Extortions, kidnappings, bomb blasts and killings by extremists have become quite frequent in the North-east. The graph on this count, according to official admission, overshadows Jammu and Kashmir. In fact, the terrorists have had the best of time. NDTV recently showed video recording of young men taken captives being brutally tortured to send message to their parents for ransom money and release. The UPA government enmeshed in crisis after crisis seems to have lost track of dialogue with the terrorist outfits initiated during NDA regime. National Socialist Council of Nagaland of Isac-Muivah and Khaplang factions, National Democratic Front of Bodoland, Dima Halam Daogah of Dilip Numisa, United People'sDemocratic Solidarity and United Liberation Font of Assam are clueless about the intent and purpose of the Union Home Ministry. Bru National Liberation Front and Bru Liberation Front of Mizoram which on their own put down arms more than a year ago are confined in camps with no signal from the Centre or the State of Mizoram for their rehabilitation. Frustrated leaders and cadres of the two outfits have threatened to return to jungle.
Apart form the UPA government'slack of perception and policy on the problem, what is aiding and abetting terrorism and insurgency in the North-east is the nexus between politicians and ultras. And easy flow of money to the extremists? coffers.
The scenario of nexus is bewildering. One still remembers the devastating political report of the then Governor Lt. Gen. V.K. Nayar in mid 90'swho accused the then Nagaland Chief Minister S.C. Jamir of supporting NSCN (Khaplang). His report also charged the then CM of Manipur R.K. Dorendro Singh and Deputy Chief Minister Reishang Keishing with helping the insurgents. The late Reishang got involved in what came to be known as ?uniform scandal? in Manipur. It was then alleged that uniforms of the Manipur Rifles worth Rs. 45 crore were gifted away to the NSCN at the behest of Reishang Keishing. While Jamir dubbed the report of the Governor a ?heresy? and questioned the political wisdom and sagacity of the Governor, Keishing threatened to drag Lt. Gen. Nayar to court and vehemently denied ever supporting NSCN guerillas.
What could be termed as the first-ever drastic action by the Centre in the political history of the country was the sacking of the Nagaland Governor Dr M.M. Thomas for his being sympathetic to insurgent movement.
In his book My Presidential Years, R. Venkatraman, former President of India, writes about the ?sneaking sympathy of the then Chief Minister of Manipur Reishang Keishing with the rebel insurgents?. He further mentions that the dissidents from Manipur led by Tompak Singh complained to him bitterly against the Chief Minister in 1987 charging him with being in league with the extremists. After a surprise attack on 19 defence personnel at Ukhrul in Manipur during combing operations, the Chief Minister came to him and complained to him against the army, though the army was the aggrieved party. ?Ever after I talked to him several times to help the army maintain peace and security in the state of Manipur, he did precious little to assist them,? he stated.
Often the politicians themselves fall a prey to their own machination. Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) led by Jewel Gorlosa shot dead Purnendu Langthasa and Nindu Langthasa, two young and powerful political leaders of North Cachar Hills in Assam, whom they accused of trying to ?buy us off?. Purnendu was the eldest son of Congress Minister Gobinda Chandra Langthassa and chief executive member of District Autonomous Council. Both of them were on poll campaign for their Congress party for the 28-member Autonomous District Council slated for June 12 last. DHD Gorlosa'spublicity secretary Phaiprang Dimasa went on record to say that the Congress leaders offered money to ?buy peace?. Investigators agreed that money played a role in killings. Police officials said the terrorists had demanded Rs 2.8 crore from the ruling Congress and a dispute while trying to negotiate a deal led to the duo having been shot dead on June 5, 2007.
Another Congress member of the Autonomous Council, Prafulla Phanglo, was alleged to have gone to a DHD camp on April 26 to offer Rs 50 lakh on behalf of the party in order to ensure victory of their candidates. An altercation during the negotiation led to encounter in which a security officer M. Rahman was fatally wounded.
Extremists are known to have their safe havens in jungles near and beyond the international borders. They are often found in the official residences of MLAs. On August 17, Manipur police found 12 terrorists and an assortment of arms and ammunition from the houses of three MLAs and a former legislator of the ruling Congress in the state'smost heavily guarded zone. The three sitting legislators whose quarters were raided are W. Brajabadhu Singh, K. Meghachandra Singh and K. Bijoy Singh. All the three were at home as was their former colleague Sobhakiran Singh when the police came calling.
Eight terrorists of Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup were traced to the quarter of W. Brajabadhu Singh, two cadres each of Kangleipak Communist Party and People'sLiberation Army were arrested from the house of Meghchandra Singh. A terrorist each of the People'sRevolutionary Party of Kangleipak and Kangleipak Communist Party were arrested from the residences of Bijoy Singh and Sobhakiran Singh. The Chief Minister of Manipur Okram Ibobi Singh refused to spell out if action would be taken against the MLAs. Besides arms and ammunition, extortion notices meant for Imphal-based businessmen were also recovered.
In the midnight of December 14, 2006, six cadres of the Islamic People'sUnited Liberation Front were intercepted by police at Imphal while they were transporting 200 woolen blankets and other items from the residence of Md. Alaudin Khan, Minister of Veterinary and Minority Affairs who was however quick enough to deny and clarify that the material in question was lifted from some other place.
Apart from politicians, the extremist outfits derive their sustenance from development funds. The Centre was briefed about how development funds fall into the hands of the extremist groups either through connivance with officials or through coercion. According to intelligence reports, a number of officials in the insurgency-infested states have taken voluntary retirements unable to sustain the pressure from the terrorist groups. A complex collusive arrangement between various legitimate power elites and terrorist groupings exist in every single theatre of terrorist strife and this arrangement facilities continuous transfer of resources to the underground economy.
A few illustrative cases can lend credence to the disturbing phenomenon. The subversion of the public distribution system in Assam provides an interesting example. Sources indicate a bulk of these commodities are simply diverted to open market, generating illegal revenues estimated at Rs. 600 million per month, a large proportion of which goes to the terrorist outfits. Rural development is another lucrative sector and it is estimated that as much as 70 percent of all funds available to the state of Assam under this head is systematically siphoned off under a well-organised network of terrorist cadres, contractors, civil servants and members of the political executive. Besides, direct and indirect extortions to which government departments, public enterprises and citizens succumb give rise to the emergence of terrorism itself.
In this milieu, more and more extremist groups are coming into picture. Besides 15 terrorist outfits active and dominating in the North-east, several others have joined the race for extortions. These have been identified as Pnar Liberation Army, Hmar People'sConference, Karbi Longri North Cachar Hills? Liberation Front, Karbi People'sLiberation Front, Kuki Liberation Front, Kuki Revolutionary Army and their number is on rise. The question is naturally being asked: When will terrorism come to an end?