in Northeast India:Changing
A two-Day National seminar
13-14 february 2012, GUWAHATI
(From Right) Former Union Home
Secretary GK Pillai, Assam CM Tarun Gogoi, BDHC to Eastern
India Sanjay Wadvani and CDPS president Arun Sarma during
the inaugural session of the seminar
The Centre for Development
and Peace Studies organized a two-day national seminar
titled 'Sustaining Peace in Northeast India: Changing
Dimensions' at Guwahati from 13-14 February, 2012. The
seminar was supported by the British Deputy High Commission,
Kolkata. Here is a report of the seminar which was inaugurated
by the Chief Minister of Assam Shri Tarun Gogoi. The
British Deputy High Commissioner to Eastern India, Mr
Sanjay Wadvani was the Guest of Honour at the occasion
while the former Union Home Secretary Mr GK Pillai was
the Keynote Speaker. The seminar was attended by a cross
section of people including academics, scholars, writers,
veteran journalists, social workers, college and university
students, retired army officers, senior police officers
DAY-I: february 13
Mr Sanjay Wadvani, BDHC to Eastern
India addressing the participants during the inaugural
Welcome and Introduction
Mr PJ Baruah, Jt. Secretary, CDPS welcomed the participants
and delivered the introductory address.
CDPS has decided to hold a Seminar on the topic Sustaining
Peace in Northeast India: Changing Dimensions because
it is felt that this is indeed a critical juncture for
Northeast India: on one hand peace seems to be round
the corner in states like Nagaland and parts of Assam
with the Central Government at an advanced stage of
peace negotiations with the Isak-Muivah faction of the
National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM), the
United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), and several
other ethnic rebel groups while peace agreements have
already been reached with groups like the United People’s
Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) in Assam’s Karbi
On the other hand, an entirely new dimension is being
added to the insurgency dynamics in the region with
a Maoist rebellion brewing and taking shape. What is
dangerous is the liaison between these Maoists, whose
leaders were indoctrinated by the CPI (Maoist) leadership
in Jharkhand and Chattisgarh, and the Northeast rebels.
One cannot help but suspect a grand Chinese design in
aiding and abetting a Maoist insurrection in the Northeast,
perhaps as an opportunity to use the region as a corridor
to link up with the Maoists in the heartland.
Address by Mr Sanjay Wadvani,
British Deputy High Commissioner to Eastern India
In his address, Mr Sanjay Wadvani, British Deputy High
Commissioner to Eastern India, said that the seminar
is very timely and topical. The Northeast has tremendous
economic potential and, in the current climate, with
many radical groups preferring dialogue to settle disputes,
the moment seems opportune to build peace in the region
and give a new vigour to development. He said that this
seminar will debate new challenges and threats at this
time and this is very welcome as only by understanding
the issues can stakeholders tackle the challenges.
“However, as we all know, and this seminar will
discuss in detail, there cannot be business and economic
growth without peace and stability,” Mr Wadvani
stressed. He further said that the UK works for a secure
and prosperous world and fully recognize that conflict
stunts all development activities and needs to be addressed
urgently. He said that the issues in this part of India
are complex and there is no easy solution to any conflict.
Concluding, Mr Wadvani said, “I am very pleased
to support this initiative by the Centre for Development
& Peace Studies, to focus on ‘changing dimensions’
of the threat to peace in the Northeast. While there
has been a marked improvement in peace and stability
in the region, it is judicious of CDPS to focus on new
threats to this evolving stability. The seminar also
discusses important issues such as economic initiatives
to reduce conflict, which can perhaps transform the
region as a new business hub with neighbouring countries
increasingly looking at closer economic co-operation.”
Keynote Address: Mr GK Pillai,
Former Home Secretary, Government of India
Mr GK Pillai, Former Home Secretary,
Govt. of India delivering the Keynote Address
The keynote address at the seminar
was delivered by Mr GK Pillai, Former Home Secretary,
Govt. of India. Mr Pillai said that each state in the
Northeast is unique and has a unique set of problems
and is at different stages of resolving its internal
security problems and the impact of neighbouring states’
internal security problem.
He said that looking at the key indicators of violence
in Assam, it is seen that the number of violent incidents
have come down gradually. It must be admitted, according
to him, that there is a yearning for peace in Assam
and popular support for militant groups is on the decline.
He analyzed whether this trend could be sustained and
nourished in the coming decade and about the emerging
new threats on the horizon.
“The Maoist threat is certainly one that is emerging.
The Maoist strategy is to fish in troubled water and
exploit any grievances or even perceived grievances.
This has to be tackled politically at the grassroots
level and not allowed to convert itself into an armed
movement. I would, therefore, urge all the political
parties in Assam and even NGOs to appreciate what the
Maoists are planning and counter their propaganda with
a well planned campaign at the grassroots level. The
Maoists are fascist in character and have no faith in
parliamentary democracy and believe in armed movement
to achieve their aim to capture political power. The
subtle campaign of the Maoists to portray themselves
as champions of the underdog and protector of the deprived
is but a part of their larger campaign to seize political
power through an armed struggle. And the State of Assam
needs to learn from the experiences of Andhra Pradesh,
Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa and nip it in the
bud right now. The primary task will be for the grass
root workers of recognized political parties to counter
the propaganda of the Maoists at the village level and
educate them of the ill effects of again going through
a phase of violence which the State of Assam can ill
afford as it turns its attention towards full scale
development,” he stated.
Taking up the issue of sustaining peace in Nagaland,
Mr Pillai said that there is a significant reduction
in violence in the state. Yet armed cadres of these
two groups [now three as there has been a split in the
NSCN (K)] continue to move freely in the State and coerce,
intimidate and extort at will. A significant development
in recent years has been the growing disillusionment
of the Eastern Nagas with the State Government which
culminated in their demand for a separate State for
the Eastern Nagas, as they feel that they will not get
due political and economic justice within the State
of Nagaland. On the other hand, the Government of India
has entered into negotiation with the NSCN (IM) to try
and find a political solution to the insurgency. According
to him, the talks have made significant progress.
Coming to the State of Manipur, Mr Pillai said that
this is perhaps the most problematic State in the Northeast
as no genuine dialogue has yet taken place with the
insurgent groups. The two economic blockades in the
recent past, caused considerable economic hardship to
the poor especially the Imphal Valley and increased
the alienation between the Meities and sections of the
tribal population. The State police force has become
politicized and highly dysfunctional. And more worrying
is the discontent between the State Government and the
Government of India on how to tackle the security situation
and the consequent social and economic fall out.
Mr Pillai said that the state of Arunachal Pradesh
is by and large peaceful except for the disturbed districts
of Tirap and Changlang. The State Government had shown
significant indifference to the situation in these two
districts which has the two militant groups NSCN (IM)
and NSCN (K) vying for supremacy in influence, extortion,
kidnappings and killings.
