Friday, October 21, 2011

Weapons and violence in Assam; dark days in Manipur

This week ULFA handed over weapons ahead of the next round of peace talks, scheduled for 25 October.  Meanwhile, a cache of so-called “sophisticated” weapons was seized in Assam.  The European weapons are thought to have been headed for the NDFB.  In other weapon-related news, India will deploy three BrahMos cruise missiles in Arunachal Pradesh.  

There has been violence in Dima Hasao district, Assam, with at least one dead.  Assam police allege NSCN-IM involvement in the unrest.  Around 200 Hmar's from the district have fled to Mizoram.  Hmars are a minority in the district, which is dominated by the Dimasa ethnic group.  

There was also more violence between the NSCN-IM and the Zeliangrong United Front in Manipur's hills this week.  In other violent developments in the region, a senior Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) militant was killed by Meghalaya police.  And a bomb exploded in a Manipur district bordering Burma this week, injuring three Assam Rifle officers.

Following the recent release of a report on the impact of conflict on women in Assam and Nagaland (referenced in last week's post), UAE-based The National ran an article on the plight of Manipur's widows and orphans.  An article in the Times of India ponders whether Manipur is doomed to be a failed state.

A Times of India report reveals that Rongili (“cheerful lady”), Lakhimi (“homely lady”) and Kopili (“speedy river”) are code words for ULFA factions in Burma, Bangladesh and an island in the Brahmputra respectively. 

Controversy over the India-Bangladesh border deal persists.  A Minister in the Assam Government said they should not have made public the details of the deal, a move made in retaliation to an inflammatory press release from Paresh Baruah.  The state government accuses Baruah of drawing out these details in order to give the Bangladeshi government trouble as the previous government and now opposition in that country was much more ULFA-friendly. 

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