Why Meghalaya emulates path of destruction while dealing with militancy

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Thomas Lim

If taking the claims by Civil Society Women’s Organization (CSWO) regarding the nexus between politicians, police and the underground outfits to be true, than the doomsday for the state of Meghalaya is not far. CSWO also demanded from the state government to set-up an enquiry into the alleged use of girl child as militants and nexus between politicians, police and militants even as it threatened to move to court if government fails to comply with the demand within a week’s time.

It is strange, be it militant groups or the state government, will adopt the strategies which have brought nothing except destruction. Like using the girl child as militants seen in Nagaland. It could not achieve much. Also the rehabilitation package, which is a total failure, and the surrendered cadres are creating havoc like SULFA of Assam; thus, resulting in total surrender of Law and Order to the militancy activities as that of Manipur and Nagaland.

 

On the other hand, none will follow the successful move in installing peace and harmony like that of Mizoram, partially like Tripura. Such success stories are fast eroding.

Not only in the case of dealing with militancy, Meghalaya will not take the success models of tourism management, and traffic regulation like Sikkim. Instead whatever is existing are being destroyed like the State Electricity Commission, very soon will be like Manipur where the electricity are being supplied just for few hours a day.

Hence, the militant groups are kept untouched at the same time the authorities concerned will not seek for any formula to bring back peace and harmony. Coming back to the issues of state government dealing with militancy outfits, the general public has been taken for granted. Without any investigation to be supporting the unrest in the state, neither the NGOs, Civil Societies nor even the government authorities ever attempted to unearth the reason of fear and spontaneously responding to any call of bandh; such action by masses is considered as extending their unquestionable support to these militants. The politicians remain mum fearing of affecting their respective vote banks, if they go against such move. Hence it is considered being a mass movement in the state.

The business communities are willingly paying the extortion amount demanded by both the militant outfits and pressure groups after negotiation, as the authorities had failed terribly to provide them any security.

There is a very thin line for the authorities to distinguish between the pressure groups and the militant outfits in the state. The coordination and ideologies are at times similar, but one is considering as rebels while the other as activists. Both are said to be fighting for the cause of the tribal interest.

Since the time of Former Chief Minister, Brington Buhai Lyngdoh who made it very clear on the Floor of the State Assembly to term the section who takes up arms as Militants or Terrorists stating that this section are just bunch of criminals who have taken up such activities as industry through kidnapping for ransom and extortions for quick money. The fear psychosis was infused to the masses by random killing.

Under such circumstances, the need to use ‘Psychological Operations’ or better known as ‘Psy Ops’ In North East Region seems fit. Only Manipur and Assam are receiving special funds to combat militancy under the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) which is part of the Psy Ops.

Yes, individual states have individual demands, Meghalaya – a 41 years old state, having three main tribes and many sub-tribes, is yet to have the state’s official language, because of three different lingoes – Khasi, Pnar and Garo.  But all are demanding for development and infrastructure of their respective districts, so also are demanding to have the Chief Minister from their own tribes.

But, Government of India is of firm opinion that the Naxalite threat is the single biggest internal threat to the country at present. Considering the nuisance and the atrocities made by the Naxals in the past two decades, the central government in February 2009 announced IAP for all the Naxalite affected areas, which is infact part of the Psy Ops.

The operation was aimed at dealing with the Naxalite problem in all affected states, namely Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. Importantly, this plan included funding for grass-root economic development projects in Naxalite affected areas, as well as increased special police funding for better containment and reduction of Naxalite influence in these areas.

The State government must also adopt Psy Ops or Psychological Operations under IAP to tame militancy activities in Meghalaya; by diligently understanding the emotions of not only the Militant outfits but also the mind of the masses. Infusing sense of security across the society by erasing the fear psychosis should be the first step and then only lure back such youths who have taken up arms into mainstream.

Regarding the authorities, we need more transparent and accountable politicians and bureaucrats who have such political will to change the psychological attitude of the masses. The question is who will bell the cat, as of now the civil societies are only contended with demanding to expose the nexus between politicians, police and the underground outfits.


 

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