On January 27, the Government of India signed a tripartite agreement with representatives of all factions of the banned organisation National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), a prominent fraction that had fought for a separate ‘Bodoland’. The pact, signed in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah, has ensured that the state of Assam will not lose its territorial integrity. In turn, the Bodo groups have got commitment from the Central and Assam Governments to protect their culture and language.
Government of India signs tripartite agreement with representatives of all factions of banned organisation National Democratic Front of Bodoland #NDFB.
— PIB India (@PIB_India) January 27, 2020
It has to be mentioned that this peace process has been seen closure after decades of violence and conflict. Just a few days ago, this government had settled another long-standing issue of Bru-Reang settlement that had facilitated the settlement of more than 30,000 displaced Bru tribals from Mizoram living as refugees in Tripura since 1997. The details of the Agreement can be read in our earlier article Historic, Humane And Culturally Significant – What the Settlement of Bru Community Means.
The Carrot and Stick Approach
The North East part of India has been plagued for long by various insurgency related issues. After the Modi government came to power at Centre in 2014, and with major states of North East India coming to the fold of BJP-NDA, governments in these states have been able to undertake a systematic process of ensuring peace in the region.
On the one hand, the governments at the Centre and states have kept open the door of democracy for all those who involved in insurgency by picking up arms against the state. On the other hand, a stringent security offensive was launched against all the armed rebels who were not budging for peace process.
For example, in 2015, the army had conducted a counter insurgency attack on the insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) (K) along Myanmar border area and reportedly inflicted heavy casualty on militants.
On the other hand, the government is willing to accommodate and encourage those eager to forsake arms and want a respectable settlement.
For example, dealing with the Naga insurgency, many peace talks have been conducted after Modi government came to power. This eventually led to Ceasefire agreements being signed with National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Neopao Konyak-Kitovi) [NSCN/NK] and extension of the ceasefire with NSCN (Reformation) up to April 2020. NSCN (Isak-Muivah) has also signed Ceasefire Agreement for an indefinite period, and had signed a framework agreement with the Indian government on August 2015. Ceasefire agreement with newly formed NSCN/K-Khango group was signed on April 2019.
A political dialogue has been in force with 23 under ground outfits in Manipur after the BJP under N Biren Singh came to power, forming its first ever government within the state.
While R.N. Ravi, the present Governor of Nagaland, was initially made interlocutor for holding peace talks with Naga insurgent groups, AB Mathur was made government representative for peace talks with other insurgent groups of NE States.
All these consistent efforts over the years are now bearing fruits, as many agreements being signed to ensure peace and prosperity in the North East region.
The security situation in the North Eastern States has improved substantially since 2013. The year 2018 witnessed the lowest number of insurgency incidents and civilian deaths since 1997. According to the Annual Report of the Ministry of Home Affairs 2018-19, insurgency incidents declined significantly by 66%, civilians casualties by 79%, SFs casualties by 23% and kidnapping/abduction cases by 62% in the region in 2018 when compared to the year 2013.