Saturday, September 01, 2007

Is the farmer an unwanted Indian?

Clearly, the man who said India lives in its villages is not much looked up to these days. One is talking of Mahatma Gandhi. But what the powers-that-be are doing to the Mahatma’s children living half and quarter lives in the countryside even after so many years of independence?
Practically anybody with a little money in his pocket and extravagant ambitions to boot, is headed for the villages these days to buy out the farmer and his family; for an easy kill, as they say. Capitalists are capitalists and their wanton ways are understandable, but what is one to make of the so-called socialists and communists who have begun to behave similarly?
One has to visit West Bengal to realise how close yesterday’s comrades have chosen to be to the World Bank, indigenous and foreign fly-by-night operators and other carpetbaggers whose will to “succeed” at any cost provides many lessons in human depravity. This fateful marriage of convenience between the politicos and the **boxwallahs** of circa 2006-07 vintage has made a tragic mockery of the poor farmer on whose frail shoulders the Jyoti Basus and the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjees have ridden to power repeatedly. Once their usefulness to the party in power was thought to have ended, they were unceremoniously dumped.
The industrialisation programme of the CPI-M in West Bengal has been thoroughly exposed for the anti-people movement it actually is. Regardless of what the party, which has enjoyed unchallenged supremacy in the state for three decades, may claim, grassroots people have been grievous sufferers while capitalists, real estate sharks, speculators and other such shady players have been making hay under the overly friendly CPI-M sun.
Two places in the state have attracted the critical attention of millions of Indians ~ Singur and Nandigram. Amazingly, at neither place did the Left Front government, which is being run like a **zamindari** by a handful of white-haired autocrats, feel the necessity of holding talks with the farmers whose land was being practically gifted away to the Tatas or the Indonesian entrepreneur. It is difficult to believe that decisions were being taken regarding the farmers’ land and livelihood without as much as a single round of serious discussion with them.
Who has given them the right to toy with the future of so many thousands of farmers? Surely, electoral victories have not given them the authority to do as they wish, to run roughshod over the rights and sentiments of poor, powerless people whose attachment to their land is being repeatedly and rightly likened in the Press and other forums as a child’s attachment to its mother.
If this is not a burning example of absolute power corrupting absolutely, pray, what is it? It is wholesale lumpenisation of a political outfit. What a sad state of affairs to obtain in a region about which Gopal Krishna Gokhale said: “What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow.”
However, all is not lost yet, as evidenced by the extent of opposition to the government’s policies and activities in well-defined quarters in Kolkata, apart from the districts affected. One important thing to note is the role of the intelligentsia which erupted in anger and sadness when the man-in-the-street had practically given up on them as a lost case of abject surrender and subservience.
Significantly, the most prominent target of the ruling party’s campaign of lies and damned lies is the renowned octogenarian writer and activist Mahasveta Devi. Others who have been verbally abused, threatened with dire consequences should they continue to speak out, and against whom falsehoods are being calculatedly floated, include poets Tarun Sanyal and Joy Goswami, the educationist Sunanda Sanyal, dramatist and director Shaoli Mitra, and singer Kabir Suman. But it is extremely heartening that the lyrical conscience of the people, which is what poets and painters are, is holding out against threats and blandishments and whatever else there is in the discredited party’s armoury.
The latest ~ and surely not the last ~ act of mendacity on the part of CPI-M is to instigate the Kolkata Police to post a report on its website,, branding Mahasveta Devi and others opposed to what the party has been doing at Singur and Nandigram and in all likelihood is set to do in other parts of the state, as Maoists and Naxalites.
When the writer-activist pointed out to the city’s policy commissioner that the accusation was of the vilest kind and as such was worthy of only being treated with the contempt it deserves, he is reported to have retracted and expressed his regrets. But what is even more serious is the manner in which such an important arm of civil administration as the infiltrated police has been thoroughly by the party in power. If it can dare to play monkey with such a widely respected person as Mahasweta Debi, it can well be imagined what it is capable of doing to lesser mortals should they ever say or do anything that is not to the liking of the men in uniform.
Perhaps a few words are in order here about the culture of pseudo-regret of pseudo-remorse ~ call it what you want ~ that the CPI-M in West Bengal has over the years, through repeated use at critical moments of contemporary history, honed into an art form. Public memory may be short, but it is not so short as to forget the party’s branding of Subhas Chandra Bose as a Quisling ~ a traitor ~ only to withdraw the charge hastily once confronted with heated popular criticism. Similarly, there are many who have not forgotten or forgiven the party for calling Rabindranath Tagore a “bourgeois poet”. Here again, the party beat a hasty retreat once it was angrily pulled up by the people.
Many other instances of political opportunism, and doublespeak, can be cited to savage the party’s waywardness, the latest being the effulgent praise heaped on Dr BC Roy, the first chief minister of West Bengal, who was systematically targeted during his year’s in office by the Communist Party of India. Caught on the wrong foot for its badly flawed industrialisation policy as put into practice especially in the last two years, the CPI-M suddenly woke up to the virtues of Dr Roy’s visionary efforts to industrialise the state in the 1950s and 60s in a peaceful and democratic manner.
In other words, each time it has met with stiff resistance, the CPI-M has employed its pathological craftiness to wriggle out of an uncomfortable situation largely of its own making.
The latest outrage against truth has been widely noticed in and around West Bengal, particularly since it involves a renowned writer and respected public figure. It should serve without saying that this modus operandi of the CPI-M needs to be highlighted, if for no other reason than to expose the party’s self-righteousness which, in the wake of Singur and Nandigram in particular, has become a matter of public discussion across the subcontinent. The traditional holier-than-thou attitude of the CPI-M and its cronies in the Left Front deserves to be met with open public ridicule.
Honestly, one feels extremely distressed writing these lines in the 60th year of independence. But how to escape the most important lesson that one has learnt at the feet of one’s parents and a long line of distinguished teachers in school, college and university, namely, no happiness is worth much that is gained at the expense of truth and justice. What Gandhiji, the principal architect of Indian independence, taught us more than anything else is that the fear of fear must be banned from our souls. Long live the honest and hard-working people of India, most of whom still live in its villages.

