Insurgency in Northeast India

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Insurgency in Northeast India
North East States
Date 1964–present
Location Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram, Northeast India
Result Conflict ongoing

Achik NLA
Adivasi NLA
In tpdf.gif ATTF
Bodotigers.png BLTF (until 2003) BMS
DHD (until 2013)
HPC (until 1992)
Harakat flag.png HuM
KLO-flag.jpg KLO
Mizo National Front Emblem.svg MNF (until 1986)
MNRF (until 2013)
In nagaland.png NSCN
TNV (until 1988)
Ulfa logo.svg ULFA
UNPC (until 2013)
UPDS (until 2014)

Commanders and leaders
India General Dalbir Singh Suhag
Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuck

Ulfa logo.svg Arabinda Rajkhowa
Ulfa logo.svg Paresh Baruah
Ulfa logo.svg Anup Chetia
Front Nacional Democratic Bodoland.svg Sabin Boro
Kalalung Kamei
Arambam Samerendra
Angami Zapu Phizo
Biswamohan Debbarma
KLO-flag.jpg Milton Burman  (POW)
KLO-flag.jpg Tom Adhikary  (POW)
Men Sing Takbi
Pradip Terang

In tpdf.gif Ranjit Debbarma
Casualties and losses
Since 2005: 393 killed Since 2005: 2,947 killed
Since 1979: 40,000 civilians killed[1][2]

Insurgency in Northeast India involves multiple armed factions operating in India's north east states, which are connected to the rest of India by the Siliguri Corridor, a strip of land as narrow as 14 miles (23 km) wide. Some factions favour a separate state while others seek regional autonomy. Some extreme groups demand complete independence.

Northeastern India consists of seven states (also known as The Seven Sister States): Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland. Tensions exist between these states and the central government as well as amongst their native tribal people and migrants from other parts of India. Regional tensions eased off in late 2013, with the Indian and state governments' making a concerted effort to raise the living standards of people in these regions. However in late 2014, tensions again rose as the Indian government launched an offensive, which led to a retaliatory attack on civilians by tribal guerrillas.[3] As of January 1, 2015, major militant activities are being conducted in Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura.

Arunachal Pradesh[edit]


National Liberation Council of Taniland (NLCT) is active along the Assam - Arunachal Pradesh border and its members belong to the Tani groups of people which is demanding Taniland.[4][5] The Tani groups are Mongoloid people who are variedly known as Mising in Assam and Adi, Nyishi, Galo, Bangni, Apa, Tagin, Hill Miri in Arunachal Pradesh of India as well as the Luoba in China who lives along the frontier of India.[6]


Organizations listed as terrorist groups by India
North-East India
National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM)
Naga National Council – Federal (NNCF)
National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang)
United Liberation Front of Asom
People's Liberation Army of Manipur
Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL)
Zomi Revolutionary Front
Al-Badr Mujahideen
Al Barq (ABQ)
Al Fateh Force (AFF)
Al Jihad Force (AJF)/Al Jihad
Al Mujahid Force (AMF)
Al Umar Mujahideen (AUR/Al Umar)
Awami Action Committee (AAC)
Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DEM)
Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami
Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HUM)
Ikhwan-ul-Musalmeen (IUM)
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM)
Jammat-ul-Mujahideen (JUM)
Jammat-ul-Mujahideen Almi (JUMA)
Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party (JKDFP)
Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front (JKIF)
Jammu and Kashmir Jamaat-e-Islami (JKJEI)
Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET)
Kul Jammat Hurriyat Conference (KJHC)
Mahaz-e-Azadi (MEA)
Muslim Janbaaz Force (MJF/Jaanbaz Force)
Muslim Mujahideen (MM)
Hizbul Mujahideen
United Jihad Council
Students Islamic Movement of India Tehreek-e-Jihad (TEJ)
Pasban-e-Islami (PEI/Hizbul Momineen HMM)
Shora-e-Jihad (SEJ)
Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen (TUM)
North, Central and South India
Babbar Khalsa
Bhindranwala Tigers Force of Khalistan
Communist Party of India (Maoist)
Dashmesh Regiment
International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF)
Kamagata Maru Dal of Khalistan
Khalistan Liberation Force
Khalistan Commando Force
Khalistan Liberation Army
Khalistan Liberation Front
Khalistan Liberation Organisation
Khalistan National Army
Khalistan Guerilla Force
Khalistan Security Force
Khalistan Zindabad Force
Ranvir Sena

