Myanmar Naga rebel leader S S Khaplang is under attack from erstwhile comrades who allege he is being manipulated by an Assamese separatist chieftain Paresh Barua.
"S.S.Khaplang is in the grip of Paresh Baruah, the Commander in Chief of ULFA. He has reduced himself to just a nominal head of the party. He is more being utilized by outsiders to suit their agenda rather than by an insiders," said a statement released on May 30 by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Reformation), a faction led by Wangting Ao and P Thikhak.
These two former loyalists of Khaplang broke away after the Myanmar Naga leader reneged on his ceasefire with India and ordered attacks on Indian security forces.
That provoked Naga civil society groups and political leaders in India, used to 18 years of peace, to lash out against Khaplang.
Many of his followers belonging to Indian Naga tribes broke away from Khaplang and former NSCN (Reformation).
"The issue of sovereignty has also become merely a subject to keep his kitchen burning," the NSCN (R) statement said.
Looking back at history, it said that the United Liberation Front of Assam was supported by Khaplang ever since they were thrown out of Bangladesh.
"The ULFA which was totally grounded after the arrest of all their top leaders in Bangladesh was fed by the NSCN (K) for almost about a year. They completely ran out of cash and resources to run their organization. They were almost choked after most of their leaders were either arrested or surrendered and later chose to enter into ceasefire with the GOI," the statement said.
The NSCN (R) statement levelled a more direct allegation, in a way to justify their break-up with Khaplang .
"Taking advantage of Khaplang who is catching up with age Mr Baruah is trying to make maximum use of the situation in his favour. He is trying to rejuvenate and restructure his own party by using the Nagas of eastern Nagaland and particularly the NSCN (K) as a launching pad. How long will our people from Eastern Nagaland in Myanmar and border area suffer for the non-Naga groups? How long will the non-Naga groups keep taking advantage of their nexus with Khaplang? How long will our people feed them and at the same time face atrocities in the hands of non-Nagas?."
The statement alleged that Paresh Barua and his comrades were enjoying a "five star life" in Bangladesh for two decades when the Khaplang faction was facing great adversity before 2009.
"All their top leaders chose to stay in Bangladesh rather than Burma. None of their top leaders visited Burma or came to the rescue of NSCN(K) when it was facing serious political and financial crisis. Was not Mr Baruah enjoying a 5-star life in Bangladesh while Khaplang was going through all thick and thin and sometimes even without food in his thatch house? Mr Baruah is back to Myanmar only to save his head after a death sentence in Bangladesh," said the statement.
"The recent attack on the security forces at Changlangshu, regarded as sacred by the Christians all across the globe is the glaring example of how Mr Khaplang has been misused, misguided and misled ... This attack has clearly indicated that Paresh Baruah is directly involved. Since he has a negligible presence in Assam, he is trying to use the dense and thick forest in the border areas along with some Naga cadres to make his presence felt on the Indian side. He is instrumental in convincing Khaplang to abrogate the ceasefire so that, he can use the Naga cadres and the Naga areas to serve his purpose," the NSCN (R) statement alleges.
The statement accused Khaplang of paying 'lip service' to the cause of Naga sovereignty.
"If Khaplang is really serious about sovereignty then why is he continuing the ceasefire with the Union of Myanmar? Why is Khaplang silent on the Deed document signed for peace and National Reconciliation along with other ethnic tribes in Myanmar? If he is really serious on the Naga Sovereignty issue than why did he accept 46 vehicles , (SUV’s and trucks), 150 million Kyat and 7,000 quintals of rice, and military uniform (at least twice) from the Myanmar Government? Or is he only interested in the sovereignty of Nagas of Indian side? Khaplang has not only made a mockery of the Naga political movement but he has also diluted the most sophisticated Naga movement by lending support to the ULFA and the Meiteis who are otherwise staunchly negating all positive development in the Naga areas."
"Khaplang has miserably failed to understand that he has been unconsciously hooked by the other insurgent groups to serve their purpose and has reduced himself to just a mere facilitator for them," the NSCN (R) alleged.