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‘Gove AFSPA extended in Assam’

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    2nd Sep, 2020

AFSPA extended for six months in Assam due to recent insurgent attacks, recovery of arms.

Context

  • AFSPA extended for six months in Assam due to recent insurgent attacks, recovery of arms.

Context:

The state has been declared a "disturbed area" on account of recent insurgent attacks on security forces in the Northeast and recovery of illegal arms and ammunition from different areas of Assam

About:

  • The state has been declared a "disturbed area" on account of recent insurgent attacks on security forces in the Northeast and recovery of illegal arms and ammunition from different areas of Assam.
  • Many civil society groups and activists have been demanding the withdrawal of the draconian law from the state.
  • Many civil society groups and activists have been demanding the withdrawal of the draconian law from the state.
  • The AFSPA, which empowers security forces to conduct operations, arrest anyone anywhere without prior notice, has been continuing in Assam since November 1990. It is renewed every six months.
  • Members of several extremist groups have surrendered in masse but some other outfits may attempt to exploit the situation in the wake of the enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and try to lure misguided youths into its fold.

 Reasons for Insurgency in Assam:

  • There have been many factors responsible for the constant disorder in state of Assam since past till the date. In this context, it is relevant to mention some of the key factors which are accountable for such issues in the state of Assam:
  1. Awareness of Isolation:
  • At the time of independence and after independence, an awareness of isolation began to rise among the Assamese.
  • Discovery of oil in several areas of upper Assam in the late 1960s pushed up the crude oil production figure to an average of 3.5 million tons per year. From 1970 onwards, the figure touched 5 million tons per year.
  • However, the royalty paid by the centre to Assam was not satisfactory. The state government and people of Assam demanded to raise the royalty. However, central government refused the state government’s demand for the revision of royalty on crude oil. As a result, the feeling spread among the people of the state that the center was merely exploiting the resources of the region without considering Assam’s ever deteriorating economic situation.
  1. Illegal Migration:
  • Assamese became aware that along with economic exploitation by the centre, they had to face forthcoming danger of being a minority in their own state.
  • The vast growth in Muslim population had overburdened the state. Moreover, Bengali Muslims who had initially identified themselves as Assamese speaking population began to register themselves as Bengali speaking people especially between 1971 and 1991.This led to increase in tensions in the region.
  1. Bodo Movement:
  • The Bodos are the earlier settlers of the plains of the state. This tribe is a largest tribe amongst the earliest settlers in the state. This tribe is mainly concentrated on the north bank of the Brahmaputra River and they have also scattered in other parts of the state. Socio-economic condition of this tribe was miserable in the initial years after the independence.
  • They were deprived of their constitutional right of protection. Bodos were considered as another form of Assamese sub-nationality.
  • In addition to this, they were isolated from the land due the encroachment of their land by illegal migrants. Further, the situation became more severe when they were deprived of government jobs on the ground that the knowledge of the Assamese language is essential.
  • The newly emerged middle class amongst them tried to draw the attention of the government to their issues but they remained unattended. Consequently, they initiated a movement on the ground of negligence of Bodo language, economic deprivation, inattentiveness of ethnic Assamese and cultural discrimination.
  1. Karbi and Dimasa Movement:
  • Karbi Anlong and North Cachar Hills are two districts of Assam where insurgency took place for the demand for statehood. It is an outcome of the political aspirations of the hill people and cultural discrimination by Assamese.
  1. The United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA):
  • An insurgent group, was formed in 1979 and marked the beginning of insurgency in Assam. The main aim of ULFA was to “liberate Assam through armed struggle from the exploitative attitude of the central government towards Assam and establish a sovereign independent Assam.

Major militant outfits in Assam

  • The major militant outfits presently active in the State of Assam are United Liberation Front of Asom – (Independent), (ULFA-I), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Saoraigwra), (NDFB-S).
  • ULFA and NDFB have been declared as Unlawful Associations under the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
  • Besides, Karbi Peoples Liberation Tigers (KPLT) is active in Karbi Anglong District of Assam. ULFA (Pro-Talk), NDFB (Ranjan Diamary), NDFB (Progressive) and Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF) are under SoO agreement with the Government of India and /or Government of Assam.

Impact of Insurgency Activities

  • In the oil-rich Assam, militants have periodically targeted oil and gas pipelines for sabotage, alleging that India is exploiting the natural resources of the state.
  • National projects such as the extension of the rail lines have either been stalled or have moved with a tardy pace after militants attacked the construction sites and abducted workers.
  • Militancy has also stalled the prospect of linking the economy of the northeast with the neighbouring Southeast Asian countries.
  • Tourism, which could have flourished in the scenic northeast, has suffered a lot due to instability in the region.
  • The education sector too has been affected by militancy. A number of schools in states like Tripura’s interior areas have been shut as teachers avoid the areas due to fear of militant strikes.
  • Extortion by the militant groups on the national highways that connect the different states with mainland India has shot up the prices of essential commodities

Conclusion:

The insurgencies of NE have continued for the past seven decades despite various efforts by GoI for a permanent solution.  A peaceful NE without insurgencies is a strategic necessity for India, especially for the success of the ‘Act East Policy’.

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