Referring to the situation in Tripura, he said that
it is far more stable and improving. On the other hand,
he said that Meghalaya has seen deterioration on the
law and order front in the last few years. The growing
inter-tribal rivalry and the political uncertainties
in Meghalaya have resulted in lack of attention to governance
and security matters.
Mizoram & Sikkim are beacons of peace and both
the Central and State governments are striving hand
to improve the economic condition of the people and
other States in the NE have to learn from their example.
Two external factors to be noted which have a bearing
on peace in the Northeast are the improving ties and
cooperation across the border with neighbouring Bangladesh
and the recent efforts by the Myanmar Government at
reconciliation with its own tribal regions and efforts
to establish a more participative democracy.
Concluding, Mr Pillai said that the prospects for peace
in the Northeast can only improve through:
1. Better governance by the State and local authorities.
The State Governments have to be more inclusive in their
approach to development and ensure the willing participation
of all minority groups in the developmental process.
Identity and culture of the various diverse ethnic groups
need to be respected and preserved. This is the essence
of the special nature of the Northeast region which
gives a distinctive flavor to the Indian Nation.
2. Better connectivity in the Region.
3. More active participation by civil society groups
in all aspects of governance and the State Governments
facilitating this – as it is in their own long
4. Most important, give topmost priority to create sustainable
employment in all spheres of economic activity, especially
in the tourism and hospitality sectors, music, sports,
handloom and handicraft and agriculture. This will be
the key for sustainable peace in the region.
5. The people in the northeastern States have changed
and are changing. The insurgent movements have also
significantly evolved. The State Governments need to
take notice of this and respond effectively to the new
needs and aspirations of the people.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi
delivers his Inaugural speech
Address by Chief Minister
of Assam Mr Tarun Gogoi
In his inaugural address, the Assam Chief Minister
Tarun Gogoi said that northeast India is bestowed with
abundance of natural resources but still insurgency
is prevalent. Economic development and better connectivity
is required for the inclusive development of the region
and ‘dignity’ and cultural and traditional
values are to be respected.
Addressing the delegates, the Chief Minister said,
“Armed revolution in this region is not a new
phenomenon. But armed revolution in northeast India
will not succeed.” He said that no problem can
be solved by force. “Our job is not to eliminate
but to bring them back. In the meantime, government
has to deal firmly with those who indulge in violence.
The surrendered militants need to be rehabilitated.
We have to be inclusive in development. Skill development
in different sector will form employment opportunities,”
Vote of Thanks
Delivering the vote of thanks, CDPS President Arun
Sarma said, “The Northeast has been in the grip
of a vicious cycle – lack of development, breeding
insurgency and the unrest that follows retarding progress.
Things are, of course, changing for the better and we
all hope there would be good days ahead.” On behalf
of CDPS, he offered sincere thanks and appreciation
to Mr GK Pillai, Mr Sanjay Wadvani and his colleagues
for their support, and each and every participant for
accepting invitation and coming over for the seminar.
with Mr GK Pillai
A view of the participants in the
Opening the interactive session,
the keynote speaker Mr GK Pillai said, “There
are number of issues which are yet not addressed either
in the media or in the government arena and so on. I
would like to raise those here given the opportunity.
One is the issue of illegal migration coming up again
and again. What about giving work permit to people who
are coming from Bangladesh to work in India. There are
10 million people working in the Middle East –
always through proper work permit. We talked about cattle
smuggling. There is substantial amount of money involved
in it. We have the issue of border fencing which exist
for political reasons. There are issues of good or bad
neighbors associated with it. From my experience, I
can say that many a time, when the chief ministers and
others talked to the Central Government, most of the
time they discussed only about allocations. No discussion
about the future of the Northeast, what is the type
of the issues and where are we going.”
He said that from the talk by the Chief Minister two
schools of thoughts are coming up: you alienating the
insurgents or keeping insurgency under control. “I
think this is a big issue. From the government of India
perspective, law and order is going to be more turbulent
issues and it is not to contain insurgency alone.
“In all India level there are lots of issues
coming up like corruption that gets huge attention.
The Northeast doesn’t have that much attention
in the mainland. Whole lots of issues are coming up.
How do we deal with these?” Then, he opened the
floor for discussion.
First Round of Interactions
Mr Subir Bhaumik: In spite of the policy decision that
the left wing movement is considered as the largest
security threat to the country, still army is not deployed.
On the other hand, army is deployed in NEI for counter
insurgency operation. Counter insurgency is a war of
hearts and minds. Does AFSPA really serve the purpose?
Dr John Sema: In the case of the Northeast, GOI use
army for counter insurgency but in the case of Naxalites
in the mainland why army is not used? Why two different
Dr NG Mahanta: Don’t you think we need some kind
of orientation where human security is address. And
also the issue of AFSPA and imposed development plan
like Vision 2020. Even the discourse of the mega dams
is structurally colonial. These questions we need to
reflect on. Is it shifting away from conflict issues?
Col. Monoranjan Goswami: Army does not enjoy the counter
terrorism in Northeast India. Counter terrorism is a
job imposed on army and army will do with all its might’s,
efficiency. Insurgency cannot be rooted out without
the use of army in Northeast. And if you use Army, AFSPA
has to be there as army has its own way of working.
Ms Patricia Mukhim: Mr Pillai talked about Centre not
being able to enough attention to states. Perhaps this
will continue in the next decade also. The constitution
talked about Union and states, not Centre. We are supposed
to be a union of states. In the Northeast India, where
states are constantly in a state of emergency, they
are loosing their autonomy.
Dr Rakhi Kalita: Does AFSPA have anything to do with
colonial hang over of having backward areas, ‘disturbed
area’ which came later? Is AFSPA getting much
substantial of attention?
Ms Elizabeth Devi: Law and order concept has been challenged
in the light of armed conflict. If we take the question
of only law and order I think we are ignoring the human
security aspects. Human security problem is encountered
in all level of the implementation level in armed conflict
Mr GK Pillai Responds:
• It is not that army was not used in Naxal plane.
Army was used in 1960 when a division of Naxal was active
in West Bengal. Today, Army is reluctant to come to
Naxal areas and also for the fact that they are spread
in other areas like in J&K. It’s a conscious
decision of GOI that army will not be used in the Maoist
area. Therefore, the question comes, can the role of
army be reduced in J & K and in Northeast. Now,
J &K because of border with a hostile country, there
is a presence of army for trans-border terrorism. There
are 26 camps of training insurgents on the other side.