(The author is editor of Motif, Jharkhand’s English-language weekly paper)

The Cross and the Communist

2 Sep 2007, 0023 hrs IST,Ashley D'Mello,TNN

It's a question that many have asked over the years, and one that is being asked even more frequently after the arrests of activists Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves. The police have charged them with being Naxalites, a charge that both men and their families firmly repudiate. The question being asked is: What draws middle-class Christian boys from educated and fairly affluent backgrounds to Marxism? What makes them give up the comforts of the city to answer the call of the village?

What few know is that for many of these boys the route to activism came not through Marx & Engels or Naxalbari but through a radical Christian ideology called Liberation Theology. An ideology, which most crucially, does not espouse the gun or grenade as a weapon of change.

Liberation Theology originated in the poverty and slums of Latin America, where it deeply influenced Christian groups in the 1970s and 1980s, making them shun the elitist image of the Church and serve the poorest of the poor as Christ did. "During his student days, Vernon was influenced by Liberation Theology along with fellow student members of the All-India Catholic University Federation (AICUF)," said his wife Susan. "He later severed links with the AICUF and moved on to working for labourers in rural areas. He was also a union leader in the thermal power plants at Chandrapur."

Arun Ferreira was a sociology student at St Xavier's College, but by his time, the radicalism in the AICUF had petered out. He was however active in the Social Service League in his college. One of his relatives was a priest who was in the forefront of the movement in India.

Liberation Theology transformed the way many Catholics viewed charity and social work. It contained elements of Marxist analysis and came out in support of the poor, spurring them to action to change their lot. It quoted the Bible to show that Christ and his apostles practised a form of early socialism by sharing their belongings and food. To many Catholics, used to serving in educational institutions which catered to the middle class and the rich, it came as an eye-opener. They suddenly realised they were serving a class which did not need their charity. Among the earliest to embrace it were the Jesuits, sometimes dubbed the ideological stormtroopers of the Catholic faith. Several prominent theologians such as the late Fr George Soares in Pune, Samuel Ryan, and the late Sebastian Kappen supported the new thinking.

In 1978 in Mumbai, two Jesuit priests, Peter D'Mello and Niki Cordoso, both working with the Catholic Mission at Dahanu, broke away and formed a group called the Kashtakari Sanghatana. This group called for a more direct and radical approach to help poor tribals in the Thane district. The Sanghatana is now run on secular left-of-centre lines, and has been joined by Brian, another Bandra boy who has settled in Dahanu and married a tribal woman.

Twenty-five years after he left the Jesuits, Nikki Cordoso recalled the role he played in Dahanu with emotion. "The then superior general of the Jesuits, Pedro Aruppe, told the church, do not work with the poor, walk with them. Another slogan was ‘From Alms to Arms', but by arms we did not mean guns but empowerment of the poor and the marginalised by asking them to stand up for their rights." The authorities cracked down, labelling them Naxalites, said Cordoso. "We were handcuffed and tied in ropes and later jailed to serve as an example to anyone who wanted the uplift of tribals."

This line of thinking was also prevalent in Kerala. When questioned about taking to the streets for fishermen's rights, several nuns openly stated that standing up for human rights was what they believed in, and the role played by traditional-minded Catholics like Mother Teresa, who built homes for the sick and needy, was no longer relevant. "Instead of picking up people from the streets, Christians should try and stop people being thrown on the streets," the nuns argued.

Mumbai had its own bunch of radicals in the AICUF, whose advisor, the late Fr Raymond D'Silva played a crucial role in mentoring students, several of whom who went on to work with unions, Bennett D'Costa and Franklyn D'Souza being two prominent examples. Prof Fleur D'Souza, who was part of the AICUF group in 1977 in Mumbai, said that a number of students were inspired to work with labour unions instead of choosing a regular career.

However, Vernon's brother Kenneth Gonsalves, who was also a member of AICUF, said that it was not Liberation Theology alone but a number of factors that led to the burst of democratic activity which followed the lifting of the Emergency. Others who were also called to unionism, like CITU leader Vivek Monetiro, said they were untouched by the winds of change from Latin America.

Fr Rudy Heredia, a sociologist with the Indian Social Institute in New Delhi, and Bishop Thomas Dabre from Vasai said that one of the issues that troubled the Indian Church about the new ideology was the Marxist inclination to use violence to change social structures. "The Church which was wedded to the ideals of Christ could not condone violence," said Dabre.

While violence was seen as antithetical to Christian values, the Marxist method of analysis was welcomed by many, said theologian, Julian Saldhana. It made Catholics realise that poverty, illiteracy and corruption were man-made and not God-ordained. "The new philosophy, however, placed too much emphasis on economic issues ignoring the vital spiritual dimensio of everyday life," he added.

The Vatican came down heavily on the new theology. It condemned the connection with Marxism and sidelined senior clergy. Pope John Paul II was particularly bitter about priests who had joined the leftist Sandinista government as ministers in the 1980s.

In India, Liberation Theology failed to blossom into a strong movement due to various factors. The minority status of the Catholic groups meant that they were not able to communicate their ideas to other groups. They also came under attack from right-wing sections which found them to too radical while the mainstream Left was suspicious of them. In fact, some of the liberation activists were even dubbed "agents of the West" by the more hardline Leftists.

'Pump in more funds to raise police strength' --Shivraj Patil

Daily News & Analysis
Saturday, September 01, 2007 1:06:00 AM

Shubhangi Khapre & Anupam Dasgupta

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil has asked state governments to allocate more funds in their budgets and state plans to increase the police strength and improve internal security.

The status paper on internal security situation says urgent steps are needed to improve the existing national average police population ratio of 1:728. The stress on improving the internal security in mega cities - Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Chennai - that are faced with terror/Naxalite threats has set the Centre worrying.

While dissuading any dialogue with Naxalites unless they give up arms, the Centre has urged the state to evolve a comprehensive anti-Naxalite operation to contain their activities.

It is imperative on the state government to expand the police force, given that Mumbai is being confronted with new challenges of terrorism and Naxalite attacks. The state is falling short of almost 90,000 policemen.

Paucity of funds has been cited as one of the prime reasons for its inability to match the growing demands. With the growing Naxalitie clout in Mumbai and adjoining Thane, the government has been asked to step up its anti-Naxalite operations.

Also, the twin blasts in Hyderabad last week have set the alarm bells ringing. "Mumbai's size make it a potential soft terror target. Also the state's vast coastline and its sea-port are likely prey for terrorist operations," said an intelligence officer. And the fact that Mumbai is the country's financial nerve-centre makes matters worse.

A recent Intelligence Bureau (IB) assessment had claimed that over 500 Lashkar-e-Tayyaba cadres, trained in navigation skills and handling of large boats could infiltrate into the country through unmanned islands and take advantage of the lax coastal security cover.

Another officer said such strikes are aimed at crowded places, mass-transit systems, markets and malls. And to top it all, the city's police force is severely short-staffed and overworked.

Dismissing the plea for stringent laws on the lines of Pota to tackle terrorism, the home ministry has suggested the effective implementation of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and National Security Act, 1980. Patil said the existing laws had all the mechanisms provided in Pota to deal with terrorists.

In 2006-'07, the Centre allocated Rs1,065 crore to various states governments under the modernisation of police forces scheme. "The government will have to pursue effective measures to improve the ground level policing, besides countering the negative propaganda by Naxalities," he said.

Notice to Chhattisgarh on bail plea of rights activist

Legal Correspondent

Vinayak Sen has been arrested on fabricated charges, Soli Sorabjee tells Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Chhattisgarh Government on a petition filed by Vinayak Sen, vice-president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, challenging his arrest in May under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and seeking his release on bail.

A Bench, comprising Justices Ashok Bhan and V.S. Sirpurkar, issued notice to Chhattisgarh after hearing senior counsel Soli Sorabjee, who submitted that Dr. Sen had been arrested on fabricated charges of having links with naxalites. On the statement of a co-accused, Dr. Sen had been arrested “for acting as a carrier of letters for the naxalites.”

In his special leave petition against the Chhattisgarh High Court order dismissing his petition, Dr. Sen said he had also been charged under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act.

He was arrested following the recovery of letters relating to the naxalite movement from the possession of Piyush Guha. The police claimed this established that Dr. Sen was acting as a courier for the underground movement.

His bail was rejected by the trial court and the High Court.

Dr. Sen submitted that he was innocent and had been falsely implicated by the police. He had been working for the welfare of the downtrodden in Chhattisgarh for the last 25 years and had set up several health centres, besides inspiring doctors from the AIIMS to join him in his mission.

As a human rights activist, he was a frequent visitor to the various jails for espousing the custodial rights of prisoners.

Cops ran away, let Naxals mow down 55: Official probe

Nitin Mahajan

Posted online: Saturday, September 01, 2007 at 0000 hrs Print Email

Security personnel abandoned posts, sought shelter in girls’ hostel; many could have been drunk; too much confidence in poorly trained ‘Special Police Officers’

Raipur, August 31: How prepared the security establishment is to tackle Naxalite terror has been exposed by an official investigation into the worst-ever Naxalite attack that killed 55 security personnel in Chhattisgarh on March 15 this year.

Cowardice, desertion by security personnel, too much dependence on locally-recruited Special Police Officers (SPOs) delayed rescue operations, lack of proper training and even consumption of intoxicants have been identified as the key reasons that let Naxalites kill 16 Chhattisgarh Armed Police personnel and 39 SPOs.

The attack at Rani Bodli, a security outpost in the state’s Bijapur district, continued for about three hours and was carried out by at least 400 Naxalites, mostly from the military dalam of Maharashtra.

The investigation report, a copy of which has been obtained by The Indian Express, was prepared by Inspector General (Naxal Operations and State Intelligence) Girdhari Nayak and has been given to Chief Minister Raman Singh, Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam and Director General of Police Vishwaranjan.

Its startling revelations:

• Three jawans of Chhattisgarh Police Majji Shankar, Sagau Patel and Keshav Singh Yadav, deployed on the watchtowers built on the outpost’s roof, deserted their post as soon as the attack began to take shelter in the adjoining SC/ST welfare department hostel building. The fact was corroborated by the statement of Assistant teacher Ram Shankar Singh Thakur that these jawans hid among the 30 girls, along with their weapons and ammunition. The sentry posts were crucial for the security of the outpost as they were Light Machine Gun points which could have repulsed the attack.

• Investigators have refuted Majji Shankar’s statement that he fired 11 LMG magazines and three SLR magazines before vacating his post. The claims of the other two who said they fired eight SLR magazines has been found to be false.

• “They simply abandoned their posts out of cowardice,” the investigation report states citing the fact that although the three claimed to have fired over 500 rounds, only a few empty shells were recovered from the watchtowers.

• All six sentry posts along the boundary of the outpost were manned by only SPOs. About 4,000, mostly tribal, youths from Bastar have been employed by Chhattisgarh Police as SPOs in the five Naxal-dominated districts. They are paid Rs 1500 per month and are given merely a general training in weapons-handling.

• The six positions were manned by nine SPOs who were inadequately trained. They weren’t able to detect the presence of Naxalites in the area until a .303 rifle was snatched from one of them, Todsa Putti.

• SPO Kawasi Aayatu admitted to providing a goat, five bottles of whisky and laandaa (country liquor) to security personnel to celebrate as he got married three days before the incident. Statements of SPOs Jagru Podiyam, Majji Budhram, Beladi Narayan, the cook of SC/ST welfare hostel Aayatam Nagaiya and Ram Shankar Singh Thakur confirmed that security personnel at the outpost were drinking intoxicants on a regular basis and most of them could have also consumed liquor on the day of the attack.

• Not one Chhattisgarh Armed Police personnel was posted along the perimeter fence, “too much confidence has been shown in the ability of SPOs.”

• The entire force was in one building making them an easy target. The practice of posting a small group of security personnel in a nearby primary school building and a night party on search and surveillance mission in nearby jungles was also discontinued at the outpost. These personnel could have attacked the Naxalite cadres had they been deployed.”

• There were three Central Reserve Police Force camps within a radius of 10 km of the outpost but while the SOS was sent at 2.10 am and acknowledged by all police positions in the area, the first rescue party was sent only at 4 a.m. from Kutru police station.

• While 22 Chhattisgarh Police jawans and 55 SPOs were present in the outpost when the attack started, most were sleeping. Not one body was recovered from the sentry posts as most of them were deserted as soon as the attack started. Most bodies were recovered lying around in the front or backyard of the outpost.

• The jawans weren’t prepared for an attack as most of them seemed to have fired indiscriminately. About 350 bullet marks were located on the inside boundary wall of the outpost, which clearly shows that jawans fired indiscriminately and several of them could have been killed by bullets fired by their colleagues.

• SPOs Roshan Lal Gota, Somru Sodi, Jagru Podyam, Aando Ram, Kursam Hiriya, Mijji Budhram and Bedali Narayan deserted the outpost after scaling the outer perimeter wall


The investigators say that the Naxalites launched the attack to undermine the Salwa Judum, the people’s force launched in the district to counter the Naxals. “The loss of lives could have been avoided if the sentries posted on duty were alert and hadn’t deserted their posts,” the report states. The sentries weren’t being checked by a “watcher” who would have been helpful in keeping them alert. Despite indicting the security structure, the report, curiously, is silent on proposed action against erring officials.

Home Minister Netam refused to comment on the issue. DGP Vishwaranjan said he was touring Bastar to take stock of the ongoing fight against Maoist extremists. “I won’t be able to comment on it as I am yet to see the report,” he said.

The incident

On March 15, Naxalite cadres killed 55 security personnel posted at Rani Bodli, a security outpost located in Maoist-infested Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh. At least 400 Naxalites, are believed to have carried out the attack which continued for about three hours

Naxalite whiff detected in Hyderabad twin blasts

Daily News & Analysis

Saturday, September 01, 2007 1:50:00 AM

Josy Joseph

Pre-attack inputs, bomb choice hint at Maoist-jihadi link

NEW DELHI: Intelligence analysis of naxalite activity pre-dating the August 25 Hyderabad blasts, and the use of naxal-favoured explosives in that attack have persuaded the security establishment in New Delhi to investigate the possibility of a naxalite-jihadis nexus.

The Hyderabad twin-blasts have been blamed on the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI), but no clinching evidence has been unearthed to prove that. Intelligence sources are convinced that the role of naxalites in the blasts must thus be carefully examined. The concern could embolden the hardliners in the security establishment who want naxals to be considered terrorists.

The naxal role in the blasts "cannot be ruled out right now", a senior official told DNA. He said that when intelligence inputs of the past months are read in the light of the blasts, it becomes clear that naxals and Islamic terrorists could be "actively collaborating" in Andhra Pradesh.

