After Nagaland, Assam is the most volatile state in the region. Beginning in 1979, the indigenous people of Assam demanded that the illegal immigrants who had emigrated from Bangladesh to Assam be detected and deported. The movement led by All Assam Students Union began non-violently with satyagraha, boycotts, picketing, and courting arrests.
Those protesting frequently came under police action. In 1983 an election was conducted, which was opposed by the movement leaders. The election led to widespread violence. The movement finally ended after the movement leaders signed an agreement (called the Assam Accord) with the central government on 15 August 1985.
Under the provisions of this accord, anyone who entered the state illegally between January 1966 and March 1971 was allowed to remain but was disenfranchised for ten years, while those who entered after 1971 faced expulsion. A November 1985 amendment to the Indian citizenship law allows non-citizens who entered Assam between 1961 and 1971 to have all the rights of citizenship except the right to vote for a period of ten years.
New Delhi also gave special administration autonomy to the Bodos in the state. However, the Bodos demanded a separate Bodoland, which led to a clash between the Bengalis, the Bodos, and the Indian military resulting in hundreds of deaths.
There are several organisations that advocate the independence of Assam. The most prominent of these is the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). Formed in 1979, the ULFA has two main goals: the independence of Assam and the establishment of a socialistgovernment.
The ULFA has carried out several terrorist attacks in the region targeting the Indian Military and non-combatants. The group assassinates political opponents, attacks police and other security forces, blasts railroad tracks, and attacks other infrastructure facilities. The ULFA is believed to have strong links with the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), Maoists, and theNaxalites.
It is also believed that they carry out most of their operations from the Kingdom of Bhutan. Because of ULFA’s increased visibility, the Indian government outlawed the group in 1986 and declared Assam a troubled area. Under pressure from New Delhi, Bhutan carried a massive operation to drive out the ULFA militants from its territory.
Backed by the Indian Army, Thimphu was successful in killing more than a thousand terrorists and extraditing many more to India while sustaining only 120 casualties. The Indian military undertook several successful operations aimed at countering future ULFA terrorist attacks, but the ULFA continues to be active in the region. In 2004, the ULFA targeted a public school in Assam, killing 19 children and 5 adults.
Assam remains the only state in the northeast where terrorism is still a major issue. The Indian Military was successful in dismantling terrorist outfits in other areas, but have been criticised by human rights groups for allegedly using harsh methods when dealing with terrorists.
On 18 September 2005, a soldier was killed in Jiribam, Manipur, near the Manipur-Assam border, by members of the ULFA.
On 14th march 2011 militants of the Ranjan Daimary-led faction ambushed patrolling troop of BSF when on way from Bangladoba in Chirang district of Assam to Ultapani in Kokrajhar killing 8 jawans.