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Insurgency in North-East India

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Insurgency in North-East India

Insurgency in Northeast India

North East States
Date 1964–present
Location Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram, Northeast India
Result Conflict ongoing

DHD (until 2013)
UNPC (until 2013)
MNPF (until 2013)
UPDS (until 2011)
TNV (until 1988)


HPC (until 1992)



Commanders and leaders
General Bikram Singh
Jigme Singye Wangchuck
Arabinda Rajkhowa

Paresh Baruah
Anup Chetia
Sabin Boro
Kalalung Kamei
Arambam Samerendra
Angami Zapu Phizo
Biswamohan Debbarma
Men Sing Takbi
Pradip Terang

Ranjit Debbarma
Casualties and losses
Since 2005: 393 killed Since 2005: 2,947 killed
Since 2005: 40,000 civilians killed[1][2]

Insurgency in Northeast India involves multiple armed factions operating in India's north east states, which are connected to the rest of India by the Siliguri Corridor, a strip of land as narrow as 14 miles (23 km) wide. Some factions favour a separate state while others seek regional autonomy. Some extreme groups demand complete independence.

Northeastern India consists of seven states (also known as the seven sisters): Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland. Tensions exist between these states and the central government as well as amongst their native tribal people and migrants from other parts of India. Regional tensions have eased off as of late, with Indian and state governments' making a concerted effort to raise the living standards of the people in these regions. However, militancy still exists within the region. At present insurgent activity is ongoing in Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura.


Organizations listed as terrorist groups by India
North-East India
National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM)
Naga National Council – Federal (NNCF)
National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang)
United Liberation Front of Asom
People's Liberation Army of Manipur
Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL)
Zomi Revolutionary Front
Al-Badr Mujahideen
Al Barq (ABQ)
Al Fateh Force (AFF)
Al Jihad Force (AJF)/Al Jihad
Al Mujahid Force (AMF)
Al Umar Mujahideen (AUR/Al Umar)
Awami Action Committee (AAC)
Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DEM)
Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami
Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HUM)
Ikhwan-ul-Musalmeen (IUM)
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM)
Jammat-ul-Mujahideen (JUM)
Jammat-ul-Mujahideen Almi (JUMA)
Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party (JKDFP)
Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front (JKIF)
Jammu and Kashmir Jamaat-e-Islami (JKJEI)
Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET)
Kul Jammat Hurriyat Conference (KJHC)
Mahaz-e-Azadi (MEA)
Muslim Janbaaz Force (MJF/Jaanbaz Force)
Muslim Mujahideen (MM)
Hizbul Mujahideen
United Jihad Council
Students Islamic Movement of India Tehreek-e-Jihad (TEJ)
Pasban-e-Islami (PEI/Hizbul Momineen HMM)
Shora-e-Jihad (SEJ)
Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen (TUM)
North, Central and South India
Babbar Khalsa
Bhindranwala Tigers Force of Khalistan
Communist Party of India (Maoist)
Dashmesh Regiment
International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF)
Kamagata Maru Dal of Khalistan
Khalistan Liberation Force
Khalistan Commando Force
Khalistan Liberation Army
Khalistan Liberation Front
Khalistan Liberation Organisation
Khalistan National Army
Khalistan Guerilla Force
Khalistan Security Force
Khalistan Zindabad Force
Ranvir Sena

Assam has been a refuge for militants, for a number of years, due to its porous borders with Bangladesh and Bhutan. The main causes of the friction include anti-foreigner agitation in the 1980s, and the simmering Assam-Bodo tensions. The insurgency status in Assam is classified as "very active". The government of Bangladesh has arrested and extradited senior leaders of ULFA.[3]


The United Liberation Front of Assam was formed in April 1979 to establish a sovereign state of Assam through an armed struggle. In recent times the organisation has lost out its middle rung leaders after most of them were arrested.[3]


The National Democratic Front of Bodoland was formed in 1989 as the Bodo Security Force, aims to set up an autonomous region Bodoland.


The Karbi Longri N.C. Hills Liberation Front is a militant group operating in Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao districts of Assam that was formed on May 16, 2004. The outfit claims to fight for the cause of Karbi tribes and its declared objective is Hemprek Kangthim, meaning self-rule/self-determination of the Karbi people. It is closely linked with the ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom)


The United People's Democratic Solidarity was formed in March 1999 with the merger of two terrorist outfits in Assam's Karbi Anglong district, the Karbi National Volunteers (KNV) and Karbi People’s Front (KPF).


