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insurgency in north east

Insurgency In North-East

Composition of North-EastThe North-East region comprises of the Seven Sister states, namely, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura, and Sikkim. It comprises an area of 262,230 square kilometres (101,250 sq mi), almost 8 percent of that of India.Location of the north eastern India makes it share its border (over 2000km in length) with numerous countries like Bhutan, China and Nepal in the north, Bangladesh in the west and Burma in the east and south, and is connected to the rest of India by a narrow 20 km wide corridor of land. One of the most ethically and linguistically diverse regions in Asia, each state has its distinct cultures and traditions. The total population of Northeast India is 46 million with 68 percent of that living in Assam alone. Assam also has a higher population density of 397 persons per km2 than the national average of 382 persons per km2. The literacy rates in the states of the Northeastern region, except those in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, are higher than the national average of 74 percent.Historical backgroundNorth-East is the most ethnically diverse region in India. It is home to around 40 million people including 213 of the 635 tribal groups listed by the Anthropological Survey of India. Each of these tribes is having its own distinct culture. Thus, each tribal sect resents being integrated into the mainstream due to the fear of losing their identity.At the time of Independence, NEI consisted of Assam, North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), and the princely states of Manipur and Tripura which opted for merger with India in 1949. Present day Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram were then part of Assam and were carved out of it later – Nagaland (1963), Meghalaya (1972), and Mizoram (1972-87). Sikkim was a monarchy which was amalgamated into India after a referendum in 1975.  The British had generally followed a policy of non-interference in the North- East India. However, their integration into the Indian union at the time of independence met with resentment.  Genesis and Evolution of N-E Insurgency Nagaland The insurgencies have their origin in the Naga Hills where the idea of a sovereign nation was conceived even before the independence of India. Nagaland attained Statehood in 1963 and on the basis of Tribal affinities, is divided into 18 districts. The Naga struggle for sovereignty commenced with the formation of Naga National Congress (NNC) in 1946 along with the Naga Federal Army (NFA) and an underground government called Naga Federal Government (NFG).Under the leadership of Phizo, the Naga National Council (NNC) declared independence from India on 14 Aug 1947. The political settlement efforts by various leaders of that time did not douse the unrest. The Government of India declared Naga Hills as a disturbed area whereupon the Indian Army was ordered to undertake Counter-Insurgency operations in 1956.  The ”Shillong Accord” for peace was signed in 1975. However, the peace accord led to rebellion within the NNC due to difference of ideologies which led to the creation of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) in 1980 which further split into   NSCN(IM) and NSCN(K) in 1988. Both groups pursued the objective of creating a sovereign Nagalim comprising areas of the present day Nagaland that is, Naga inhabited areas of Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar. NSCN (K)  split in 2011 to form a group called NSCN (KK) which further split into NSCN(KN).  NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) entered into a Ceasefire with the Government of India in 1997 and 2001 respectively.followed by NSCN (KK).   The NSCN (K) has been declared a terrorist organization and unlawful association by the Government of India since 2015, when it unilaterally abrogated the Ceasefire agreement.   A framework agreement was signed with the NSCN (IM) in 2015. The Naga groups have been actively demanding the finalisation of the Naga Peace Accord with the Government of India. Assam The roots of insurgency in Assam began with the agitations of the All Assam Students Union (AASU) against illegal influx of Bangladeshi immigrants. A break-away faction of the AASU formed the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) in 1979 with the objective of creating a ‘sovereign socialist Assam’. In July 1979, the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and the All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP) launched a mass movement for the detection of illegal immigrants, their deletion from the voters’ list and deportation to Bangladesh. The agitators demanded that the process of detection should cover all migrants who had entered India since 1951. The Central government agreed to the policy of deportation, but insisted on a ‘cut-off’ date of 1971 for the identification of illegal aliens. During the