Tripura’s brutal ail de sac

Kashmir receives a lot of coverage in the Indian and international press for its insurgency and state action resulting in civilian casualties. Indeed, Kashmir's sorrow is like an everlasting wound on the Indian psyche. And yet there is another corner of South Asia which is even more sad, violent, and neglected. The place is Tripura, in the Indian Northeast. Civilian casualties in Tripura from insurgency-related incidents far outnumber those in Kashmir. One senior Indian bureaucrat informed the national press late last year that over 900 civilians had been killed in as many as 87 militant attacks in Tripura over the last four years. During the same period, 477 civilians had died in 40 incidents in Kashmir. It comes as a startling bit of information — that this little state known for its rolling hills, orange crop and for being practically surrounded by Bangladesh — is really the most violent corner of India.

Innocent deaths, kidnappings and extortions are a regular part of life in Tripura and have been for many years now since an insurgency arose to unsettle this area more than two decades ago. These years of tribal insurgency demonstrate the depths to which a misguided and frustrated identity movement can sink in the absence of a guiding political ideology and firm and recognisable leadership.

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Himal Southasian