The northeastern states are like any other state in the rest of India, yet they are different from the rest of the India in many aspects. There is a huge disconnect, and the government never gave them that sense of belonging. Assamese is the only Indo-Aryan language in the north east, while the rest are Tibeto-Burman and Khasi is the lone Austro-Asiatic language. Since there has not been much interaction between the mainlanders or people of south Asian descent and the North Easterners for many centuries, differences will be there, and this is highly noticeable in terms of traditions, customs, food, and beliefs. Each of the northeastern states has different tribes.
Terrorist organizations exploit this, and hence multiple terrorist groups have been formed on the basis of tribal living. For example, Assam has Bodo (demanding Bodoland) and Karbi tribes; Meghalaya has Garo tribes (demanding Garo land), each wanting some kind of autonomy and even separation. Huge security presence, which is necessary to contain the insurgency; no concrete efforts from the government to develop the regions and bring economic prosperity, which has led to discontent among the people and kept the tensions simmering. There have been many accusations of human rights violations by the armed forces, too. Somewhere there is a lack of attention towards these states, there is always unrest. Recent Manipur horror has drawn worldwide attention to north-east India.
There is an urgent need for dialogue amongst the responsible representatives of the communities where the government presides unbiasedly. The state has been affected by insurgent groups for several decades, leading to violence, unrest, and loss of life. The government should continue to engage with these groups in peaceful dialogue and offer them a chance to participate in the democratic process. The state’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and public transport, is inadequate and requires significant improvement. The government should invest in infrastructure development to support economic growth and improve the quality of life for residents.
The state has a high unemployment rate, which contributes to poverty and social unrest. The government should encourage investment in industries that can create jobs and provide vocational training to improve the employability of the workforce. Manipur’s environment has been significantly impacted by deforestation, pollution, and climate change. The government should promote sustainable practices and enforce laws to protect the environment. The literacy rate in Manipur is below the national average, and many children do not have access to quality education. The government should prioritize education and increase funding for schools, especially in rural areas.
The total land area of Manipur is approx. 22,000 sq. km, where 10% of the valley area is surrounded by 90% hills from all sides. Manipur is inhabited by four major groups: the Meiteis, Nagas, Kukis, and Meitei Pangals. The valley Meiteis are Hindus, while the hill people Naga and Kuki are Christians, and the Meitei Pangals are Muslims. After Independence, the Meiteis were classified as Generals and the hill people as Scheduled Tribes. Manipur is a state in northeastern India that has faced several challenges in recent years. Manipur is a land of both hills and valleys. The Meitei mostly live in the valley, and the tribals of Manipur mostly live in the hills, yet some of them live together in the valley with other communities. The tribal communities are grouped into two sections: the Naga and the Kuki. As Manipur is a land of diverse states, a state that is far away from central India, which was also a once-princely state, merged into India. The merger uprooted the seeds of both armed and unarmed revolutionary activists, as the perspective of the vision was different from that of the then Indian government and the activists of Manipur.
Unfortunately, there has been a political crisis in the neighboring country of Myanmar, which shares the border with Manipur for a very long distance. This impacted Manipur so much, both demographically and politically. Suddenly, in these few years, there has been a huge surge in illegal poopy plantations and drug trafficking in the peripheral sites of the state. The poppy plantation is more in the hills, where the Kuki are in the majority. Some Myanmar people illegally immigrated to some of these areas of Manipur, where the main epicenter point is in the Churachandpur District. These people share a common religion, caste, and community, unfortunately, with most of the tribals of Churachandpur district, which gives a hard hand to the authority.
These illegal migrants are largely practicing deforestation on poppy plantations. So, the Biren Singh government has initiated the War against drugs, which is resulting in the destruction of these poopy plantations on a large scale. These migrants are jobless and living in poverty. Most of the hills where the Kukis are living have poppy plantations, and recently the government has been destroying poppy plantations, and the tribals are angry because it’s their livelihood.
The 90% land of the hills is protected by the MLR and LR Act and Article 371c (something similar to Article 370), as the hill people are Scheduled Tribes, and no one can buy land and settle in tribal land. So the population is sparsely populated in the hills. Rest in the 10% valley land, the land of the indigenous Meiteis, where Meiteis have settled since time immemorial and have more than 2,000 years of chronicled history. Since they are a general category, everyone comes and settles for business, work, buying land, and permanent settlement. The 90% land of the hills is protected by the MLR and LR Act and article 371c (something similar to article 370) as the hill people are Scheduled Tribes, and no one can buy land and settle in tribal land. Swelling Unemployment in Manipur added fuel to the fire of this violence. People are completely frustrated due to increasing unemployment.
People are not happy; corruption, lack of development, livelihood challenges, territorial issues, and the fight for pride and existence are other big issues. And fake news factories gave fuel to these mindless and jobless youth to commit horror.