We are reducing army form the populated areas of J &
K. In Northeast I personally feel that you can reduce
army role substantially, provided you are willing to
take police to take the additional responsibility. Manipur
is a classic example where you don’t see much
of army now. Then Nagaland, whole of Nagaland remained
‘disturbed area’- no security person is
killed in last 8 years. State government wants ‘disturbed
area’ status to go. But army, IB etc pushed for
the status to continue due to some apprehensions. I
was of the opinion that lets remove disturbed areas
status and lets see what happens. Politically it didn’t
hold. Real issue is ‘disturbed area’ status,
not AFSPA. AFSPA comes in when the area is declared
‘disturbed’. Disturbed area means local
administration is unable to tackle the situation and
in so many years state still couldn’t perform
as it is desired. Under the rule of law, army can be
reduced substantially in northeast and state police
has to act. In the case of NPMHR 1997, Supreme Court
has asked for the review of the status of ‘disturbed
area’ every six months. Its going on as a routine
and it going on. Army cannot be used against civilians.
If there is disciplined police force, dependence of
army can be reduced in northeast India.
• Downsizing of government is an issue where
you need lots of government bodies. Judicial reform
is an issue too.
• Roads in Arunachal Pradesh were kept undeveloped
as there was a policy that keep the border areas as
undeveloped as possible as China may come in. Now it
changed and roads are now being built up and it will
take five years more to complete the job.
• About the dependence on centre, I agree with
you. We are sending para military forces to Northeast
but there is no substitute for local police as they
know people of the place. About 4 lakh central paramilitary
are now deployed here. It is informed to the paramilitary
officers that they are going to be posted for longer
period in Northeast India and they are even learning
local languages and cultures.
• Police has to act and in many cases where police
doesn’t act. Take the case of Nagaland –
police is not ready to act. Twenty crores of rupees
have been spent for its modernization. In Manipur 50
per cent of the police force is engaged in providing
security to 150 VVIPs. In Delhi 19 new police stations
with 80 police officials in it were established by reducing
police force from the VVIP security duties during my
tenure, without hiring new personnel. This I could do
with the help of the Home Ministry. People have to decide
– are the police force is meant for the people
or the VVIPs?
• Development deficient is there in Northeast.
How long the 10 per cent budget allocation will continue?
Now, it continued for 20 years. That is something one
needs to think as this allocation will not continue
for years to come.
Mr Subir Bhaumik asking a question
during the interactive session
Second Round of Interactions
Mr Pradip Phanjoubam: To answer Patricia, I would say
that centre and federalism is there in the constitution
and the constitutional assembly debates indicate of
a strong centre in Indian system. Example: Commission
of Enquiry Act 1952, article 365, 3 etc suggests the
same and there was unspecified motive for strong centre
and this needs to be changed after 60 years of working
of the constitution.
Some kind of diplomatic change is happening about the
army. Army has been used to fight aggression against
external forces. I don’t think India will go to
war again as its neighbours like Nepal, Bhutan etc.
doesn’t have the power to face India. Army has
to be kept fit and so increasingly they are doing policing
job. Job of army needs to be defined. AFSPA is a symptom
of lack of redefining new roles for army. It’s
the same mentality. We are not going to abolish army
but their role needs to be redefined, which is not happening.
Ms Rosemary Dzuvichu: In segments of your talk you
said about the DGP of Nagaland. This is a major issue.
On one side their doing policing job and on the other
hand there is huge issue of corruption which is eating
away the issues of development. On centre-state relation
how much monitoring is done? There has been rampant
corruption in terms of education, social justice. Many
of us living with fear under the shadow of AFSPA, the
army has an ugly role and its time for army to go back
and let people think about their future. The peace process
is on but factional killings too are going on. This
issued needs to be addressed too.
Dr Rajen Singh: I have two questions. 1. How difficult
it is to initiate dialogue with militant groups without
pre conditions for the GOI? 2. In Tripura, police has
been successful in upholding law and order situation.
But in the case of AFSPA and the recruitment of police
forces in Manipur, 40 per cent are recruited from the
constituency belong to the chief minister and his wife.
In that case, I think we need to have recruitment monitoring
as local police can contribute a lot. I did a survey
and it was found that 80 per cent of police forces believe
that they can tackle insurgency with the help of armed
forces. Thus monitoring of recruitment is very important
and can serve better.
Mr GK Pillai Responds:
• There is a dilemma. In one side, there is state
autonomy and on the other there is centre’s role.
Policing is not a centre’s issue [subject]. Police
recruitment is not free from corruption anywhere in
India. But there are examples, last year about 19 thousand
persons were recruited in UP and not a single person
paid bribe. In Kerala, the chief minister cannot do
what Manipur chief minister has done as there is district
wise recruitment policy and district quota is there.
This policy can be followed by other states.
• On corruption and lack of accountability issues,
I think the right to information act is doing wonderful
and is to be used. It has been proved very successful
and effective. It has to be used widely. It’s
a powerful tool.
• About the transparency in peace talks, everybody
becomes defensive in such talks and negotiations are
done in some kind of privacy. Recently, media reported
about certain thing on NSCN-IM talks and it creates
misunderstanding. In future we can expect more transparency.
• Pre-conditions for talks: we can talk to a
group only if they give up violence. That’s the
only condition we have before talk takes place.
• Pradip’s question is important. Now-a-days,
a concept is developing world wide called, ‘hybrid’
world. In Maoist area, if civil administration, police
and paramilitary forces fail, army will come. And it
will be a massive deployment because you cannot afford
that area to be a lawless area as 90 per cent of India’s
mineral resources are from these areas. This is rough
• Today, training of police forces at times is
taken as a punishment posting. Training is not a priority
for police but for the army. Worst people from police
are sent for training and worst before are coming out
of it. In several police training camps in J and K,
there was no sanctioned trainer. Nobody is interested
in trainings. But in Army and BSF, training is important.
Mental block is there.
• Monitoring of the schemes has to be done by
the states. Centre cannot come and monitor the funds
for rural development etc. Use RTI for monitoring.
Third Round of Interactions
Belivia (A student of Political Science, Cotton College):
The Chief Minister said that we cannot have a uniform
policy in Assam due to its ethnic diversities. How do
you propose changes in such ethnic scenario for sustaining
peace in Assam?
Dr Sameer Das: This is a irony that we are to discuss
how to sustain peace but we are focusing more whether
army should be withdrawn and more policemen are to be
brought into action for maintain law and order. I wish
we can focus more on development on what kind of development
is required for Northeast and CM has indicated development
that generates employment. All of us know that today’s
development is taking place where employment generation
is low. How we can address the issue of undocumented
immigrations” It is reported that immigration
has come down specially in Tripura due to fencing. Is
it possible to tackle immigration by fencing? Because,
in this age of globalization, immigration seems to be
unstoppable. There can be two strategies, like to stop
the migration completely but on the other hand there
is a demand for migrant labour force. How you can make
use of this labour without making them citizens. Please
enlighten us on that.
Mr Allen Brooks: You have said something on the migration
population. Assam is the second largest state in India
where Muslim population is the largest with 13 Muslim
majority districts. Assamese Muslims are totally discriminated
and they are not getting anything under MSDP. With the
population increasing, we are facing another problem
– that of identity.
