Monday, August 13, 2007

650 more Maoists added to hit-list in Andhra Pradesh

13 Aug 2007, 0608 hrs IST,Harie,TNN



HYDERABAD: Though the state government has been repeatedly announcing its intention to renew a fresh dialogue with Maoists, the police have included 650 new names to its hit-list of 1,200 Maoists, where the reward amount on each of these individuals has been scaled up.

Most of these names are from districts where the state police has been claiming that the Maoist movement has been on the downslide. Visakhapatnam rural, which registered a steep rise in Maoist violence over the past five months has 113 new names, the highest in the list of fresh names.

This is followed by Warangal with 103, Guntur and Anantapur with 67 each, Adilabad with 48 and Mahabubnagar with 43 names. Nellore district ranks last with only four wanted Maoists. Earlier, there were only 18 Maoists in Visakhapatnam rural and only nine Maoists in Anantapur district who carried reward amounts.
In a GO issued by the state in the last week of July, before extending the ban on Maoists by another two years, the state intelligence department submitted a fresh list with nearly 650 new names — rated as the ‘most wanted' by the police for waging a war against the state. Most of the wanted Maoists in the fresh list are from Telangana (286), followed by coastal Andhra (264) and Rayalaseema (83).

The state has increased the reward amount on all these wanted Maoists and their leaders by nearly Rs 16.2 crore. The government gives this amount as incentive to any of the identified Maoists who want to surrender and join the mainstream.

However, government statistics reveal that most of the rewards are cornered by trigger-happy special police parties who are out on a mission to eliminate rather than bring Maoists to justice. Police records show that there were 1,233 Maoists with rewards on their head in 2002. At least 182 of them have been eliminated in the past five years, while 83 were arrested or have surrendered on health grounds. The Maoist movement has been at the receiving end over the past few years with nearly 600 of their important cadre getting killed, including 140 women Maoists.

The state has also raised the reward amount on each of the 27 members from the Maoist State Committee from Rs 8 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. This was done following the elimination of state committee leaders including Madhav, Matta Ravi Kumar, Sande Rajamouli and Wadkapur Chandramouli by the special police in alleged encounters in the last two years, especially after the failure of peace talks with the Congress government.

Some of the present state committee members include Shakamuri Appa Rao, Patel Sudhakar Reddy and M Balakrishna, who is the Andhra-Orissa-Border (AOB) Committee secretary. Similarly, 13 members of the Maoist Central Committee, including its secretary Muppala Lakshmana Rao alias Ganapathy, carry a reward of Rs 12 lakh each.

11 Maoists arrested in Jharkhand

Indo-Asian News Service
Ranchi, August 13, 2007
First Published: 14:46 IST(13/8/2007)
Last Updated: 14:49 IST(13/8/2007)


Eleven Maoist rebels have been arrested from different parts of Jharkhand in the last three days, police said on Monday.

Jeedan Gudia, a top leader of the Jharkhand Liberation Front (JLF), was reportedly arrested on Sunday along with his friend Sunita from Gorbeda jungle, around 45 Km from Ranchi. Police recovered a pistol, live cartridges and Rs 4,000 in cash from them.

Seven other Maoists were nabbed from Bokaro district on the same day. One of the arrested, Jayant, was allegedly using the cell phone of slain Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M) legislator Mahendra Singh who was killed by Maoist guerrillas in Giridih district in 2005.

Police claimed to have recovered Rs 1 million in cash, pistols, rifles, live cartridges, a laptop and Maoist literature from the seven rebels.

Two Maoists were also arrested here on Saturday.

Maoists are active in 16 of the 22 districts of the state. Nearly 840 people, including 310 security personnel, have been killed in the last six years in Maoist related violence.

India on alert for Independence Day violence

Simon Denyer
Reuters


Monday, August 13, 2007


A Kashmiri woman walks past Indian soldiers ahead of India's Independence Day celebrations in Srinagar, August 13, 2007. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - From the mountains of Kashmir to the forests of central India and the troubled towns of its remote northeast, troops are on the streets in a major security crackdown ahead of Independence Day celebrations.

India celebrates the 60th anniversary of independence from British rule on Wednesday, a day traditionally marked by violent attacks by separatist militants or Maoist rebels, and security forces are on their highest level of alert in many areas.

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will unfurl the national flag from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort on Wednesday morning to a 21-gun salute, and then address the nation in a speech expected to laud six decades of progress.

Sharpshooters will be stationed on rooftops in the cluttered streets around the fort while helicopters will fly overhead.

Police are already monitoring traffic entering Delhi and the financial centre of Mumbai, both of which have been frequently targeted by militants.

"We are by and large, very well prepared," said top Delhi Police official S.B.S. Deol. "It is a battle against preparedness and the other man -- who has a little bit of an advantage, the fact that he has made up his mind what he is going to do."

But about 1,400 km (900 miles) away in the remote northeast, separatists in the oil- and tea-rich state of Assam have already killed 30 people since Wednesday, including women and children, all of them Hindi-speaking settlers.

The army has intensified patrols and aerial surveillance of Assam's hills and forests, while armed police have mounted roadblocks outside major towns and conducted house-to-house searches in some areas.

Police say more attacks are planned, with reports guerrillas have sneaked into Assam's main city Guwahati and other towns from hideouts in neighboring Bangladesh and Myanmar.

"We have enough intelligence inputs suggesting the militants are out to create trouble before and on August 15," a senior police officer said on condition of anonymity.

The United Liberation Front of Asom has been fighting for independence since 1979 and accuses New Delhi and non-Assamese people of plundering Assam's resources and ruining its culture.

MISERY FOR KASHMIRIS

Life has once again been seriously disrupted in Kashmir by a security crackdown, with unpopular "cordon and search" operations and frisking of civilians stepped up.

"Our locality has witnessed four search operations in the past six days. It is disturbing our daily routine," said schoolteacher Bilkees Khan, adding that Independence Day and January's Republic Day "only bring misery to us."

In Bandipur town, around 65 km (40 miles) north of Srinagar, Indian Kashmir's summer capital, suspected separatist militants killed two civilians and wounded a dozen others in a grenade attack aimed at the security forces on Monday, police said.

Kashmiri separatist groups have called for a general strike on August 15, calling it a "black day" and the celebrations "meaningless" until Kashmir got freedom from Indian rule.

In eastern India, Maoist insurgents have distributed leaflets in towns and villages asking people to boycott the celebrations.

Thousands of police have been deployed to guard railway stations, airports and government buildings as well as power plants and factories in the region.

"We are very careful this year and have dozens of plainclothes policemen traveling in trains and buses looking for anyone suspicious," said Raj Kanojia, a top police officer.

Additional forces have also been deployed along India's porous border with Bangladesh.

Despite the threats, most of the country is expecting to celebrate the holiday in peace. Colorful lights and paper flags festoon the streets of Kolkata.

(Additional reporting by Biswajyoti Das in GUWAHATI, Sheikh Mushtaq in SRINAGAR, Palash Kumar in NEW DELHI and Bappa Majumdar in KOLKATA)


© Reuters 2007

Chhattisgarh on alert after Maoists' I-Day boycott call

Posted August 13th, 2007 by TariqueCrime/Terrorism By IANS

Raipur : An alert was sounded in Chhattisgarh and thousands of police and paramilitary personnel were shifted to vulnerable areas in the interiors of the Bastar region following Maoist rebels' call for boycott of Independence Day functions Wednesday.

"Maintaining the trend of boycotting the national days, Maoists have called for a boycott of Independence Day functions this year too and have called for observing Aug 15 as black day," Girdhari Nayak, Chhattisgarh's inspector general (Maoist operation), told IANS Monday.

"Police and paramilitary forces deployed in the state, mainly in the vast forested interiors of the Bastar region spread out over 40,000 sq km, have been put on high alert in the wake of the rebels' call," Nayak stated.

"Security has been revamped all over Bastar with extra police personnel deployed in and around government schools, buildings and establishments that will host I-Day functions Wednesday."

The mineral-rich Bastar region, comprising five districts of Kanker, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Bastar and Dantewada, is known as the Maoists' hotbed since the early 1980s and has emerged as the country's terror nerve centre.

The region has witnessed several cold-blooded murders of civilians and security personnel since June 2005 when locals launched an anti-Maoist civil militia movement called Salwa Judum, which was later backed by the government with arms and money.

The movement has so far forced over 50,000 people - mostly indigenous tribals - to desert their villages and settle in government-run relief camps due to threats from Maoist rebels.

Police estimate that there are at least 5,000 hardcore Maoists equipped with sophisticated assault weapons, landmines, rocket launchers and explosives active in the state, backed by at least 20,000 workers armed with rifles and traditional weapons such as bows, arrows and axes.

Suicidal sympathy for terrorists

By Prakash Nanda

From information available in the public domain, it is clear that terrorist groups and their handlers have been systematically infiltrating various sections of civil society, including the political establishment.

The country’s security personnel who are trained not to make any distinction between the terrorists who commit these acts and those who harbour them are being asked to unlearn their trade.

The most brazen instance of the UPA’s vote bank politics has been the repeal of POTA and the mercy petition of Afzal Guru. In both the cases, the attempt has been to woo the Muslim voters. POTA, which was legislated during the NDA rule, was projected as anti-Muslim and thus repealed.

It is true that overwhelming majority of the Muslims in the world are not terrorists. But it is equally true that overwhelming majority of the terrorists in the world happen to be Muslims. Of course, terrorists are found in all religions.

By pampering Muslim terrorists, the UPA itself is guilty of the same charge, though in reverse. It has not served itself, and India well by communalising the very approach to the fight against terrorism.

The Prime Minister does not mind having sound sleeps over his utter failure to keep up his promises to identify and punish the guilty behind the July 11 rail-blasts in Mumbai that took away 190 precious lives and injured more than 450 last year.

At a recent seminar on national security, a former senior official of the Government of India revealed something that deserves to be quoted: “A Pakistani friend once told me that India is such a soft state that it could never combat terrorism. There are 90 per cent chances that anybody committing terrorist acts will not be caught in India. If he is caught, then the human rights activists will make such a hue and cry that that he will be released from the police station.

“In case the matter goes to the court, then best lawyers of India will fight the case for him free of cost. If despite all this, the terrorist is convicted, then the politicians will come to the forefront and talk of the religion of the terrorist and how that religion is being persecuted. Ultimately, the matter will attain such a dimension that either the higher judiciary or the President of India, as the case may be, would be forced to release him free.”

The case of Afzal Guru fits perfectly into the above syndrome. Here is a person who has been convicted by the highest court of the country. The person’s crime was the unthinkable attempt at blowing out the country’s Parliament, and that too, at a time when it was in session, with the entire highest-grade political class of India in the complex. But Guru’s myriad supporters, and many of them are supporters of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition, want him to be pardoned by the President!

Guru’s case is just a pointer to the approach during the last three years of a country, which has been one of the prime victims of terrorism in the world (since 1994, over 50,000 have died in terrorist-related violence in India). According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) 23,955 terrorists, 19,662 civilians and 7,320 security force personnel have been killed in such incidents between 1994 and June, 2005 only. The figure during the last two years will further raise this figure Prime Minister Manmohan Singh puts enough pressure on foreign governments to bring home the likes of Dr. Haneef, suspected to be linked with the aborted attempts to blow up the airports in the United Kingdom, because he could not sleep the night he saw the doctor’s “worried relatives” on television. But the Prime Minister does not mind having sound sleeps over his utter failure to keep up his promises to identify and punish the guilty behind the July 11 rail-blasts in Mumbai that took away 190 precious lives and injured more than 450 last year.

The Mumbai rail-blasts top the list of the terrorist incidents over the last three and half years. But other incidents have been no less ominous; they were specifically chosen to incite the communal passions in the whole country. Let alone the selective killings of the Hindus in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the blasts near the mosques in Nasik, Aurangabad and Hyderabad, attacks in the temples of Ayodhya and Varanasi, serial explosions in Delhi just on the eve of Deepavali, and several other small but no less significant terrorist incidents, seizures and arrests in different parts of the country are all a disturbing pointer to the new game plan being executed by terrorists and their anonymous masters.

From information available in the public domain, it is clear that terrorist groups and their handlers have been systematically infiltrating various sections of civil society, including the political establishment. The terrorists now have a sound support base that includes financial networks (mainly hawala), safe houses, arms and field assistance. Such bases are in existence in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Kerala. In fact, if National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan is to be believed, Indian currency notes are being printed at a government press in Quetta in Pakistan and smuggled into India via Nepal. Narayanan also has pointed out how the terrorists are investing in the Indian stock market.

Terrorism has assumed alarming proportions in India by any yardstick. It is not that this menacing phenomenon was not there during the six-year rule of the NDA. The record of the NDA in combating terrorism was far from satisfactory. In fact, by its very nature, terrorism can never have a foolproof antidote. But the difference between the NDA and the UPA is that whereas the former showed a lack of proper political will to fight the terrorists (its shameful surrender at Kandahar, for instance), the UPA seems to have developed a carefully chosen political strategy to appease terrorism so as to strengthen its vote bank. It is now an open secret that in the last elections in Assam, the UPA had an ‘electoral understanding’ with United Liberation Front of Assam, while in Andhra Pradesh, it had encouraged Maoists, who had publicly made a statement that they had made an attempt on the life of former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.

But the most brazen instance of the UPA’s vote bank politics has been the repeal of POTA and the mercy petition of Afzal Guru. In both the cases, the attempt has been to woo the Muslim voters. POTA, which was legislated during the NDA rule, was projected as anti-Muslim and thus repealed. Terrorism is perpetrated by persons who are prepared to die for their cause and therefore they cannot be dealt with effectively by the ordinary laws that are generally meant for the persons who value their lives. Besides, in this cyber-age, since the terrorists do not use conventional methods to commit crime, one has to have laws that take into account electronic interceptions. And that was what POTA meant for. In its absence now, it is not surprising to find no lesser a person than IB chief E.S.L. Narasimhan lamenting that India cannot win the war against terrorism since it does not have effective anti-terror laws.

Even the conventional law-enforcement mechanisms are not being allowed to be used under political pressure if the members of the Muslim community are suspect. Police forces in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Hyderabad, the counter-terror veterans in the intelligence agencies and even the army have given enough hints that their hands are tied in apprehending the Islamic terrorists these days. After the attacks they faced in the first flush of the Mumbai rail attacks for ‘targeting’ Muslims and the hurry in which they were forced to call off the searches and interrogations have put the fear of God in the minds of security men. Politics is much too complicated for them to figure, and fighting this kind of terror is an unconventional and risky business at the best of time. In short, the country’s security personnel who are trained not to make any distinction between the terrorists who commit these acts and those who harbour them are being asked to unlearn their trade.

The UPA government accused the previous NDA government of pursuing communal politics and targeting Muslims in the name of fighting terrorism. But by pampering Muslim terrorists, the UPA itself is guilty of the same charge, though in reverse. It has not served itself, and India, well by communalising the very approach to the fight against terrorism. This is reverse-communalisation of the fight against terror and the responsibility for this lies not so much with the security machinery as it does with this peculiar minorityism politics the UPA has fallen prey to.

It is true that overwhelming majority of the Muslims in the world are not terrorists. But it is equally true that overwhelming majority of the terrorists in the world happen to be Muslims. Of course, terrorists are found in all religions. There are Hindu terrorists in Sri Lanka (LTTE) and India (ULFA in Assam and Naxalites all over). There are Christian terrorists in many parts of Africa and Latin America. There have been Sikh terrorists in India and Canada. There are many who believe that some Jews do indulge in acts that are worse than those associated with terrorism.

However, there is a fundamental difference. Unlike terrorists of other religions, Islamic terrorists, invariably, justify their actions in the name of their religion. And unlike terrorists of other religions, whose goals are political and country-specific, Islamic terrorists have an international dimension. They all believe in the absolute supremacy of Islam over all other religions and they fight to strengthen their ultimate goal of establishing the Islamic domination all over the world. If they die in the process, they are “confident” of going to the “paradise” of their God.

One cannot explain in the frameworks of socio-economic-political exploitation of why the likes of Kafeel Ahmad, one of the highly educated and successful sons of Bangalore, choose to be suicide-attackers in a foreign country. In fact, he tried to fight against the western civilisation and the principal countries associated with this civilisation, convinced as he is with the theory that the rise of West caused the decline of Islam. Even otherwise, Al-Qaeda of Osama bin Laden has now added India (Hinduism) and Israel (Jews) in the list of “enemy nations”. All these jehadists have been motivated by a cause that, in turn, has been fuelled by Wahabi fundamentalist sentiments, which are now pretty strong in the region stretching from Egypt to Indonesia.

Wahabism is rooted in an especially strict austere minority Islamism traced back to the fanatical Puritanism of the Bedouin zealots in Saudi Arabia. It believes that the ultimate sacrifice of a soldier is to give his life for a cause and that cause is jehad or holy war. The Al-Qaeda terrorist network found this tolerable given the historical Islamic suicide wars of AfIt. This gave substance to justify terrorism as a means where a warrior legacy of “heroic masculinity” (perceived to be at the roots of the great Islamic empires in the past) was resurrected within a framework of an anti-modern and anti-secular holy war. Wahabism teaches that the martyrs’ acts of suicide grant ideological compensations that would be reaped by their living communities, and that a harvesting of suicide martyr compensations would hasten the creation of “public spheres” for the hitherto silent to find voice and articulate alternative visions and paths to secular globalization and democratic governance.

Wahabism is totally opposed to the Sufism, the main guiding force for ages of the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent that talked of peaceful and harmonious co-existence with other religions. It is high time the UPA government did a service to this glorious Sufi tradition by encouraging and supporting those Indian Muslims who raise their voice against the xenophobiac Wahabism that is dividing not only the Indians but also the other “world citizens”.

(The writer is a senior journalist and can be contacted at A-35, Bathla Apartments, 43 I.P. Extension, Delhi-110092.)

Red fear keeps Koda on toes

SUDHIR KUMAR MISHRA

Ranchi, Aug. 12: Reports of a posse of armed rebels present as civilians and a bomb hoax led chief minister Madhu Koda to beat a hasty retreat from a public meeting in Palamau today.

A huge gathering had assembled at a high school playground in the Tarashi village of Manatu block, when Koda landed there this morning.

He was to inaugurate a road linking the village with Sonepur and a bridge over Amanat river, and lay foundation of another bridge and road a few kilometres away.

Soon after landing at Manatu, he received a call from the police headquarters, which “prohibited” him from participating in the celebrations and asked him to take a “U-turn” immediately.

Intelligence reports received by Koda claimed that Naxalites had not only “planted powerful bombs beneath his dais, but were present in large numbers at the venue”. Suicide squads, too, were not ruled out.

District police chief Udayan Singh hurriedly announced that no one should approach the chief minister with garlands or bouquets or even touch his feet.

Koda was being accompanied by water resource minister Kamlesh Singh, rural development minister Anosh Ekka and Panki’s RJD MLA Videsh Singh.

While Kamlesh Singh and Videsh Singh reportedly insisted that the chief minister go ahead with the scheduled programme, the security personnel threatened to use “discretionary powers” to stop him.

Though Koda attended the inauguration and foundation-laying ceremonies, he was not allowed to join the loan mela and address a public meeting.

While Koda remained seated in the school building, Videsh Singh distributed the loans and addressed the public gathering on his behalf.

“I have already approved the immediate repair of Panki-Daltonganj road. All the new projects will be completed at the earliest possible. Large turnouts at my public meetings proved that people are happy with the functioning of my government. We are doing our best to fight Naxalism,” Koda said.

Left's Double Standard not Right

http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=125941
Ashok K.jha
12 August 2007, Sunday


How long can the Left keep the people of West Bengal in the dark about its ulterior motives? For the Left, party interests reign supreme, then come the people or the State or the country. This explains its ambivalent attitude toward the Central government




THE PRIME MINISTER, Manmohan Singh, who tried to reason with the Left leaders, got so angry that he dared them to withdraw support if they did not want to support major decisions taken by the government in the interest of the nation.



The Left parties had joined hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in opposing the nuclear deal with USA. For the BJP, it was a clear manifestation of heartburn – after all, it had initiated the talks which preceded the said deal for which the Congress is taking the credit now. The Left had remained quiet until China expressed concern. Not long ago, the Left would put up its umbrella if it rained in Russia! Now China has taken Russia’s place.



Left is known for lofty and idealistic harangue. It always opposes anything even remotely related to US or Europe. Consider its performance in West Bengal (WB) where it has been in power for more than three decades - there is nothing much to write home about. The State is at the bottom of the scale on all the major developmental parameters. If you travel by road or rail then you will find no glaring difference between the State you have crossed (Bihar, the least developed State) and the State you have entered (West Bengal, the communist bastion)! Yet everything looks the same – the same road pothole-ridden roads, the same hamlets, the same sordid little towns, the same impoverished people and the same level of governmental apathy and neglect. But this is the state of affairs in Bihar because Lalu Prasad Yadav took the State backward by 50 years. As a matter of fact he tried to replicate the communist West Bengal model and succeeded only partly. The Left, on the other hand, has been ruling WB for more than thirty years and what is it they have done during the period? They have mastered the art / science of retaining power. The Left has nothing to show against its name, the decibel level notwithstanding.



The communists cite land reforms as their greatest achievement in West Bengal. But this so-called reform is shrouded in mystery since there is not much information on land reforms in the public domain. Its strong rural cadres are mainly comprised of allottees of land. Since the population - land (available for allotment) ratio was high the plot of land allotted was too small to feed a family. Most of the land distributed was barren and so it took years for the allottees to render them cultivable. The yield from the land is so dismal that the allottees are in perpetual poverty although the government sees them as proud land-owners. Those who were not allotted land were roped in for some Party-related initiative or the other and given monetary incentives. Those who benefited from land allotment fear that if some other party or combine comes to power then this policy will be given short shrift. Paid cadres too fear losing their vocation and so they ensure that the government remains in power, election after election after election even as the unsuspecting poor have remained poor. Urban and relatively well-informed voters have always voted against the communists.



Once a glorious city, Kolkata is now a decayed city. Industries deserted the city because Trade Union leaders had become a law unto themselves. There is virtually no opposition - the Congress party has no gumption to question the government since its own government at the Centre is dependent on Left support.



