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- Autonomy, ethnicity and gender in North-East India and Bosnia-Herzegovina
Gunmen attacked the upscale cafe in the diplomatic area of Dhaka late on Friday and had been holding about 20 hostages, including foreigners, before police poured into the building to try to free those stuck inside. A police officer at the scene said that when security forces tried to enter the premises at the beginning of the siege they met a hail of bullets and grenades. At least six militants were killed in the operation, while two police officers died.
The raid to free the hostages began at 7. The gunfire stopped about 45 minutes later. Italian and Japanese citizens were reported to be among those held hostage. Earlier one suspected attacker was reportedly injured, arrested and taken to hospital. Two policemen were killed by gunfire that erupted as police surrounded the Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant in the upmarket Gulshan area. The affluent suburb of Gulshan is popular with expats and Westerners. Isak was born in and he is the son of Kushe Chishi Swu who belongs from the village Chishilimi Naga village.
He is no longer with us. He spent all his life for the cause of the Nagas. May His soul rest in peace!!! Some of the road projects that we have cleared include Ranikor-Maheshkhola-Baghmara, Nongstoin-Rambrai road. Jump to.
War rages intermittently for 26 years in Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram
Sections of this page. Accessibility Help. Email or Phone Password Forgot account? Log In. Forgot account? Not Now. In this way, governance merely by violence changed to a mixed mode of governance where delivering essential socio-economic necessities were recognized as an important role of the state. Therefore, on its part the state began by trying to combat all forms of opposition through violence but after extensive bloodshed recognized that only violence does not work. They eventually decided to temper violence with development and promise of more.
In the process when they could conclude a ceasefire with the rebels they prioritized development over punitive measures and tried to reconcile recalcitrant communities by sponsoring alliances with different groups including young women and men who had less potent memories of conflict. In this way the contest over sovereignty was subtly governmentalized.
Conflict over sovereignty changed to a contest over governing. The young women definitely aided in the process by demanding that governing should also be about service providing and ensuring rights. The state was aided by the fact that with the receding of the mega conflict smaller competitions appeared on the horizon in which the state positioned itself as arbiter. The new generation of women understood that they could use the state and its new mode of governance as their ally and push for their rights agenda.
In this way the state polarized the society on the basis of ethnicity, age and gender and controlled the impulses of a mega opposition. The women on the other hand used state mechanisms to negotiate for mitigating traditional wrongs and pushing for individual rights that they could not during the heyday of conflict.
In their negotiations with the state the women undertook many innovative actions to fight violence and traditional injustices and create a more just society. This paper is meant to fill the lacuna in the existing literature. It deals with women in the state of Nagaland in Northeast India and analyses their negotiation with a state that traditionally privileges values that maybe patriarchal. Through their activism they made the state realize that upholding their cause will help the cause of justice and peace and also change contest over sovereignty into a question of governance and the former is always more problematic for a state to handle than the latter.
Northeastern India share borders with Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and Myanmar and so the eight states can be called border states. The British began administering the area through a series of Acts such as the Schedules District Act of and the Frontier Tracts Regulations of In , the British passed the Inner Line Regulation. The Inner Line Regulation was a means to separate the civilized plains people and the wild hill people.
The inner line did not in any way give the sovereignty to the hill people rather it was a means by which administrative zones of the hills and the plains were separated ostensibly because the civilized faced problems with cohabiting with the wild. The Government of India Act of classified the hill areas of Assam into excluded and partially excluded areas. This was done mainly to exclude the hill areas of Assam from the jurisdiction of the Reformed Provincial Government that included the plains of the Brahmaputra and Barak valleys.
This policy resulted in a separate political evolution of the hill and the plains. The excluded areas were not demarcated to protect regional autonomy. Rather it was meant to keep recalcitrant groups at bay. It also meant that the hill areas remained excluded from all constitutional experiments that were embarked upon within the jurisdiction of British India. To justify such demarcations there was a process of demonization of certain groups of people, at least in the official discourses that were considered recalcitrant and the Nagas were one such people.
