GUWAHATI: Shangwang Shangyung Khaplang or S S Khaplang, the chief of Naga insurgent group NSCN-K, died in Myanmar on Friday. He was 77. According to the reports, he died of old age ailments.
The reports said Khango Konyak took over as the chairman of NSCN-K. “We learnt that he died towards the evening today (Friday) at Taga (in Myanmar). As he was not keeping well, he had to undergo a surgery earlier. His health was very bad,” Nagaland director general of police, L L Doungel, told The New Indian Express. The NSCN-K and several insurgent groups of the Northeast region have their bases in Taga along the Manipur-Myanmar border.
Last year, Khaplang was admitted to a Yangon hospital as he was suffering from a medical condition complicated by diabetes.
His treatment then was facilitated by the Myanmar government, which arranged for his travel from the Taga base to Yangon. Khaplang was associated with the Naga insurgency movement for more than five decades.
Born in 1940 in Waktham village near the Pangsau Pass in Myanmar, Khaplang, a Hemi (tribe) Naga, was the youngest of 10 siblings. He had joined the insurgency movement at a very early age. In 1964, Khaplang floated the Naga Defence Force and later, served the Eastern Naga Revolutionary Council as its chairman.
During the 1960s when the Naga insurgency movement was peaking, he was entrusted with the task of assisting young recruits to go to China for arms training. It was then that he came close to the late Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah. In 1980, the trio had formed the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN).
However, eight years later, the outfit suffered a split with Khaplang leading a faction which later came to be known as the NSCN-K. Swu and Muivah led the other faction called NSCN-IM. Swu died of illness at a New Delhi hospital last year.
In 2015, several insurgent outfits of the Northeast came under an umbrella organisation “United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia” (UNLFW) and Khaplang was chosen as its chairman.