Assam separatist movements

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Assam Conflict
Part of Insurgency in North-East India
Assam locator map.svg
State of Assam
Date 1979-present
Location Assam
Result Conflict ongoing
Ulfa logo.svg ULFA

Front Nacional Democratic Bodoland.svg NDFB
Adivasi National Liberation Army

Flag of India.svg India
Commanders and leaders
Ulfa logo.svg Paresh Baruah

Ulfa logo.svg Arabinda Rajkhowa
Ulfa logo.svg Pradip Gogoi
Ulfa logo.svg Anup Chetia
Ulfa logo.svg Raju Baruah
Ulfa logo.svg Others
Front Nacional Democratic Bodoland.svg Sabin Boro

India Bikram Singh (31 May 2012-present)

Flag of India.svg Vijay Kumar Singh (31 March 2010 – 31 May 2012, retired)

Casualties and losses
10,000 killed[1]

The Assam separatist movements are insurgency movements in the Assam state of India. The conflict started in the 1970s.[2] It stems from tension between Assamese and alleged neglect and internal colonisation by the Indian government with its federal centre in Delhi.[3][4] Additionally, the state is rich in oil resources.[2] The Assamese Separatist Movement alone has taken a toll of 12,000 ULFA members and 18,000 others.[5][6] The secessionist goals of the separatist movement in Assam have lacked popular support, with most Assamese sympathizing with the separatist groups but not empathizing with their goals.[7]

However, several organisations make up the insurgency, including the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), Adivasi National Liberation Army, Karbi Longri N.C. Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB). ULFA is perhaps the largest of these groups,[6] and one of the oldest, being founded in 1979.[8] It has also attacked Hindi-speaking migrant workers.[9] There is a movement for secession from the Republic of India.[10] The alleged neglect and economic exploitation by the Indian state are the main reasons behind the growth of this secessionist movement. Both sides - the ULFA and the Indian state are unwilling to compromise on sovereignty and the common people of Assam has been paying the price for it. The United Liberation Front of Asom seeks to establish a sovereign Assam via an armed struggle in the Assam conflict. The Government of India had banned the organization in 1990 and classifies it as a terrorist group, while the US State Department lists it under "Other groups of concern".

ULFA founded at the site of Rang Ghar on April 7, 1979, a historic structure from the Ahom kingdom. Military operations against it by the Indian Army that began in 1990 continues till present.[11] In the past two decades some 30,000 people have died[12] in the clash between the rebels and the government. Though separatist sentiments deems strong,[13] , it is disputed if the secessionist movement enjoys popular support any longer. On the other hand, strong Assamese nationalism can be found in Assamese literature and culture. The neglect and exploitation by the Indian state are common refrains in the Assamese-language media.[14] There are instances when even the ULFA leaders are seen as saviors.[15]

Internationally acclaimed Assamese novelist Indira Goswami has been trying to broker peace[16][17][18] for several years between the rebels and the government.[19] In a recent development Hiren Gohain,[20][21] a public intellectual has stepped in to expedite the process.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Five killed in Assam bomb blasts - DAWN.COM". Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Bloody Tea - Article on conflict
  3. ^ Kashyap, Aruni (19 May 2010). "India needs talks for Assam's peace". The Guardian (London). 
  4. ^ "Bomb Kills 10 at India Independence Parade". The New York Times. 15 August 2004. p. 15 (section 1). 
  5. ^ "The Sentinel". Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Assam
  7. ^ "the strength of ULFA lies more in the sympathy factor it gets among its home-population (despite lack of empathy for its declared goal) than in cadres and weapons" Nath, Sunil (2001). "The Secessionist Insurgency and the Freedom of Minds". Institute for Conflict Management. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  8. ^ United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) - Terrorist Group of Assam
  9. ^ Assam: ULFA’s Rerun of Violence against Migrant Workers
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Where Have They All Gone? | Assam Portal". Archived from the original on 25 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  12. ^ "The Sentinel". Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  13. ^ Malakar, Paresh (December 2006). "Assamese identity". Frontline 23 (24). Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  14. ^ "The Assam conflict: a failure of the press". openDemocracy. 2010-07-29. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  15. ^ "India needs talks for Assam's peace | Aruni Kashyap | Comment is free |". Guardian. 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  16. ^ "National : Indira Goswami makes fresh attempt at brokering peace". The Hindu. 2007-06-29. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  17. ^ "Prince Clasu Award Indira Goswami". 2007-06-29. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  18. ^ "Conflict and Peace in India's Northeast: The Role of Civil Society" (PDF). Archived from the original on 27 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ TI Trade (2010-10-13). "The Assam Tribune Online". Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  21. ^ "Peace interlocutor meets ULFA leaders in Guwahati jail". 2010-10-21. Retrieved 2010-11-07.