During the Constituent Assembly Debates the process continued. During the debate on the provisions of the Sixth Scheduled, such a mentality was apparent particularly among members of the dominant groups. When there were discussions about giving the Naga Hills an autonomous council, some of the responses of the members of the Assembly reflected the attitude of the architects of the Constitution towards these people. Kuladhar Chaliha from Assam was particularly vocal. He said:.
The Nagas are a very primitive and simple people and they have not forgotten their old ways of doing summary justice when they have a grievance against anyone. If you allow them to rule us or run the administration it will be a negation of justice or administration and it will be something like anarchy…3.
Although not as vociferous as Chaliha, there were many who made it obvious that the Nagas did not belong. To vest wide political powers into the hands of the tribals is the surest method of inviting chaos, anarchy and disorder throughout the length and breadth of this country. Discussions on the Sixth Schedule were a precursor of things to come. The members of the Constituent Assembly who were deliberating on the creation of a democratic constitution for India were not merely obsessed with the idea of maintaining order as Paul Brass has suggested. They were also in the business of constructing a citizenship that would be loyal to the order that they were seeking to maintain.
On the basis of this criterion they constructed notions and discourses of who belonged and who did not. They created a hierarchy of citizenship and in that hierarchy many Northeastern tribal groups were at the bottom rung, particularly the Nagas. Their avowed difference was considered deviance and they were at best patronized and at worst vilified.
This was decisive in shaping state attitude towards the region. Thereby the ground was laid to treat these people with disdain and violence because what they were claiming was sovereignty over their self. The historiography of North East India from the other side, i. Most of the armed resistance groups are said to be fighting for autonomy under theleadership of those who believe in the right to self-rule. The list is endless. The number of armed resistances is on a rise and the only way of coping with the conflict that theIndian state has resorted to is through militarization of Manipur.
The young-Naga, Meetei or Mizo who studies in universities outside his region still wants to return to live among his people. But unemployment and anger quickly build up, and self-respect finally seems to flow only from the barrel of a gun. The mistakes run deeper. Saner minds in the army speak feelingly about the web they are entangled in. Corruption, abysmal economic development, and thoughtless destruction of traditional societal values have provided insurgency its best encouragement.
As the heat increases, the security forces, guns at the ready, cannot distinguish between the people and the rebels, and the civilians in turn cannot distinguish between one soldier in uniform arid another. What is happening to all the actors in this interminable tragedy?
Fear and suspicion have become Manipur's pseudonyms. The army jawan is ostensibly helping Manipur's civil authorities curb a law-and-order problem. But the soldier is a human being: his uniform does not turn him into a machine. He remembers other soldiers killed by urban guerrillas who whipped out guns from innocuous sling-bags, in broad daylight. At very tense moments, fear acquires a distinct smell, and when a jeep-load of soldiers bursts into a little house in a shadowy lane to search for a hidden rebel, the smell hangs in the air.
When the havildar caught up with him, the boy coolly shot him through the heart. He was like a tiger. The soldier in Manipur is an itinerant fisher of rebellious men, and the men he hunts are fish at home in their own waters. The soldier's image of Imphal often consists of sudden encounters with the guerrillas, or the stifling life of the barracks, or a blur of faces as a convoy whips through the streets.
How did all this begin? Is Imphal part of India too? The questions become indistinct in the heat, and the answers are complicated. Like most insurgencies, the Meetei revolt began because young and educated men discovered that they could not get jobs without paying bribes, that corruption and exploitation had reached incendiary point.
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The Meeteis had more reason to feel boxed-in-they were surrounded by hills inhabited by Naga and Mizo tribals. Within Manipur itself, therefore, there was isolation within isolation. Imphal is very much part of India, but when an outsider is contemptuously called mayang foreigner , and everyday lives are interrupted by sudden death, the mind begins to look for a logic for this situation.
There is no logic in many deaths notched up only because this is a war in which innocents will get killed.
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On January 12 this year, a boy called Basant Singh is arrested by the army in Imphal. He is a pre-degree science student. His body is found the next day. A government press note says he was shot while escaping. The Opposition brings this up in the Assembly, there is an uproar, and a judicial enquiry is ordered. Basant Singh is found innocent and the Government grants his parents compensation of Rs 10, That, say Imphalites, is the money that buys a clerk's job in the secretariat.
