Meghalaya - Background Statehood on Jan 1, 1972. Formation of HALC, to protect rights of tribals. Tribal – non tribal fights intensified in late ‘80s. Rise of insurgency. Vertical split in HALC. Hynniewtrep (Khasi, Jaintia, Bhoi, war etc.) Formed HNLC and Garos (Achik) formed ANVC. Strong agitation during ’94 elections. Removal of foreigners (post ‘51).
Meghalaya: Current Situation Polarization, Garo, Khasi and non-tribals. Identity crisis among Garos. Economic problems, unemployment, corruption etc. (Justice Sharma report). HNLC (Hynniewtrep national liberation council): anti Garo, want a separate Khasi land. Close ally of NSCN(IM). Involved in fake currency and extortion. ANVC (Achik national volunteer council): separate Achik land. Involved in drug trafficking. Working relations with NDFB and ULFA. Currently helping ULFA to relocate in Garo hills.
Tripura - Background Acceded to Indian union on 15/10/49, UT on 1/11/56, state on 21/1/72. Massive Bengali refugees from east Pakistan. Demographic imbalance. 95% indigenous people in 1931 census reduced to 31% in 1991. Serious discontent among tribals. Political front (TUJS) in 60s. Armed insurgency in 70s. TS (70), TNV(78) also Amar Bengali. TNV laid down arms on 12/8/88 following MNF. New militant outfits are formed after that.
Tripura – Current Situation Enormous spread of insurgent activities in the last couple of years. Primary targets civilians and SF personnel. Secondary extortion, abduction and political machinery. Outfit Leaders Strength All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) Ranjit Debbarma 200+ National Liberation Force of Nayanbasi Jamatia 150+ Tripura (NLFT) NLFT- B Biswamohan Debbarma Borok National Council of Tripura (BNCT)
Assam - Background Illegal migration from ‘47 disturbed the local demography and brought Assam to the knife-edge of violence. 1979: AASU & AAGSP launched a mass movement for the detection of immigrants. April 79: agitation took violent turn. Formation of ULFA by Paresh Barua. 15 Aug ‘85: Assam accord. ULFA – “sovereign, socialist Assam” through an armed struggle. 1990 – 91: operation Bajrang. ‘92: 4000 ULFA cadre laid down arms. Independent Bodo land: 1967-80 ABSU. In ‘89 BdSF (NDFB). BLTF wants separate state. ‘93: accord between GOI and Bodo leaders. Formation of BAC.
Assam – Current Situation ULFA loosing its base. But still not a weak group. Concentration on soft targets and smuggling. Problem of illegal immigration is at its worst stage. Bodo outfits are interested in a dialogue and peace. Some cadre of DHD ready to lay down arms. Overall situation far from normal. Groups like UPDS and BLT have ended ceasefire.
Manipur - Background Merged in Indian union on 15th October 1949 and declared as a full state in 1972. This delay increased the feeling of alienation, causing discontent. United national liberation front was formed on 24/11/1964 to achieve sovereign and socialist Manipur. Formation of revolutionary government of Manipur. In 1968, by O. Sudhir Kumar. HQ Shylhet (east Pakistan). PLA in Sept. 78 by Bisweswar and other Chinese trained insurgents. PREPAK (1977), KCP (1980).
Manipur - Background Result: too many insurgents in small area. Reign of terror in the valley. AFSP act in Sept. ’80. 2 yrs of massive manhunt, resulted in sharp decline in bloodshed. Early 90s: rise of insurgent groups. But with an ideological face. Pan mongoloid movement, assertion of separate identity, revival meitei religion, script etc. Anti outsider campaigns. Formation of Islamic outfits. Hill districts: fierce ethnic clashes between Naga- Kuki and Kuki-Paites. Addition of more insurgent groups in the state.
Nagaland Oldest player and performing the pivotal role. Most troubles are result of our ignorance, misplaced arrogance, separateness (fostered). Naga hills was the very last British annexation. Was Nagaland an intrinsic part of India’s politico- cultural milieu ? Spread of Christianity-. Rev. Bronson, Namsang (Tirap) in 1836. Rev. Clarke baptized 9 Aos in 1872. Baptist never looked back. Chief administrative center was established in Kohima (1878).
Nagaland Naga club (1918). Important chiefs, British authorities, educated Nagas and people returned from WW1. Simon commission visited Kohima in 1929. Naga club demanded the return of their liberty when India got her independence. Participation in WW2, hoping for liberty. April 1945: “Naga hills district tribal council” (by sir Charles). Naga club to Naga national council (NNC) in ’46. “Naga unification and freedom” T. Aliba Imti Ao.
Nagaland 1950-54: start of Naga insurgency. Phizo started an underground government and an army. December 1963, formation of Nagaland. Phizo shifted to UK and was active through Naga vigil. Naga rebels started training under Chinese. Shillong accord in ’75. NNC dissolved and NSCN born. A vertical split in 1988. (IM and K). IM formed SDUFSEHR. Ceasefire from 1997. IM & K fight with each other.
Major Insurgent Groups in NEName Founded Area of Allies Training Cadre actionBdSF / 1986 Indo- ULFA, Manas, 600NDFB Bhutan KIA Nilphamari border (Bdesh)ULFA 1979 Upper KIA,ISI, KIA, NSCN, 1200 Assam ALP BdeshPLA 1978 Imphal PREPAK, Burma 200 Valley KIANLFT 1989 Tripura IM Bdesh 700NSCN(IM) 1988 Nagaland, SDUFSE Nagaland, 2000+ Manipur, HR Bdesh, Barak BurmaNSCN(K) 1988 Mon, Tirap KIA Burma 2000+
Changing Patterns ofInsurgency in North East Threats to the Indian Security
Insurgency (1950-60) Major developments affecting India’s policy outlook. Chinese take over of Tibet. Growing Chinese influence in the region. Outbreak of Naga insurgency and Pakistan’s covert support. Change in east Pakistan’s political climate. 8 batches (1700 people) of Naga insurgents trained in east Pakistan. Mizos and Manipuris were the next. Formation of Manipur government in exile.
