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18 May 2011

National Highway 39: Where violence is a way of life




From Numaligarh in Assam to Moreh near the Indo-Myanmar border, covering approximately 430 kilometres, runs the National Highway 39. It is one of the most dangerous roads in India's north-east. Political armed groups are quite active along the highway from the outskirts of Imphal till all the way to neighbouring Nagaland. The so-called parallel government is no longer a theory in these parts; it's the reality.

Truckers pay multiple taxes to several armed groups. And because of the ceasefire agreement signed between the Indian government and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), it is common to see armed groups walking casually on deserted stretches of the highway.

Still, there are times when violence is low, usually in the November-January period. These are months of festivities when everyone takes a break in this bandit country. It is during such a window that a quick dash from Guwahati to Moreh via Imphal can be done.

Then tick that off the bucket list.

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Journalist. Taking a walk in India. | Email to journeybasket[at]gmail | Special thanks to M.S. Gopal | All rights reserved. No commercial use.

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