1967 Mizoram became the model for India’s counter-insurgency operations. None have worked since then | Popgen Tech


Sthe elders arrived one morning at Darzo, a small village deep in the Mizo Hills, about 200 kilometers south of Aizawl, in the summer of 1967. “My orders,” the bureaucrat Vijendra Jafa recorded as saying, “are was to drive the villagers away. collect all the movable property they could, and set their own villages on fire… I also ordered them to burn all the paddy and other grain that could not be carried away the villages.’ The villagers, the officer continued, refused to comply with this order, forcing him to start putting lights in the huts himself. ‘My soldiers also started burning other buildings, and the whole place was soon ablaze.’

The pigs were running, the mithuns were bleating, the dogs were barking and the birds were making a racket and flying and cracking. A girl ran into her burning house and soon came out holding a kitten in her hand.

Late that night, after they moved to Hnathial village, protected and progressive by the government, they lined up the elders of the Darzo village with guns to get an alibi that they burned their own village, and that there is no force or . security forces used coercion. Since 1966, ethnic-nationalist insurgents in Mizoram have sought independence; The Darzo ruins were part of the debris left behind by the Indian state’s efforts to cut it down.

In the decades since the events of Darzo, India’s counter-insurgency thinking has cast Mizoram as a model for successful conflict resolution. In most accounts of Mizoram’s history, the use of large-scale violence against civilians—the bombing of Aizawl by fighter jets in 1966 or the mass relocation of the civilian population of which Darzo was a part—was slowly phased out. The most optimistic historians of counterinsurgency in Mizoram say that the use of violence paved the way for political negotiations and lasting peace. In recounting the events a little less rosy Jafa, they simply bought peace by ‘finding some of the important dissidents among the insurgents of the Congress (I) folded and poured in enormous amounts of money for the enrichment of this class together with the bureaucracy and the new types of local contractors.

Either way, the idea that the use of large-scale military force is essential to the creation of the conditions necessary for peace has become deeply embedded in Indian thinking on counterinsurgency. The idea is remarkable for its tenacity, more so because even a cursory glimpse of the course of the Indian insurgency makes it clear that the experience is an outlier. In Punjab, the use of force proved effective although it did not lead to political negotiations.

Across the North East Region (NER), the application of military force has reduced the level of violence but left violent and criminalized politics, which police officer EN Rammohan described as ‘degenerate insurgency’.

Various experiences have yielded nothing resembling peace in Kashmir or in the hearts of the Maoists. For students of counterinsurgency in India, the lesson should be obvious: India’s policymakers have been seduced by force, imagining that the use of military means is an almost magical device that can undo complex social fractures and processes that lead to ideological conflict. violent . In this chapter, I will argue that India could be better off using a police-led model that involves less force, effectively coupling lower numbers with better intelligence and training, freeing up troops and resources in the process, for more compelling strategic goals.

There is no memorial in Darzo for the 1967 events. A bungalow for tourists who might pass by, however, has been well built, which is perhaps a good place to visit for the student of counter-insurgency looking to rethink the strange means of medieval India as well as the points he is looking for. sure of them.

Him too: How Directorate S, the most diabolical branch of the ISI, overtook the US in Kabul, went on to destroy India.

The limits of constraints

In 1951, as summer rose over Kashmir, a great hammer and saw began across the Valley: a socialist utopia was built. Some may have thought it strange that the National Conference ended up winning all 75 seats, 73 of them uncontested—45 out of 49 candidates from the Hindu-nationalist Praja Parishad were barred from the elections on dubious grounds, but chose to be. silence Land reform and mass education were introduced; for the construction of a utopia, newspaper censorship was a small price. Each village group received a radio set, which opened the Valley to the world, but each set was ‘accrued to Radio Kashmir, fixed and sealed’.

The case of Kashmir, where the crisis has confronted the Indian state since its birth in 1947, is a useful starting point to consider the limits of India’s force-based counterinsurgency paradigm, which has focused on the use of force rather than. looking for an end to the crisis.

At first glance, the idea that India has failed in Kashmir might appear absurd. In 2020, Jammu and Kashmir recorded 320 deaths in terrorism-related violence, including
those of the fighters. The number of 2.5 victims per 100,000 population compares favorably with the rate of intentional homicide both in countries affected by large-scale organized violence, such as Afghanistan and Mexico, as well as the United States and India in general.

The data suggest, of course, that there is room for reflection—exactly what level of violence constitutes a threat to the state system?—but also demonstrate how successful India has been in significantly reducing violence from its peak in the 1990s.

Still, it is not clear that the reduction of violence has provided the necessary strategic end to a counterinsurgency, meaning the creation of a political system and, more fundamentally, a policy that is well connected to the wider state system. In 2016, despite years of waning violence, a popular Islamist-led uprising effectively ousted the Indian state of southern Kashmir.

In 2008 and 2010, similar uprisings paralyzed Jammu and Kashmir for months. India’s decision to end Kashmir’s special constitutional status in 2019, prompted in part by these crises, could only be imposed on a foundation of large-scale curfews and arrests.
Efforts to rebuild the political system since 2019 have had, at best, limited success, with voter turnout in south and north Kashmir’s secessionist heartlands approximating historic lows.

Furthermore, traditional fractures of ethnic and religious identity remained in place;
Recruiting in jihadist groups is reported to be at a higher level than in 2018. This should not, of course, surprise us. The jihad that emerged in 1988 was not, contrary to popular imagination, a radical departure from the historical norm. Since 1947/1948, Kashmir has battled a succession of violent crises driven by ethnic-religious identity; New Delhi’s responses have shown a remarkable clockwork of a pattern on every occasion since.

This excerpt from In Hard Times, edited by Manoj Joshi and Praveen Swami, was published with permission from Bloomsbury.


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