A little more than a week ago, the Indian army reportedly engaged in a cross-border attack on the insurgent organisations that were believed to have been responsible for the ambush on an army vehicle on 4 June 2015. The outfits that had reportedly executed the strike included the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K)—a Myanmar-based insurgent group also active in the northeast of India—the Kanglei Yawo Kannal Lup (KYKL) and a faction of Kangleipak Communist Party, both from Manipur. However, the outfits that came under attack of the Indian army in retaliation were the NSCN-K and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), also a rebel group from Manipur. Both these organisations are close allies that have been campaigning for the independence of the northeast and contiguous Naga areas in Myanmar.
Shortly after the ambush by the Indian army, reports quoting official sources indicated that at least 83 insurgents were killed during the operation in Myanmar, across camps in Manipur and Nagaland. But a close scrutiny of the ground reality along with the estimates of officials and a section of the rebel outfits reveals a different situation.
Furthermore, while it is true that the army conducted cross-border strikes in two places across Nagaland and Manipur, an enquiry into these incidents suggests the locations at which the strikes were conducted were barely two to three kilometres from the border. According to some of the functionaries from rebel outfits that I spoke to, most of the insurgents who were killed during the attack were not from the NSCN-K, KCP or the KYKL. They were from the PLA, which had a mobile camp across Manipur’s Chandel district.