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ULFA Signs Peace Agreement with Govt

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.

About ULFA

  • 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.


Current Progress

  • 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.

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