Naga rebel SS Khaplang forgiven in death

The Isak-Muivah faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) said Satuday it has "forgiven SS Khaplang for all the political mistakes and crimes he had committed, however grave they may be".

Khaplang was a Naga from Myanmar and was a father figure for North-eastern ultras taking shelter in Myanmar. He was also the leader of the United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia.

Dimapur, June 10 (MExN): Several nationalist political groups today paid rich tributes to the NSCN (K) Chairman SS Khaplang who passed away in Taka on June 9.

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Khaplang died at the NSCN-K council headquarters in Takka in Myanmar's Sagaing Division. It could not be invited to peace talks, however, since Khaplang was a Myanmar national - provoking him to walk out of the ceasefire in 2015.

Konyak, who held the rank of Lieutenant General in the Naga Army - the armed wing of the NSCN-K, was elected as Vice Chairman of NSCN-K in May 2011.

Khaplang, a Hemi Naga from Myanmar, formed the NSCN on January 31, 1980 along with Isak Chishi Swu, and Thuingaleng Muivah. Later, he became vice chairman of the Eastern Naga Revolutionary Council.

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However, the group split in 1988, with Khaplang parting ways with Swu and Muivah due to clan rivalries between the Konyaks of Nagaland's Monday district and the Tangkhuls of Manipur's Ukhrul district.

After Angami Zapu Phizo, Khaplang was the tallest Naga rebel leader who dominated the insurgency of Northeast for last 50 years, sources said, adding he was the unifying factor for the insurgent groups of the region. This led to Khaplang's soldiers chasing out the Indian Nagas from Myanmar. While the government has signed a framework agreement with the NSCN (I-M) in August 2015, Khapalang walked out of the ceasefire in early 2015 and made a decision to team up with the Paresh Baruah faction of the ULFA and KYKL (a Manipur insurgent group). Khaplang, whose faction had pulled out of the ceasefire with New Delhi, carried a reward of Rs 7 lakh on his head for his capture.

Making the appeal while talking to media on the sidelines of a government programme here, he assured that the government is ready to rehabilitate everyone who is ready to shun violence.

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