Assam has been a refuge for militants, for a number of years, due to its porous borders with Bangladesh and Bhutan. The main causes of the friction include anti-foreigner agitation in the 1980s, and the simmering Assam-Bodo tensions. The insurgency status in Assam is classified as "very active".[citation needed] The government of Bangladesh has arrested and extradited senior leaders of ULFA.[7]


The United Liberation Front of Assam was formed in April 1979 to establish a sovereign state of Assam through an armed struggle. In recent times the organisation has lost out its middle rung leaders after most of them were arrested.[7]


The National Democratic Front of Bodoland was formed in 1989 as the Bodo Security Force, aims to set up an autonomous region Bodoland.[citation needed]


The Karbi Longri N.C. Hills Liberation Front is a militant group operating in Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao districts of Assam that was formed on May 16, 2004. The outfit claims to fight for the cause of Karbi tribes and its declared objective is Hemprek Kangthim, meaning self-rule/self-determination of the Karbi people. It is closely linked with the ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom)[citation needed]


The United People's Democratic Solidarity was formed in March 1999 with the merger of two terrorist outfits in Assam's Karbi Anglong district, the Karbi National Volunteers (KNV) and Karbi People’s Front (KPF).[citation needed]

In 2004, the UPDS (Anti-Talks) rechristened itself as the Karbi Longri North Cachar Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF) and its armed wing as the Karbi Longri North Cachar Hills Resistance Force (KNPR).

In 2014 the UPDS disbanded, following the mass surrender of all it cadres and leaders.[8]


The Dima Halam Daoga (DHD) is a descendant of the Dimasa National Security Force (DNSF), which ceased operations in 1995. Commander-in-Chief Jewel Gorlosa, refused to surrender and launched the Dima Halam Daogah. After the peace agreement between the DHD and the central government in the year 2003, the group further broke out and DHD(J) also known as Black Widow was born which was led by Jewel Gorlosa. The Black Widow's declared objective is to create Dimaraji for the Dimasa people in Dima Hasao district only. However The objective of DHD (Nunisa faction) is to include parts of Cachar, Karbi Anglong, and Nagaon districts in Assam, and sections of Dimapur district in Nagaland.

In 2009 the group surrendered en masse to the CRPF and local police. 193 cadres surrendering on 2009-09-12 and another 171 on the 13th.[9]


The objective of the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) is to carve out a separate Kamtapur State. The proposed state is to comprise six districts in West Bengal and four contiguous districts of Assam which are Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, North and South Dinajpur and Malda of West Bengal and four contiguous districts of Assam - Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Dhubri and Goalpara. The KLO in the beginning was an over-ground[clarification needed] organisation which was formed to address problems of the Koch Rajbongshi people such as large-scale unemployment, land alienation, perceived neglect of Kamtapuri language, identity, and grievances of economic deprivation .[10]


The locally-elected government was dissolved in 1949 after the "Manipur Merger Agreement."[11] After the Government of India occupied Manipur in 1949, there was widespread discontent and anger among the indigenous people.[citation needed]

Insurgency started in Manipur as early as in the 1960s.

