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Report: Najam Mahmud www.terminalx.org
India has many separatist movements which are active. Although there are dozens of them this report will only focus on the major ones that are not only active but gaining more strength with time. It will be demonstrated in this short report that given the current and projected increase and impact of these movements it can be projected that there exists a reasonable probability that India will implode and its geographical integrity will be compromised within a time frame that may not be too distant in the future.
The Major and High Impact Separatist Movements:
1. The Naxalite Movement: The names comes from the place of origin, the village of Naxalbari in West Bengal, where in May 1967 a local Communist Party leader planned to redistribute land to the poor local peasants. This move caused the eruption of acts of violence in which peasants either terrorized or in some cases killed the landowners. The emotions were running high and the general feeling was that they were simply taking back what was in their view wrongfully taken from them. They viewed the landowners as masters imposed by the central government. At a macro geopolitical level, this movement also has the external dimension i.e. China. The leaders of this movement took on the ideology of Mao, the Chinese revolutionary leader who transformed China into a communist state.
The movement lost its intensity during the 70’s and carried own at a low profile level during the 80’s and early 90’s. However things changed when violence erupted again in the late ’90s and since then the movement has been gaining vigour and militancy.This armed insurgency now impacts a vast area also known as the ‘Red Corridor’ that stretches from West Bengal to Karnataka state in the southwest. The freedom fighters
are carrying out operations in some 220 districts in 20 states which accounts for 40% of India’s geographical area. It is pertinent to note that back in 2007, The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that growing strength of this insurgency had become “the most serious internal threat to India’s national security.” 2. The Seven Sisters: The seven states of northeastern India are called the seven sisters; they are very diverse both in terms of ethnicity and linguistics when compared with the rest of India. These states are now the playground for many armed rebellions. These states include Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Tripura.
Assam has had high intensity insurgency spearheaded by the United Liberation Front of Assam which has been leading the freedom movement since 1979, along with other militant groups. Meghalaya, there is a demand for independence from India. The Achik National Volunteer Council has been fighting since 1995 for the creation of an Achik Land in the Caro Hills. Arunachal, the East India Liberation Front, is a violent separatist movement in the
eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. The movement wants to create an independent state that would encompass areas currently in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. Mizoram, secessionist movement continues for independent Hmar State. Nagaland, the insurgency demands full independence. This area is full of natural resources and government has so far failed to make any peace deals with the militant groups. Manipur, Independence movement has carried on by several insurgent groups since 1964. Tripura, A highly violent insurgency continues, lead by the National Liberation Front of Tripura and the All Tripura Tiger Force. 3. Tamil Nadu: After their defeat by the Sri Lankan military, the LTTE rebels took refuge in the adjoining Tamil Nadu state of India, where due to common ethnicity, religion, language and culture they got a lot of support for their cause. Over time they began to work with a local independence movement known as TNLA that was also motivated by the Naxalite movement. They now demand complete independence from India.
4. Khalistan Movement: The Sikh community has been seeking separation from the federation of India for quite some time especially since the central government failed to live up to the commitment given at the time of partition in 1947, which was to give autonomy to the state of Punjab, renaming it as Khalistan. Matters became very volatile
and violent when Indira Gandhi ordered a military operation on the Golden Temple, in 1981. Thousands of Sikhs were brutally killed in cold blood (including a large number of pilgrims).
After years of being almost dormant the Khalistan movement is showing signs of revival which is giving the Indian Government its worst night mares. 5. Kashmir: The Kashmiri freedom struggle has started to gain momentum since 2009. The Indian human rights violations and atrocities continue but the local population has grown even more anti India. The fact of the matter is that the India illegally took Kashmir at the time of independence and in total violation of the principle of partition of British India. The strong armed freedom movement continues in the valley in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed by the Indian Army and security forces. There has been international condemnation of human rights violations. India remains in violation of the UN resolutions that gave the right of choice to the Kashmiri people.
6. Other factors: (i) The Implosive Factor of the Caste System: India’s caste system, which is shocking to anyone hearing it for the first time, is a factor that damages the very social fabric of the Indian state as it discriminates against many and thus leads to divisions and rivalry. The same old game continues to be played even in this so called modern age, where the Brahmans in close cooperation with the ruling class maintain all the benefits. The issue becomes very complex and sensitive given that the discrimination and inhumane behavior towards the “lower caste” is considered to be a divine injunction and hence noble! The corrupt system gives the ‘higher’ castes the absolute freedom to exploit the resources meant for those belonging to the ‘lower’ caste, the ‘untouchables’. Although the ‘lower caste’ account for the majority of the Indian population, they remain largely deprived of any gains from the economic growth. The social impact of the caste system will get worse and in itself will have the potential of seriously damaging the federation. (ii) Economic deprivation According to official estimates about 60% of the Indian population is poor, living in the worst of conditions often beyond imagination. While the World hails India as Asia’s
emerging market and a rising ‘star’, the majority of its people live a life that is horrific, 70% and the people lack proper shelter, sanitation, potable water, good nutrition, health facilities and employment. The widening disparity is fast becoming a national security issue as it has the potential to tear the country apart due to possible revolutionary movements that might take down the basic structure of the Indian society. Conclusion
This short, matter of fact report has been written with the aim of demonstrating that while India conspires against its neighbours especially Pakistan, it is burning internally. The separatist movements coupled with the other factors mentioned above, have the potential to weaken the federation and eventually even disintegrate it. The dynamics can take a much more dire turn in case India engages in any future conflict with either Pakistan or China. It is amusing that given the weak internal cohesion of India and separatist movements that impact such a large part of their country, their ex Army chief had the audacity of claiming to be ready to fight a war with both Pakistan and China at the same time. Clearly doing so would be suicidal for India to say the least. India has been involved in terrorist activities inside Pakistan, it is also a known fact that India has always attempted to fund and arm any insurgencies in Pakistan. Offence is the best defence and Pakistan must fully exploit the separatist movements of India. We must provide moral and diplomatic support to the freedom movements of not just Kashmir but all the other major ones. Pakistan should highlight the atrocities being committed by India against its own population and we must also show the world that India is a country that engages in state terrorism both externally and within. In the future if these separatist movements are successful, the region will see some upheaval but after the initial chaos stability and peace will be the order of the day as a belligerent India will no longer be around to interfere and undermine other countries of South Asia. At that time Pakistan and China will work closely to support the newly created independent states and the underlying basis of interstate relationships will be, respect for each other’s sovereignty and the right to coexist peacefully.
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