Assam agitation, some militant organisations like Assam Fighter's Union, and Assam People's Liberation Army came into being and they gave a militant turn to the agitation. The United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) was founded in 1979. It put forward two arguments- Assam was not a part of India at any point of time and the Indian government has been exploiting Assams' rich and natural resources since the time of the British Raj without conferring corresponding benefits on the Assamese people. With signing of the Assam Accord in 1985, the AASU ended its agitation and constituted the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP). This regional political party participated in elections and subsequently formed the government. However, ULFA continued with its struggle, with sovereignty as the prime motive. Assam Accord 1985The Assam Accord was signed on 15th August, 1985 among Union of India, Government of Assam, All Assam Student of Union, All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad, and a new department was established for its implementation- Implementation of Assam Accord Department.The key focus areas were: Foreigners issue, Economic development, Restricting acquisition of immovable property by foreigners, Prevention encroachment of government lands, Registration of births and deaths. This was done to ensure protection of political, social, economic and cultural identity of the local people.Those illegal immigrants who came to Assam between 1966 and March 24, 1971 were to be disenfranchised. This group of people was required to register themselves as foreigners in accordance to the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939, and they would get voting rights only after expiry of 10 years from the date of their detection or declaration as foreigner. The rest had to be expelled. Religious persecution was not a consideration for any relaxation in accommodating illegal immigrantsBut as per the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, religious persecution is the basis of giving preferential treatment to illegal immigrants who are living not only in Assam but in other parts of the country as well. The amended act has shifted the cut-off date for granting citizenship from 24th of March 1971 to 31st of December 2014, that is, by almost 43 years. The protesters see this as a violation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord by the Centre. It says that constitutional, legislative and administrative steps will be taken by the Centre to "protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people". Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO)The KLO came into existence on December 28, 1995. The objective of the KLO is to carve out a separate Kamtapur State comprising six districts–– Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, North and South Dinajpur and Malda––of West Bengal and four contiguous districts of Assam––Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Dhubri and Goalpara. At its inception, the KLO was an over-ground organisation of certain members of the Rajbongshi community belonging to the all Kamtapur Students’ Union (AKSU) and was formed to address problems such as large-scale unemployment, land alienation, perceived neglect of Kamtapuri language and identity, and grievances of economic deprivation. Soon, its strategy transformed into waging armed struggle. It has been declared a ‘terrorist organization’. National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB)The NDFB was formed in 1994 with the objective of securing a ‘sovereign Bodoland’ in the areas north of the river Brahmaputra. According to the ‘constitution’ of the outfit, the objectives of the outfit are to liberate Bodoland from the Indian expansionism and occupation; to establish a Democratic Socialist Society to promote Liberty, Equality and Fraternity; and uphold the integrity and sovereignty of Bodoland. NDFB also concerns the script of the Bodo language. Currently, the Bodo language is written in Devnagri script but its members are mostly Christians and prefer to use the Roman script.The NDFB acts in collaboration with the ULFA. NDFB also shares a close relationship with the other outfits like the Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), the Achik National Volunteers Council (ANVC) and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K).  