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Assam: Insurgency Under Control, Development Emphasised

Published Nov 26, 2019
Updated Feb 06, 2020

There are positive trends in Assam as the Army is being withdrawn from the counter insurgency grid.

However tight control is being maintained with ban on Assam-based Bodo insurgent group National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) has been extended by another five years. The ministry has extended the ban on NDBF under the provisions of sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

“NDFB has been engaging in unlawful and violent activities thereby undermining the authority of the Government of India and the Government of Assam and spreading terror and panic among the people; indulging in extortion of money from various sections of the society with a view to financing and executing its plans for the creation of a separate Bodoland; embarking on a systematic drive for recruitment of fresh cadres with a view to continuing its terrorist and insurgency activities…,” the notification issued by the Union home ministry stated.

As per the Ministry unlawful activities perpetrated by the NDFB had been “undermining the authority of the government, spreading terror and panic among people, causing carnage and ethnic violence, resulting in killings and destruction of properties of non-Bodos, inhabiting the Bodo-dominated areas in Assam”. “For the aforesaid reasons”, it added, “the central government is of the opinion that the NDFB’s activities are detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of India and that it is an unlawful association”.

The Comprehensive Profile of Assam in particular outlines potential due to natural abundance of the Brahmaputra Valley to include, medicinal herbs and plants, exotics, sericulture, horticulture, minerals and travel and tourism which can be harvested in the short term. The challenges are multiple and include weak governance structures at the grass roots, public and private infrastructure, protracted security concerns, law and order disruptions and natural disasters particularly floods.

The main outcome revealed that Assam’s potential in agriculture and allied services remains unexploited due to political and security challenges faced over the years. These have been varied and have ranged from fragmentation of the State and sub states, ethnic and tribal nationalism leading to militancy and terrorism and communal and tribal divide. This has kept out investment in the state so far even from the traditionally strong tea and oil and gas sector. More over the Central and State governments have been engaged in, “fire fighting,” rather than focusing on economic development and growth with capability of the State police remaining restricted.

Thus major structural transformation is necessary for economic growth to pick up momentum while simultaneously combating new challenges of demand for separate states by Bodos, Karbis and others after the decision to form Telangana.