The Left has some extraordinary leaders in its ranks, though; they have shown tremendous foresight and developmental zeal. It is the reform-oriented Chief Minister Buddhadeva Bhattacharya who tried to bring in some pragmatism by encouraging corporates to invest in West Bengal. The State probably has the best intellectual capital in India and so knowledge-driven companies set up operations here. Soon many business tycoons sought land to set up industrial units. The general investment climate began to look up, until Nandigram happened. Bhuddadeva Bhattacharya received praise for his practicality from all quarters; it did not go down well with the veterans who promptly started resenting his reform strategy. The Nandigram episode provided them the opportunity to silence him. Even though the situation is back to square one, Bhattacharya has already transformed the urban landscape to some extent.



The main problem with the Left is that it is obsessed with its own interests. Party interests are above national, State or societal interests. The ultra-leftists have become terrorists. Naxals, for example, have become a pan-India terrorist outfit, having established links with other terrorist organisations. It is strange that the Central government has not cracked down heavily on them. The Left would not like to call them terrorists, perhaps.



Left leaders should understand that there is a limit to everything. They cannot fool the general public anymore. The strategy of opposing government actions even while supporting it from outside cannot mislead the people anymore. Mamta Bannerjee has been able to make inroads into West Bengal. The poor in West Bengal are yearning for prosperity; they know that as long as they are stuck with the tiny piece of land, their lot will not improve. Switching vocation is the only alternative available to them and this can be done by a government which puts the people’s interest above party interest. And until this happens, the Left leaders will not change their perspective.



One hopes that reforms, which are vital and imperative for the nation, will be carried out, irrespective of Left’s cacophony. Pension reforms, insurance and labour reforms, infrastructure-related activities, etc., should be taken up on a priority basis. The Left, meanwhile, will be making noises - ignore them.

The Danger

By Bharat Verma

The security forces, primarily the Indian Army, have held the state of Jammu & Kashmir physically since Independence. The politicians and the bureaucrats have contributed nothing to resolve the situation. The danger has since magnified.

After all the wars, export of terrorism, inconsistent and weak policies by New Delhi, Islamabad could not win Kashmir only because the Indian Army held its ground. If the ghost force succeeds in making locals rise against the Army, it will be an unprecedented achievement for Islamabad.

It is a matter of grave concern that New Delhi is so prone to issue statements without thinking it through, as long as it appeases the adversary even temporarily.

With China’s claim over Arunachal Pradesh becoming more strident, as evidenced by its recent stance on Tawang, the danger to the Siliguri Corridor stands enhanced. This corridor has been facing internal turmoil for many years.

Is India’s development and economic growth becoming unsustainable due to poor handling of the security? There are three dangers to the territorial integrity that bedevil the nation.

Very few policy makers in India dare to acknowledge the danger to the nation’s territorial integrity. The security and integrity of the nation has become hostage to vote-bank politics. Democracy and more than eight per cent economic growth will be of no avail if the country as such withers away. India is not only being frayed at its borders by insurgencies, but its very writ in the heartland is becoming increasingly questionable. The rise of a nation is predicated upon unity, peace and stability, which are essentially determined by good governance. The prevailing security scenario poses the serious question: Is India’s development and economic growth becoming unsustainable due to poor handling of the security? There are three dangers to the territorial integrity that bedevil the nation.

Danger-1
New Delhi and the state capitals have almost ceded the governmental control over 40 per cent of the Union’s territory to the Naxalites. The Naxal’s are aided and abetted by the crime mafia that runs its operations in the same corridor from Nepal to Andhra Pradesh, as well as Maoists of Nepal who in turn receive covert support from other powers engaged/interested in destabilising India. The nexus between ULFA and Maoists in Nepal is well established. In a recent attack in Chhattisgarh, Maoists of India and Nepal were co-participants. There are also reports to suggest that Indian Maoists are increasingly taking to opium cultivation in areas under their control to finance their activities. The Maoists - crime - drug nexus is rather explosive.

Danger-2
The security forces, primarily the Indian Army, have held the state of Jammu & Kashmir physically since Independence. The politicians and the bureaucrats have contributed nothing to resolve the situation. The danger has since magnified many times as displayed by the presence of thousands of supporters of LeT flying their flags in a recent rally of dissidents. Under the garb of peace overtures, heavily armed infiltrators with tacit support from the Pak Military-Intelligence establishment continue to make inroads into Kashmir. They are at present lying low, waiting for an opportune moment for vicious strikes on several fronts to undermine the Indian Union. This ghost force reared its head in a recent rally organised by Geelani. Musharraf and his sympathisers in India are working in a highly synchronised fashion for demilitarisation of the Valley. Simultaneously, there is an insidious campaign to malign the Indian Army on one pretext or the other as part of the psywar being waged by the ghost force under Islamabad’s directions.

After all the wars, export of terrorism, inconsistent and weak policies by New Delhi, Islamabad could not win Kashmir only because the Indian Army held its ground. If the ghost force succeeds in making locals rise against the Army, it will be an unprecedented achievement for Islamabad. The talk of demilitarisation is therefore merely a ploy that aims to achieve the Kashmir objective even as Pak Military-Intelligence establishment expands its tentacles not only within the Valley but in other parts of India as well. While the Pak dispensation talks of peace, terrorist cells are proliferating in the country including new frontiers in southern part of India. Islamic fundamentalism/ terrorism footprints, as evidenced by Bangalore centered incidents, are too glaring to be ignored. Islamic terrorism in the garb of freedom fighting in Kashmir is therefore de-stabilising the entire country. Islamabad is using Kashmir as a gateway/launching pad to rest of India.