The Chin National Liberation Army (CNLA), a militant outfit of Myanmar, has also supplied arms and ammunition to the NDFB in the past.Karbi People's Liberation Tigers (KPLT)The Karbi People's Liberation Tiger (KPLT) in 2011 with the objective of carving an Autonomous Karbi State (AKS) out of Assam. The KPLT pledged to fight until the AKS is formed. ManipurThe people of Manipur include Meiti ethnic group (60 percent of the total population), the Kuki tribe and the Naga tribe. The roots of insurgency in the State date back to 1964 with the creation of United National Liberation Front (UNLF) against discontentment for the alleged forced merger of Manipur and delay in conferring Statehood. Subsequently, groups like People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) in 1977, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in 1978, Kangleipak Communist Party in 1980 and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) in 1994 emerged in Manipur. All insurgent groups propagated the idea of an independent Manipur with minor variation in ideologies.In the Hill districts, adjacency with Nagaland and inhabitation by Naga Tribes enabled infiltration of Naga insurgents into the State. NSCN (IM) has laid claim over these hill districts. Kuki- Naga clashes in the Hill districts of Manipur in early nineties instigated the creation of several Kuki groups in the State. The groups which were initially formed to resist oppression by Nagas subsequently started demand for a separate ‘Kukiland’ state encompassing the Kuki-inhabited areas of Manipur, Assam, Mizoram and even parts of Myanmar.   MizoramBefore the formation of the Mizoram state in 1987, the Mizo-dominated areas in India were a part of the Mizo district of the Assam state. The Mizo organisations, including the Mizo Union, had long complained of indifferent treatment at the hands of the Assam Government, and demanded a separate state for the Mizos.Every 48 years, a cyclic ecological phenomenon called Mautam leads to widespread famine in this region. When such a famine started in 1959, the Mizos were left disappointed by the Assam Government's handling of the situation. The introduction of Assamese as the official language of the state in 1960, without any consideration for the Mizo language, led to further discontent and protests.The growing discontent with the Government ultimately resulted in a secessionist movement led by Mizo National Front (MNF), an organisation that had evolved out of a famine relief team. While the Mizo Union's demand was limited to a separate state for the Mizos within India, the MNF aimed at establishing a sovereign independent nation for the Mizos. The extremist section within MNF advocated the use of violence to seek independence from India. A special armed wing called the Mizo National Army (MNA) was created for the purpose. The MNF members forcibly collected donations from the Mizo people, recruited volunteers and trained them with arms supplied by Pakistan. By the end of 1965, the MNF weapon cache consisted of the plastic explosives stolen from the Border Roads Organisation, rifles and ammunition obtained from the 1st Battalion, Assam Rifles headquartered at Aizawl, crude bombs and Sten guns.In 1986, the Mizo accord ended the main secessionist movement led by the Mizo National Front, bringing peace to the region.  TripuraThe insurgent groups in Tripura emerged at the end of the 1970s, as ethnic tensions between the Bangladeshi infiltration and the tribal native population who were outnumbered by the former, which reduced them to a minority and threatened them economically, socially and culturally.The first militant outfit to form was Tripura National Volunteers (TNV), which was active until 1988. The National Liberation Front of Tripura was formed in March 1989. During the period 1992 to 2001, a total of 764 civilians and 184 members of the security forces were killed in NLFT attacks.In 2019, it signed the Tripura Peace Accord to end the insurgency. MeghalayaThe state of Meghalaya was separated from the state of Assam in 1971 on the demands of the Khasi, Synteng and Garo for a separate state. This, however, later led to a direct confrontation between Indian nationalism and the newly created Garo and Khasi nationalisms. A parallel rise of nationalism in the other members of the Seven Sister States further complicated the situation, resulting in occasional clashes between rebel groups.The first militant outfit to emerge in the region was the Hynniewtrep Achik Liberation Council (HALC). It was formed in 1992, aiming to protect the interests of Meghalaya's indigenous population from the rise of non-tribal immigration.The split of HALC resulted into the Garo members formed the Achik Matgrik Liberation Army (AMLA) while the joint Jaintia-Khasi alliance of Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) was formed in 1993 with the aim to free Meghalaya from the alleged domination of the Garos and the outsiders.A number of non-Meghalayan separatist groups have also operated in the region, including the United Liberation Front of Assam and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland among others.The most active outfit in the state is the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), which was formed in 2009. Insurgency in India's Northeast Cross-border Links and Strategic AlliancesIndia's Northeast is one of South Asia's most effervescent regions, with as many as 30 armed insurgent organizations operating and fighting the Indian state. These groups also have trans-border linkages and strategic alliances among them, making them act as force multipliers and have made the conflict dynamics all the more volatile and patchy. With demands of these insurgent groups ranging from secession to autonomy and the right to self-determination, and myriad of ethnic groups clamouring for special rights and the protection of their distinct identity, the region is bound to be a turbulent one.The location of the eight northeastern Indian States has made it a hotbed of militancy with trans-border ramifications. This region of 263,000 square kilometres shares highly porous and sensitive frontiers with China in the North, Myanmar in the East, Bangladesh in the South West and Bhutan to the North West. The region's strategic location is underlined by the fact that it shares a 4,500 km-long international border with its four South Asian neighbours, but is connected to the Indian mainland by a tenuous 22 km-long land corridor passing through Siliguri in the eastern State of West Bengal, aptly known as the ‘Chicken's Neck.'Bangladesh and Myanmar have been the key transit routes through which small arms made in China reaches the Northeast. The main passages in Myanmar are the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). These two ethnic insurgent groups have acted as the bridge for illegal weapons flow from Yunnan in China via Myanmar to Northeast India. The most effective illegal weapons trader in Myanmar is the armed ethnic group- the United Wa State Army (UWSA). Its biggest source of revenue is its involvement in the illegal small arms network across South and Southeast Asia. It manufactures Chinese weapons with an “informal franchise” procured from Chinese ordnance factories. The main motive is to sell these weapons for huge profit to armed groups in Northeast India.The Chinese support to insurgents in the northeast came early in the 1960s and continued through the 1970s. In May 1966, the Nagas approached Peoples’ Republic of China for ‘any possible assistance’. Subsequently, after the arduous journey of three months through Arunachal Pradesh and the difficult terrain of Burma, Issac Muivah, leader of Naga National Council, with a band of 300 men reached Yunan province in January 1967. It was in Yunan that the Naga fighters were imparted with the knowledge of arms and guerrilla tactics and they were also taught Maoism. With the Chinese support the Naga insurgency became stronger and more intense with better tactics and modern weapons. Apart from the Nagas, the Chinese also extended moral and material support to the Mizo and Meiti insurgents by arranging for their training in guerilla warfare and subversion in training centres in Yunan province of mainland China and Lhasa (Tibet).Since the establishment of the Naga National Council in 1956, Pakistan(East Pakistan) was the first to step in with moral and material support. Pakistan not only gave material support with weapons and training in guerrilla warfare but also attempted to internationalise the issue. The Naga insurgents had been receiving weapons and training in East Pakistan till the formation of Bangladesh.  BangladeshEast Pakistan, Bangladesh since 1971, was host to many insurgent activities unleashed against India in the northeastern region. Pakistan had decided quite early to keep India engaged internally. Indo-Bangladesh relations were cordial till Mujibur Rehaman was in power. But soon after the Sheikh’s assassination, the forces used to the Pakistani style of thinking took over and the policy of hosting anti-India insurgents on Bangladeshi soil was revived. The new regime allowed the Mizo insurgents to establish their bases in Chittagong Hill Tracts.The anti-India operations have been largely possible because of the presence of an overwhelming illegal immigrant Bangladeshi population in the northeast. The porosity of the Indo-Bangladesh border has led to many unanticipated problems for India. MyanmarIndia shares a 1670 km long land border and a maritime border of 200 km with Myanmar. The present day population along the India-Myanmar border has a strong socio-cultural affinity, which is the outcome of a long historical process of intermingling among the people of the area. They belong to the Tibeto Burmese stock and trace their origin to the east i.e. through Burma or from Burma. The Indo-Myanmar border remains comparatively peaceful and there is no remarkable border conflict between the two countries. However, the separatist feeling and legacy of discontent among the various tribes straddling the borders still survives.Many northeastern insurgent groups, like the Nagas, the Mizos and the Meitis, had bases in Burma as well. During mid-1966 NNC established contact with the Kachin Independence Army in the Kachin Hill tracts of Burma. The Mizos and Tripuris were also able to establish links with the Burmese insurgents and found safe sanctuaries in the lightly administered border areas of Burma.Rohingya crisisThe Rohingya, who numbered around one million in Myanmar at the start of 2017, are one of the many ethnic minorities in the country. Rohingya Muslims represent the largest percentage of Muslims in Myanmar, with the majority living in Rakhine state. They have their own language and culture and say they are descendants of Arab traders and other groups who have been in the region for generations.In August 2017, a deadly crackdown by Myanmar's army on Rohingya Muslims sent hundreds of thousands fleeing across the border into Bangladesh. Since the 1970s, Rohingya have migrated across the region in significant numbers.  