Three months after it carried out an ambush in Manipur in which 18 Army personnel were killed, Naga insurgent group NSCN(K) was banned by the government for five years. The decision to ban the outfit was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.
“The NSCN(K) responsible for explosions, ambushes and bombings has been declared as an unlawful organisation for a period of five years,” said Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. “This has been done based on objective evidence,” he said, adding that the Centre is in favour of holding a dialogue with all Northeast insurgent groups.
The decision comes days after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) declared a reward of Rs 7 lakh for information on S S Khaplang, believed to be in Taga, a border town in Myanmar, and Rs 10 lakh for one of his deputies Niki Sumi, for their role in the Manipur ambush.
Sources said there were differences of opinion within the government on whether to declare the NSCN(K) an unlawful outfit under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. While home ministry officials were clear that the outfit should be banned, the government-appointed interlocutor for Naga peace talks, R N Ravi, was reported to be in favour of renewed talks with the outfit.
The NSCN was formed on January 31, 1980, and later split into two factions in April 1988. While NSCN (Isak-Muivah) entered into a framework peace agreement with the government in August, NSCN (Khaplang) had unilaterally abrogated the 2001 ceasefire agreement with the government on March 27.
After abrogating the ceasefire agreement, NSCN(K) launched a series of attacks on security forces, the worst being the ambush on June 5. Later, the Army conducted military operations inside Myanmar inflicting what it called “significant casualties” on NSCN(K) and the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL).