Instability Parameters in Northeastern India

Dinesh Kotwal, Research Fellow, IDSA


The prime ministerial visit to Shillong on January 21, 2000—which is now associated with the announcement of an enhanced Rs. 10,000 crore grant in the Ninth Plan—merits focus on the Northeastern region. The inaccesibility of the region discourages travel and in the process has resulted in a 'psychological' distance from the rest of the country. This leads to a lower level of investment which does not contribute to the economic growth of the region. Despite, central government expenditure of Rs. 50,000 crore on the region over the last eight years since 1990,1 there has been no visible improvement till now.


Northeast India is located in the north eastern corner of the Indian Union with international frontiers on three sides. It lies, geographically between 22º and 29º North latitude, and 89º. 46' and 97º.5' East longitude and covers an area of 25,5083 The region is in a strategically vulnerable geographical situation and hemmed in by countries like China, Myanmar, Bhutan and Bangladesh from three sides. It is linked with the rest of the country by a narrow corridor (Siliguri neck) 20 km wide.2

Politically, the region is divided into seven units; Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram. However, the geography, history and traditions, which often transcend the political boundaries, have brought the whole region into a single entity. It is also due to geo-political considerations that for all practical purposes the whole region is looked upon as a single unit. Physiographically, the Northeast region consists of three distinct regions: Assam valley, Purbanchal and Meghalaya Mikir region.

Northeast India is anthropologically a paradise which is inhabited by races of Mongoloid stock, besides Indo-Aryan groups. Barring the Khasis and Jaintias who belong to the Austric linguistic group (now branded as Monkhmer cultural groups of Burma), almost all hill tribes belong to the Tibeto-Chinese linguistic family and Tibeto-Burman sub-family. The non-Aryan languages, being prominent in this region, shelter more than 125 major groups each having distinct cultural traits.3

Peripheral location, geographical isolation, and the land-locked character of Northeast India, facing not so friendly countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar and China has great geo-political significance in the domain of insurgency. It plays a pivotal role in escalating extremist activities. The border line and the length (roughly) between states and other countries are as follows: Assam-Bhutan 500 km, Arunachal Pradesh-Burma 525 km, Bangladesh-Assam 200 km, Manipur-Burma 425 km, Mizoram-Bangladesh 275 km, Tripura-Bangladesh 625 km, Meghalaya-Bangladesh 400 km. Total border with three neighbouring countries comes out to be 4825 km.

The flame of insurgency has jeopardised normal life of the peace-loving tribals and plainsmen of this part of the country. Over time seccessionism has distorted the social, economic and political profile of the region. No state in this region is free from extremist activities. So how does one define insurgency?

Insurgency is an organised attempt to exploit a region—faced with deteriorating social and economic conditions—through the use of irregular warfare to achieve its political goals. It involves guerrilla tactics to impose restrictions on the people in order to usurp control from the government. Insurgency has both military and political components wherein the former resorts to violence and the latter mobilises the people, on the basis of their grievances; against the government.4

This paper aims to highlight the causes of the Northeastern insurgency and suggest steps to restore normalcy in the region. Insurgency in the region has intrinsic and extrinsic considerations. It outlines the historical legacy, the economic backwardness, the influence of geo-politics, demographic aggression, the conflict and cooperation between various insurgents groups, the involvement of political parties with insurgents and the support from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Insurgency in the region arises from economic backwardness and political alienation of the tribal population from the national mainstream. Essentially their economic backwardness stems from the unexploited natural resources, inadequate infrastructural development, rampant corruption and the strong nexus between the politician-contractor-insurgent in the region. The paper therefore examines the present state of turmoil in the background of these issues.

Historical Legacy

During the colonial era, the British conceived the idea of keeping the people of this region away from the mainstream by creating the 'Crown Colony' commonly known as 'Coupland Plan' with an idea to make it a springboard against India, Burma and China. Further, the British colonial policy under the cover of 'Excluded Area' or 'Partially Excluded Area', Inner line Regulation etc., restricted the social and political mobility between the hill and the plains people.5 Consequently, the hill men's drive towards the national mainstream remained more or less static. Their social and cultural assimilation has not been effective. With the passage of time and exposure to modernity, the life style and social ethos and political perceptions have changed. Mutual distrust between the hill people and the plains developed. The plains people, as opined by many others, consider the Mizos or Naga or Khasis as nomadic and uncivilised. These people, on the other hand, equally look upon the plains people with distrust and regard them as outsiders which transpires from their use of such disparaging terms like Dakhars (Khasi), Vais (Mizo), Mayang (Manipuri). This recalcitrant attitude from either side has poisoned the friendly relations among different groups of people, and thereby opened the gates of hostility.

Cultural Cleavage

Physiographic constraints, geographical isolation, peripherialisation of the region, yawning communication gap, long years of neglect, indifference of the nation to the hardships, worries of their compatriots in this strategic region, unimaginative government policies and gross ignorance of the tribal ethos have created among the Tibeto-Burman people a sharp awareness of their ethnic and cultural difference from the national mainstream. They tilt towards making closer affinities in the Shan and Kachin states of Burma and Bangladesh's Chitagong Hill Tract.

Economic Backwardness

With the rapid rise of money economy, the tribal economy and archaic way of eking out a livelihood have no place in the modern economic race. Economic hardship due to poor and underdeveloped agriculture, alarming mass unemployment problem, rampant corruption, lack of educational and medical facilities, exorbitant prices and shortage of essential commodities in the far-flung area of the northeast forced the promising youth to turn towards extremist activities. The unemployment situation has lent an edge to the separatist tendency by creating numerous insurgent outfits in all the states of northeast India. Some of these outfits, fall easy prey to external geo-political forces.


Geopolitical forces are very active in this region in attempting to split India on the basis of ethnicity and religion. Pakistan played no mean role in destabilising the country. Till the birth of Bangladesh, batches of Naga and Mizo insurgents made regular visits to Dacca to seek financial and military help. Even today, Bangladesh Army provides all arrangements for insurgent's training in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT),6 even after signing of the Ganges water sharing accord. Taking advantage of geographical surroundings, ethnic homogeneity, Bangladesh had given shelter and provides safe sanctuary to many of the militant outfits like United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), People's Liberation Army (PLA), National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), Meghalaya United Liberation Army (MULA), National Democratic Front of Bodoland, Mizo National Front (MNF) etc.

Demographic Aggression

Unabated infiltration of Bangladesh nationals into Assam and Tripura with the ulterior motive of upsetting the demographic balance first, and then swallowing up a big chunk of territory has the blessings of Dacca. The problem of migration from East Bengal, later East Pakistan and Bangladesh, to Assam has a history of about 100 years. The idea was first mooted in 1906 when at the invitation of Nawab Salim Ullah of Dacca, some prominent Muslims of India had gathered at Dacca to deliberate over the formation of the Muslim League as suggested by then Viceroy Lord Curzon to a Muslim delegation which had met him earlier in Simla. At a public meeting held at that time, Nawab Salim Ullah Khan exhorted the Muslims to migrate to Assam and settle there. Just a year back in 1905, Bengal had been partitioned and the Muslim-majority East Bengal was joined with Assam to form a new provincee of East Bengal and Assam.7

As a result of this, large scale immigration of Muslims began from the East Bengal districts of Mymensingh, Paban, Bogra and Rangpur. The 1941 census report made a mention of this immigration in the following worlds:-

"The most noticeable rise in the Muslim population in Assam once again represents immigration from Mymensingh and East Bengal generally. The policy of colonisation of Assam by Muslims of Bengal was continued under the joint auspices of Sir Saadulla in Assam and Mr. NaZimuddin in Bengal as the following Government communique published in the last week of October, 1944 states."8

Thus, demographically Assam has been the fastest growing area in the subcontinent. Its population has grown by 676 per cent, from 3.3 million 1901 to 22.3 million in 1991, as compared with 354 per cent for India as a whole from 238.4 million of 1901 to 843.9 million in 1991. The table below indicates the trend of population growth in Assam as compared to the all India level. As mentioned above, historically growth rate of population in Assam has been much higher than that of India's average since the colonial period. Interestingly, when the population growth rate was negative for all India, during 1911-1921, it was as high as 20.48 per cent in Assam.9

Population Variation

Year Assam India

% %

1901-1911 16.99 5.7

1911-1921 20.48 0.3

1921-1931 19.91 11.0

1931-1941 20.40 14.2

1941-1951 19.93 13.3

1951-1961 34.98 21.6

1961-1971 34.95 24.6

1971-1991 52.44 48.2

Source: Census Reports

Had Assams population increased at the same rate as the rest of India from 1901 to 1991 (354 per cent, then the population in Assam would have been 14.9 million rather than 22.3 million, a difference of 7.4 million. The presence of these migrants, to quote Myron Weiner "has shaken the foundation of Assamese social structure and created solidarity among the Assamese even while generating cleavages between the indigenous Assamese and the indigenous tribals. It has influenced the educational, social and economic aspiration of countless Assamese, determined their central political cognizances…(it has) given rise to powerful assimiliationist and nativist sentiments and backlash separatist agitation, to massive conflict over languages, education and employment policy".10

The scene of the population explosion in Tripura is no different than that of Assam. In Tripura, the growth of population has been so phenomenal that over the past one hundred years the territory registered more than twenty times increase in its population. The population rise is largely due to a great influx of refugees, that the state had to receive from Bangladesh. The data below demonstrates a picture of decadal growth rate in Tripura against all India decadal growth rate in population:

Population Variation

Year Tripura India

% %

1931-41 34.14 14.2

1941-51 25.02 13.3

1951-61 78.71 21.6

1961-71 36.8 24.6

1971-91 51.4 48.2

Source: Census Reports

A comparative study of the growth rates reveals that in each successive decade falling within 1931-91 the figure for decadal growth rate in Tripura is far ahead of the corresponding all India decadal growth rate. Its impact has been summarised by Brajendra Chandra Dutta: "The hill subjects prefer living in relatively isolated places inside the forest. With expansion of plough and increase in the number of Bengali tenants—particularly the muslims—they (the hillsmen) have been forced to quit the plain lands and returned to the hills."11

The demographic distortion has caused disturbance in the region which the union and state governments seem to overlook owing to the need for self-preservation due to narrow political considerations. There is a view that tribal insurgency in the northeast is the result of a feeling of increasing marginalisation of the concerned tribal groups. The sixth schedule approach in the form of the district council did not serve the purpose because the councils did not have adequate powers. The subsequent accords such as the Naga Accord (1960), the Shilong Accord (1975), Assam Accord (1985), Mizoram Accord (1986), signed between the Indian state and the insurgent leaders sought to redress the problems of the tribals. These accords aimed at preservation of the distinct cultural identity of the tribals and quicker development of the region. But none of these accords has been seriously implemented. Taking advantage of this, different foreign agencies like Pak Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) are active in geopolitical machinations in India.12 Consequently, the northeastern region has become the centre of international intrigues.

Dynamics of Crossfire

Extremist outfits of various states in the northeast region have transgressed beyond the state boundary. There is an understanding among them and they are encouraged by Bangladesh and Pakistan. All militant groups have training and logistic planning bases in Bangladesh managed either by Bangladesh Army personnel or Pakistan Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI).13

Broken terrain carpeted with thick vegetation and unprotected international boundaries are the plus points for these insurgent groups to sneak into neighbouring countries. A few years back an agreement was made between NSCN President, S.S. Khaplang and Chin National Front President, John Khaw Kim Thang to bolster insurgency with the active support of Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in the Indo-Burma area. Similar close nexus among the regional militant outfits has been strengthened. A few years ago NSCN(K), ULFA and ULLF formed Indo-Burma Revolutionary Front for joint action against Indian forces, but a decline in their fortunes limited the effectiveness of IBRF.14 The apex-insurgent body underwent a change in April 1993 when the IBRF got a new name, the Indo-Burma Liberation Front (IBLF) with Muivah of NSCN (IM) in the saddle. The IBLF under Mr Muivah posed a genuine danger to India's security in the entire northeast. The militant apex body was compelled to restructure its organisation in 1995 with a change in its nomenclature into the Self-Defence United Front of the southeastern Himalayan Region and by dropping ULFA from its membership. The NSCN(K) had also become discredited because of the tilt of Mr Khaplang of NSCN(K) towards the Government of India. For the same reason ULFA has also been taken off because it was once trained and equipped by NSCN(K).15 But reports suggest that on the initiative of a Dutch N.G.O. NCIV (Netherland Council On Indigenous Volk geist, led by Leo Vander Vlist) a United Front has been mooted comprising three IBRF components and UNLF (MEGHAN), PREPAK and ATTF.

The NSCN (I-M), as part of its strategy of guerrilla warfare, is believed to have been playing the key role behind the formation of several ethnic insurgent organisations among the different ethnic groups in the region. Following the surrender of A'Chik Liberation Matgrik Army (ALMA), a Garo insurgent organisation, on October 25, 1994, it is now known that NSCN (I-M) had masterminded the whole outfit.16 It is learnt that while staying in Dimapur, Desang M. Sangma, the General Secretary of ALMA, came in contact with NSCN (I-M) activists who mooted the idea of floating an insurgent group in Garo Hills involving the disgruntled Garo youths. As a follow up action, the ALMA was formed sometime in 1991. It appears from the narration of Silreng N. Sangma,17 a runaway ALMA recruit, that the sole motive behind floating this organisation was to make a quick fortune at gun point. It seems that the Garo youth having little experience of underground life joined the ALMA only in lure of easy money. They were, then, trained by NSCN (I-M) activists. During its three year existence, a series of bank robberies were jointly undertaken by ALMA and NSCN (I-M) in Garo Hills. It is learnt that seventy per cent of the booty collected from such joint operations used to go to NSCN (I-M) as charge for its services and for arms and ammunition while the remaining thirty per cent was left with the ALMA as rewards for its local cover. Following the disillusionment with the hard underground life, the ALMA activists surrendered en masse in 1994.

A somewhat similar experience was also gained following the surrender of the Dimasa National Volunteers (DNV) of North Cachar Hills, Assam, as well as Hmar People's Convention (HPC) of Mizoram.18 The reported NSCN (I-M) links with Hynniewtrep A'chik Liberation Council (HALC) of Meghalaya, Karbi National Volunteers (KNV) of Karbi Anglong, Assam and National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) may turn out to be part of a similar gameplan of NSCN (I-M) as has been manifested in the ALMA syndrome.

It may be noted that these smaller ethnic insurgent groups are hardly the outcome of any prolonged ethno-political movement. As a result, they neither have any defined political agenda nor are they rooted deeply into the society. In fact, devoid of any comprehensive ideology, they act more as extortionists rather than insurgents and seemingly play into the hands of NSCN (I-M).

However, floating of such smaller ethnic insurgent groups serves two broad purposes for NSCN (I-M). First, it opens up multiple fronts for the counter-insurgency agencies like police, army intelligence, etc., and keeps them busy elsewhere rather than concentrating in the strongholds of the core insurgent group. Next, it helps the core insurgent group to mobilise additional resources from areas beyond its sphere of influence as well as provides the necessary cover-up for its operations in altogether different ethno-social milieu.