Kodompokpi is more a blurred suburb than a village, lying on the fringes of the airport, 10 km from Imphal. A game of volleyball is on at the playground bordering the village.
Who Deserves Independence?
In April this year, Kodompokpi's 2, inhabitants woke up to gunfire. It was not a new sound for them, but it was louder than usual. Bira's house. The army was tipped off, and early in the morning a large number of soldiers, led by a brigadier, surrounded the village. All the villagers were shepherded on to the playground, and the battle began. The women in the houses fled in panic, and the real shoot-out began then. Four hours later, after the army burnt down the five houses in which the rebels were hiding, it had won one of its best victories against the insurgents-nine PLA men killed, including ranking ojha leader Kunjbihari, and five captured.
What about the owners of the destroyed houses? Kangjam Shamu, Bare-bodied, unsure of whether the strangers are friends or intelligence men, he takes time to talk. The battle bewildered the five men: they had become unwitting parties to it. We asked the army for more, but they said: go to the Government. The Government has done nothing.
ManipurOnline… Dealing With The Issues » Women, Conflict And Governance In Nagaland
The men were in the fields when the battle took place. But their womenfolk were brushed by the wings of death. But all this is in the crowded Imphal valley, inhabited by the Meeteis, where passions ebb and flow in lunatic rhythm, and the urban insurgents melt into a sea of similar faces. Manipur is also being torn apart by another major insurgency, this one fought by the hardier Nagas.
On February 19 this year, three trucks carrying soldiers from the Sikh Battalion were rounding a sharp bend in the mountain road to Ukhrul, near a small bridge called Namthilok, 34 km from Imphal, The convoy was ambushed in textbook style by the NSCN. It was a quick, ruthless and efficient guerrilla operation, and it was clear that Muivah, once a follower of rebel Naga leader A. Phizo, had put his training in China to good use. For 15 minutes, as the surprised soldiers vainly tried to return fire, the Nagas' bullets rained down on the "killing ground".
Twenty jawans and one civilian contractor were killed. The attackers vanished into thin air. It was one of the largest-ever and best-planned ambushes in the North-east's bloody history. Later, the soldiers found that the ambushers had even dug trenches at the site. The only bright spot in the senseless slaughter was the heroism of one wounded Sikh soldier, who kept his finger pressed firmly on his Stengun trigger, spraying the air with bullets and preventing the ambushers from snatching any weapons. They must have got aid from every village on the km stretch inside from the border.
We hadn't even set up camp properly. The NSCN has not more than 1, men in its ranks, but insurgency, like water, finds its own level. Every time the security forces kill a few rebels, the insurgents broadcast a dirge of oppression, and more recruits take the place of the dead. It is like trying to empty a bog filled with quicksand-the more you scoop out, the more it sucks you in. The men from 21 Sikh had undergone, in full battalion strength, a five-week 'pre-induction' course at the Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School at Vairengte, in Mizoram, from November 10 to December 14 last year.
Much of the soldiers' training focussed on Psy Ops psychological operations -the winning of the people's hearts and minds. Ukhrul town is an object lesson in underdevelopment. Its population is 6, One long street traverses the town from end tc end. Ukhrul is headquarters of a hilly district that covers 4, sq km and has a total population of 87, Yet, it boasts of three ancient diesel generators that turn out a total of KW of electricity-just enough to provide lights to half the town, on alternate nights, only until 11 p.
Ukhrul has no water supply-its households collect rain-water or trek to distant streams. The district hospital has no ambulance and no X-ray machine; seriously ill patients have sometimes been airlifted by helicopter to Imphal for treatment. The telephone exchange, or the postal system, do not work, and Ukhrulites send mail through friends travelling by bus to Imphal. The rebels must have been showing off their muscle, and the Sikh Battalion had not got acclimatised to the area. But does this explain why they behaved as they did?
