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Secession and SecurityExplaining State Strategy against Separatists$
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Ahsan I. Butt

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501713941

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501713941.001.0001

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India’s Strategies against Separatism in Assam, Punjab, and Kashmir, 1984–1994

India’s Strategies against Separatism in Assam, Punjab, and Kashmir, 1984–1994

(p.83) Chapter 3 India’s Strategies against Separatism in Assam, Punjab, and Kashmir, 1984–1994
Secession and Security

Ahsan I. Butt

Cornell University Press

This chapter investigates three movements that took place within half a decade of each other — Assam (1985–1992), Punjab (1984–1993), and Jammu and Kashmir (henceforth Kashmir, 1989–1994). It traces how these movements represent the three “hotbed” regions of ethno-national separatism in India. Muslim and Sikh nationalism in Kashmir and Punjab dominated regional, national, and even international headlines for years. The Northeast, meanwhile, has proved problematic for India to placate for decades, and Assam is the central state in the region. The chapter focuses on these cases because of the two basic clusters of secessionist movements in India: immediately after independence, and in the late 1970s through the 1980s. It then zooms in the most populous state in the Northeast of India region — Assam. It characterizes Assam as the “heart of this region” and considers it an apposite window to understand the secessionist conflict in the restive Northeast. Ultimately, the chapter elaborates on the interaction between the Indian state and Sikh nationalists in the 1980s as well as the crisis in Kashmir, set off by a fraudulent election in 1987, which pushed Kashmiri nationalists to launch a secessionist struggle.

Keywords:   Assam, Punjab, Jammu, Kashmiri nationalists, India, ethno-national separatism, secessionist movements, Sikh nationalism, Muslim nationalism, Indian state

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