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Ongoing Rebel Violence in Autonomous Regions: Assam, Northeast India

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In the large body of literature on the granting of regional autonomy to end insurgency, an important related question has received little attention: what happens to other ethnic groups within the autonomous region? The new arrangement may end violence between the state and the guerrillas but will the latter simply turn their guns on other groups in the area? This article begins to fill this gap in the literature through a close examination of two mass killings conducted by rebels awarded an autonomous region in western Assam, Northeast India. Why would these militants—having won such far-reaching political and economic rewards after a decade of civil war—continue violence and risk these hard-won gains? I propose that violence against other ethnic communities in the new region is more likely in the presence of two main conditions. First, when the community receiving autonomy is a minority in the new region, and second, when only one militant faction is awarded power.
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Keywords: ASSAM; INSURGENCY; MASS KILLINGS; POST-CONFLICT VIOLENCE; REGIONAL AUTONOMY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 June 2016

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