The Northeast seems to be waiting to explode. A little spark is all that is necessary to ignite violence. The tension along the Assam-Nagaland border is so serious that the central government had to send additional paramilitary forces to contain the situation. What provoked the confrontation between the Nagas and the Assamese is the alleged abduction of two Assamese boys by the Nagas. Naturally enough, there was protest on the Assam side of the border. While dealing with the protesters, firing from Nagaland led to the death of one and injury to two others. Soon, things went out of control, with people having to flee from their homes.
It’s difficult to believe that what happened was spontaneous. Far from that, there is clear evidence that everything from abduction of the two boys, a la the kidnapping of three Israeli youth, to firing at the CRPF personnel were planned and executed with a clear purpose. All this is the handiwork of the agent provocateurs, who have been active there. The possibility of the involvement of some insurgent groups cannot be ruled out. The ethnic divide among the people of the Northeast on the basis of their tribal identity contributes to periodic clashes, often sanguinary. The victims are invariably the innocent, who are caught between the quarrelling groups.
The primary concern of the central and state governments is to restore normalcy in the area so as to enable the people who had to flee to return to their own homes. Prime minister Narendra Modi has sought a report on the explosive situation. Once the dust settles down, he will have to take the initiative to find a solution to the border dispute between the two states. There are some areas which Assam claims to be part of its territory based on constitutional rights. On the other hand, Nagaland makes its claims based on historical grounds. Nagaland has such disputes with other states like Manipur also. A permanent solution acceptable to all and within the Indian constitutional framework will have to be found.