Nagaland killings aren’t a mere ‘blunder’

News: In a counter insurgency operation by Assam Rifles, in Mon district in Nagaland, more than a dozen people and a jawan were killed.

Though the union Home Minister has announced a special investigation team to probe the matter, there are reports of violent responses.

Why N-E is a unique case wrt security and peace?

The Northeast is embedded in a complex web of identities and a different history of nation-building.

Their affinity to linguistic, regional, ethnic and clan identity is too deep.

So overt nationalism mixed up with religion and over-securitisation emphasis in peace advancement can have dire consequences.

Its geography, history and political economy are also conducive for insurgent groups to operate.

What can be the possible repercussions of this incident?

The peace in the region is very fragile. It can break at any time if the political leadership, security forces and the civil society cease to be vigilant.

– Impact on Naga peace process: There are multiple insurgent groups operating here for years. Among these groups, the talks with the “NSCN-IM” for a settlement to end the seven-decade-old Naga insurgency is at an advanced stage. This incident could impact the process.

The unrest in Myanmar may spill over to Nagaland and Manipur. As unrest has reportedly influenced Naga and Manipur insurgent groups that have a base in that country.

What is the way forward?

Short term:

End the violence, penalise those responsible for this tragedy, and institute peace in the region.

The government should immediately reach out to the families of the victims to address the breach of trust between the local population and state agencies.

All groups, political parties, community leaders, and the security forces, must get together to calm the situation.

Long term:

In future, security forces of the region need to be extra cautious and sensitive to local communities while doing their job, even under extreme pressure.

Nation-building here has to be an extremely cautious exercise and should be negotiated with multiple stakeholders, having a difference of opinion on different socio-economic and political parameters.

Source: This post is based on the article “Nagaland killings aren’t a mere ‘blunder” published in The Indian Express on 6th Dec 2021.

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