Insurgency (1960-75) Two consecutive wars. With china in 62 and with Pak in 65. Threat of Sino – Pak nexus in the south Asia. “Export of revolution” Chinese foreign policy. China started training camps for the rebels in the region. Nagas joined in 66. Others followed soon. Formation of Bangladesh in 1971. Set back to Pakistan. Rebels lost a safe base. Sino – Pak ties broke. Shimla accord in 1975. Above policy showed its results.
Insurgency (1976-84) Mizos signed the accord in 1976. Defeat of hardliners in the Chinese communist party. In 1982 guerrilla camps were shut down. Some signs of hope. Rajiv emerged as a peace maker. Parallel negotiations with many outfits. Military regime in B’desh supporting insurgents. Post Rajiv era. Return of military option. Lots of counter insurgency operations. (Bajrang). Vertical split in NSCN. IM developed satellite groups by conscious patronage.
Threats in the Nineties Growing influence of china in Burma. ISI started supporting NE insurgents. Arms smuggling from SE Asian black markets. Training camps relocated in 3 Bs. Fund raising through drugs & extortion. Excessive attacks on soft targets. ‘Urban terrorism.’ Fierce ethnic clashes. Growing incidences of ethnic cleansing. Formation of too many ethnic armies.
Guns Drugs & Rebels,New Face of the Insurgency.
A Closer Look at Burma India’s security requires that no foreign power has a permanent interest in Burma. Time line. 1950-60: growth of communism. 1962: military coup. 1965: communist launched fierce attacks. Rise of other ethnic rebels like KIA, UWSA, CSA. Indian rebels seek shelter in Burma. Tepak (NSCN), Tamu (Meitei), chin hills (MNF), Chindwin (ULFA). Alliances between Burmese and Indian rebels.
Current Situation IM moved out of Burma, ULFA has few bases close to the border, MPLF and other Meitei groups have bases around Tamu and Sajit Tampak, KNA has its bases in chin hills. Why Burma ? Virtually no government in western parts. Sheltered rebel leadership after 1971. Crucial link zone. Safe training and regrouping zone.
A Closer Look at Bangladesh Virtually no government exists in real sense. Absolute no control over CHT. Safe house for -. Many Islamic terrorists working in S/SE Asia. Training bases of various insurgent groups. SE Asian mafias. Transit point for all the smugglers. Population explosion. Extreme poverty.
Drug Trafficking in SE Asia Golden triangle. One of the 2 largest opium producing regions. 70% share in amphetamine production. Average opium production 1700 tones / year. Average heroin (number 4) production 220 tones / year.
Recent Developments in the Triangle War of control between traditional drug lords (Khun Sa - heroine) and ethnic rebel armies (united Wa state army (UWSA) - amphetamine). Morphine from Thailand and Laos is brought to the refineries in western Burma. Involvement of corrupt Burmese army officers. At least 30 refineries in the region.
Threats of Drug Trafficking Trafficking led to rise in local consumption. Manipur is the worst hit. Involvement of officials in the illicit trade. Ethnic separatists in the region are taking to protection of drug mafias as a quick way to raise funds. ‘ A rebel-drug lord- officialdom nexus’. A situation similar to that of Latin America.
Proliferation of Small Arms A brief history of small arms. Naga started their campaign with the WW2 leftover. After ‘60s Pakistan was the provider. From ’66 to ’80 china provided the arms. After 82 rebels followed the example of LTTE and turned to SE Asian black market, then a thriving arms bazaar. What is SE Asian black market ?
Proliferation of Small Arms After 90s NE has a cheaper source, Yunnan mafias. Criminal gangs involved in all sorts of smuggling. Produce and sell latest arms at cheaper rates. Currently ULFA buys from Yunnan market and sells it to Maoists in Nepal and Jihadi in B’desh. Long marches: arms procurement route by NE rebels. Long marches last for several days. Most of them originate from Cox’s Bazar.
Other Developments in SE Asia Now terrorism is truly a global phenomenon.
Other Developments in SE Asia Efforts to disintegrate Indonesia. East Timor. Aceh. Post Bali bombings scenario & mushrooming Jehadi outfits.
Possible Solutions (Global) Strengthening of ASEAN and SAARC. Need of joint efforts to stop drugs & arms. Operation golden bird (95), joint special task unit. Problem children: Burma (ASEAN), Bdesh (SAARC). Good indo – Burma relations is the need. What about Bangladesh ? Check on illegal immigration. Stability in Bangladesh is must. We have to deal with terrorism and not insurgency!
Possible Solutions (Local) Economic development of north east. Implementation of “look east policy”. Consistent policy for economic growth. Exclusive security oriented solution is impossible. Police should have counter insurgency capabilities. Wider (democratic) platform to express anger, discontent. Demystification of north east. Domestic tourism, emotional integration, social sector. Equal partnership in the union.
Bibliography Articles written by Subir Bhaumik, Binalakshmi Nepram, O.N. Srivastav. South Asian terrorist portal. Bharat Rakshak monitor. CIA fact book. Geo-opium portal. Maps from Encarta.