Sushanta Talukdar: Media is discussing the problem
if illegal migration. India is not taking up this issue
with the government of Bangladesh officially. What is
the official position on the illegal migration from
Bangladesh when Bangladesh is in the denial mode?
Mr GK Pillai Responds:
• There are things coming up and it will take
time to settle the complex ethnic issues in Assam. We
had a big problem when BLT peace talk and formation
of Bodoland took place when Bodos are only 38 per cent
percent of the population and they got 2-3 reservation.
This is a violation of all democratic norms. Anyone
can go the Supreme Court and challenge this. Accommodative
spirit has to be there.
• Bangladesh claims that there is no illegal
migration taking place from that country. But this is
a fact that unofficially in Bangladesh number of passport
are twice than the total population. This speaks a lot.
Illegal migration is everywhere. In US-Maxico, all infrastructures
are there still migration couldn’t be stopped.
Migration is taking place in other state not in Assam.
The solution can be get Bangladesh economically developed.
Fencing alone cannot solve the problem.
• Development comes from employment generation
at the grassroots level. Skill development is required
in handloom, hospitality sector. There are advantages
of this region because people are English speakers.
I don’t find a single restaurant in Bangalore
without people from the Northeast. People of north east
are moving out. Sports in Manipur need promotion. Taking
advantage of trade, Korean people are taking people
from Northeast India for employment. People have potential
in this region. This opportunity must be used. Shillong
has big music industry.
Mr Pillai thanked all the participants for the session.
The third session was chaired by
Mr Pradip Phanjoubam, Editor, Imphal Free Press.
Mr Subir Bhaumik, author and journalist, presented
a paper on Dealing with war and peace in Northeast
India: Initiatives beyond boundaries. He said that
the ‘Look East’ element in Indian foreign
policy, over the first decade of this millennium, has
tried to address the economic development concerns in
the Northeast by (a) getting neighbours to provide surface
and sea transport connectivity for the remote region
(b) by pushing for markets in neighbouring countries
for products from northeast India (c) by opening crucial
roads and rail links and by developing a structure for
border trade (d) by promoting people-to-people links
between the northeast and the countries in its neighbourhood.
Mr Bhaumik said that Bangladesh agreeing to a transit
agreement to allow use of its ports for the Northeast
is a step forward. Myanmar’s expressed interest
in buying petroleum products made at Numaligarh for
western regions which are far away from port areas is
another step in the right direction. In his paper, he
put forward several recommendations:
1. Since Myanmar’s upper reaches are the last
major base area for northeastern rebel groups, it is
incumbent that India pushes Myanmar to do a “All
Clear” type operation to flush out the groups.
If Myanmar comes up with the usual excuse of not having
enough force level and logistics to sustain a long drawn
counter-insurgency operation, India should push for
joint operations and effectively take over the operation.
Clearence for use of air power or special operations
is required, though Myanmar may not give it under Chinese
pressure or for nationalist reasons.
2. In that case, India will have to work out a special
operations strategy that will involve (a) picking out
allies within Burmese undergrounds (b) northeastern
rebel groups (c) surrendered rebels
3. India should make special arrangements for Sheikh
Hasina’s security and for that of other Awami
League leaders to avoid a repeat of 1975.
4. India should move to develop Special Economic Zones
(SEZ) on borders to turn them into space for economic
growth rather than conflict space. Indian capital must
play a major role by investing in these SEZs after its
regulations are worked through mutual negotiations.
5. Trans-border cultural groups under Indian Council
of Cultural Relations (ICCR) should be created to facilitate
people to people contact between northeast and neighbours.
Ms Patricia Mukhim, editor of The Shillong Times
deliberated on Constitution of India: Fexible enough
to accommodate aspirations of groups like NSCN and ULFA?
Addressing the participants, Ms Mukhim said, “The
Indian Constitution is no doubt flexible, but the problem
is that we have a majoritarian democracy where any changes
proposed by minority groups tends to remain unheard.
There are several bills pending in the Parliament which
are for the greater public good, but they are not easy
to push through as we have seen in the case of Lokpal.”
She said that though we have Fundamental Rights, it
is not that easy to access those rights.
The session was concluded with thought provoking interactive
DAY-II: february 14
Mr GK Pillai chairs the first session
of the second day of the Seminar
The first session of the second
day was chaired by Mr GK Pillai, Former Union Home Secretary.
He started with a brief introduction of the speakers
and the key concepts of the topics to be covered by
The first speaker was Mr Wasbir Hussain. His paper
on Maoism: The New Threat in Northeast India: An
Overview chronicles the Maoists’ emergence
in the region, the linkages with rebel groups in the
vicinity, the front organizations, and the thinking
within the security establishment on the turn of events.
Mr Hussain forwarded a brief chronology of the Maoist
penetration to the Northeast India, citing 1971 as the
probable beginning. He said that between 2005 and 2006,
the Maiosts set up their base camp in the districts
of Goalpara and Sonitpur. By 2009, they started to extend
the ‘Red Corridor’ adding new security threat
to the northeastern region. The extension of this red
corridor has been possible due to nexus of the Maoist
with the leading insurgent groups of the region.
CDPS Director Wasbir Hussain presenting
his paper on Maoism
Mr Hussain said that there are reports
of the then military Chief of CPI-Maoist, Malllojula
Koteswara Rao, popularly known as Kishenji, having visited
Thoubal in Manipur. He is said to have held meeting
with the frontline Meitei insurgent group, the People’s
Liberation Army (PLA), and adopted a resolution to back
each others’ interests. It was also attended by
a team from the ULFA, led by Partha Gogoi. In fact,
the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has begun a
formal probe to get at the bottom of the linkage between
the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the main political
platform of the Naxalites in the country, and the People’s
Liberation Army (PLA), one of Manipur’s, or for
that matter the Northeast’s, most potent insurgent
groups, he added.
He said that it is now official that the Assam-Arunachal
Pradesh frontier is turning into a Maoist den with cadres
of the anti-talk faction of the ULFA headed by Paresh
Baruah providing arms training to the fledgling ‘red
rebels’. The lid on the organized Maoist activity
in the area, mainly in the Lohit and Lower Dibang Valley
districts of Arunachal Pradesh, was actually blown in
August 2011 when arrested cadres made some startling
disclosures. They told interrogators that they used
to hold ‘revolutionary meetings’ in their
hideouts at regular intervals and that such meetings
were attended by anything between 150 to 200 cadres.
Revelations such as these had actually triggered the
alarm in security circles.
