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India’s Northeast Rebels Call for Boycott of Independence Day Celebrations

New Delhi (Sputnik): Several fringe rebel groups operating in India’s northeastern states have come together and called for a general strike on 15 August, the country's Independence Day.

More than 50 ethnic groups live in the northeastern region, some of them demanding complete secession from India, while several others are fighting to protect their ethnic identities and homelands.

While the Nagas have been waging an armed conflict against Indian rule since 1948 for an independent Nagaland, other rebel groups emerged in the 1970s, mostly because they lacked employment opportunities and their regions were neglected.

New Delhi claimed the region, which comprises several small states, recorded the lowest insurgency numbers in two decades. An year-end review released by the government in December 2018 stated that insurgency in Tripura and Mizoram had ended and the federal government had signed a peace agreement with the Nagas, who were demanding a separate Naga region.

On the other hand a conglomeration of several rebel groups – mainly the Coordination Committee or CorCom, an umbrella organisation of several rebel outfits operating in the northeastern state of Manipur and United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent, with its base in Assam, said in a joint statement that “Just as India became Independent after more than 100 years of British colonial rule on 15th August, the WESEA Region on the night of August 14 and early 15th August secured their freedom”.

The rebels said, the recent “control politically by BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) of the entire Indian geography has enhanced the Hindunisation process rapidly”. These are sinister moves “to suppress the distinctive indigenous cultural identities of the sons of the soil", said the statement.

"Recent outrageous events about the scrapping of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir without the consent of the people of the state show India's arrogance and blatant disregard of democratic principles", said the rebels.

New Delhi stripped the restive Jammu and Kashmir of its special status by abrogating Article 370 and Article 35A and divided the state into two federally administered territories.

Kashmir has witnessed secessionism issues for decades, which New Delhi alleges are fomented by terror groups operating from Pakistan, with moral and material support by Islamabad.

The latest move, New Delhi believes would eliminate terrorism and bring development to the state, which was hindered by the controversial constitutional provision.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated in a broadcast to the nation on the 8th of August that Article 370 and 35A had isolated the state, encouraged terrorism, promoted nepotism and corruption.

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