Besides these two purposes, the act of engineering insurgent movements among the different ethnic groups also fits into the NSCN (I-M) strategy to turn its own war with the Indian State into a war of the nationalities of the region. The strategic importance of the Indo-Burma border area, favourable topography for guerrilla warfare, existence of ethnic affinities across the border and the long experience of underground movements have made NSCN (I-M) such a hegemonic power that it has become the lone rallying point for all insurgent groups operating in the region. Taking a cue from the NSCN (IM) strategy, other major militant groups too have formed criss-crossing coalitions. Paresh Barua, commander-in-chief of ULFA, S.S. Khaplang of NSCN and Sama Yaima of United National Liberation Front issued joint directives that Indo-Burma Revolutionary Front (IBRF) alone can hold parleys with the central or state government on behalf of any constituent of the Revolutionary Front.19 There is evidence of a joint meeting of Meghalaya United Liberation Army (MULA) People Liberation Army (PLA), All Tripura Tribal Force (ATTF), National Socialist Council of Nagaland INSCN)-Muivah faction and Mizo National Front (MNF) in Dacca.

These outfits have separate training bases in Bangladesh as transpires from intelligence reports. The MULA, which wants to evict all non-tribals from Meghalaya has set up sanctuaries in Nilphamari Army camp near Mymensing, Jaintiapur (Sylhet) and Joydebpur (Dacca).20 The PLA fighting for an independent Manipur, has bases at Chhotdhamai, Naya Pattan, Longla, Ram Nagar, Ambarkhana, Adampur, Sonrupa Tea Estate and Bhanugach (all in Moulabi bazar, Sylhet district), ATTF, which is waging war for greater autonomy of the tribals in Tripura, operates from its camps in Reza, Rasalong, Myani Reserve Forest, Zopai and Thangnang in Chittagong Hill Tracts. Muivah led faction of NSCN has its sanctuaries in Salopi and Chacheng in Bandarban of Chittagong Hill Tracts. A disgruntled faction of MNF led by L. Piangais is trying to revive insurgency in Mizoram. This faction has camps in the Aljidam area of Chittagong Hill Tracts. ULFA, the most dreaded of all the militant outfits has six camps set up in Mymensing, Jaintiapur, Joydebpur, Adampur, Bhanugarh and Srimangal. Bodo Security Forces has bases in Nilpharmari and Gaibandha Army campus.21

From the above facts, it is proved beyond doubt that there exists a substantial presence of Pakistan ISI in Bangladesh. These two countries are helping the different militant outfits of the northeast states to destabilise India geo-politically. They have also utilised Islamic sentiments to achieve their ulterior motives. From the intelligence reports it appears that a large number of volunteers of Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA) have crossed over to Bangladesh. It has also been financed by other Islamic countries for training and subversive activities. The Islamic Revolutionary Front (IRF), another Muslim terrorist group which includes Pangla Muslims of Manipur and Bangladesh settled in North Cachar and Karimganj district of Assam have the patronage of Pakistan Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) operating from bases in Bangladesh.22

Rewards and Insurgency

Criminilisation of politics and politicisation of criminals are not new phenomenon for the country. The politician-criminal nexus has spread throughout the country. In the northeast we also have the politician-terrorist nexus. To quote few instances of such a nexus one can draw attention to an article of Kuldip Nayar23 the Nagaland Chief Minister has been blessed to stay in touch with other Naga faction NSCN(K). The Government openly finances it from the exchequer which is liberally compensated by the Center. On the other hand the Manipur, Chief Minister has been encouraged to have links with NSCN". He further wrote that Governor Lt. Gen V.K. Nayar made a disclosure of the "unholy alliance and was eased out."