Danger-3
Given a modicum of political will, Danger-I and II may still be manageable, however, Danger III to its territorial integrity in the northeast may prove to be the most difficult. In fact the entire northeast can easily be unhooked on multiple counts from the Union. First, these are low populated areas having contiguity with the most densely populated and demographically aggressive country in the world, i.e., Bangladesh. The country has also emerged as a major source of Islamic fundamentalism, which impacts grievously on the northeast. To add to these woes, New Delhi because of sheer vote-bank politics legitimised illegal migration for 22 years through the vehicle of IMDT. Many border districts now have a majority population constituting illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. In near future, this leverage will be used to create an internal upheaval against the Centre as in the case of the Valley. It’s a classic Islamic fundamentalist principle of asymmetric warfare. What cannot be achieved by conventional wars, can be done through infiltration and subsequently internal subversion. They call it “jihad!”

Second, the northeast if not addressed appropriately could unhook from the Union before the Valley given the acute vulnerability of the Siliguri Corridor, which is merely 10 to 20 kilometer wide and 200 kilometers long. If this critical corridor is choked or subverted or severed by force, the Union of India will have to maintain the northeast by air. With poor quality of governance for which the country is infamous, the local population may gravitate towards other regional powers.

Third, with China’s claim over Arunachal Pradesh becoming more strident, as evidenced by its recent stance on Tawang, the danger to the Siliguri Corridor stands enhanced. This corridor has been facing internal turmoil for many years. The area may well be further subverted by inimical regional powers. Chinese intention to bargain for Tawang to secure Tibet is deceptive. Subsequently, it would covet entire Arunachal Pradesh to protect Tawang. Chinese are known for expanding their areas of strategic interests with time unlike the Indians who are in a tearing hurry to convert Siachen Glacier into a “mountain of peace” or LOC into “line of peace” or equating Pakistan as an equal victim of terrorism.

It is a matter of grave concern that New Delhi is so prone to issue statements without thinking it through, as long as it appeases the adversary even temporarily. Therefore the northeast—with the internal turmoil in the Siliguri Corridor, with low population surrounded by overpopulated Bangladesh exporting Islamic terrorism under tutelage of Islamabad, with China gaining influence in Nepal and Bangladesh and its upping the ante on Tawang—the danger to the region is grave. Manipur is a stark indicator. The insurgents have nearly weaned the state from the Indian Union. The writ of the Indian Union has ceased to operate; insurgents, compelling people to turn to South Korean music and films, ban Hindi music and films.

New Delhi continues to fiddle while the Northeast burns which in turn poses a grave problem to the territorial integrity of the Union of India. The world once again is getting polarised into two camps after the end of the Cold war—democracies and authoritarian regimes of all hues, which includes Islamists, communists, and the Maoists. Their perspectives are totally totalitarian. Therefore with China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Nepal (Maoists), being neighbours, the danger to the Indian territorial integrity stands enhanced.

(The author is editor, Indian Defence Review and can be contacted at bharat.verma@indiandefencereview.com)

The state goes into hiding on Maoist terror

By Joginder Singh

As many as 153 security personnel were killed in 2005 in Naxal-hit states and 62 till April 30, 2006. On the other hand, 223 Naxalites were killed in 2005 and 93 till April 30, 2006.

About 281 persons including security personnel were killed in Naxal attacks till April 30, 2006, while the fatal casualties in terrorist acts in J&K totalled 141. According to the government while 516 civilians were killed in 2005 in 1,594 incidents of Naxalite violence, 219 civilians were killed in 550 incidents during the first four months of 2006.

Over 6,000 persons have been killed in different parts of India in Naxalite-related violence in just over a decade. Landmines, improvised explosive devices, targeted attacks on the police and civilian personnel are employed extensively.

Talking platitudes and clichés has become the normal norm of our rulers. If any terrorist incident happens, you can predict, almost in a word, their speech of condemnation and calling the whole episode a cowardly act. Rarely or few and far have been cases, where criminals have died by the hands of the law. They have been eliminated by the hands of other men. Our politicians, when dealing with any problem, double speak.

The Army was directed to abandon anti-ULFA operations mid-way to create a conducive atmosphere for dialogue. It only helped ULFA to group and reorganise, who have rejected all the government initiatives.

For the first time since Independence, the Chhattisgarh state assembly held a secret sitting on July 25, 2007. No visitors, no journalists and no cameras were allowed. The secret session was called to discuss the Naxalite menace, described by the Prime Minister as the “biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country”.

The Chief Minister said that the in-camera session was to allow members to discuss the issue “openly and freely”. In other words, the elected legislators avoid speaking out, either about the Naxalites or measures to be taken publicly. Otherwise, they would be targetted and even killed. All members had been briefed not to speak about the session. Even minutes of the discussion will be kept under a veil of secrecy.

It underscores that the menace of Naxalites and Maoists is no less than a war. People have not forgotten the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001 or October 30, 2001 attack on J&K Assembly. Taking the logic of attack on Parliament and J&K Assembly, should Legislators have gone into hiding, as a sign of surrender? As per the Union Home Ministry, Maoists, Naxalites and other Left-wing extremism-related incidents are outnumbering terror strikes in Jammu & Kashmir. As many as 550 incidents of Left-wing extremism were recorded in the affected states as compared to 466 terrorist attacks between January 1 and April 30, 2006.

In the same period, as many as 281 persons including security personnel were killed in Naxal attacks till April 30, 2006, while the fatal casualties in terrorist acts in J&K totalled 141. According to the Government while 516 civilians were killed in 2005 in 1,594 incidents of Naxalite violence, 219 civilians were killed in 550 incidents during the first four months of 2006. As many as 153 security personnel were killed in 2005 in Naxal-hit states and 62 till April 30, 2006. On the other hand, 223 Naxalites were killed in 2005 and 93 till April 30, 2006.

