In Asia, the two words separatism and terrorism are correlated. Where there is separatism, there is high probability of terrorism or insurgency, at least. Be it Kashmir valley or Nagaland, the spirit of separatism gave birth to terrorist forces. A mindset has been built in the country that separatism always leads to terrorism, a modern evil. There seems to be no way separatism – the ultimate objective is ‘freedom’ – can attain its goal without bloodshed. Will there be a day when separatists would never of violence even if decades go by without the demand being fulfilled. It can be. The Brexit (Britain’s example from European Union) is an example.

The British have sought separation from the EU for years so much so that Prime Minister David Cameroon last year made an election promise of conducting referendum on the issue. And his wish to Remain had to give way to the Leave voice, although marginally (51.9% : 48.1%). It also cost his chair as he announced resignation in October. Cameroon tried to allay the British fear of migrants from EU countries over-flooding the island nation. UK has been a popular choice to settle for millions of people from other EU member countries, taking advantage of the agreement to work and live anywhere. This trend did not go down well with the British people and there were intense campaigns for freedom from EU. But, there were no bloodshed over the demand in all these years.

Although terrorism is an often-pronounced word in European countries, the term has no relevance in this context where an entire country took a historic step, all peacefully. But, in Indian context, the forces that are seen engaged in terrorist acts cannot be blamed solely. While they have no patience or confidence to get ‘freedom’, there is lack of mechanism to address the root cause but to quell these voices. Dominating a popular voice with ‘iron hand’ cannot be imagined in European nations. You attain ‘freedom’ or not, peace is ensured. India has miles to go!

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on June 25, 2016)