In India, there are nearly 40,000 Rohingya refugees, with 16,500 registered with the office of the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner. Islamic extremists try to influence the Rohingya youth to promote anti-India activities.BhutanGiven India’s porous borders with Bhutan, the militant groups from Assam have very often sought refuge in Bhutanese territory.NepalNepal acts as the safest entry point for intelligence operations unleashed by Pakistani intelligence against India. Nepal was being used as a corridor to smuggle in ISI agents.  The recent hijacking of an Indian aircraft from Kathmandu revealed the dangerous face of cross-border intelligence activities targeted at Indian national security. Many of the ISI agents have found the Nepal route safe to enter into northern India and then spread out to the northeast and other regions.Present SituationIndia’s Northeast, once wracked by multiple insurgencies, is witnessing a marked decline in insurgency-related incidents.According to the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Annual Report 2020-2021, “The security situation” in India’s northeastern states “improved substantially since 2014.”As per the report, the year 2020 recorded the lowest insurgency incidents and casualties among the civilians and security forces during the last two decades. Comparing the situation to 2014, the MHA’s latest report observed that there has been an “80% reduction in insurgency incidents in 2020.” While casualties among the security forces have dropped by 75 percent, civilian fatalities have declined by 99 percent in this period.The report points out that while the states of Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura remained peaceful by and large, there was “marked improvement” in the security situation in the other states of the region. In 2020, insurgency-related violence declined by 42 percent in Arunachal Pradesh, 12 percent in Assam, 23 percent in Manipur and 45 percent in Nagaland compared to 2019.The situation began changing in 2003 when Bhutan launched a military offensive to dismantle the camps and training centers of three militant outfits active in Assam and West Bengal.Five years later, a crackdown began in Bangladesh resulting in the capture of top rebel leaders. They were handed over to India.In 2019, some camps in Myanmar’s Sagaing Division were also eradicated by the Myanmar military although there are reports that regrouping of these outfits has begun again in the region.In the Northeast, the Indian government has been following a carrot and stick policy, which has involved offers of negotiations to all armed outfits alongside pursuit of counterinsurgency operations. Rebel groups have entered into peace agreements with the government at regular intervals preceded by periods of ceasefire and submission of charters of demands.Last year, five militant outfits in Assam returned to the mainstream after inking accords with the government.A surrender policy was unveiled by the government in 1998, which was revised ten years later. Under this policy, a surrendered militant functionary is granted Rupees 400,000 (approximately $5,000), a monthly stipend of Rs 6,000 for three years, and vocational training for self-employment. Thousands of functionaries from all the northeastern states have availed the package over the past several years.Currently, around 40 insurgent outfits are active in the Northeast in as many as six out of the region’s eight states. Manipur has the maximum number of active insurgent groups, while Sikkim and Mizoram have almost none.These groups can be broadly divided into five categories with the largest number being outfits engaged in a peace process with the government with the goal of clinching a negotiated settlement. This category includes the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM), pro-talks faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and over 20 outfits in Manipur belonging to the Kuki and Zomi communities.Besides this category, there are seven secessionist outfits that have camps and investments in Myanmar. They have spurned the offer of talks with the Indian government and continue to engage in intermittent attacks against the security forces.In the past couple of years, the security forces have successfully busted modules of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in Assam and terror outfits in Bangladesh affiliated with al-Qaida. There are also smaller groups that surface and fizzle out from time to time in areas