Assam separatist conflict
Part of the Insurgency in Northeast India

State of Assam
Date27 November 1990 – present [3] (33 years, 6 months and 4 weeks)
Location
Status Ongoing , most rebel groups disbanded or signed peace agreement
Belligerents
 India
Border conflicts:
 Bangladesh
 Bhutan
ULFA
(1979–present)
KLO
(1995–present)
KLNLF
(1990–18)
NDFB
(1990–20)
DHD
(1990–13)
UPDS
(1990–14)
ACF
(1996–12)Minor factions:Adivasi Cobra Militants of Assam (ACMA)[1]
Adivasi National Liberation Army (ANLA)[2]
MULTA
(1996–2016)
Commanders and leaders
Former
Paresh Baruah
Arabinda Rajkhowa (POW)
Pradip Gogoi (POW)
Anup Chetia (POW)
Raju Baruah (POW)
Chitrabon Hazarika (POW)
Ashanta Bagh Phukan (MIA)
Ramu Mech (POW)
Sashadhar Choudhury (POW)
Bhimkanta Buragohain (POW)
Mithinga Daimary (POW)
Pranati Deka (POW)
Drishti Rajkhowa (POW)
Sabin Boro, (POW)
Men Sing Takbi (POW)
Pradip Terang (POW)
Unknown Unknown
Strength
1,325,000 3,000–6,000 (1996)[4]
3,500 (2005)[5]
225 (2008)[6]
100 Unknown
Casualties and losses
Since 2000: 340 killed 14,000 killed (1990-2012)[7]
18,000 non-ULFA killed (1990-2012)[8]

Assam separatist movements refers to a series of multiple insurgent and separatist movements that had been operated in the Northeast Indian state of Assam.[9] The conflict started in the 1970s[9] following tension between the native indigenous Assamese people and the Indian government over alleged neglect, political, social, cultural, economic issues and increased levels of illegal immigration from Bangladesh.[10][11] The conflict has resulted in the deaths of 12,000 United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) militants and 18,000 others.[8][12]

Several organisations contribute to the insurgency including the ULFA, the Adivasi National Liberation Army, Karbi Longri N.C. Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) with ULFA perhaps the largest of these groups,[12] and one of the oldest, having been founded in 1979.[13] The ULFA has attacked Hindi-speaking migrant workers[14] and a movement exists favouring secession from the Republic of India.[15] The alleged neglect and economic, social, cultural and political exploitation by the Indian state are the main reasons behind the growth of this secessionist movement.

The ULFA seeks to establish a sovereign Assam via armed struggle. MULTA (Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam), on the other hand, seeks to establish an Islamic state in India via the jihadist struggle of Muslims of both indigenous and migrant origin. The Government of India banned the ULFA in 1990 and classifies it as a terrorist group, while the US State Department lists it under "other groups of concern".

Founded at Rang Ghar, a historic structure dating to the Ahom kingdom on April 7, 1979, the ULFA has been the subject of military operations by the Indian Army since 1990, which have continued into the present.[16] In the past two decades some 30,000 people have died[17] in the clash between the rebels and the government. Though separatist sentiment is considered strong, it is disputed if the secessionist movement continues to enjoy popular support. Conversely, assertions of Assamese nationalism are found in Assamese literature and culture. The neglect and exploitation by the Indian state are common refrains in the Assamese-language media[18] with some reports casting the ULFA leaders as saviors.[19]

Internationally acclaimed Assamese novelist Indira Goswami has tried to broker peace[20][21][22] for several years between the rebels and the government.[23] In a recent development Hiren Gohain,[24][25] a public intellectual, has stepped in to expedite the process.

Notable incidents

In June 7 in 2007, Dilip Agarwal, an Indian businessman (grocer) and his son, Rajat Agarwal were kidnapped by four suspected Adivasi National Liberation Army (ANLA).[26] In December of the same year, an improvised explosive device planted in a train compartment on its way from Dibrugarh to Delhi, India, blast killing 5 civilians and wounded five more. The ANLA claimed the attack to the media asking for more rights and recognition for the community in the state.[27][28][29]

In December 23, 2008, armed militants of the ANLA shot dead the Deputy Manager Gautom Kotoky a senior tea executive in Carramore tea estate (owned by McLeod & Russell Group) along the India-Bhutan border under Harisinga Police Station in Odalguri, Assam.[30][31] In the next day, a bomb blasts on railway tracks between Khatkhati and Bokajan. The attack left only material damage, and were attributed to the ANLA.[32][33]

