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People & Power
Bloody Tea
Assam produces a quarter of the world's tea but is home to a 28-year insurgency.
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2007 14:52 GMT

Assam is more commonly known for producing over a quarter of the world’s tea

Assam is famous for its malty flavoured tea.

What is less is well known is that for 28 years a conflict has raged there between the Indian government and the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA).

An estimated 18,000 people have died during the conflict.

ULFA, the biggest of 30 different rebel groups, have been fighting for Assam's independence since the late seventies.

Assam, a large state in the north-east of India, produces a quarter of the world's tea, and over half of India's.

It is also home to 40 per cent of India's water, and 30 per cent of its oil. Many claim that the money made from these resources benefits the Indian federal government, but not Assam itself.

Since the Indian army took up residence in 1989, ULFA have been fighting for an independent Assam, and with it, control of its natural resources.

There has been no new progress since peace talks collapsed, after three rounds, in 2005-6.

People & Power meets the victims of both
the army and the insurgents
 
The Indian National Games, held in Assam's capital, Guwahati, were supposed to herald peace for the duration, but the mayhem continued in the north-east.

People & Power explores the roots of the conflict through interviews with Assam's chief minister, academics, and senior members of ULFA.

We meet victims of both the army and the insurgents and take a look at life in the insurgent camps.

The Indian government blames the insurgents, and the insurgents blame the government, with neither side looking likely to give in.

While the world continues to enjoy a cup of Assam tea, the conflict is ongoing.

People & Power examines the future for the troubled state.

Watch this episode of People & Power here:

Part 1:

Part 2:



This episode of People & Power aired from 30 May 2007


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