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Old Wine, New Bottle: Armed Movements and Counter-insurgency


Separatist movements are a hard meat to chew in Northeast India, barring some of the corners in this ethnically diverse and trouble-torn region. Ethno-nationalism would beat the Westphalian concept hands down. The problems persist but a lack of imagination from legal governments (for we have little to do with the outlawed ‘illegal’ organisations) is glaring. In this mess, any new political rhetoric or new government has simply vanished into thin air but not before showing us some ridiculous promises—at least this has been the case all along. Still the high-profile visit of dignitaries of the union government in the provinces in the last couple of months has instigated more questions than an answer.    

Since the beginning of this year till February 19, there were 29 bomb blasts in different parts of [Manipur].... [The] failure of Manipur police demands serious introspection.... However, the police officer refused to give any comment on the question of whether there are any lapses in the Home Department’s policy or shortage in the department’s infrastructure.
29 Bomb Blasts in Less Than Two Months, 21 Feb 2015, The Sangai Express

.... Beyond his frequent visits, Mr. Modi has engaged the region in other laudatory ways. As just one example, all union ministers—most of whom have very limited exposure to the region— have been ordered to visit it and consult with their counterparts there regularly; a mechanism has been set up and eight union ministers at least will be in the Northeast every fortnight. This measure should facilitate multi-dimensional progress in the region....Yet, despite his many efforts towards the Northeast, Mr. Modi has remained silent on terrorism there. And the three episodes above don’t even constitute all attacks in the region over the past month; many more have occurred.
Modi’s Northeast Thrust Needs to Strike At Terrorism, 22 Feb 2015, The Huffington Post

Once again these are the days of hope: ever since the National Democratic Alliance came to power in May 2014, we have been almost forced to believe that we are into a new age. Governments are like modern-day deities and they can apparently do anything, though it is altogether a different story how they do it or not at all. For starters, the recurring issues in the region have been classified under terrorism and internal law-and-order problem. And this is, to put it bluntly, the beginning of the end.

The news report on the Huffington Post concludes on a very positive note: ‘Will Mr Modi make the change? Let us hope so, and let us hope he will address terrorism during his visit this week to Arunachal Pradesh [for the meaningless statehood-day celebration, my word].’

If we go back to history, it was only after the Chinese onslaught in the Sixties that the region was reluctantly absorbed into national imagination and consciousness. For that matter, it is still yet over today and it is evident from the slew of racism issues in the heart of the nation. However, it is a tragedy that the government of the day never admits the issues are political and that to work out, it needs to think out of the box. Instead it would happily let it go while wetting the beaks, in The Godfather’s vocab, of the provincial governments as long as the latter is indebted to secure the national territory.

For instance, in the worst-hit state of Manipur, the economy is dependent on funds and grants from the union, amounting to nearly 90 per cent of the aggregate. The politicians are gladly silent, amidst their jugglers’ promises, as long as the zombie-commoners go out of their bloody comfort zones and cast their futile votes once in five year.

If the problems are not grouped under terrorism, the government always finds someone, read China, to blame for the misfortune. The only recurring theme is the voice of the military top brasses who are experts on the region when the union has to fall back to even after calling itself the largest democracy in the world. It is good for India that the Chinese don’t believe in some democratic scum.  These are not conspiracy theories but blinding facts that anyone can grasp in a few moments.
From a blast at the entrance of a fair. Photo: E-pao.net

A reliable information from one of the swashbuckling mainland think-tank organisations put it this way: ‘It is not that China or sources in China have always maintained a distance from Indian separatists. Indian insurgents had not only visited China in the past for help, but had received assistance from sources within the country. NSCN-IM “general secretary”, Thuingaleng Muivah, is on record as having said that Naga insurgents had, in the early days, obtained arms from China and Pakistan. Of course, Muivah’s claims do not match Indian media reports in 2000, that talked of a Chinese “agency” supplying machine guns and AK-47 rifles to insurgent groups in India’s Northeast. A crossed cheque of half-a-million dollars encashed by a Chinese firm in Beijing revealed the source from where the NSCN-IM was getting arms. News reports talked of NSCN-IM arms procurer, Anthony Shimray, having flown from Bangkok to Beijing in September 2000 and holding talks with the “Chinese agency” in Kunming. The report may or may not be correct, but it is undeniable that China has always been looked upon by several Northeast Indian insurgent groups as its ideological source.’ (Insurgency in Indias Northeast Cross-border Links and Strategic Alliances, by Wasbir Hussain, Insurgency in India's Northeast Cross-border Links and Strategic Alliances, South Asia Terrorism Portal, www.satp.org).

For a consolation, the South Asia Terrorism Portal admits that the problem is beyond terrorism and internal law-and-order problem. This will be a great news for the natives who consider India is our godfather, even if the only connection we have with modern-day India is with Bengali gigolos and sex workers and in the case of Manipur, not necessarily from the luxury at Sonagachi. Cultural craps are as contemptuous as the political impotency in the region.

Taking the role of a missionary father who we used to have in our high school, I’d suggest India has to work overtime for its nation-building processes. As a hint, the bloody Hindus of the region eat beef out there—they love so much that they ‘consume’ it, just like fish are a mere strict vegetarian item. Deal with it. Perhaps the ABVP has some energetic young people who can string out the right-wing ideologies. But it is highly recommendable that solving a nation-building issue is far more important than interfering with what someone is having for dinner. In an equally sensitive issue, I’d say go fuck with your motherland. For example, the Merger Agreement of 1949 was all paperwork. In return, only paperwork will solve the problem. No amount of jobless mainland people who join the army will solve the problem, neither will the natives who sustain on people’s forced charity to exist.    

Postscript      The Hindus should eat cows, and the Muslims, the pork—it is far better than inciting the Americans and gets ‘droned’. Any god has nothing to do with what you eat for dinner, neither how much patriotic you are. Go to Pakistan or Punjab if you have any. The outlet for those rebel leaders has stretched from Bangladesh to Bhutan. [Where is the communist link?!] Take a look at the overflowing sperm out of the glass. With insurgency or not, the country is predicted to be the most populous in the world by 2050.


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