In July 10 of 2011, an explosion was registered in the Guwahati-Puri Express train. Four of the train's coaches were derailed and over 100 people were wounded, and the attack caused an unknown amount of property damage to the tracks and train. Authorities said the bomb was placed on the track with wires and other trigger materials, which were found after the bombing. The Adivasi People's Army (APA)[34] claimed responsibility for the attack through an email, and the police suspected that National Democratic Front of Bodoland for the bombing.[35] Suspected APA militants attacked and wound Zakir Hussain, leader in the Assam Minorities Students' Union (AMSU); he held the position of Kamandanga unit assistant secretary. The attack took place in Kokrajhar district, Assam.[36][37] The APA carried out other similar attacks in train tracks.[38]

In December 21, the businessman Ratan Saha was kidnapped by members of the Adivasi Cobra Militants of Assam (ACMA) in Kokrajhar, Assam. In response, locals violently protested the kidnapping and demanded that Saha be released in one day. There were no reports of the outcome of the kidnapping.[39][40]

During 2012, all Adivasi militants including those of Adivasi Cobra Force surrendered. In December of the same year, armed militants of the ANLA kidnapped Gobin Goswami, the headmaster of Kuwoni Lower Primary School in Golaghat, the motive of the abduction and the outcome of the kidnapping is unknown.[41][42]

Suspect members of the ANLA abducted a grocery store owner and his employee in Majuli area, Sonitpur. The attackers claimed the kidnapping because they had failed to make ransom payments.[43][44][45]

On 15 May 2019, twelve people were injured after a grenade exploded in front of a shopping mall in Guwahati. Days later the United Liberation Front of Assam claimed responsibility for the attack, and the authorities arrested the main suspects.[46][47][48]

In 2020 and 2021, all Bodo, Karbi, Kuki and Dimasa militants surrendered to the government of India.[citation needed]

In 2022, Gorkha and Tiwa Militants also surrendered.[citation needed]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Adivasi National Liberation Army". SATP. Retrieved 28 June 2023.
  2. ^ "Adivasi National Liberation Army". Global Terrorism Database. Retrieved 28 June 2023.
  3. ^ "Will Assam agreement end insurgency". Deccan heralds. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  4. ^ "Global security - United Liberation Front of Asom". Archived from the original on 5 September 2018. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Global security - The National Democratice Front of Bodoland (NDFB)". Archived from the original on 5 September 2018. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Daily Excelsior". Jammu Kashmir Latest News | Tourism | Breaking News J&K. 28 May 2023.
  7. ^ The Tribune India - "News From India: Nation"
  8. ^ a b "The Sentinel". sentinelassam.com. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Bloody Tea". Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  10. ^ Kashyap, Aruni (19 May 2010). "India needs talks for Assam's peace". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 28 September 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Bomb Kills 10 at India Independence Parade". The New York Times. 15 August 2004. p. 15 (section 1). Archived from the original on 26 June 2018. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  12. ^ a b Pike, John. "Assam". Archived from the original on 26 June 2018. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  13. ^ "United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) - Terrorist Group of Assam". Archived from the original on 17 November 2009. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  14. ^ "Assam: ULFA's Rerun of Violence against Migrant Workers". Archived from the original on 28 November 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  15. ^ http://www.apcss.org/Publications/Edited%20Volumes/ReligiousRadicalism/PagesfromReligiousRadicalismandSecurityinSouthAsiach10.pdf. Retrieved 26 October 2011. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ "Where Have They All Gone? | Assam Portal". Assam.org. Archived from the original on 25 October 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  17. ^ "The Sentinel". Sentinelassam.com. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  18. ^ "The Assam conflict: a failure of the press". openDemocracy. 29 July 2010. Archived from the original on 14 November 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  19. ^ "India needs talks for Assam's peace | Aruni Kashyap | Comment is free". The Guardian. 19 January 2010. Archived from the original on 28 September 2018. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  20. ^ "National : Indira Goswami makes fresh attempt at brokering peace". The Hindu. 29 June 2007. Archived from the original on 14 February 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  21. ^ "Prince Clasu Award Indira Goswami". Princeclausfund.org. 29 June 2007. Archived from the original on 4 July 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  22. ^ "Conflict and Peace in India's Northeast: The Role of Civil Society" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 November 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
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  25. ^ "Peace interlocutor meets ULFA leaders in Guwahati jail". Sify. 21 October 2010. Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  26. ^ "Assam Times News". Retrieved 28 January 2024.
  27. ^ "5 killed in Rajdhani Express blast". Hindustan Times. 13 December 2007. Retrieved 28 June 2023.
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  33. ^ "GTD ID;200812240004". Global Terrorism Database. Retrieved 28 June 2023.
  34. ^ "Assam tribal outfit claims responsibility for blast". Times of India. 12 July 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  35. ^ "Adivasi group owns up blast on rail track". The Shillong Times. 11 July 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  36. ^ "Amsu leader shot in Kokrajhar". Times of India. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
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  38. ^ "GTD ID:201302030003". Global Terrorism Database. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
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  40. ^ "GTD ID:201112210037". Global Terrorism Database. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
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