The Naxalites have grown from 156 districts in 13 states in September 2004 to 170 districts in 15 states by February 2005. In fact total paralysation of the administration and the country is the aim of the Naxalites and Maoists. They have warned, that Maoist guerrillas, numbering more than 20,000, could target industries and the Railways in a bid to bring mining activity in Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand to a standstill.

Many experiments have been tried to bring concord, amity and harmony with a number of terrorist groups, including the repeal of strict laws like POTA and TADA, unilateral ceasefire by the Government of India in J&K and engaging in talks with Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh, as well as with a conglomerate of separatists organisation called Hurriat in J&K, ULFA in Assam and Naga groups in North-East, the Prime Minister’s efforts to rope in ULFA for talks have been rebuffed, despite two rounds of talks with People’s Consultative Group. The Army was directed to abandon anti-ULFA operations mid-way to create a conducive atmosphere for dialogue. It only helped ULFA, to group and reorganise, who have rejected all the government initiatives.

Populism, just before Assam elections, in 2006, ensured that the foreigners act and rules, were amended to make it compulsory for all illegal immigration cases, to be tried by tribunal. In the confusion, not a single deportation has taken place since July 12, 2005 when the Supreme Court struck down the controversial IMDT Act. Same story is repeated in Naga peace dialogue too.

In Andhra Pradesh, the Naxalite used the ceasefire period in 2004 to regroup and rework out their strategy. The result is there, for all to see: The Maoists, having regrouped, during the peace accord talk period, when a ceasefire was declared by the Andhra Pradesh. Maoists have carried out l,533 attacks in 2004 and 1,594 in 2005. Nearly a decade plus, long terrorism in Punjab was dealt with a crushing blow without an interlocutor, which are in plenty, on various fronts. If any interlocutor is to solve the problem, then pray what for the Prime Minister, Home minister and their bloated Ministries with officers, even looking after the cleanliness of bathrooms of their offices exist. Irrespective of what men may talk about peaceful resolution of any problem, the ultimate reason for the peace anywhere in the world is the use of force. King Frederick once said “Don’t forget your great guns, which are the most respectable arguments of the rights of kings.”

Talking platitudes and clichés, has become the normal norm of our rulers. If any terrorist incident happens, you can predict, almost in a word, their speech of condemnation and calling the whole episode a cowardly act. Rarely or few and far have been cases, where criminals have died by the hands of the law. They have been eliminated, by the hands of other men. Our politicians, when dealing with any problem, double speak. On one side, they will say that terrorism would be eliminated and on the other, they would talk of peace process. Charles De Gaulle rightly said, “Since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word.”

Many people say that some problems can be solved by the experienced politicians, but there is another view which says that “Experience to a politician is like experience to a prostitute—not much to recommend them. Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realise that it bears a very close resemblance to the first… Politicians may think prostitution is a grim, degrading life. But prostitutes think the same of politics.”

Dilly dallying and double talk, have adverse and negative effect on those tackling the executioner, murderers, assassins and slaughterers, by whatever name they may be called or known. Security forces, are the ones fighting on the ground level. They bear the brunt of the guns, armaments and fire power of the terrorists or Naxalites. They get an impression that their lives are expendable, as the leaders send different signals on every day of the month. The treatment of the malady should not be delayed when force is inescapable and necessary, it must be applied boldly, decisively and completely. At the same it must be backed by strong legislative measures and protection for those on the forefront of the battle. As the laws stand now, and the standard of proof demanded, to convict a terrorist or a Naxalite or Maoist, is impossible to get. For instance, you need a proof, and a witness, not only as to who might not only have seen them committing a crime, but also be able to identify them and further be foolhardy and foolish enough, to depose against them in an open court. Apart from that he must be willing to go again and again to the court, as it is not uncommon for the lawyers to demand adjournments, till the witnesses get fed up. Again, he must be willing not to expect any magnanimity or charity from those against whom he might have deposed. He must also be stupid enough to expose himself to their wrath and be willing to manage without any protection, as there is no witness protection programme in our country.

Over 6,000 persons have been killed in different parts of India in Naxalite-related violence in just over a decade. Landmines, improvised explosive devices, targeted attacks on the police and civilian personnel are employed extensively.

Intelligence agencies have evidence of large-scale extortion by the Naxalite groups from targeted individuals and organisations. For instance, documents recovered from the Andhra Pradesh coastal region by the police in 2005 contained accounts of money extorted from a candidate of the Telugu Desam Party (Rs 5,00,000), beedi leaf contractors (Rs 60,000), from lorry owners (Rs 20,000) and from an administrative block officer 5,000). This is only a sample and a tip of the iceberg. Maoist seizing powers in Nepal has only emboldened and encouraged their ideological companions, that they can have a similar ambitions in India. Already the Indian terrorists have made no secret of this desire. The government needs to adopt a two pronged strategy of talking peace, but at the same time, keeping its powder and suppressing violence with a firm hand. It is the duty of the Government, more at the Centre and also at the state level to ensure that citizens are not harassed and they are well protected.

(The author is an IPS (Retd.), former Director, CBI, and can be contacted at jogindersinghfdips@gmail.com)







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Sunday, August 12, 2007

No ban on medical NGO: Chhattisgarh

12 Aug 2007, 0124 hrs IST,TNN


RAIPUR: A day after reports that it had decided to ban activities of international medical aid agency Medicins Sans Frontrieres or Doctors Without Boundries in the Bastar region, the Chhattisgarh government on Saturday said the organisation was free to carry its humanitarian activities as per Medical Council of India norms.