Concluding, Mr Hussain said, “What could actually
sustain the ‘red rebels’ is lack of development
caused by various factors, including poor accountability
and leakage of development funds, and the area’s
geography, the porous borders that the region shares
with Myanmar, China, Bangladesh, and Bhutan. With frontline
ethnic insurgent groups either on a ceasefire or in
advanced stage of peace negotiations with the Government,
the anti-peace talk factions of groups like the ULFA
could use these Maoists as force multipliers. If an
effective security and development strategy is not adopted,
the Maoists could well come to fill the void created
by ethnic insurgent groups giving up arms and joining
the mainstream. Instead of sitting and discussing an
anti-Naxal or anti-Maoist strategy later, the authorities
would do well to devise a development action plan to
give youths in areas like eastern Assam’s Tinsukia
district or the Lohit and Dibang Valley districts in
adjoining Arunachal Pradesh jobs and livelihood options,
besides providing connectivity to the far flung areas.
Initiatives like these are overdue. After all, it has
been 65 years since India had attained independence.”
Dr Samir Das, Prof. and Chair, Department of Political
Science, Calcutta University, delivered a speech on
Pull Factors for a Maoist Rebellion in the Northeast.
He stressed on the reasons and strategies of the Maoist
presence in the region. In his paper Dr Das referred
to the Assam Governor J.B. Patnaik’s comment that
Maiosts have sneaked into some of the regions of the
Northeast - taking advantage of their remoteness and
established their bases in the bordering districts of
Dhemaji and Tinsukia in Assam and in Lohit and Diwang
valley of Arunachal Pradesh. The Governor also admitted
that the Maoists have succeeded in infiltrating into
the ranks of various students’ organizations and
tea labourers’ outfits, he added.
His paper argues that peace established through pacification
whether by ‘laying down of arms’ or by ‘ceasefire’
or by ‘suspension of operations’ or any
of their combination hit its limit insofar as the peace
that it produces is constantly threatened by the fear
of war. In the context of the Northeast, it is important
that we differentiate between different kinds of peace,
more fundamentally between peace by pacification and
peace that respects the triadic principles of rights,
justice and democracy.
It is in the context of peace by pacification that
a reassessment of the security scenario is regarded
as necessary. The Maoists are said to have tried to
gain an entry at two levels: first at the underground
level, by way of forging tactical alliances with some
insurgent groups and second at the over ground level,
by penetrating into the ranks of various civil society
organizations. We argue that tactical alliances will
be successful in inspiring and organizing ‘specific
movements’ in an isolated way while the Maoists
are likely to find it difficult – if not impossible
– to forge any strategic unity amongst all these
movements and mobilize people along class lines –
one of their avowed objectives. In fact, we argue that
in the context of India’s Northeast such short-term
successes might have an adverse impact on the avowed
objective of forging strategic unity on a pan-Indian
scale. The social and political template is still characterized
by ethnic strife and demands for national self-determination
and the Maoists will not like to be identified with
any particular ethnic group or community exclusively
He said that Maoists will seek to gain access to the
new over ground civil society organizations that have
emerged by way of rallying around such issues as tenancy
rights, procurement of food grains, protection against
flood, earthquake and other natural calamities, right
to a corruption-free society, so on and so forth. Civil
society in Assam has come of age in recent years in
the sense that it has been able to send into the backstage
ethnic issues and the exclusivist demands of the ethnic
groups and nationalities. Once they gain access, the
Maoists will try their best to appropriate and monopolize
them – a move that is likely to be resisted by
those who seek to retain the irreducibly plural character
of the nascent civil society in Assam. “Merely
branding the entire civil society in Assam as ‘Maoist’
will not do. It is important that the civil society
develops its internal strength in order to withstand
any possible onslaught on it. Disengagement from civil
society will not be a feasible proposition”, he
The session was followed by the Chairperson’s
comment. Mr Pillai summarised:
• Peace can be established by pacification.
• Peace has to be made sustainable.
• Differentiation has to be made between real
peace and peace. Real peace in Assam can be established
by reassessment of security scenario in Assam. It has
to be at the over ground level.
• The Maoists are trying hard to appropriate and
monopolise civil society.
• The civil society must develop its internal
• The Maoist will give more importance on building
tactical alliances for spectacular gain.
• The Maoist’s short term gain may show
their long term objectives.
Dr Samir Das addresing the participants
during the first session
The discussion began with Mr. G.M. Srivastava’s
(former DGP, Assam) comment:
• The Maoists have their hub from Bajali to Baihata
Charali in Assam.
• The Adivasi groups have started surfacing in
Asssam. They have cronology with the Tribal groups of
• The Maoists are trying to build Northeast as
a buffer state. Today, if PLA could achieve their target,
they will demand separate state with a different model.
They will make entire India into one separate nation
based on their ideology. It is going to be permanent.
During the discussion, Mr Abhinav Borbara, a student
of Cotton College, Ms Patricia Mukhim and Mr Pradip
Phanjoubam posed questions to the presenters. Some of
the relevant questions are:
• Does CPI(M) play any role in penetration of
the Maoist in Assam Valley?
• Has it become easier for the government to level
the anti-dam protester as Maoist?
• Where does Nepal be placed in this whole scenario?
• If civil society is strengthened, is there any
guarantee that another movement will not be starting
up/ How can it be balanced?
Commenting on the above questions, Mr Wasbir Hussain
said that the Maoists themselves reveal an ideology.
They comprise of mix ethnic group and it is difficult
to indoctrinate them. Regarding the history of their
development he said that during the Assam movement also
the Maoists were there and they may be regarded as the
offspring of the ULFA. Adding to Mr. Hussain, Mr Srivastava
said that even before the formation of the ULFA the
RCPI was there but it was like the SFI. They were seen
to be operating from Shillong in Meghalaya. Mr. Hussain
further said that soon after ‘Operation All Clear’
the Bhutanese government was not worried about any other
insurgent group other than the KLO, only because it
was acting as the bridge between Maoist and other groups.
Even the Bhutanese Marxist Party is troubling the Bhutanese
Addressing the queries, Dr Samir Das said that his
presentation was basically theoretical and supporting
the view of Mr G M Srivastava he said that the ultimate
aim of the Maoist is to overthrow the Indian state and
to do so they are trying to establish their foothold
in Northeast Region. They are of pan Indian nature and
they may not accept the nationalist question as held
by the ULFA. He said that the anti-dam protestors are
not Maoist. Civil Society is an ambit where multiple
voices are heard. The Moaists are making use of it because
through the civil society voices they could stress themselves.
As regards to branding of the Maoist as anti-dam protestor
he said that the anti-dam movement started at a time
when all the insurgent groups are over-ground. In that
sense, the ULFA may also be behind the protest or the
KMSS may be branded as the ULFA. Adding to that, he
said that Maoists are penetrating the region with the
help of other forces. They are engaged in appropriating
space in patches. They will not monopolize the whole
space, so, instantly it does not bring any alarm.
The Chairperson Mr. G.K. Pillai summarized:
• The presence of the Maoist is phenological.
• It is high time to monitor the Maoists closely
• Their presence in the region is a wake up call
for Indian Democracy to take up a series of action to
• The Maoists are taking help of the civil society
and the intellectuals who are integral part of the civil
society. The intellectual staying underground are extending
support to this group and justifying their acts. The
civil society is working as the front organization in
justifying their activity.
