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'Khaplang never wanted ceasefire'

 NEW DELHI, Sep 18 (IANS): NSCN-K leader SS Khaplang never wanted ceasefire with the Indian government and had agreed to it only because of pressure from the Naga civil society, according to NSCN-Unification general secretary Kitovi Zhimomi.

"Actually, Khaplang was not in favour of ceasefire right from the beginning but could not resist the pressure of the civil society which was spearheaded by the NBCC (Nagaland Baptist Churches Council)," Zhimomi said in an interview published in the latest issue of the North East Sun magazine.

His comments came even as the central government on Wednesday banned the Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland for five years for abrogating the ceasefire with a series of attacks on Indian security forces starting in March.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) also on September 10 declared a bounty of Rs.7 lakh on Khaplang and Rs.10 lakh on another militant of the faction, Niki Sumi, for information leading to their arrest.

Zhimomi, who was the self-styled 'prime minister' of the Khaplang faction of the underground NSCN, left the outfit in 2011 after impeaching Khaplang for deciding on his own to abrogate the ceasefire that was in place since 2001.

"At the same time, we also tried to convince Khaplang to have the ceasefire in order to have a dialogue with the government of India," Zhimomi said.

"And in 2001, we signed the ceasefire. After 10 years of ceasefire, in 2011, Khaplang had already made up his mind to abrogate the ceasefire and ordered top functionaries to get inside Burma (Myanmar) by July 30 so that he could call for the boycott of the Indian Independence Day on August 15 in Nagaland."

According to Zhimomi, he as the then general secretary of the NSCN-K, immediately convened an emergency national meeting to deliberate on the issue.

"The house unanimously impeached Khaplang for taking such drastic decision on his own without taking parliament into confidence. It was on May 7, 2011. We impeached him for displaying dictatorial attitude and high handedness," the NSCN-U leader stated.

After this, Zhimomi, along with the then chief of the NSCN-K army, Khole Konyak, left Khaplang and the two then formed the NSCN-U on June 7, 2011. This faction entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Indian government on April 27, 2012.

According to Zhimomi, a number of insurgent groups from Assam and Manipur were with Khaplang and these groups together have formed a new organisation to fight the "common enemy", that is India.

Asked whether it was politics or money that was making Khaplang do what he was doing, the NSCN-U general secretary said: "I can say money because economically Khaplang was in such a horrible condition that it was ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom) and other groups who paid him for sustenance and survival. And he let his people from Burma (Myanmar) to work as porters for ULFA and other revolutionaries and collected money for it."

Coming to the framework agreement for a peace accord that the Indian government signed with the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) last month, he painted a bleak picture, saying that the Naga people have been kept in the dark from the entire process.

The NSCN-U on Tuesday backed out from the framework agreement between the Indian government and the NSCN (I-M).

"Now the government of India is also contradicting its own policy and principle. They say that they (India) are ready to solve any kind of problem though dialogue and negotiations and, at the same time, they say the territorial boundaries will not be changed," Zhimomi said.

"Unfortunately, (Thuingaleng) Muivah happens to be from Manipur and the government of India is using Muivah as the chief interlocutor to solve the Naga problem, whereas the Nagas of Nagaland have been kept in the dark."

"Whatever solution is brought about by Muivah, I am very doubtful that Naga people will accept it," he said.

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