Truce with the army: A comment

Published on December 30, 2005

By Seikholen Thomsong

December 30, 2005: Hardly had the brouhaha over the truce signed by Kuki insurgents with agencies of the Government died down, we hear of complaints from one of the groups about how they were taken advantage of by an overtly “ambitious” army officer.

The innocent civilians welcome peace

Truce or peace overtures with either the Govt or its agencies is welcome. Only peace will hasten our growth in all spheres. For a change, the hillsides would no longer echo the sound of gunfire and there would no longer be rude awakenings from knocks on our door in the wee hours of dawn. Dragging away of people and their bodies never returned home would come to a stop. Idealistic view of peace! That is if peace is followed both in word and in true spirit.

What the truce means to the security forces

However the very reason why the intelligence and security agencies would want truce with Kuki insurgents is doubtful right from the beginning. One might even suggest that it serves the purpose of the security agencies only. Did they have ulterior motives behind inviting the Kukis to a truce? Because to be brutally honest, our insurgent groups do not carry that much weight even collectively to stir the political consciences of the Netas in the parliament. Even militarily we are small fish compared to valley insurgents, the NSCN and the ULFA. Perhaps the motive of the security forces in signing truce with selected few may be to drive a wedge between the various insurgents based on community. This would sow distrust among themselves. The first sign of which had come in the form of grumblings from the valley of Imphal that the Kukis are given prominence, which they do not deserve. Strangely there is no news of the Army inviting the Meetei insurgents. Or am I mistaken? The main advantage that the army derives is that it can concentrate on certain insurgent groups first and then deal with the others later. To fight so many insurgent groups all at once would tactically be foolhardy as it would mean the scattering of army resources and manpower.

The motive of the Kuki insurgents

Let us now analyse what purpose it serves for the KNA/KNF etc to sign a truce. Students and scholars who followed insurgency closely would vouch that in guerilla warfare a group after long period of attrition with an army would want to regroup, re-organise or rebuild its arsenal and firepower, would bide for time and go for temporary truce. The LTTE did it and so did other guerilla fighters around the globe. In the case of Kuki insurgency there hardly has been news of the Kukis engaging the army or the police forces of the state on a grand scale. So that angle of biding time to regroup is out. So could it be that they have the desire to discontinue fighting and thus settle for peace? It doesn’t seem so. Because insurgency has its nuisance value to the political class and the insurgents themselves that we all know. And people who have tasted its power, glory and influence would not give it up so easily. Perhaps the approaching assembly elections have a direct influence. This could be true as the various groups have their loyalties to political patrons. So groups might want to build up on reserves till the run up to the assembly elections.

Conclusion

So the sincere prayers of peaceniks like yours truly would not bear fruit soon as there is no likelihood of true peace being ushered in. The political class and the insurgents themselves have so much to lose if there is actual peace all around. So the common people like you and me might as well close our eyes again in tearful prayers for the lord God to stop the fratricide, insanity and the gory bloodletting in our society.

Amusingly, the Army would not be in a position to guarantee us our political goals which is the true means of lasting peace. Insurgency is a political problem which can be solved politically only. Had we signed truce with government of India itself it would have been more reassuring. In this case, the Kukis demand for self determination seem a far distant goal because the army at best is the instrument of the state and not the state per se. Thus the tail cannot wag the dog. The dog has to wag the tail. The Army cannot sign for peace on behalf of the elected representatives of the government.