such as Assam’s twin hill districts of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao that were among the most disturbed in the region. Factors responsible for insurgencyMulti-Ethnic Region. NEI is the most ethnically diverse region in India. It is home to around 40 million people including 213 of the 635 tribal groups listed by the Anthropological Survey of India.2 Each of these tribes is having its own distinct culture. Thus, each tribal sect resents being integrated into the mainstream India as it means losing their own distinct identity. As the GoI resorts to various methods for “integration” into the “mainstream” based on a myopic understanding of peoples and tribes, it leads to rise in insurgencies to protect their own culture. The situation gets further aggravated due to inter-tribal rivalries, which fuel tribal/ethnic insurgencies. (b)    Underdeveloped Region. Due to the difficult terrain configuration of jungles and mountains, infrastructural development in NEI has generally been slow, often at a snail’s pace. This has widened the schism between the NEI and mainstream India, and further increased a sense of disenchantment with the GoI.(c)    Lack of Economic Development. GoI’s economic policies have also fuelled resentment and insecurity amongst the people. Due to various factors, the development of NEI has lagged behind thereby resulting in lack of employment opportunities. Thus the youth are easily lured by various insurgent groups in order to earn easy money.(d)    Sense of Isolation, Deprivation and Exploitation.  (e)    Demographic Changes. The influx of refugees from former East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) into Assam led to a dramatic change in the demographic landscape of the region.  (f)    Internal Displacement. Internal displacement is also an ongoing problem. From the 1990s to the start of 2011, over 800,000 people were forced to flee their homes in episodes of inter-ethnic violence in western Assam, along the border between Assam and Meghalaya, and in Tripura. (g)    External Support. The insurgencies in the NEI have been supported by erstwhile East Pakistan in the late 1950s; and in early 1960s, in the form of training of personnel of Naga Army and giving them weapons. Later, China also provided weapons and moral support.   (h)    Impact of Revolutionary Politics. (i)    Perceived Excesses by Indian Army. The promulgation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in most of the NEI has further alienated the local populace.Government’s ResponseThe government response to insurgencies in the Northeast India has four parameters viz. structural changes in administration, development activities, dialogue and negotiations and use of force. (1) Structural Changes in AdministrationThis includes Greater Statehood and Autonomous Administrative Areas.The government of India has given considerable attention to reduce the conflicts by conferring greater statehoods in the north east. The gradual administrative reorganisation of the region with the formation of the States of Nagaland (1963), Meghalaya (1972), conferring first, status of union territory (1972) and subsequently Statehood (1987) to Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram and elevation of Manipur and Tripura from union Territories to States in 1972 by the North Eastern Areas (Re-Organization) Act of 1971 , contributed to the reduction in conflicts due to increased empowerment.  The most prominent and important structural change in the administration is establishment of constitutionally backed 6th schedule areas in the North East.  Special Treatment to NagalandSpecial status is conferred to Nagaland by Article 371-A which states that no Act of Parliament in respect of religious or social practices of the Nagas, Naga customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice and ownership and transfer of land and resources will apply to Nagaland unless passed by the State Assembly. (2) Development ActivitiesMinistry of DoNERThe Government of India had set up the Department of Development of North Eastern Region in September, 2001 and upgraded it to a Ministry in May, 2004. It is mainly accorded with the creation of infrastructure for development of N-E region.North Eastern Council (NEC): It was established via the North Eastern Council Act, 1971 to act as advisory body in respect of balanced socio-economic development of the North Eastern region.    