|Opinion Vol. 2 Issue 33-34||Jan. 22- Feb. 6, 2000|
An appraisal of the growth and spread of insurgency in the north eastern states will show that it has been guided not by any revolutionary ideals, but by the sole motive of personal profit and self-aggrandisement on the part of the insurgents. Behaving like the mafia, the so-called freedom fighters have amassed untold wealth through extortions alone.
Money is extorted by militants in various ways including levying of taxes (monthly, annual, property, professional, etc.), kidnapping for ransom, smuggling of arms and narcotics, fixing commissions on government contracts, siphoning off funds meant for development from government treasury, commission on salaries from people in service, etc. According to media reports, during 1998-99, a sum of Rs. 425 lakh was fraudulently overdrawn from the government treasury in Nagaland.
The NSCN (IM)s budget for 1999 was to the tune of Rs. 12 crore.
If every insurgent outfit out of an estimated 51 groups in the North-East had a budget of
Rs. 2 to 5 crore, their combined budget would go in the region of Rs. 100 to 250 crore an
amount that would surpass the budgets of many of the smaller states! And in the last
decade, militant outfits in the region have colleced Rs. 3000 to 5000 crore which would
have been utilised for growth and development in the region.
The following table shows the amounts extorted by various groups of insurgents, according to the type of professions/activity ( anount in Rupees)
|Tea Gardens||Not known||lakhs/crores||lakhs/crores|
|Servicemen||5%-30%||not known||100-400 per gde|
Not only have the activities of the militants impeded the process of growth and development of the North-East, but also caused the destabilisation of the regions economy. There has been a systematic destruction of railway tracks, bridges, school-buildings, oil pipelines, depots and installations. Over 500 crore worth of property has been destroyed, while an equal amount has been spent for the purchase of arms by insurgents.
Insurgency has become an easy way of life for the top leaders of the movement who are staying in safe havens abroad, and living in the lap of luxury. The situation has accrued to the benefit of others the ISI and their mentors who have been supplying arms and explosives to the insurgents and providing training to their cadres with the objective of destabilising the country, the corrupt government officials who have been fraudulently withdrawing funds from government treasury and the political mentors of the insurgents who have been using them for their own ends.
The NSCN (IM) leaders had claimed while addressing their cadres during June, 1999 that the movement had cost them the lives of nearly 2,00,000 persons. Indeed it is a matter of shame that so many gullible youth were driven to their death by the outfit, even as their top leaders were enjoying their new found wealth and status, away from the harsh realities of the situation. And now that these leaders are old and greying, they are settling for peace not for the sake of the thousands whom they have led to their death or for those who have survived the harrowing years of insurgency, but only for the sake of securing their declining years.
Who, indeed are the losers? The common people who lost their lives, their means of livelihood or their loved ones in the violence.
Growth and development have eluded the North-East not because of the Centres neglect but because of the decades old insurgency in the region. A typical case is that of the tea industry the mainstay of the economy of the Assam which is in doldrums because of the large-scale extortions indulged in by the insurgents. The spectre of financial ruin is looming large over the region. The only way out of the situation is for the people themselves to actively resist the activities of insurgents. And this process has already been set into motion.
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