By the Barrel of the Gun

From my comfortable home in Illinois,

From my comfortable home in Illinois, I watched in horror as terrorism struck my homeland. I could not resist saying to my wife, "Wow! Nagaland is on the news." On Oct. 2, 2004, two bombs exploded simultaneously in the Dimapur train station and in a local market. Twenty-eight people were killed and 100 were injured. It is unclear who was responsible for this tragedy, but unfortunately in northeast India there are too many possibilities.

Since 1952, this region, made up of seven states and home to 38 million people, has birthed "at least 15 major insurgent groups and 40 other smaller groups," according to G. Vinayak in his article "Insurgency is the biggest business in the northeast." "Except [for] the Naga insurgency," claims Vinayak, "most of the outfits in the northeast have been born out of neglect New Delhi on these distant states since Independence." All seek separate homelands from India. Both the Indian military and the underground fighters have committed egregious human rights violations. In the eyes of the people, both are equally dangerous, fostering fear as a tactic of conflict. Very few people are willing to express their opinions for fear of reprisals. The various militant groups pressure the population to embrace their particular version of a settlement with India in the name of "unity." Yet, unity cannot be forced on a deeply divided and traumatized people.

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Sojourners Magazine February 2005
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