A close observation of the contemporary political situation in Tripura reveals the cobweb of insurgent activities and electoral politics. The relative backwardness of the tribals and the resultant tribal militancy in Tripura have been used profitably by the political forces for electoral gains. It has been alleged that the genocide committed by the Tirpura National Volunteers (TNV) activists before the 1988 assembly election at the behest of the Congress (I)-Tripura Upajati Juba Samiti (TUJS) combined opposition paved the way for the latter to come to power.24 And the signing of an accord between the Congress (I) Government at the centre and TNV, immediately after the election, to create some political space for the latter is said to be an indication of the clandestine understanding between the two.25 Similarly, the massacre committed by the All Tripura Tribal Force (ATTF) activists on the eve of the 1993 election is believed to have helped the CPI (M) led left Front to make a comeback to power.26 It is reported that while the ATTF and the Tribal Youth Force (TYF) have been floated by the Gana Mukti Parishad, a CPI (M) tribal wing, the Tripura Volunteer Force (TTVF), the Tripura Tribal Development tribal wing, the Tripura Tribal Volunteers (TTVF), the Tripura Tribal Development Force (TTDF) and the Sangkrak enjoy clandestine support from the TUJS-a Congress (I) ally.27 Thus, it appears, that the opposition forces, in their bid to capture power, not only patronise the militant outfits but more often than not, float such organisaions to carry out certain subversive missions in order to destabilise the existing regime. As soon as the opposition forces come to power, they stage a surrender making drama with much fanfare by granting amnesty to all militant activists along with provisions for economic rehabilitation.

However, the ruling elite sometime also seem to allow the insurgent movements to perpetuate in order to make themselves indispensable in state politics as well as to ensure their political security. It may be recalled that while the possibility of a negotiated settlement of the ULFA movement became bright in the early nineties and the stage for such a settlement was set following several rounds of talks between the ULFA leadership and the central government, the ruling elite in Assam headed by Hiteswar Saikia reportedly sabotaged this move.28 Perhaps they feared that a such settlement might oust them from power as had happened earlier in the case of Assam Accord in 1985 and Mizoram Accord in 1986.

It is widely believed that had an accord been signed with the undivided ULFA, the insurgency problem in Assam would have been solved like in Mizoram. Thus, the ruling elite in Assam, instead of forging a political solution, engineered a vertical split within ULFA and followed the policy of divide and rule in order to secure their own political fortunes. They brought the movement down to such a level so that it remained under control but did not put an end to it. They allowed it to perpetuate perhaps to make themselves indispensable in state politics.

However, contrary to the above observation, the ruling elite at the state level also sometimes seem to extend their clandestine support to militant forces to keep them alive, which is then used as a policy in bargaining for more central assistance. As the expenditure incurred in the name of counter-insurgency operations, like other secret services, remains beyond audit surveillance, there is hardly any way of making the ruling elite accountable even if a large share of such funds is siphoned off for personal gratification. In the context of the high level of corruption and nepotism prevalent in all the states of northeast India the motive of attracting additional central assistance may also be another plausible factor behind the perpetuation of certain insurgent movements in the region.

The GOC-in-C Eastern Command, Lt General RN Batra told newsmen in Shillong that insurgency in the northeast is being sustained because protection and material and financial help are being provided to hostile elements by a section of locals and officials.29 This was even more graphically documented by Lt General (retd) V.K. Nayar as Governor of Manipur in his report to the President in October 1993. He named ministers in Nagaland and Manipur for patronising and colluding with insurgent groups and adopting partisan attitudes in Naga-Kuki and Kuki-Tamil clashes in Moreh.30

While the politicking of the electoral forces for power provides a partial explanation of the thriving insurgent activities in some parts of the region an analysis of the strategy of guerrilla warfare of the NSCN (I-M), the core insurgent group, against the Indian state and the consequent counter-insurgency measures followed by the latter also reveals another important dimension of the ethnic insurgency in the region. In NSCN (I-M) view, there is hardly any internal cohesion within the Indian Union. In fact, the seeds of disintegration of the Indian Union are embedded in its formation. While the ideological base of the Union is already on the wane, the territorial integrity of the Indian state could hardly be maintained only by using force in the absence of any charismatic leadership at the centre.31 This perception has led the ideologues of the NSCN (I-M) to use the growing discontentment of the different ethnic groups against the Indian state in order to accelerate its disintegration which will in turn be helpful for the cause of Naga independence. The NSCN (I-M)'s logistic support to various ethnic insurgent groups in the region like the MNF, ULFA, NDFB, NTLF, PLA, etc., and its approval of the Khalistan Movement in Punjab as well as militancy in Jammu and Kashmir may well be understood if viewed from this perspective.