Luithui has other reasons for his bitterness. Last year, after he protested at the arrest of two Ukhrul girls, the army officer commanding the Assam Rifles post arrested him. Two days of torture ended in Luithui being helicoptered to hospital in Imphal with excess loss of blood. The army officer was court-martialled and lost four years of seniority as punishment. Thin-voiced and long-limbed, Luithui adjusts his Sherlock Holmesian cap as he describes the weakness the beating-up has left him with.
The truth was that the army could judge us with a single bullet. The least of the reactions to the ambush came when District Magistrate Gyan Prakash Joshi slapped collective fines of Rs per household on three villages-Sikibung, Shangkai and Lamlai Chingphei-situated close to the ambush spot. For a few days the villagers there were herded to the road and roughly interrogated by the soldiers.
The deadline for the payment of the fines was due to expire on July 31, but three days earlier, Joshi and district police personnel forcibly collected the fines from the three villages, pulling out property and restoring it only when the fine was paid up. At 27, Joshi is very young, and more willing to talk than the average soldier tramping through Ukhrul's main street. He wears glasses, an unkempt beard, and seems a little lost in the spacious bungalow he lives in. Joshi is not saying something remarkable. The recurring attitude among even seasoned North-east administrators is that the tribals need disciplining, the tribals understand only the language of force.
The villagers' duty is to report to us if any rebel passes through their area. If they refuse to cooperate, the army has no alternative but to suspect everybody. East District is virtually under martial rule, and the army can arrest people on mere suspicion, detain them for unspecified periods for interrogation, and only then hand them over to the civil police. The day after the ambush Joshi was rushing back to Ukhrul from a tour. He was stopped at an army checkpost; his vehicle and credentials were scoffed at. For three hours the district magistrate fumed and raged; he was allowed to go only when a senior officer arrived.
Akai, 38, and Z. Ningaima, 35, are both ex-army men, and both served in the Assam Regiment. Now their faces are lined with apprehension, and their hands, calloused by hard work, move expressively as they describe their own experience of the army's gut-reaction to the ambush. Only when Akai and Ningaima offered to run back to the town to fetch their old army identity cards did the soldiers let up.
But by the time they returned, breathless, Ragin had been severely beaten. District hospital records later showed that he had suffered from extensive heamatoma-clotted blood-and subcutaneous bleeding. Says a furious Ningaima: "I was posted in South India with the army for seven long years. We were very friendly with everyone there. The soldiers should be like gardeners- they should tend their gardens, the nation, and not allow cattle from outside to get in.
Instead, they are destroying the beauty in the gardens they ought to protect. Talking about their experiences long after, the men and women of Ukhrul take time to remember the little details of the inhumanity they encountered; but as the memory floods in, their faces change from the usual calmness to contortions of remembered pain. Thingthing is 20 years old, and except for a yellow T-shirt and a plain, scrubbed face, she could be just another Naga villager. It takes a lot of time to locate her; the entire day she has been working in her family's field, tending the sugarcane and maize crop, and only when the sun goes down does she trudge back up the rocky path, her head bowed low, crowned by a leather strap that holds up a big pot of water hanging at her back.
The water has to be brought from a stream about 3 km outside the village. The village is called Kalhang, and is situated 50 km from Ukhrul on the new border road. Outside the headman's long and dark hut rises a large patch of chest-high marijuana plants. Three tiny children, covered with dirt, play happily with roughly-fashioned tops. The village's show-piece, the church, stands atop a hillock, its spire burnished.
The Awang Kasom camp of the army has attained notoriety for more than this one incident. Particularly, word has spread throughout East District about what the army did to an old man called K. Shangkai lives in Nungbi village, very close to Kalhang.
Autonomy, ethnicity and gender in North-East India and Bosnia-Herzegovina
Perched atop a cliff, the village can be reached only by a jeep with four-wheel drive. He sits next to the fire in the centre of the long room, his narrative occasionally making him jump down from his low stool. At 52 years of age he has four children, the eldest son doing his B. On May 22 this year, Shangkai and his older brother Honlei had taken a large herd of cattle out to graze at Chamza, a place near Nungbi.
The village men pooled their cattle and took it in turns to take them grazing. Honlei wandered a little ahead, and overcome by the heat of the afternoon, Shangkai decided to take a nap in a disused shed on the hillside.