NEW DELHI, Feb 15 - In a clear indication that the Narendra Modi Government’s policy towards handling militancy in the Northeast has remained unchanged, the Centre has clarified that it is open to negotiations with only those underground outfits that abjure violence and opt for a solution within the Constitution of India.
The Modi Government’s policy towards insurgents groups was not spelled out in clear terms till now as a section within the government was advocating a tough line towards the militant groups. The cross-border surgical strikes in Myanmar after the killing of the 18 Assam Rifles personnel last year and handling of the ULFA talks with the Arabinda Rajkhowa faction are some of the instances, sources said.
However, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has indicated to a parliamentary panel that its policy remains unchanged.
The government proposes to adopt a multi-pronged strategy to deal with extremists/separatists of the northeastern region. “The government will follow a multi-pronged strategy to deal with insurgent and militant activities in the northeastern region, which inter alia includes willingness to talk to groups, provided they abjure violence,” sources added.
The parliamentary panel in its report advised that the government should start dialogue with these groups and address sympathetically their grievances within the framework of the Constitution of India with an aim of bringing them into the mainstream. The multi-pronged strategy should include this aspect also.
Currently, the government is engaged in peace talks with various insurgent groups of the Northeast and talks are continuing with the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA pro-talk), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Progressive), NDFB-Ranjan Diamary (NDFB/RD), Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF) – all from Assam, while the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak Muivah), NSCN-Kitovi Neopaokonyak (NSCN-KN) and NSCN-Reformation (NSCN-R) of Nagaland are under ceasefire agreements.
A total of 23 underground outfits of Manipur, under two conglomerates – the United Progressive Front (UPF) and Kuki National Organisation (KNO) are currently under suspension of operation agreement with the government. Three valley-based underground outfits of Manipur – the United Revolutionary Front (URF), Kangleipak Communist Party-Lamphel (KCP-L) and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup-MDF (KYKL-MDF) have signed memorandum of understanding with the Government of India.
The Centre has informed that pursuant to the policy of talks, various insurgent outfits, including the United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS), Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) of Assam and Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC) and ANVC-B of Meghalaya have signed memorandum of settlement with the government and dissolved themselves. As a result, a number of members of insurgent outfits have surrendered after laying down arms and joined the mainstream of society.