On 31 January 1980, Isak Chisi Swu, Thuingaleng Muivah and SS Khaplang, formed the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, an organisation that led an armed struggle against the Indian security forces in Nagaland and sought to establish a sovereign Naga state. The NSCN was formed in opposition to the Shillong Accord, a 1975 agreement between the Naga National Council, an organisation of Naga people that had led a secessionist movement since the 1940s, and the government of India. The accord required the Naga rebel groups to surrender their arms and accept the supremacy of the Indian constitution. The founders of the NSCN believed that the accord had compromised on the demand for a sovereign Naga state that included Naga-inhabited districts in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Assam. In 1988, the NSCN split into two factions—the NSCN(K) led by SS Khaplang and the NSCN(IM) led by Isak and Muivah—over differences on issues of commencing a dialogue with the central government. On 25 July 1997, the government of India entered into a ceasefire agreement with the NSCN(IM), which came into effect on 1 August. Subsequently, the ceasefire agreement was repeatedly extended, but no permanent solution to the Naga struggle could be reached. On 3 August 2015, the government of India and the NSCN(IM) signed a framework agreement called the Naga Peace Accord, reportedly aimed at ending the sixty-year-long insurgency in Nagaland. The contents of the agreement were not disclosed to the public.
Anthony Ningkhan Shimray is a permanent member of Indo-Naga peace talks on behalf of the NSCN(IM). Shimray is the NSCN(IM)’s political commissar, a political supervisory officer committed to civilian control of the military in an organisation. He was arrested in September 2010 from Kathmandu airport while on his way to India from Bangkok, allegedly for negotiating an arms deal with a Chinese company. On 4 August 2016, a special court of the National Investigative Agency released Shimray on bail after the public prosecutor pleaded that his release was in interest of the peace negotiation between the Nagas and Indian government.
On 29 December, Sagar, a web reporter with The Caravan, met Shimray, and later continued the conversation over the phone. Shimray discussed the contents of the framework agreement, his arrest, and the history of the Naga peace process since 1997.