• The CPI(M)’s Central Committee members
are underground member of the Maoist.
• In dealing with the problem, there is lack of
body sources, i.e, there is lack of police forces.
• The Maoists have a kind of ideological domination
and if somebody does not go by their way, they don’t
give a second thought in killing them.
• The Maoist movement is for a complete state.
• The only way to deal with it is through bridging
the gap between the representatives and the people.
The second session was chaired by
Ms Patricia Mukhim, Editor of The Shillong Times.
The first presenter for this session was Dr Alka Acharya,
Professor of Chinese Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University,
Delhi and her paper titled India’s Look East
Policy & China: Can a trade or Business Initiative
Succeed in Reducing Conflict in Northeast India.
Dr Acharya started with the remark that Look East Policy
is a buzz word today and China’s trade initiative
today can bring a new shift in India’s Look East
Policy. It can have a larger implication for India in
general and the Northeast in particular. Trade can create
enormous space for peace but the problem is what business
would be fruitful for this region as well as the entire
India. It is because the region is known for its geo-political
problems. Her paper has tried to throw light on the
internal dynamics of the region with respect to the
Look East Policy. For conveniences, she divided the
whole paper into three parts looking into three aspects:
• Contextualizing India’s Look East Policy
in global level.
• Indo-China relation.
• Relation between Conflict and Trade.
In the context of India’s Look East Policy at
the global level, it has two faces:
• There is increasing centrality of China in
India. India’s policy is of domain class. It has
created a kind of new regionalism in the South East
Asia and East Asia.
• From 1980’s onwards there is a shift in
the whole global economic functions. The shift was towards
capitalism where this area emerged as a manufacturing
jacket. Here China also emerged as a key player in economic
regionalism. In the mean time, the Northeast is assumed
to be facilitating as a buffer zone for trans-border
• The rationale for such a statement lies in the
fact that the last decade has shown tremendous growth
in the South Asian Region and Northeast region is surrounded
by it. e.g The Greater Mekong Sub division. By this
time the mainland South Asia and South East Asia have
started this launch (GNS & ASEAN), India started
its Look East Policy.
• Over the last decade China has channelized 11
million dollar into Multi Countries areas. So, it is
extending its physical connectivity.
Addressing the relation between trade and conflict,
Dr Acharya proposed ‘Commerce breed Peace’.
The notion of trade actually propagates perpetual peace.
According to leading theories, trade and conflict have
either ‘no effect’ or ‘large effect’.
• Moreover, there are some problems associated
with it. They are:
1. Trade is an independent factor and subject to political
2. Trade facilitates conflict reduction but it increases
The following suggestions have been forwarded by Dr.
• On the larger degree of economic consideration
by the government only the reduction of conflict through
trade will be possible.
• The nexus between corrupt official and the businessman
which actually enhances conflict, has to be contained.
• Entry into the undisturbed area is also required.
• It will require the Indian state to explore
and facilitate trade through local initiatives which
may to a great extent help in reducing conflict.
The second presentation was on India’s Approach
to Reaching Peace with Insurgents: Is a Moratorium on
Peace Talks Needed? It was delivered by Dr Monirul
Hussain, Head, Department of Political Science &
Sociology, Gauhati University. Mr Hussain said that
there has been a number of peace accords signed with
the insurgents groups in the last few decades, but the
stable peace has not been realized in the region. He
held that in order to have effective results, the following
things are to be considered:
• The question of accountability.
• The question of Democracy (It has deepened or
• How representative is the peace accords?
• Has it enhanced the quality of the citizenship?
• Whether it ensures justice to the people?
Mr. Hussain added that since Independence of India,
Assam has been constantly affected by two facts. They
are: 1. Large scale violence (often taking the form
of genocide) 2. Almost all the perpretrators of violenc
are moving around freely. So, basically these two things
should be addressed by the peace accords. He further
said that Assam Accord has become redundant. He said
that Assam is a common homeland of all the communities.
Similarly, Bodo Terrotorial Councils’ exclusion
of other community in BTC will create a kind of partition
which has fragmented the society into Bodos and Non-Bodos
and within the Bodos as well. It has happened due to
under representation of the non-Bodos in the BTC. It
has not been as per the Bodo Accords. It is also due
to the fact that when at a time where in most parts
of India Panchayati Raj is working, the Northeast region
is accommodating territoriality on ethnic basis. This
actually hampers the participation of a large section
of the people both ethnic and non ethnic. It has also
been stated that most of the members of such councils
are nominated, hence it is not democratic. It has squeezed
democratic essence which is also a result of defective
accords. Further, no accord was given due consideration
to justice. Based on these, he forwarded the following
• The Peace Accord should be accountable to the
• It should accommodate greater representation
to make it more democratic.
• It should be an effective mechanism to deliver
justice to larger section of the populace.
Addressing Dr. Alka Acharya, Mr. GK Pillai commented
that Indo-China Trade has become China-Northeast India
Trade. It is growing at a faster pace with the benefits
going no-where. It has been similar with the case of
Yunan Province, which has been used by China for trade
but the place virtually ended as a dumping ground for
the products now. In dealing with this relation the
role of the state governments of the region also has
to be looked into. Moreover, what products are actually
coming into the region has to be minutely observed.
Addressing to Acharya, Mr. Wasbir Hussain and Mr. Pradip
• In the context of trading with northeastern
region can Bangladesh play a key role?
• Does India-China trading will not have social
reparations? (Mr. Phanjoubam added that can the ethnic
sense be ruled out in this context ? will not there
be social tensions regarding location of the benefits
of such trading? Will the gain in such trading be clear?)
Addressing Mr Wasbir Hussain, Dr Acharya said that
without Northeast, the Trade between India and China
is not possible and Indian Government cannot jump over
Northeast to other regions. For effective trade, two
things are to be considered: 1. India’s role in
China and, 2. To what extent the competition between
both the countries will go on, and, will there be a
point where both the countries will be relatively satisfied
with their position and there will be no need for any
pushing factors to boost the economy.
Addressing Pradip Phanjoubam’s query, Dr. Acharya
said that it will not happen immediately. In this context,
she cited the example of Nathula in Sikkim.
The chairperson invited Dr John Sema, Department of
Political Science, Nagaland University to deliver his
speech as a discussant. His brief lecture can be summarized
• For effective implementation of the moratoriums
Government of India and civil society should not stay
merely as spectators and have to be vigilant in making
• As regards to the Assam Accord and the Bodo
Accord , both have been a failure in accommodating the
aspiration of the people at large.
• Government of India has failed to look into
this contentious issue.
• In the context of Naga Peace Accord, when it
was initiated it was assumed to be unconditional but
on monitoring, it has been found that it was full of
• The Naga issue has been the longest one of its
kind with longest ceasefire and no amicable solution.