The bombs that shook Hyderabad contained neogel, an ingredient that bears the Maoist signature, intelligence sources said. They said neogel was not the ingredient of choice of Islamic terrorists for destructive devices. But the naxals use it often. On February 28, 2006, a truck (JH-11-A9822) belonging to Maoists was intercepted as it crossed into Nepal from India. Its deadly cargo included 475 kg of neogel-90.

"The explosive used is not the only reason for suspecting a naxal role," a senior intelligence official said. Recent inputs about the naxals' ideological positioning suggests that they may be making common cause with Islamic terrorists.

Resolutions adopted by the CPI (Maoist), the naxal group formed by the merger of the People's War of Andhra Pradesh and the Maoist Communist Centre of India, provide "ideological reasoning" for cooperating with Islamic terrorists.

"The naxals could provide logistical support to the local terror groups as a quid pro quo for obtaining sophisticated arms, or as part of a larger understanding," the official said.

The resolution was passed at the 9th Congress of the naxal group in January-February this year. One declaration resolved to extend "whole-hearted support to all nationality movements and their right to self-determination, including the right to secession". The enemy was defined as "Hindu fascists" who were oppressing "religious minorities". #

Moreover, recent intelligence from Nalgonda, a naxal hotbed, indicated that a dozen Muslim youths were missing. It was suspected that they had been dispatched to Bangladesh or Pakistan to undergo arms training. Nalgonda is the hometown of Razi-Ur-Rehman, alias Abdul Rehman, the suspected Lashkar member arrested in connection with the attack on the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

Besides, intelligence experts point out that naxalite-terrorist collaboration is by no means unusual or unprecedented. In recent times, agencies have found Maoists working with a north-eastern insurgent group to persuade Naga members of a CRPF battalion to desist from serving in Chhattisgarh.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Chhattisgarh DGP’s helicopter fired upon

Staff Reporter

KHAMMAM: Maoists on Thursday opened fire at the helicopter in which Director-General of Police (DGP) of Chattisgarh Viswa Rajan was travelling in. The incident occurred in Chintalnar village in Dantewada district .

Mr. Viswa Rajan was on his way to Mukaram village where 13 police personnel were killed by CPI(Maoist) cadres on Wednesday. Accompanied by Bastar Range IGP, R. K. Vij, he was planning to travel 6 km from the village by road to reach the spot where the policemen were waylaid and killed.

The naxalites fired five rounds from a distance in the direction of the chopper.

Police forces deployed in the village threw a security ring around the two senior police officers and guided them back to the helicopter which took off within 15 minutes of its landing. The senior police officers made an aerial survey of the place before leaving for Dantewada.

Both the DGP and the IG were safe, police sources said. There was no damage caused to the helicopter either.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bodies of 5 policemen killed by rebels found in central India

New Delhi - Bodies of five Indian policemen were found in Dantewada district of central Chhattisgarh state on Thursday near the place where their patrol was ambushed by a Maoist rebel group the day before, news reports said quoting police sources. Seven policemen from the patrol were still missing and a search for them was continuing, PTI news agency reported.

The policemen were part of a larger group of about 40 agents who were clearing a jungle road the rebels had blocked with felled trees in a remote forested area of Dantewada district, about 500 kilometres south of state capital Raipur, IANS news agency quoted senior police official Girdhari Nayak as saying.

"The gun battle broke out when two separate police platoons numbering 40 cops went to the thick forested area of Tadmetla for road opening. Fire-fighting began when rebels attacked one of the search teams from behind, injuring six cops," Nayak said.

Nayak said 28 policemen returned to the camp in batches after the gun battle, many of them with bullet injuries.

Twenty-four policemen were killed in the same district in a similar battle with Maoist rebels on July 9.

The guerrillas operate in 13 of India's 29 states along a "red corridor" stretching from the India-Nepal border in the north to the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Maoists claim to be fighting for the rights of the rural poor and landless labourers. Their usual targets are police patrols and government installations.

Thousands of people have been killed in the insurgency, which began in the late 1960s. A total of 555 civilians and security personnel have been killed by the rebels in the first six months of 2007 alone, according to the latest federal Home Ministry figures.

Chhattisgarh is one of the worst-affected by Maoist violence. At least 45 per cent of the 971 incidents involving leftist rebels since January have occurred in the state.

