An Empirical Analysis of Islamic Extremism in North East India
By Saroj Kumar Rath
Extremism perpetuated by Islamic organizations in the Northeastern region has received near no scholarly scrutiny despite the overwhelming evidence that there is rise of extremist violence amongst the Muslim population of Northeast India. A less known fact about Assam is, it is the only province, among the Indian provinces, which successfully defeated Islamic invasion throughout the Islamic rule in India. Surprisingly, Islam made its rampant entry into the province during the Christian-led East India Company and British Crown rule in India. It was the time when British took full control of Assam. Exponential population growth among the adherents of Islam coupled with unrestricted influx of migrants from the neighbouring areas changed the demographic composition of Assam. The growth of Muslim population particularly since the turn of 20th century directly pitted the community against the ancient local Assamese culture. The infighting, when aided by outside powers, soon received a transnational character where global Islamic extremists opened contact with Assamese Muslims and started guiding on how to protect Islam and establish a model Islamic State in the region. Two issues would be dealt in this paper. Firstly, the paper would make an empirical analysis on how Islamic extremism permeates into the Northeastern India and secondly, the research would scrutinize linear contributing factors responsible for the growth and thriving of extremism in the region with special focus on Pakistan’s motivation to take over Assam and support armed groups.