Government’s apathy is the main reason for such
Mr. Sema further added that the discussion should be
more inclusive or it should be completely stopped. In
Nagaland, the newly formed government is a puppet one
and the Central government has been showering money
to maintain such a government. If such condition continues,
then no solution will be available.
The discussion continued with comments from Mr Wasbir
Hussain. Referring to moratorium on peace talks, he
said that while signing the agreement much importance
was given to the DHD(J) Group, but once the group signed
ceasefire agreement it started moving in a snails pace.
In the meanwhile, newer insurgent groups were coming
up. The process continued bringing no solution to the
Commenting on the ongoing discussion, Mr. Pillai said
that it is not enough to give economic packages to the
insurgents groups. Multiple negotiations with various
groups have to be taken up. Packages only boost the
insurgents groups to accelerate further violence.
Counter commenting Mr. Pillai’s speech Ms. Rosemary
Dzuvichu, Assistant Prof., Nagaland University said
that Government is not at all serious about the Naga
issue. She claimed that the voices from the grass root
are always ignored by the Government. Central government
is always refusing flagship programmes and never taken
up serious monitoring of the issues.
Responding to the presentation of Dr. Alka Acharya,
Mr. Gaurav Gogoi, co-founder Youth Forum on Foreign
Policy commented that taking in consideration of the
changing geo-political situation of the country, there
is increasing apprehension. Is there any way to lessen
the apprehension? In terms of better results what kind
of infrastructure development can be taken of? How Northeast
region can leverage changing geo-political situation
to boost the economy? Answering his comments and queries
Dr. Acharya said that there has to be different strategies
based on different ground to boost the economy of this
region. The region is in transitional stage and the
Government has to take the first step to revamp the
economic situation of the region through different government
Addressing Dr Monirul Hussain, Dr NG Mahanta enquired
that if in the name of ethnic identity the territoriality
will keep on increasing, so , Is there any institutional
alternatives to it? Why not the names of such territories
be generic neutral? Responding to the query Dr. Hussain
said that Bodos are actually multi-religious and practices
Hinduism, Chritianity, Animist religion as well as Hinduism
plus Animist. When Bodo accord was signed Mr. L.K. Advani
was the then Home Minister and he made the mistake by
including only the Hindu Bodos and excluding others
which has serious repercussion afterwards. In that case
the NDFB was excluded on the basis of Hindutva. Adding
to his response, Mr. Pillai commented that local languages
play a very important role in it.
Addressing the question of leveraging the dynamic geo-political
situation and boosting of Indian economy Mr Hussain
commented that government is leveraging through development
strategies of constructing Hydro-electric projects.
The political leadership of the area has to be educated.
The Government should take up broader view of winning
elections. Adding to this Dr Acharya said that local
concerns and National superiority has to be compatible.
Summary of Session – II
The discussion was followed by the summary of the Session
– II by the chairperson Ms. Patricia Mukhim. She
summarised the following points:
• There is very little understanding on the part
of Chinas motive, i.e., what is their main policy towards
• The development of the economy is lacking due
to lack of our own investment.
• Before making a policy for Northeast, it needs
to be sorted out that in any sense of business here
is there privatisation of the common has started? What
type of business in real is going on? Is there more
involvement of the mafias for which the benefits are
not percolating to the masses?
• People must be politically vigilant and conscious.
They should be aware of what has been signed in an accord.
Their perception should be clear and that initiative
should be taken by the people themselves because in
any case it is the common people who are the victims.
• Civil Society is the basis of a healthy nation,
there must be enough space for their voices.
• Regarding the voices of impunity, it is only
the intellectuals whose voices are heard, the common
people hardly have a space. It really put the common
people in a state of jeopardy.
• Government of India should listen to the voices
of the common people first.
Dr Rajen Singh, Dr Sheila Bora, Dr
NG Mahanta and Gaurav Gogoi (from left) during the third
The concluding session was chaired
by Dr Sheila Bora, Prof (Retd.) Dibrugarh University
and currently, visiting Prof. Gauhati University. This
was the concluding session of the two-day National Seminar
and there were three papers to be presented in this
The first paper of the session titled Shifting
Terrain: Conflict Dynamics in Northeast India was
presented by Dr NG Mahanta, Peace and Conflict Studies
Centre, Gauhati University. The paper was an attempt
to analyze the changing contours and dynamics of conflict
in the Northeast region.
In his paper Dr Mahanta tried to focus on the changing
nature of the conflict in Northeast India. He made a
modest attempt to see the changes in the identity crystallization
process of the northeast region since the dawn of independence
highlighting the changing or the continuum of conflict
in the region.
The paper highlighted the following phases of conflict
in the region—first phase of Conflict as a conflict
over a distinct regional identity. The second phase
of Conflict can be described as assertion for resources,
language and identity (1947-1979). The paper looked
at the third phase of Conflict (1979 -2005) as contesting
through regional movements & militancy.
In the paper Dr Mahanta argued that the fourth phase
of conflict marks a paradigmatic shift from the previous
phases. Issues for conflict and confrontation with the
Indian State have drastically changed in the post 2005
period. Issues of governance, land allotment, rehabilitation,
displacement, and transparency in administration, people’s
participation, and community resources have become more
crucial than before. People want development—but
have started asking critical questions –“development
by whom, for whom, who will be the beneficiaries and
at what cost”. Movements that have addressed these
people’s issues have become more popular and sustainable
in comparison to the armed groups who have perennially
neglected these issues for a dream of independent Sovereign
People in the region are seeking for freedom of violence
and war which led to emergence of the interest group
like the KMSS. It strengthen the issue of land rights,
preservation of ecology , de-militarization etc which
reflect that at the larger context the conflict in the
Northeastern region the nature of conflict has shifted
from being ethnic to non- ethnic. Northeast which is
known as the ‘Zomia land’ will be disappearing
very soon at the outset of development activities of
the government without proper addressing of the emerging
issues. It is high time that the state has to be pressurized
for sustainable peace and durable disorder. People have
to voice for proper representation, land, ideas and
the question of who will rule Assam, he added.
