Rajeev Bhattacharyya is a senior journalist and author in Guwahati. He was the founding executive editor of Seven Sisters Post and had earlier worked for The Times of India, The Telegraph, The Indian Express and Times Now. His earlier books are Lens and the Guerrilla: Insurgency in India’s Northeast and Paresh Baruahr Sandhanat (in Assamese).
An anti-incumbency wave against the Congress and even the Bodoland People's Front (BPF) is palpable in the state which goes to the polls on 4 and 11 April. The BJP has also firmed up a multi-party alliance that according to a recent opinion poll could get as many as 78 out of a total of 126 assembly seats. However, there are still variables that could make the poll outcome less decisive.
Hallelujah! Tripura has finally shown the way. The draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 has been withdrawn in this remote northeastern state 18 years after it was introduced. Reason: The Left Front government did not consider it necessary to continue with the law when insurgency had been on the wane in the state for the past decade -- partly due to a committed and sensitive state administration that was determined to take governance to the grassroots.
If a senior functionary of the group is to be believed, the decision to withdraw from the ceasefire seems to have been well planned by National Socialist Council of Nagaland or NSCN(K) leader S S Khaplang. He saw greater benefits in snapping ties with the Indian government and getting closer to the Myanmarese army and the separatist outfits from India's Northeast that have camps in that region.
My preparation for an assignment to a rebel base in Myanmar's Sagaing Division began seven months in advance, soon after receiving confirmation from the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), a banned insurgent outfit in Assam. Its elusive chief of staff, Paresh Baruah, one of the most wanted men in the country, had warned that the journey would be strenuous and fraught with risks. He advised me to walk daily for at least 5 miles, in the hills if possible, but did not disclose exactly where I would be taken.