India extended the Armed Forces Special Powers Act to Manipur from Nagaland in 1958.[citation needed] Several clubs and organizations were formed. Subsequently, the federal government announced that various civil organizations and clubs were illegal.[citation needed][clarification needed]

There are four insurgent groups in Manipur. They are: 1) The Maoist Communist Party of Manipur is an ultra-leftist[12] communist party in Manipur which is trying to establish a communist society through violence.[13] It is a successor of the Kangleipak Communist Party (Maoist).[12] 2) The People's Liberation Army of Manipur is a leftist organisation which was formed in 1978 with the aim of liberating Manipur from India. 3) People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak is an armed insurgent group in Manipur demanding a separate and independent homeland. 4) United National Liberation Front

United National Liberation Front[edit]

The United National Liberation Front was created in 1964.[citation needed] It demands an independent socialist state of Manipur.[citation needed]

The UNLF went underground.[citation needed] The heavy deployment of armed forces has not mitigated the violence.[citation needed] Deployment has led to more discontent and anger among the indigenous people.[citation needed] The people have reacted negatively to the Army's atrocities and violation of human rights in the name of counter-insurgency operations.[citation needed]


Nagaland was created in 1963 as the 16th State of Indian Union, before which it was a district of Assam. Insurgent groups classified as active, mainly demand full independence. The Naga National Council led by Phizo was the first group to dissent in 1947 and in 1956 they went underground.[citation needed]

The National Socialist Council of Nagaland was formed in 1980 to establish a Greater Nagaland, encompassing parts of Manipur, Nagaland, the north Cachar hills (Assam). The NSCN split in 1988 to form two groups namely NSCN(IM) & NSCN(K). As of 2015, both groups have observed a ceasefire truce with the Indian government.[citation needed]

The National Socialist Council of Nagaland—Khaplang is the second faction with the same aim of a Greater Nagaland and was formed in 1988.[citation needed]


Main article: Tripuri nationalism

The insurgent groups in Tripura were emerged in the end of the 1970s, as ethnic tensions between the Bengali immigrants and the tribal native population who were outnumbered by the former hailing from other parts of India and nearby Bangladesh which resulted in their being reduced to minority status even threatening them economically,socially, culturally which thus resulted in a clarion call of safeguarding tribal rights and cultures. Such being the extent of desperation naturally resulted in hatred and suspicion and as such their status is classified as very active.

National Liberation Front of Tripura[edit]

The National Liberation Front of Tripura was formed in March 1989.

All Tripura Tiger Force[edit]

The All Tripura Tiger Force was formed by the local aboriginal tribals in 1990, who were gradually outnumbered both directly and indirectly even at the cost of being threatened for their survival economically and culturally not to speak of their being reduced to minority population-wise, with the sole aim of the expulsion of all Bengali speaking immigrants from the rest of India and nearby Bangladesh.


The state of Meghalaya was separated from the state of Assam in 1971, in order to satisfy the Khasi,Synteng and Garo for a separate state. The decision was initially praised as an example of successful national integration into the wider Indian state.[14]

This however failed to prevent the rise of national consciousness among the local tribal populations. Later leading 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 fellow rebel groups.[14]

The state wealth distribution system further fueled the rising separatist movements, as funding is practiced through per capita transfers, which largely benefits the leading ethnic group.[14]

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 ("Dkhar") immigration.[15]

A conflict of interest soon led to a split of HALC into the Garo dominated Achik Matgrik Liberation Army (AMLA), and the joint Systeng-Khasi alliance of Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC). However AMLA passed into obscurity, while Achik National Volunteers Council (ANVC) took its place. The Garo - Khasi drift persisted as HNLC had set up the goal of turning Meghalaya into a exclusively Khasi region, ANVC on the other hand sought out the creation of an independent state in the Garo Hills.[15]

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.[16]


Mizoram's tensions were largely due to the simmering Assamese domination and the neglect of the Mizo people. In 1986, the Mizo accord ended the main secessionist movement led by the Mizo National Front, bringing peace to the region.[citation needed] Insurgency status is classified as partially active, due to secessionist/autonomy demands by the Hmars, chakmas, Brus, Pawis, Lais and the Reangs.

