Nagaland Killings : Repercussions and way forward – UPSC GS3

Context: In a counter insurgency operation by Assam Rifles, in Mon district in Nagaland, more than a dozen people and a jawan were killed.
Why peace in North-East is fragile?
  • 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.
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.
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