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Separatist movements of India

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Republic of India

Separatist movements are groups of people wanting to start a new country that is separate from a large existing country.

In India, some groups want separate countries for groups that have ethnic or language differences. Some groups call for a separate state, others for regional autonomy while some extreme groups demand complete full independence from India.

Arunachal Pradesh

Map of the Teola region

Arunachal Pradesh is also called the disputed territory of Southern Tibet.

  • Proposed autonomous area: Teola country[1]
  • Proposed autonomous area: Hajong Chakma Homeland
    • Political organisation: All Hajong Chakma Homeland Movement

The Arunachal Dragon Force (ADF), also known as the East India Liberation Front, is a violent secessionist movement in the eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. The ADF seeks to create a state resembling the pre-British Teola Country consisting of area currently in Arunachal Pradesh as well as neighboring Assam.


The Ahom Kingdom, c1826.
Assam till 1950s; The new states of Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram formed in the 1960-70s. The capital of Assam was shifted from Shillong to Dispur, now a part of Guwahati. After the Indo-China war in 1962, Arunachal Pradesh was also separated out.

Geographically and culturally, the region now called north-east India is between the two traditions of Indic Asia and Mongoloid Asia and is regarded as part of Southeast Asia. This geographical-cultural condition of "in-betweenness" is an important factor in the area’s crisis of identity. The leaders of the present-day "underground outfits" continue to struggle for independence, as the political integration of the northeast to India was brought about without the approval of its people. The people of northeast India, who are culturally Mongoloid, refuse to accept the caste-ridden social system advocated by ‘Indian’ culture. Similar struggles for independence are also going on in other northeastern subdivisions or sister regions, such as Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland. Assam has been the hotbed of militancy for a number of years due to its porous borders with Bangladesh and Bhutan. The main causes of the friction include the anti-foreigner agitation in the 1980s and the simmering Assam-Bodo tensions. The insurgency status in Assam is classified as very active. The government of Bangladesh has arrested and extradited senior leaders of ULFA or the United Liberation Front of Asom was formed in April 1979 to establish a sovereign state of Assam through an armed struggle. In recent times the organisation has lost out its middle rung leaders after most of them were arrested. The National Democratic Front of Bodoland was formed in 1989 as the Bodo Security Force, aims to set up an autonomous region Bodoland. Problems in Meghalaya arise from the divide between tribals and non tribal settlers, identity issues and growing corruption besides the fear of being reduced to minority by native tribals. The activity status is classified as active.


Insurgent groups in Manipur may be broadly classified into hill-based (mostly tribals) and valley based (mostly majority meiteis). While the former demand for tribal state to preserve their tribal cultures from outside influence, the latter based their demands for independence from historical perspective claiming that Manipur a Princely state with its geographical area extending to as far as the disputed Kabaw Valley of modern Myanmar during the British colonialism, was never a part of India. They say that Manipur should not be a part of the modern nation of India as well. About 90% of the hill-based insurgents and a few of the valley-based insurgents have now entered what is called Suspension of Operation. The Peoples Liberation Army is a leftist organisation formed in 1978 with the aim of liberating Manipur from India.


Mizoram's tensions are largely due to the simmering Assamese domination and the neglect of the Mizo people. In 1986, the Mizo accord ended the main secessionist movement led by the Mizo National Front, bringing peace to the region. Insurgency status is classified as partially active, due to secessionist/autonomy demands by the Hmars, chakmas, Brus, Pawis, Lais and the Reangs.


Nagaland was created in 1963 as the 16th State of Indian Union, before which it was a district of Assam.[4] Insurgent groups classified as active, mainly demand full independence. The Naga National Council led by Phizo was the first group to dissent in 1947 and in 1956 they went underground.

Jammu and Kashmir

Note that the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir is not recognised by Pakistan and China
Political Map: the Kashmir region districts, showing the Pir Panjal range and the Valley of Kashmir.

Both India and Pakistan say that Kashmir is a part of their nation. At one time, they were both a single country. But Hindus and Muslim people did not live in peace, so India was divided based which religion was more popular in each state. They fought wars over which country should get Kashmir. Separatists say that Kashmir should be a country that is separate from both India and Pakistan.

Punjab (India)


Tripuri nationalism

The insurgent groups in Tripura were emerged in the end of the 1970s, as ethnic tensions between the Bengali immigrants and the tribal native population. So many people moved from India and Bangladesh that they outnumbered the native population. Being outnumbered, the native population worried about its economically, socially, culturally status. This resulted in native leaders demanding that tribal rights and cultures should be protected. Hatred and suspicion grew. Insurgent groups in Tripura are classified as very active. The National Liberation Front of Tripura was formed in March 1989.[5] The All Tripura Tiger Force was formed by the local aboriginal tribals in 1990, with the sole aim of the expulsion of all Bengali-speaking immigrants from mainland India and nearby Bangladesh.

Other states of India