However, it cautioned MSF representatives against travelling to interior areas without security cover.


An official clarification to this effect was issued after TOI reported on Saturday that MSF had been restricted from carrying out its activities in remote villages of Bastar region on the ground that the agency was not following the guidelines.

ORISSA : Maoists kill hostage

Sunday August 12 2007 09:04 IST

SAMBALPUR: The worst fears of residents of Talab under Kisinda police limits came true on Saturday.

The Maoists murdered the villager who was held hostage by them since Wednesday night. The Maoists had kidnapped three villagers but a day later, released two of them keeping in captivity Arjun Dehury, a grocery shop owner, whose body was found in the deep forests of Makadchuan by his father Kabi Dehury.

The incident triggered anger among locals who carried Arjun’s body to Rairakhole Bazar and blocked National Highway 42 connecting Sambalpur to Cuttack.

Hundreds of long-route vehicles were stranded on either side of the road as the villagers demanded shifting of the camp of Special Operation Group (SOG) from Talab. Maoists had struck at Talab and Kechbil villages under Kisinda Police limits on Wednesday night and held hostage three persons. Two of them - Amati Pradhan and Dutiya Naik of Kechbil - were released late on Thursday while Arjun was held hostage.

Police were informed about Arjun’s death by his father Kabi Dehury.

Maoists Return Arms Looted From Police

Sunday 12th of August 2007 The Maoists in Nepal have rushed to put out a rebellion in their party and spruce up their tarnished image as they returned to local authorities the firearms looted by dissidents from a police post three days ago.

Bhanu Bhakta Pokhrel, chief administrative officer of Nuwakot district, where the rebels in the Maoist party had attacked a poorly guarded police post Thursday, told the official media the stolen arms had been returned.

'The Maoists returned two rifles, a pistol, ammunition and two handcuffs they looted from the police post in Fikuri village,' Pokhrel said Sunday.

However, the fate of the nearly 50 dissidents who had staged the attack under the leadership of their former area in-charge Raj Bahadur Regmi, known in the party as Sandesh, was not known immediately.

Though security forces launched a massive manhunt to ferret out the rebels, they are yet to locate them.

However, the Maoist leadership, alarmed at the rebellion announced by the faction and anxious to put it down, sent members of their controversial youth wing, the Young Communist League (YCL), to the area to search for the missing comrades.

The YCL discovered Sandesh's hideout and took him under their control. Since they recovered the entire stolen arsenal, it is also likely that they have several other rebels in their control.

However, they are yet to hand them over to the government. Nor did the government, which has failed to take any action against lawbreaking YCL cadres, dare to ask the guerrillas to hand them over to it.

The attack, violating the peace pact the guerrillas signed with the government last year, shocked Nepal, coming as it did on the eve of a historic election to be held in November.

Former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who was unable to hold general elections during his tenure due to the Maoist insurgency, has criticised the government, saying if it was unable to protect its own police forces, it was inconceivable it would be able to hold free and fair elections.

Though the Maoists ended their 10-year People's War and agreed to take part in the November election, there are at least six dissident rebel factions that have started separate armed revolts.

Nadia cops on the lookout for women with Maoist links

Statesman News Service
KRISHNAGAR, Aug 10: The Nadia district police are looking for two women who were spotted during an ambush on an assistant sub-inspector and a constable by suspected Maoist activists on Wednesday night.
The incident occurred at Eksanko, a Naxalite-infested area of Bhutpara in Nadia’s Kotwali police station area. After conducting a massive combing operation at several villages, the district police found out that two women were standing suspiciously near the spot where the six suspected Maoists snatched two .303 rifles from the policemen. But they are yet to confirm whether the women had any links with the Maoist gang. Police found a clue in a pair of ladies’ shoes from a field nearby. Sniffer dogs were called in.
The two policemen, Mr Ranjit Chakraborty, ASI, and Mr Shah Hossain posted at the Anandamayeetala outpost in Krishnagar were sitting on a culvert when they were accosted by the “unarmed” Maoists. A large police contingent from surrounding police stations headed by the superintendent of police, Mr Hari Kishore Kusumakar, reached the spot and cordoned off the area.
Twelve police camps were set up at Mathpara, Gobrapota, Khamargachi, Kulgachi, Jatrapur, Jhautala, Asannagar, Bhimpur, Chitrasali, Itaberia, Hanshkhali and Kagmari ~ all Naxalite-infested areas. Mr Kusumakar said: “Nadia has a long history of Maoist attacks. Since we are in the dark about the attackers, we are probing the matter. The two policemen from whom the rifles were snatched will be served suspension orders soon,” Mr Kusumakar said.

HC rejects Naxal's bail plea

12 Aug 2007, 0212 hrs IST,TNN

NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Saturday rejected the bail plea of the four Naxals who were arrested on May 8 outside Deekshabhoomi in the city. A rifle, Naxalite literature and incriminating documents had been recovered from them.

The Naxals Arun Perreira, Mahesh aka Murali Satyareddy, Devendra Burle and Naresh Bansod had, in turn, alleged that they were subjected to torture by the police, but a thorough check-up by a civil surgeon at the SSH had produced no evidence to back up these charges.

The police had, subsequently filed a chargesheet on August 7.

Arguing for bail, the Naxals pleaded that though 90 days had passed after their arrest, police were yet to obtain permission from the government to prosecute them under the Prevention of Unlawful Activities Act.

Opposing the bail plea, the prosecution pleaded that, since the quartet had been found to possess firearms at the time of their arrest, releasing them on bail might create more law and order problem.

The court, after considering the arguments from both sides, ruled in favour of the prosecution and rejected the Naxals' bail plea.