North East India comprising the seven States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh,
Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura has earned the dubious distinction
for persistent underdevelopment and growing insurgency. The fire of insurgency has been
engulfing the region in such a way that there seems to be existence of a parallel authority of
the insurgents in many parts of the region as rampant abductions, extortions and killings go
on unabated. Consequently, normal life is often paralysed and all initiatives including the
socio-economic ones are increasingly crippled as an air of fear and uncertainty pervades the
Nagaland has been the epicenter of insurgency in the North East. The Naga leader,
A.Z. Phizo raised the banner of revolt at the very dawn of Indian independence, claiming
that Nagaland had never been a part of India. Although the sub national State of Nagaland
was created in 1963 in order to fulfill the political aspiration of the Nagas, the flame of
Naga insurgency could never be doused effectively and now it affects almost all the North
Eastern States in general and Manipur, Assam and Nagaland in particular as the Naga
insurgent outfits aim at political union and independence of all the territories claimed to be
Naga-dominated areas and as these outfits are providing help and training to the insurgents
in other States also. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland formed in 1980 (now split
into two factions) is the most formidable insurgent outfit in the region.
In Assam, the insurgency has grown out of mass movement over the foreigners’
issue starting in 1979. The United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) which has been
committing terrorist acts with their avowed objectives of forming independent Assam has
created a serious internal security hazard. The Bodos are also up in arms under the
leadership of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB). In the North Cachar
District of Assam, the Dimasa Halam (DHD) is engaged in insurgency activities. While the declared political ambition of the Bodos is for separate statehood under the Indian Union to
attain independence, the objective of DHD is not explicitly made known. Thus, Assam
faces a very complicated problem of insurgency.
Manipur is plagued by triple problems. The valley faces the insurgency of the
Meitei extremists while the hill areas are affected by depredations by the Naga militants on
the one hand and inter-tribal clashes between the Nagas and Kukis on the other. The more
prominent outfits operating in Manipur are the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). People’s
Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP), Kuki
National Organisation (KNO/KDF) and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland
(NSCN) (Singh, 2000).
In Tripura, the tribal-non-tribal socio-economic divide has been generating
dissension from the very dawn of the State’s accession to the Indian Union in 1948.
Although socio-economic development of Tripura has traditionally been associated with
immigration, the massive influx of the non-tribal refugees from East Pakistan (now
Bangladesh) in the wake of the division of India in 1947 reduced the tribal people into a
minority constituting less than one third of the population. As most of the immigrants
settled in rural areas, the pressure of population on land was tremendous. The sense of
being progressively marginalized gave rise to tribal insurgency in the State. In the 1980s
the Tripura National Volunteers (TNV) was a formidable tribal terrorist outfit spreading
hatred against the non-tribal and it was mainly responsible for the riots that took place in
June 1980. At present there are about 20 tribal insurgent groups in Tripura, the two
prominent ones being the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and the All Tripura
Tiger Force (ATTF). In recent years the non-tribal are also being involved in anti-tribal
violent activities (Ganguly, 1999).
Mizoram experienced rebellion of the Mizos under the leadership of Mr. Laldenga.
But after the Mizo Accord of 1986, there has been no major wave of insurgency in the
State. None the less, inter-tribe conflicts and suspicion against the non-tribal are not
altogether absent in the State.
Meghalaya has been free from insurgent activities. However, for the last few years
Hiniutrap Liberation Council (HNLC) has been organizing disruptive activities in the State
on certain occasions in spite of the fact that they do not have mass support.
Even Arunachal Pradesh which can be regarded as an island of peace in the whole of the North eastern Region is not totally free from trouble. The local tribal people refuse to allow the Chakmas to be absorbed in the State’s population. A rising trend of ethnic
separatism is also absorbed in the State.