Why is it in the news?
- The pro-talks faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) has formally signed a peace accord with the Union government and the Assam government, marking a significant step toward resolving the decades-old insurgency in the northeastern state of Assam.
Highlights of the Peace Accord
- The Memorandum of Settlement signifies the ULFA faction’s commitment to abandon violence and integrate into the mainstream.
- The Central government engaged in unconditional negotiations for over 12 years, leading to this historic peace pact.
- The accord is a crucial step toward concluding the prolonged insurgency in Assam.
- The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) is an insurgent group founded in 1979 with the goal of establishing a sovereign, independent state called “Asom” for the Assamese people.
- The group has been involved in armed struggle against the government, citing economic and political exploitation of Assam as its primary grievance.
Reasons Behind North East Insurgency
- The region’s high ethnic and cultural diversity has led to competition for resources and tensions related to identity and autonomy.
- The historical distinctiveness of the region culturally and geographically created challenges during its integration into the Indian state.
- Economic marginalization has been a cited grievance by some insurgent groups in the northeast.
- The region’s international borders with Myanmar, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and China contribute to cross-border issues.
- Preservation of cultural identity and autonomy is a key concern for many insurgent groups.
- Political marginalization and inadequate representation have fuelled discontent.
- Demographic changes due to migration patterns have led to tensions over land, resources, and cultural identity.
- Counter-insurgency operations have sometimes raised human rights concerns and exacerbated local grievances.
Impact of Insurgency
- Resulting in displacement, forced migration, and loss of life.
- Disrupting economic activities, leading to reduced investment, lower growth, and loss of livelihoods.
- Communities facing disintegration due to displacement, migration, and fear from armed groups.
- Ongoing conflict causing destruction of infrastructure.
- Compromised access to healthcare in conflict-affected areas.
- Insurgency resulting in internal displacement and people seeking safety.
- Eroding trust in government institutions and the rule of law.
Government Objectives for North East
- Preserve the region’s dialects, languages, dance, music, food, and culture.
- End all disputes in the North East, making it a peaceful region.
- Develop the North East, bringing it on par with the rest of India.
- Border dispute settlement agreements and peace accords have significantly improved the security situation in the Northeast.
- Assam has seen a 60% reduction in the coverage of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).
- Arunachal Pradesh now has AFSPA only in three districts and two police stations in one district.
- Tripura and Meghalaya have completely withdrawn AFSPA.