Manipur killings put spotlight on AFSPA

Attack in North-East: A week ago, Rajnath was confident of the upper hand of authorities

Manipur killings put spotlight on AFSPA

The killing of around two dozen soldiers in Manipur by insurgents comes at a time when the government believes that there is a “very significant” improvement in the security situation in the north-eastern states.

The latest attack also comes soon after Tripura decided to lift the controversial Armed Forces Special Provisions Act (AFSPA).

The incident may now force the pro-AFSPA lobby in the security establishment to re-assert themselves even as activists were demanding that the “draconian” law should be repealed.

Only a week ago, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had confidentially ascertained the gradual but decisive upper hand the authorities have gained in the region where a host of insurgent groups operate raising a variety of demands.

While elaborating on the success in tackling insurgency, Singh said sustained counter insurgency operations are continuing against the groups and the Centre was providing all possible assistance to the states, including deployment of paramilitary forces.

He also said the performance of the security forces led to the “reduction in violence” in insurgency-hit states. In 2014-15, the Centre reimbursed Rs 261 crore to the north-eastern states under the Security Related Expenditure.

The north-east region has remained a problem area for the security establishment for years.

The latest Global Terrorism Index 2014 also noted that the north-east region has for the “last three decades seen continued ethno-political unrest” from ethnic secessionist movements. “Separatist groups, including in Assam, Bodoland, Kamtapur and Meghalaya, were responsible for 16 per cent of deaths. Targeting private citizens, police and businesses, attacks are generally restricted to the geographic region as most of these groups are relatively small and have local claims,” it said.

According to a Home Ministry document, “Language, ethnicity, tribal rivalry, migration, control over local resources and a widespread feeling of exploitation and alienation” have resulted in violence and diverse demands by various insurgent groups.

“The demands vary from sovereignty in some cases to independent state or homeland or simply better conditions for ethnic groups they claim to represent,” it said.

“They maintain cross-border links, procure arms, recruit and train their cadres, and indulge-in unlawful activities such as damaging of public properties, bomb explosions, extortions, killing of innocent civilians, security forces, abduction of government employees, politicians, and businessmen,” the document said.

A senior official said the ministry believes that there is “hardly any reasons” for holding talks with the insurgent groups which are indulging in “mindless violence”.
 Manipur-based insurgent

* People's Liberation Army (PLA)
* United National Liberation Front (UNLF)
* Peoples' Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK)
* Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP)
* Kanglei Yaol Kanba Lup (KYKL)
* Manipur Peoples' Liberation Front (MPLF) and
* Revolutionary Peoples' Front (RPF)
* Coordination Committee Cor-com (conglomerate of six valley base underground outfits)

Source: Union Home Ministry

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