National Socialist Council of Nagaland - Isak-Muivah
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 NNC (Naga National Council) with the Indian government. 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 factions, 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 Nagaland’ (‘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 – ‘Nagaland for Christ’.
Area of Operation
The NSCN-IM primarily consists of Tangkhul Nagas who are in a majority in parts of Nagaland and the hills of Manipur. Its influence inside Manipur is restricted to the four districts of Senapati, Ukhrul, Chandel and Tamenglong. The outfit has also established its presence in Wokha, Phek, Zunebhoto, Kohima, parts of Mokokchung and Tuensang districts of Nagaland. It has also been able to extend its influence to the Naga-inhabited areas of North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong districts of Assam and some parts of Arunanchal Pradesh.
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
batallions. There are also several ‘town commands’ and specialised mobile
groups. S Hungshi is the ‘Commander-in-Chief’ of the Naga Army.
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 estimated 4,500 strong cadre base. It is supported by a section of Aos, Semas, Zeilangs, Anals, Maos and Manipur-based Tangkhul Nagas.
The NSCN (IM) has been passing its annual budget to the tune of Rs 200 million to Rs 250 million each year.
Drug trafficking from Myanmar is reported to be a major source of income for the NSCN-IM, and it also reportedly engages in extortion, bank robberies and other criminal pursuits to obtain finance. In addition, the outfit generates funds through international mobilization. Both the NSCN-IM and the NSCN-K run parallel structures of ‘taxation’ (extortion) throughout the regions that they dominate.
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 Myanmar, and drug trafficking from Myanmar is a major source of income.
NSCN-IM uses money earned through narcotics trade to buy arms and also pay for training of their cadres. 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 Myanmar. 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.
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 National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah group) 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 indicate that Pakistani embassy officials in Thailand provide assistance to the NSCN-IM and other North-Eastern insurgent groups in procuring weapons.