile East Pakistan had also provided assured supplies of money and arms, Till the late 1980s, China also provided support to the organisation. Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) now provides a large component of finance, arms and logistic support to the NSCN-IM.

The NSCN-IM has linkages with the Naga groups operating in Burma.

The outfit also runs camps for training other militant outfits on a purely mercenary basis. They have established reliable contacts for arms procurement in Thailand and other South East Asian nations, and have very well established links for transportation through Bangladesh and Burma. With the funds generated through its various financial operations, as well as from aid provided by the ISI provides, the NSCN-IM has purchased large stocks of Chinese AK rifles, machine guns, mortars and explosives from black markets in South East Asian and Bangladesh.

Prior to his arrest by Thai authorities in January 2000, Muivah was spotted in Karachi and was believed to have visited some other places as well in Pakistan, besides having met various people there. He was arrested at Bangkok on arrival on a flight from Karachi for travelling on a fake South Korean passport. (rectification required)

A top-NSCN-IM functionary was reportedly dispatched to strike a deal with Chinese officials in the Kuming province to provide them with a ‘major arms consignment’; and the NSCN-IM was pleading with the Chinese to use their good offices to secure a passage for the consignment through the territory controlled by the Kachin rebels. Reports of February 2000 indicated that the [NSCN-IM] have a "full-fledged liaison office" in territories in China across the border with Arunachal Pradesh.

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

Insurgents of the NSCN-IM are reportedly being trained at two camps in Pakistan. The NSCN (IM) has a group of its strong supporters in Thailand. Most of them operate front companies – mainly in travel and tourism, real estate and toy manufacture. The NSCN also has a large number of bank accounts in Thailand, Bangladesh and Burma.

NSCN-IM's weapons are smuggled from the Thai-Cambodian border. Reports[who?] indicate that Pakistani embassy officials in Thailand provide assistance to the NSCN-IM and other North-Eastern insurgent groups in procuring weapons.

A one hundred page report[5] compiled by the Indian government allegest that the Peoples Republic of China offered to sell surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) to the NSCN-IM in a deal worth US$1 million. The deal fell through because NSCN-IM did not have the money to pay for the sale. In return for Chinese support the NSCN-IM had agreed to supply information to the Chinese on Indian army deplyments as well as aircraft and missile positions in the China-India border region of Twang in Arunachal Pradesh.[1]

A brief history of Naga insurgency

The word "Naga" denotes a conglomeration of ethnic tribes living on the Himalayan Range in North East India. Angami, Ao, Chakesang, Konyak, Kyong, Poumai, Rengma, Sumi,Mao, Tangkhul, Sangtam, Poumai, Zeliangrong, Phom, Nocte, Maring, etc.. are some important tribes of Naga. It is not to be confused with the Hindu Naga (Sadhus) which derived the name from "Nag" which in Hindi means Cobra.

The origins of Naga separatism can be traced back to the founding of the Naga Club, in Kohima in 1918 by a group of western 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 known as Phizo, 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) for Japan against Allied Force with the hope of getting freedom. The Naga Club transformed into the Nagaland National Council (NNC) in 1946, the precursor of the NSCN to voice for naga freedom. However, they were disappointed by the policy frameworks of the Indian Nation Congress. Subsequently, they went underground and started engaging in guerrilla warfare against Indian Security Force.

The NNC under Phizo's instigation declared Nagaland Independence on the 14th of August 1947. It was greeted with great euphoria which echoed all over the hills. Phizo was arrested in 1948 by the Indian Government on the charges of instigating a rebellion. On his release, Phizo was made the president of the NNC in 1950. He used his new found status and clout among the hill tribes to gather their support to realize his dream of a sovereign Nagaland. It is widely believed that he even organized an unofficial referendum to substantiate his claims that the Naga favored independence from India. In 1952, he met Jawahar Lal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India to chalk out pathway for Naga Independence but it was clogged with many incompatible issues from both the sides.

The Indian army marched to quell the rebellion, but Phizo escaped to East Pakistan and from there to London, where he remained till his death in 1990. But the armed rebellion was pursued by a section of the NNC. An agreement was reached by the Indian Government and the NNC in the year 1975. This came to be known as the Shillong Accord. However a section of hardcore militants in the NNC were disappointed with the NNC top brass signing the pact and they decided to go underground to start a more radical separatist movement. This led to the formation of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland or the NSCN in the late 1970s. The nucleus of the group which founded the NSCN included Isaac Chishi Swu, T Muivah and Khaplang. The NSCN started an underground Naga Federal government. It had a council of ministers led by a prime minister. The title given to the Prime Minister was "ato kilonser" and the ministers were given the title of "kilonser". The NSCN also got plenty of support in arms, ammunition, cash and other resources from the People's Republic of China, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The porous borders, especially the one with Burma, meant that they could easily escape to foreign territory.

The NSCN suffered from a split in the late 1980s and broke into two factions, the NSCN(IM) and the NSCN (Khaplang). The former is led by Isaac Chishi Swu and T Muivah, while the latter was led by Khaplang

See also


External links

  • [2] National Socialist Council of Nagaland - Isak-Muivah
  • Northeast Echoes by Patricia Mukhim, Telegraph India, June 22, 2009

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