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The State Strikes Back: India and the Naga Insurgency

by 

Charles Chasie and Sanjoy Hazarika

Policy Studies, No. 52

Publisher:

Washington D.C.: East-West Center

Publication Date: 2009
Binding: paper
Pages: ix, 56
Free Download: PDF

 

In the first decade after declaring independence in 1947, the Indian state faced numerous challenges to its very existence and legitimacy. These ranged from a war with Pakistan over the state of Jammu and Kashmir immediately after independence to the first armed uprising in the country in Telengana led by Communists in what is today the state of Andhra Pradesh.

When an armed revolt against the very idea of India erupted in the distant Naga Hills of Assam state in the 1950s, the Indian government was quick to act by using the full force of the army and, in some cases, the air force, as well as its paramilitary and local police. It enacted special parliamentary legislation such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) to give security forces even more powers and protect them from criminal prosecution for any "normal" violation of the law since these were regarded as extraordinary responses.

This monograph addresses the tackling of nationalist aspirations through the use of the AFSPA, with a focus on Nagaland; it analyzes the approach and its impact of Naga society, as well as the fallout for the Indian state.

This is the fifty-second publication in Policy Studies, a peer-reviewed East-West Center series that presents scholarly analysis of key contemporary domestic and international political, economic, and strategic issues affecting Asia in a policy relevant manner.