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Insurgency in North East

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Insurgency in North East have a long back history and continuing the detrimental stage , on Saturday morning Insurgents in Churachandpur district of Manipur attacked on an Assam Rifles Convoy Insurgents killing a Commanding Officer, his wife and their five-year-old son and four personnel.

Insurgency in North East

At least six other personnel were injured in the attack which returned the spotlight to the decades-old insurgency in the north east state. Assam Rifles said five soldiers, including Colonel Viplav Tripathi, Commanding Officer of 46 Assam Rifles, made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty when their convoy was ambushed near Thinghat (Singngat) around 11 am.

Four Others in officer’s convoy also killed in attack by militants,

On Saturday morning in the Churachandpur district of Manipur, Commanding Officer Viplav Tripathi of 46 Khuga Battalion of Assam Rifles killed with his family and four quick reaction team (QRT) in ambush.

The People’s Liberation Army and the Manipur Naga People’s Front have jointly claimed responsibility for the ambush of an Assam Rifles convoy on November 13 on Saturday morning . The ambush is one of the biggest in the state since the attack on the Dogra Rifles in 2015.

The cowardly attack on the Assam Rifles convoy in Churachandpur is extremely painful and condemnable. The perpetrators will be brought to justice soon,” said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Social Media.

History of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) –

Insurgency in North East

The group was founded on September 25, 1978 under the leadership of N. Bisheshwar, after having broken away from its parent body, the United National Liberation Front. In 1979 the PLA’s political wing Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF) was set up. Like the UNLF, and many other splinter groups that would follow, the PLA was fighting for the secession of Manipur from India. While the PLA called for Kuki and Naga insurgents to join their ranks, it remains till this day dominated by the Imphal valley-based Meitei Hindu insurgents.

Also, like other Meitei underground groups, in its initial years, PLA cadres were trained by the NSCN and hold Marxist ideology. Its political wing, the RPF campaigned against the use of drugs, and banned alcohol in the state, often using violent means to impose these bans. Considered one of the strongest groups in Manipur, the PLA has been working out of Myanmar where they continue to have camps, like the other Meitei groups, and remain active with no ceasefire agreement with the Indian government, and have so far not expressed any intent of peace talks with India.

Insurgent leaders in the state, as well as experts point out that Saturday’s ambush has been a departure on several counts. In the past, ambushes and attacks on Indian security forces have taken place in Chandel district of Manipur, which also borders the highly porous Indo-Myanmar border. This includes one of the biggest ambushes in the country in Chandel by insurgents which led to the killing of 18 soldiers of the Dogra Rifles and injuring 16 others. Since the Indian Army’s Operation All Clear in 2003-4, active insurgents have been driven out of the country into Myanmar – especially in the Churachandpur area which has remained largely peaceful, with over 20 Kuki, Paitei and Zomi groups being under Suspension of Operation agreements with the Indian government.

The valley groups also do not operate from this district. Bahiang, where the attack has taken place, borders Myanmar, but falls under the territorial jurisdiction of the Zomi Revolutionary Army, a powerful insurgent group in Churachandpur. The question that local insurgent leaders have been asking is, how the PLA could have operated in this area without ZRA permission, and have pointed to ZRA’s security lapse.

Insurgent leaders have also pointed to the Myanmar coup as a reason for both the revival of insurgent activity as well as the choice of Churachandpur. The district neighbours Chin state in Myanmar where the political situation has been tenuous and there have been reports of human rights violations. An active People’s Defence Force, the armed wing of the National Unity Government, which claims to be Myanmar’s legitimate government, is believed to have pushed Indian insurgent groups towards the Indian border.

Current Scenario:

While there have been reports of women and children being attacked in the 1990s – during the clashes between the Nagas and the Kukis in Manipur – since then, this is the first attack in which an Indian security officer’s family has been killed. Later in the evening, while claiming responsibility, the PLA and MNPF said that they were unaware that the commanding officer was being accompanied by his family.

Insurgency in North East

But what experts have found most surprising is the seeming revival of PLA activity, that too in such a violent manner. The PLA has been one of the most active groups in the past, but has remained dormant over the past 5-6 years. Leaders in other groups have pointed out that even in social programmes organised by insurgent groups – such as anti-drug campaigns, anti-AFSPA and other such protests – have been shunned by the PLA. So, their sudden violent activity on Saturday has caused surprise.

History of Insurgency in North East (Manipur)

According to the Report of the 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission the Northeast represents a state of stable of anarchy where the rule of law and other institutions of governance are subverted directly or through collusive arrangements to serve personal or partisan ends of the militants.

Regional Issues : The inter-tribal conflicts, the youth unemployment and the inability to compete with non-tribal businesses, illegal migration from neighboring states and countries leading to the competition of resources and land have led to various conflicts and demands of secession/ autonomy.

Ethnic Tensions : Northeast India is home to more than 50 ethnic rebel groups – a few demanding complete secession from India, others fighting for ethnic identities and homelands and some running the insurgency as an industry to spin easy money without any political ideology.

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