Hmar People's Convention-Democratic[edit]

The Hmar People's Convention-Democracy is an armed insurgency group formed in 1995 to create an independent Hmar State in North East India. It is the offspring of the Hmar People's Convention (HPC), which entered into agreement with the Government of Mizoram in 1994 resulting in the formation of Sinlung Hills Development Council (SHDC) in North Mizoram. Their recruited cadres are from the States where the Hmar people are spread - Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghaaya. The HPC(D) is demanding a separate administrative unit under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India.[citation needed]

Human rights abuses[edit]


WESEA Forum[edit]

Some of the above-mentioned militant groups have formed an alliance to fight against the governments of India, Bhutan and Myanmar. They use the term "Western Southeast Asia" (WESEA) [17][18][19] to describe the region in which the operate: Northeast India, Bhutan, North Bengal and Myanmar. These groups include:[20][21]


In Manipur the following militant groups have come together as the CorCOM[22][23] which is a short name for Coordination Committee.[24]

CorCom, which is in the extremist organisations list of the Government of India, and is responsible for many bombings usually associated with Indian holidays and elections.[25]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • A. Lanunungsang Ao; From Phizo to Muivah: The Naga National Question; New Delhi 2002
  • Blisters on their feet: tales of internally displaced persons in India's North East; Los Angeles [u.a.] 2008; ISBN 978-81-7829-819-1
  • Dutta, Anuradha; Assam in the Freedom Movement; Calcutta 1991
  • Hazarika, Sanjoy; Strangers of the Mist: Tales of War and Peace from India's Northeast; New Delhi u.a. 1994
  • Horam, M.; Naga insurgency: the last thirty years; New Delhi 1988
  • International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (Hrsg.); The Naga nation and its struggle against genocide; Kopenhagen 1986
  • Nibedom, Nirmal; The Night of the Guerillas; Delhi 1978
  • Srikanth, H.; Thomas, C. J.; Naga Resistance Movement and the Peace Process in Northeast India; in: Peace and Democracy in South Asia, Vol. I (2005)
  • Terrorism and separatism in North-East India; Delhi 2004; ISBN 81-7835-261-3


  1. ^ "India – Northeast (1979 – first combat deaths)". Ploug shares. 
  2. ^ "Fatalities in Terrorist Violence in India's Northeast ::South Asia Terrorism portal". Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  3. ^ "Northeast India attack". al-Jazeera. 
  4. ^ NSCN-IM designs to rejuvenate NLCT in Arunachal Pradesh, reveals investigation , South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP)
  5. ^ Taniland outfit in culmination?
  7. ^ a b "India to get back Ulfa leader Anup Chetia from Bangladesh". First Post. Retrieved 2014-05-31. 
  8. ^ "Assam terror outfit disbands". Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ "South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) on KLO". Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  11. ^ "The Manipur Merger Agreement: September 1949". Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Mandal, Caesar (17 September 2011). "KCP's ultra–Left turn worries Manipur". The Times of India (Kolkata). Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  13. ^ "Maoism in Manipur". The Shillong Times. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  14. ^ a b c "Nationalism and the origins of separatist civil war in India". University of Rochester. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  15. ^ a b "Overview: Insurgency & Peace Efforts in Meghalaya". CPDS. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  16. ^ "People’s Liberation Front of Meghalaya (PLF-M)". SATP. 20 May 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  17. ^ WESEA at dbpedia
  18. ^ Freedom is our birthright , The Sangai Express, Manipur
  19. ^ NDFB warns against divisive policies of Congress and AGP , The Sentinel, Assam
  20. ^ "NE rebels call general strike on I-Day". The Sangai Express. Retrieved 2014-09-09. 
  21. ^ "11 rebel groups call for Republic Day boycott". The Times Of India. Retrieved 2014-09-09. 
  22. ^ "The heart of revolutionary movement in Manipur is CorCom". Kangla Online. Retrieved 2014-09-09. 
  23. ^ "CorCom promises new face of revolution". Retrieved 2014-09-09. 
  24. ^ CorCom (Coordination Committee) , Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium
  25. ^ CorCom in GOI extremist organisations list , Manipur Times

External links[edit]