The second speaker was Mr Gaurav Gogoi, Co-Founder,
Youth Forum on Foreign Policy. He presented a paper
on Development: A Key For Sustaining Peace In Northeast
India. Mr Gogoi said that the Northeast is in urgent
need of a comprehensive development model to address
the issues of peace and security. “This model
will need to focus on three fundamental planks of education,
agriculture and culture. It is imperative that steps
are taken in these three areas to assuage the insecurities
of those communities which are being left behind in
the development path. These initiatives must lead to
stronger rural economies and greater employment. The
latter is especially important as the region will see
a greater expansion of people living in the age bracket
of 13- 25 years. The systemic failures of our education
system and our agricultural sector must be resolved
and a renewed emphasis on culture and heritage is required”,
According to Mr Gogoi, livelihood opportunities in
agricultural sector need to be incentivized for young
people. Steps like highlighting successful case studies
of profitable youth-own farm-based enterprises would
be extremely beneficial. Policy-making needs to evolve
to include consultations with young farmers. In education,
the mainstream curriculum should be evolved to include
skill development and vocational courses. Vocational
institutes should be established to reduce the number
of people with educational degree but no jobs. While
hard to measure, cultural harmony is very important
for the Northeast because it is such a diverse region
of India with people belonging to different communities
and having vastly different dialects. “Steps are
required to preserve our diverse languages and build
our appreciation of multiple cultures. An environment
of truth and reconciliation is required amongst communities
that have committed human atrocities on each other”,
he added. He commented:
• No meaningful research has been done in this
part on development strategies.
• Development can help to sustain Peace in a larger
scale in Northeast India.
• Development strategies have to be local and
• Revamping of rural connectivity, rural health,
revamping rural agro based industries and educating
the rural masses can help to a great extent to sustain
Peace in Northeast.
• Leakages of development funds, unsustainable
peace building and weak economic development are the
main reason behind upsurge of conflict in Northeast.
• The response to conflict should not be harsh
security, militarization or ceasefire agreements, because
such activities aggravate the situation rather than
Further adding to his comments Mr Gaurav Gogoi said
that “Development before peace” is the new
mantra to contain violence and sustain peace in Northeast
The third speaker of the session was Dr Rajen Singh
from Manipur University. He forwarded his presentation
on Elusive Peace In Northeast: The Manipur Case.
Dr Singh started his talk with a brief historical account
of the Manipur Kingdom which started way back in 1891
and became a full fledged state in 1949. He was mainly
concentrating on the Meiteis of Manipur. He stated:
• Meiteis cover 10 per cent of the total population
of Manipur and geographically they are concentrated
in central Manipur covering 74 per cent of the total
• He further said that all the insurgency related
incidents in Manipur are regulated mainly by eight groups
which are of leftist ideology and has been assumed to
have Chinese connections.
• Chinese have always been interested in Manipur.
They are conducting studies on Northeast through Institute
of Southasian Studies in Yunan.
Addressing the question of how the insurgents in this
area are sustaining themselves he said that it has been
possible through “Democratization of Corruption”.
He further said regarding peace initiative in the region:
• Peace initiatives have not been official
• Since 1972 there has been 19 Chief Ministers
and every time peace has been used as a tool to protect
their chair, no CM ever had taken it seriously.
• The Government has not been sure with whom should
they start peace talk, should it be PLA or UNLF.
• The State has never taken open initiatives and
handing peace has been only an inter-personal relationship.
The main culprit is the political situation of Manipur.
• For sustaining peace, there should be a kind
of Central Institutional Body.
• The insurgents groups are interested in peace
dialogues and establishment of peace in Northeast provided
there are unconditional dialogues between the insurgent
groups and the Government.
• The main problem in the Manipur case is that
each group represents one interest group. There is distrust
among the groups and peace eludes where there is no
• The Civil Society in Manipur is divided. They
do not communicate with each other to solve the problem
• Recruitment drive in Government jobs can play
a strategic role in establishment of peace in Manipur.
Here, the model followed as in Kerela can be taken into
consideration of having reservation district wise.
• Effective rehabilitation programmes of the insurgent
groups can also help to a great extent in stabilizing
peace in Northeast.
This was the last discussion session of the two-day
The first query of this session was from Mr. Wasbir
Hussain who asked in which way does the shift in the
nature of conflict in the Northeast has taken place.
He further inquired what kind of institution will work
in such a situation. Answering the query Dr. NG Mahanta
said that shifting terrain is not absolute. The older
issues are continuing as well as newer issues are emerging.
The issue of identity, control over resources, concept
of indigenous is still alluring, but 2005 onwards, the
centrality of the issue has been like what have not
been addressed earlier. Civil Society, students issue,
land issue, riverine rights etc. are the new issues
which are gaining importance. The issues now are basically
Commenting on the presentation made by Dr. Singh, Mr.
Pillai said that most important problem in dealing with
the insurgent groups is that all groups are cousins
and there is nexus between the Government and the insurgents
groups. As a result, the leaders of these groups are
Mr. Hussain enquired to Mr. Gogoi that though development
is taking place at a very faster rate, who actually
are the beneficiaries of this development? Is there
any mechanism which will help development reach to the
unreached? Answering his query Mr. Gogoi responded that
the development strategies have to highlight the priority.
Development should start from local level. The right
formula has to be worked out.
Addressing Mr Gogoi, Dr Mahanta said that in a society
people are either giver or receiver, but for that capability
of the people have to be enhanced, what strategies have
been sorted out for that? Adding to Dr. Mahanta, Mr.
G.M. Srivastava asked whether the kind of development
taking place in Assam is enough to prevent conflict
or it is such that taking chance of these groups the
Maoists are penetrating Assam. Responding to both, Mr.
Gogoi said that the development strategies have to be
unique to Assam. Democracy has to be more participatory
and dependency syndrome has to be abandoned.
Summary of the Session:
The last session was summarized by Dr Sheila Bora:
• In the Northeastern region of India the nature
of conflict has been seen to be shifting from ethnic
based to non-ethnic with newer issues coming to be confronted
by the society and also the Government.
• Development is the only way to effectively deal
with the problems of insurgency in Northeast. More importance
has to be given on rural development.
• The problem of the Manipur has also been same
as government has been apathetic to the issues and there
is rising closeness of the people with insurgent groups
which has hampered sustainable peace.
The seminar was summed up by Mr Wasbir Hussain. He
said though dialogues are taking place, sustaining peace
has become a challenge. Mr Hussain said that the two-day
seminar was a deliberate effort of CDPS. It was a kind
of self-evaluating seminar. Thanking the British High
Commission for their support in conducting the seminar,
he further said that there has been numerous efforts
to sustain peace in the Northeast but the main challenge
is to consolidate peace in this region. Therefore, new
dimensions challenging security is manifesting into
a reality. The ‘Red Corridor’ has reached
Assam and Manipur. So, it is the urgent need to realize
the new dimensions of conflict in Northeast India and
in doing so Dr. Mahanta’s paper proved to be beneficial.
Thanking him for a provoking paper he further thanked
all the participants in the seminar right from the Chief
Minister Tarun Gogoi, Mr. GK Pillai, Dr. Alka Acharya,
Ms. Patricia Mukhim, Dr. Monirul Hussain, Mr GM Srivastava,
Mr S.P. Kar, Mr P.J. Baruah, Mr Arun Sarma, Dr I.S.
Mumtaza and all the student participants from Cotton
College, B. Borooah College and Handique Girls’
College and Gauhati University. Finally he conveyed
his thanks to the CDPS team, Hotel Gateway Grandeur,
Security establishment and the print and visual media.