Guwahati, June 9 : Tripura and Manipur have presented a study in contrast so far as militancy is concerned. While Tripura has almost marginalised the underground groups, the other is still struggling to control it.
In the last four years, more than six hundred militants have left the path of violence and joined the mainstream in Tripura. This has been due to the support extended by common people to the administration in tackling militancy.
"Staying in forest, we had a very difficult life. We want peace. We want to lead a public life," said one of the surrendered militant, Tripura.
People's denial of support to militant groups forced many to rethink and come back to the mainstream.
The government's incentives to returnees also helped the process of normalization.
There has been a continuous decline in Tripura in militancy related violence over the years. In 2000, it was 514, in 2003 it was 296, in 2006 it was 50 and in 2007 it came further down to 39.
While the change in thinking and attitude of militant groups is visible in Tripura, Manipur on the other hand presents a study in contrast.
Despite people's protest, militants continue to disrupt normal activity of common people.
Now the villagers whose life has been affected by miltiants are demanding guns to take on underground elements. People in the Heirok village in the Thoubal district of Manipur are demanding weapons from the government to fight militants.
This demand came after the killing of ten youth in firing by militants during the Yaoshang Festival.
"We want to protect Heirok. We want to protect ourselves from the militants," one of the deceased family member said.
Another deceased family member added, "After my daughter was killed, I am so heart broken. I do not have peace of mind any longer. The PREPAK and other groups are killing innocents."
Recently, villagers from Heirok came on the street in protest against the killing of two women by some militant groups. That was the beginning of the demand for arms by people to protect themselves from the underground groups.
The administration could not ignore this demand for long. The State Government started recruiting Special Police Officers (SPOs) to provide security to the villagers affected by militancy.
In the first day of recruitment itself, around 1500 youngsters were recruited, who would be given police training so that they can provide local level security to the villagers. By Peter Alex Todd