April 24, 2024

‘Softer word’ to  replace ‘insurgent’

TAP | Updated: October 10, 2018

The 17th annual conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), India Region, Zone III that discussed the issue of insurgency in the Northeast region sought revisit in the approach to deal with the issue. State’s Speaker TN Thongdok had rightly pointed out that there should be a ‘softer word’ to replace the harsh title ‘insurgent’ in order to encourage the groups to come forward for peace talks.
Earlier this year, Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju had said that peace talks with militant groups is in the right direction and that progress is being reviewed on a case to case basis. The decades-old issue need to be resolved considering remedial measures to address the root cause of the issue and its formation snowballing into a catastrophe.
As opined by the state’s speaker, a special task force comprising ministers, peers, and academicians definitely need to hold talks with insurgent groups to look for a mid way to deal with the issue. It has been reported that peace talks conducted over the years along with the surrender and rehabilitation policies has helped in create comparatively a better environment. 
The speaker has aptly remarked that the application of force has not proven to be the right solution to deal with issue of insurgency. The Centre had just last week extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts of the state by another six months. The speaker has as such stated that the state governments have better understanding of the ground issues and the groups would be more comfortable talking to them. 
Kanubari legislator Gabriel D Wangsu had also made a valid point that ‘insurgency finds its roots in poverty and thrives on economic deprivationand hence it is no surprise that unemployed and poor people, mostly from underdeveloped areas, are easily drawn into activities detrimental to the growth of society,’ thereby calling for a total review of the forest reservation policy that has affected the growth of the people in the three districts. 
The state needs to pick a strategy to see to that the extension of AFSPA does not go beyond the period of six months as decided by the Centre and that an alternative is placed to address the issue here in the state. In doing so, the socio-economic condition of the districts should be considered while offering surrender and rehabilitation policies that are realistic and more pragmatic.