Look East/Act East Policy :  India's Act East Policy focuses on the extended neighbourhood in the Asia-Pacific region. The Objective of ''Act East Policy” is to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region through continuous engagement at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels thereby providing enhanced connectivity to the States of North Eastern Region with other countries in our neighbourhood. (3) Counter Insurgency in North East by the Use of ForceInner Line PermitInner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document issued by the Government of India to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period. It is obligatory for Indian citizens from outside those states to obtain a permit for entering into the protected state. Presently, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram have ILP system. AFSPA ActThe Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is an act passed by the Parliament of India, which grants special powers and authorities to the Indian Armed Forces over any state or district which might be defined as a “disturbed area”, as per the Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976. The power to declare any specific area as disturbed lies with the central government. Under the AFSPA Act, the armed forces are primarily expected to maintain law and order in an area and observe close surveillance of places that might be disturbed.As per AFSPA, an officer of the Indian Armed Forces has the authority to fire upon or use force against a person going against the law, under certain conditions. Armed forces are also allowed to enter and search any premises if any unlawful activity is suspected. Other powers that lie with the Army under the AFSPA Act are arresting a person without a warrant, seizing arms and ammunition, and providing protection to a person acting in good faith.  In the N-E region, AFPSA is currently active in Nagaland, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.National Register of Citizens (NRC)The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is the register containing names of Indian citizens.. The only time that a National Register of Citizens (NRC) was prepared was in 1951 when after conduct of the Census of 1951, it was prepared by recording particulars of all the persons enumerated during that Census. The NRC will be now updated to include the names of those persons (or their descendants) who appear in the NRC, 1951, or in any of the Electoral Rolls up to the midnight of 24th March, 1971 or in any one of the other admissible documents issued upto mid-night of 24th March, 1971, which would prove their presence in Assam or in any part of India on or before 24th March, 1971. Its purpose is to document all the legal citizens of India so that the illegal immigrants can be identified and deported. It has been implemented for the state of Assam starting in 2013–2014.The final updated NRC for Assam, published on 31 August 2019, contained 31 million (3.1 crore) names out of its population of 33 million (3.3 crore), leaving out 1.9 million (19 lakh) applicants, rendering them potentially stateless. RecommendationsA peaceful NEI without insurgencies is a strategic necessity for India, especially for the success of the ‘Act East Policy’. In order to achieve the same, a few recommendations are outlined below:-(a) Signing of Peace Accords. To ensure peace and stability in NEI, the Govrnment must sign peace accords with various remaining insurgent groups in the region, on the lines of ‘Framework Agreement’ signed with NSCN (IM) in Aug 2015. Engagement of insurgent groups in talks is vital for conflict resolution and therefore must be pursued actively and persistently.(b) Inclusion of Insurgent Leaders.  (c) Continued Efforts By Civil Society (d) Increased Socio-Economic Development: Act East Policy (AEP). In order to weed out one of the root causes of insurgency, GoI must accelerate its plans for the development of the region. The building of infrastructure like roads, hospitals, schools, sanitation facilities, et al are essential in inculcating a sense of oneness in the peoples of NEI. (e) Emphasis on Identity, Not on “Mainstreaming”: The focus should more be on maintaining the individual identities of these peoples and the fear of balkanisation of NEI must not drive the policies of GoI.(f) Continued Military Operations against Select Insurgent Groups. Indian armed forces should continue to operate against those insurgent groups who have not shown inclination towards any peace talks, like NSCN (K), NDFB (S), ULFA, etc. This will erode their resisting power and will bring about stability in the region while political solution is being drafted. It is reiterated that a humane approach in these operations is imperative.(g) Strengthening of international borders (h) Continuation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). It is strongly recommended to continue AFSPA in regions where there are high levels of insurgency. In this regard, the verdict of Meghalaya’s High Court on the subject is unprecedented. (j) De-induction of armed forces from Select Areas. Consequent to the peaceful conduct of state elections in Apr 2016 in Assam, it is amply clear that the situation in many parts of Assam and NEI has stabilised.  (k) Monitoring Spread of Radical Islam. GoI must keep on monitoring the situation in NEI to prevent spread of Islamic radicalism by initiating appropriate socio-economic development measures including education. This will preclude youth from falling easy prey to radical Islamic propaganda.