Shangwang Shangyung Khaplang,77, died following a cardiac arrest in his birthplace in Kachin state of Myanmar on Friday night. One of the most wanted rebel Naga leader, SS Khaplang was the chief of Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang). He was also known as the mastermind behind several attacks on security forces in the past few years in the North-East, including the killing of 18 Army soldiers in Manipur.
Here are some important points about the life and time of the Naga rebel leader:
- Khaplang was a Hemi Naga from Myanmar and based mostly in that country, where the outfit maintains several camps. Since 1980s, the NSCN-K has been engaged in subversive activities, including attacks on Indian security forces, extortion and looting.
- Born in April 1940 in Waktham village, east of Myanmar’s Pangsau Pass, Khaplang joined the Naga nationalist movement as early as 1964 and was one of the key persons behind the formation of the NSCN.
- Khaplang split and formed his own group NSCN-K in 1988.
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- Chief of NSCN-K, Khaplang was in the core team of insurgency operations of NSCN since its inception. He formed the group following differences with the NSCN-IM (Isak-Muivah) leaders Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah. Swu died in June 2016 in a Delhi hospital.
- In 1997, Khaplang entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Central government but abrogated it on March 28, 2015.
- Khaplang was youngest of as many as 10 siblings. Khaplang used to claim that he first attended an Assamese medium school in Margherita (Assam) before joining the Baptist Mission School in Myitkina, Kachin state in 1959 to shift to another missionary school in Kalemyo in 1962 to finally drop out, according to The Indian Express. Khaplang later shifted to another missionary school in Kalemyo in 1962 and then finally droppoed out.
- Khaplang, as a child, had seen the Second World War standing amidst it, which probably inspired him to float the Naga Defence Force (NDF) in 1964, and then to become first vice-chairman and then chairman of Eastern Naga Revolutionary Council (ENRC) that he and a few others formed in 1965.
- Khaplang’s NDF and subsequently known as ENRC, which used to provide safe passage to Phizo’s NNC men to China for training and weapons, however, soon merged with Phizo’s Naga National Council (NNC), where he soon rose to become its vice-chairman in 1974.
- Khaplang had three sons and a daughter and they are settled far from the rebellion.
On Friday, as Khaplang breathed his last after a prolonged illness at the NSCN(K) headquarters at Taga, yet another top leader of the Naga movement bid adieu.
Less than a year ago, Issak Chisi Swu, Chairman of the NSCN(IM) faction passed away on June 28, 2016.