Way Ahead

A close examination of the turbulence and frustrations evident in the northeast would indicate a number of factors which, even if not paramount in all cases need to be attended to by the state and the central governments on priority basis. With increasing unemployment in Bangladesh, in large part stemming from high rates of population growth, the incentive for migrating to India is becoming stronger with every passing year. Since the opportunity for legal migration is almost nil, people choose the illegal way. Thus, if the country is serious about curbing the illegal migration, it is necessary for the political parties to stop using the immigrant as a vote bank. Moreover Bangladesh needs to be helped out by India in its economic growth. India should also assist Bangladesh in securing higher amount of international aid in the hope that a rise in income and employment would reduce the flow of illegal migrants.

In a broader perspective, the northeastern insurgency has to be tackled with political prudence. This would be possible only if the centre and the northeastern states evolve a two-point agenda to solve the problem. Such an approach involves both: negotiations with the various extremist outfits and simultaneously ensuring adequate socio-economic development of diverse ethnic groups. Most importantly, the nexus between the politicians and the insurgents which has in fact complicated the issue needs to be exposed and broken. This will merit a pro-active role on the part of the media to spearhead such a popular crusade against the unholy combine. Therefore, the northeastern insurgency has to be solved in order to integrate the region politically, economically and socially with the rest of the country. Otherwise, the prime ministerial grant announced in the Ninth Plan during January 2000 may not prove particularly beneficial for the prosperity of the region.



1. The Sentinel, Guwahati, February 13, 2000.

2. Sarin, V.K., India's North-East in Flames, 1980, Delhi, pp. 7-10.

3. Ibid.

4. Thompson, Robert, Defeating Communist Insurgency, London, 1966, cited in International Terrorism: A Kind of Conflict, Delhi, p. 64.

5. Singh, S.N., Mizoram: Historical Geographical…1994, Delhi, p.4.

6. The Sentined, Guwahati, January 31, 2000.

7. Shukla, B.P., What Ails India's North-East? New Delhi, 1980, p. 14.

8. The Census Report, 1941.

9. The Census Reports.

10. Weiner Myron, Sons of The Soll, 1978, p. 81.

11. Datta, Brajendra Chandra, Udaipur Bibaran, Govt Press Agartala, 1931, pp. 44 as cited in Ganguli, Dr J.B. The Benign Hills, p. 35.

12. India Today, New Targets, August 23, 1999.

13. The Deccan Herald, ISI-Backed Groups Working Overtime in North-east, August 9, 1999.

14. Dhar Pannalal, Ethnic Unrest in India & Her Neighbours, New Delhi, 1998, p. 145.

15. Ibid., p. 147.

16. The Shillong Times, November 11, 1994.

17. Pakem, B., Insurgency in India, p. 190.

18. Kundu, D.K. Ethnicity and Politics in Mizoram in Social Perspective, vol. 20, no. 4, December 1992-March 1993.

19. Dhar, n. 13, p. 17.

20. Eastern Panorama, Magazine, Shillong, September 1992 & 1992.

21. Ibid.

22. Verghese, B.G., India's Northeast Resurgent, New Delhi, 1997, p. 302.

23. The Statesman, March 8, 1995.

24. Bhaumik Subir, Insurgent Cross Fire, North-east India, New Delhi, p. 229. Interview with Shyam Charan Tripura, TUJS, leader cited by the author.

25. The Statesman, New Delhi, October 27, 1994.

26. The Shilong Times, September 9, 1993.

27. The Statesman, New Delhi, September 9, 1994.

28. The Statesman, New Delhi, September 9, 1994.

29. The Telegraph, Calcutta, April 28, 1996.

30. Ibid.

31. NSCN, Polarisation, 1985, Government of the People's Republic of Nagaland, Oking, pp. 22-24.