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India’s Northeast insurgencies: a somewhat forgotten story June 10, 2010

Posted by southasiamasala in : India, Kirpalani, Kunal P , comments closed

Kunal P. Kirpalani

India’s Islamist and Maoist insurgencies receive critical attention within public and governmental circles domestically and abroad. Incidents, including the Islamist terrorist 26/11 attack of Mumbai and the Indian Army crackdown on Maoist militants in West Bengal’s Lalgarh district, are prime examples. However, general awareness of tribal rebellions occurring within the states of Northeast India is lacking. This is despite the fact that the Assamese, Naga and Mizo guerrilla movements are on the rise. The following is a brief introductory analysis on the causes of these insurgencies and why they should no longer be ignored.

What seems to be a common grass-root cause in South Asian insurgencies is socioeconomic and political developmental deprivation. India’s Northeast is no exception. It is a region that lags behind most of India developmentally. While the southern and western states reap the benefits of India’s booming economy, the economic situation in the Northeast has deteriorated. Poverty rates in the Northeast states linger officially at 22.3 per cent, well under the 28.3 per cent national average. There has even been an improvement in literacy rates, which are higher than the mean rate for the country (65.38 per cent) including those of women.

India’s states of the Northeast.  Source – Wikimedia

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Taliban in tribal Pakistan: down but not out? August 26, 2009

Posted by southasiamasala in : Kirpalani, Kunal P, Pakistan , comments closed

Kunal P. Kirpalani

Latest BBC reports confirm the death of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Baitullah Mehsood.  Reports of his death have ignited an intense debate: is the TTP  ’on the run’ from Pakistani government forces or is it biding its time and awaiting an opportunistic moment to return, just as it did in Afghanistan?

Prior to the hardening of the resolve of the Pakistani government, there were widespread fears of ‘talibanisation’ generated by the takeover of the strategically valued Swat and Buner districts in Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP). By March of this year, the Taliban were only about 150 km away from Islamabad. They were ramping up their annexation of tribal districts. It was taken as an indicator of a ‘doomsday’ scenario in which a moderate Muslim country would be overrun by Taliban militants intent on creating a regime similar to that of the repressive and backward Taliban-administered Afghanistan of the 1990s.

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