The Dima Halam Daoga (DHD) is a descendant of the Dimasa National Security Force (DNSF), which ceased operations in 1995. Commander-in-Chief Jewel Gorlosa, refused to surrender and launched the Dima Halam Daogah. After the peace agreement between the DHD and the central government in the year 2003, the group further broke out and DHD(J) also known as Black Widow was born which was led by Jewel Gorlosa. The Black Widow's declared objective is to create Dimaraji for the Dimasa people in Dima Hasao district only. However The objective of DHD (Nunisa faction) is to include parts of Cachar, Karbi Anglong, and Nagaon districts in Assam, and sections of Dimapur district in Nagaland.


The objective of the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) is to carve out a separate Kamtapur State. The proposed state is to comprise six districts in West Bengal and four contiguous districts of Assam which are Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, North and South Dinajpur and Malda of West Bengal and four contiguous districts of Assam - Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Dhubri and Goalpara. The KLO in the beginning was an over-ground organisation which was formed to address problems of the Koch Rajbongshi people such as large-scale unemployment, land alienation, perceived neglect of Kamtapuri language, identity, and grievances of economic deprivation .[4]


The locally-elected government was dissolved in 1949 after the "Manipur Merger Agreement."[5] After the Government of India occupied Manipur in 1949, there was widespread discontent and anger among the indigenous people.

Insurgency started in Manipur as early as in the 1960s.

India extended the Armed Forces Special Powers Act to Manipur from Nagaland in 1958.

United National Liberation Front

Several clubs and organizations were formed. One of these was the United National Liberation Front which was created in 1964 and demands an independent socialist state of Manipur.

Subsequently, the federal government announced that various civil organizations and clubs were illegal.

The UNLF went underground. The localized mindset and in-acceptance for the Government of India has led to the mushrooming of various underground organizations. The heavy deployment of armed forces has not helped and only led to more discontent and anger among the indigenous people. The peoples more so owing to the Army's atrocities and violation of human rights in the name of counter-insurgency operations.

Yet there hadn't any concrete proof of any atrocities done by Indian Army and many often such claims of terrorist groups had been false so with an intention to promote their separatist propaganda.

Maoist Communist Party of Manipur

The Maoist Communist Party of Manipur is an ultra-leftist[6] communist party in Manipur which is eyeing "to establish a communist society through armed revolutionary war."[7] It is a successor of the Kangleipak Communist Party (Maoist).[6]

Peoples Liberation Army of Manipur

The People's Liberation Army of Manipur is a leftist organisation which was formed in 1978 with the aim of liberating Manipur from India.


People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak is an armed insurgent group in Manipur demanding a separate and independent homeland.


Nagaland was created in 1963 as the 16th State of Indian Union, before which it was a district of Assam. Insurgent groups classified as active, mainly demand full independence. The Naga National Council led by Phizo was the first group to dissent in 1947 and in 1956 they went underground.

Till now they had been active in kidnappings, extortion and levying illegitimate tax on peoples from other states residing there and their own State's people. It is also known from many confirmed intelligence sources that insurgent groups are receiving funds from foreign countries to prevail disturbance in the region for disturbing the balance of Indian government.


The National Socialist Council of Nagaland was formed in 1980 to establish a Greater Nagaland, encompassing parts of Manipur, Nagaland, the north Cachar hills (Assam). The NSCN split in 1988 to form two groups namely NSCN(IM) & NSCN(K). As of now, both the groups are in ceasefire with the Indian government.


The National Socialist Council of Nagaland—Khaplang is the second faction with the same aim of a Greater Nagaland and was formed in 1988.


The insurgent groups in Tripura were emerged in the end of the 1970s, as ethnic tensions between the Bengali immigrants and the tribal native population who were outnumbered by the former hailing from other parts of India and nearby Bangladesh which resulted in their being reduced to minority status even threatening them economically,socially, culturally which thus resulted in a clarion call of safeguarding tribal rights and cultures. Such being the extent of desperation naturally resulted in hatred and suspicion and as such their status is classified as very active.

National Liberation Front of Tripura

The National Liberation Front of Tripura was formed in March 1989.

All Tripura Tiger Force

The All Tripura Tiger Force was formed by the local aboriginal tribals in 1990, who were gradually outnumbered both directly and indirectly even at the cost of being threatened for their survival economically and culturally not to speak of their being reduced to minority population-wise, with the sole aim of the expulsion of all Bengali speaking immigrants from the rest of India and nearby Bangladesh.


Problems in Meghalaya arise from the divide between tribals and non tribal settlers, identity issues and growing corruption besides the fear of being reduced to minority by native tribals. The activity status is classified as active.


The Achik National Volunteer Council was formed in 1995. Its purpose was to form an Achik nation in the Garo Hills. Dilash R. Marak is the Chairman. Jerome Momin is the Commander-in-Chief of the ANVC. The ANVC was active in the Garo Hills and the West Khasi Hills. Its headquarters was at Cheram, in the Garo hills area. It extorted money from the business community and counterfeited currency.[8] As of 2010, a Suspension of Operations Agreement (SoO) between the Government and ANVC has been in force since 23 July 2004.[9]


The Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council, formed in 1992, aims to free the state from the alleged Garo and non-tribal Indian domination.

Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA)

The Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) aims to establish a separate "Garoland" for the Garo people. It was formed in 2009. It consists of 70 members, most of whom are ex-members of the ANVC, the Liberation of Achik Elite Force (LAEF), and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB). GNLA has been involved in extortion, attacks and bombings. The GNLA was formed by a former Deputy Superintendent of Police, Meghalaya, Pakchara R. Sangma also known as "Champion" R. Sangma, after quitting the Police Force. GNLA operates in the three Districts of Garo Hills in Western part of Meghalaya (East Garo Hills and South Garo Hills and current expansion to the coal-rich borders of West Khasi Hills bordering South Garo Hills). Dorengchigre village (East Garo Hills District) is the heartland of GNLA.[10]


Mizoram's tensions were largely due to the simmering Assamese domination and the neglect of the Mizo people. In 1986, the Mizo accord ended the main secessionist movement led by the Mizo National Front, bringing peace to the region. Insurgency status is classified as partially active, due to secessionist/autonomy demands by the Hmars, chakmas, Brus, Pawis, Lais and the Reangs.

Hmar People's Convention-Democratic - HPC(D)

The Hmar People's Convention-Democracy is an armed insurgency group formed in 1995 to create an independent Hmar State in North East India. It is the offspring of the Hmar People's Convention (HPC), which entered into agreement with the Government of Mizoram in 1994 resulting in the formation of Sinlung Hills Development Council (SHDC) in North Mizoram. Their recruited cadres are from the States where the Hmar people are spread - Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghaaya. The HPC(D) is demanding a separate administrative unit under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India.


The Bru National Liberation Front was formed in 1997 to protect the rights and dignity of the Reangs. The BNLF have surrendered with 757 of their comrades to the Mizoram Government on 21 October 2006.

Human rights abuses

WESEA Region

Most of the militant groups now have described the combined region as Western Southeast Asia (WESEA), which includes the ethnic lands of Northeast India, Bhutan, North Bengal and Myanmar.[11]

In 2014 the militant organisations united in the WESEA Forum, which include:[12]

See also

Further reading

  • A. Lanunungsang Ao; From Phizo to Muivah: The Naga National Question; New Delhi 2002
  • Blisters on their feet: tales of internally displaced persons in India's North East; Los Angeles [u.a.] 2008; ISBN 978-81-7829-819-1
  • Dutta, Anuradha; Assam in the Freedom Movement; Calcutta 1991
  • Hazarika, Sanjoy; Strangers of the Mist: Tales of War and Peace from India's Northeast; New Delhi u.a. 1994
  • Horam, M.; Naga insurgency: the last thirty years; New Delhi 1988
  • International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (Hrsg.); The Naga nation and its struggle against genocide; Kopenhagen 1986
  • Nibedom, Nirmal; The Night of the Guerillas; Delhi 1978
  • Srikanth, H.; Thomas, C. J.; Naga Resistance Movement and the Peace Process in Northeast India; in: Peace and Democracy in South Asia, Vol. I (2005)
  • Terrorism and separatism in North-East India; Delhi 2004; ISBN 81-7835-261-3


  1. ^ "India – Northeast (1979 – first combat deaths)". Ploug shares. 
  2. ^ "Fatalities in Terrorist Violence in India's Northeast ::South Asia Terrorism portal". Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "India to get back Ulfa leader Anup Chetia from Bangladesh". First Post. Retrieved 2014-05-31. 
  4. ^ "South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) on KLO". Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Manipur Merger Agreement: September 1949". Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Mandal, Caesar (17 September 2011). "KCP's ultra–Left turn worries Manipur". The Times of India (Kolkata). Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "Maoism in Manipur". The Shillong Times. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  8. ^ "Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA)". Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  9. ^ SoO Agreement with ANVC Extended by 9 Months. Ministry of Home Affairs. 3 January 2010.
  10. ^ "Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA)". Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  11. ^ "11 rebel groups call for Republic Day boycott". The Times Of India. Retrieved 2014-09-09. 
  12. ^ "NE rebels call general strike on I-Day". The Sangai Express. Retrieved 2014-09-09. 
  13. ^ "The heart of revolutionary movement in Manipur is CorCom". Kangla Online. Retrieved 2014-09-09. 
  14. ^ "CorCom promises new face of revolution". Retrieved 2014-09-09. 

External links

  • "The Other Burma: Conflict, counter-insurgency and human rights in Northeast India"
  • Mansi Mehrotra Bodo Uprising
  • Sinlung
  • Insurgencies in Northeast India:Conflict, Co-option, and Change
  • Journal of North East India Studies
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