Copyright, respective author or news agency

Huge Red arms dump unearthed in Nallamala

Thursday August 30 2007 08:51 IST
MAHABOOBNAGAR: The district police on Wednesday unearthed a huge arms dump of CPI (Maoist) Naxalites from the Nallamala Forest under Amrabad police limits.

But what really caught the cops’ eye was the presence of an infrared thermometer in the dump comprising three self-loading rifles, two .303s, an 8 mm rifle, a tapancha, three rocket-launchers, 18 grenades, a telescope, ammunition for various weapons, a gas welding machine, and detonators.

Speaking to this website's newspaper, Superintendent of Police Charu Sinha said the dump could be two years old. “We raided a particular spot on a tip-off and unearthed the dump,” she said.

Referring to the infrared thermometer and the gas welding cutter, the SP said the Maoists could have done some experiments on weapons before camouflaging the dump.

“Probably, this is first time police seized an infrared thermometer from the Maoists,” she said. According to the SP, the infrared beam from the thermometer records the temperature of any object from a distance and the Maoists could have used it in experiments on rocket-launchers.

Sinha said it took the police teams quite a long time to trace and uncover the dump. Meanwhile, it is learnt that Rajitha, wife of CPI (Maoist) Mahaboobnagar district committee secretary Ramakanth has surrendered to the police.

Rajitha alias Devendramma was working as a commander of a local guerrilla squad. However, the SP did not confirm Rajitha’s surrender. She also said that no Maoists were arrested after the raid on the dump.

A violent history

Tavleen Singh | Thursday, August 30, 2007 11:27:28 IST
It is no wonder that we never catch the main terrorists behind the attacks

The image that haunts me from last week’s terrorist attack in Hyderabad is that of the twelve year old boy from Gujarat who lies in a coma alone on a hospital bed. His father was killed in the bomb blast at Lumbini Park and his mother is too shattered to be by her son’s side so the only visitors he gets are television reporters who show us his swollen, little face and tell us that shrapnel from the bomb has lodged in his brain. He could be in a coma forever or if he wakes up he could be brain dead for the rest of his life. No amount of monetary compensation can make up for what has happened to him and the other 54 people who were injured in the blasts that killed 44 people on August 25. This is the second terrorist attack in Hyderabad this year. The last one was on May 18 in the Mecca Masjid and like this time the group suspected to be behind the attack was the Bangladeshi HUJI (Harkat-ul-Jamiat-Islami).

When are we going to realise that the reason why we are losing the war against the jehadis who target India with increasing frequency is because successive governments, both in Delhi and our state capitals, have done nothing to fight back. Nothing at all. After every terrorist attack we get the usual rubbish about how terrorism will not be tolerated and how the culprits will be ‘brought to book’ but what they do not tell us is that we do not even have enough policemen to fight the terrorists. In the words of Ajai Sahni of the Institute of Conflict Management and a leading expert on terrorism, ‘India has an average police to population ratio of 122 policemen per 100,000 population. Most Western countries have ratios ranging between 250 and 500 per 100,000 and the UN recommends a minimum norm of 1:450, or 222 per 100,000. Andhra Pradesh has a current ratio of just 98 per 100,000 and is also tackling (fairly effectively) a raging Maoist insurgency’.

Foiled plans

Is it any wonder that 47,371 Indians died in non-Naxalite terrorist violence between 1994 and 2005? Is it any wonder that we never catch the main terrorists behind the attacks?
The Times of India listed last week the number of incidents of terrorism in which our security forces have failed to catch the mastermind. From the Mumbai bomb blasts of 1993 we
have failed to catch the mastermind in every major act of terrorism that has occurred. This is a sickening record of failure and the failures will continue until our political leaders dare to admit that one of the reasons why they do nothing is because they are afraid of alienating Muslim voters. So even the limited number of policemen that we have are forced to fight with their hands tied behind their back. If they enter Muslim neighbourhoods in search of clues they are charged with racial profiling and for this we in the media are more to blame than the politicians. We make the loudest protests without realising that the result is that the jehadis are winning the war against India. If the media was doing its job we would by now have independent investigations into who the killers are, we would have names and faces. When an act of terrorism occurs in a Western city we know who is behind it in hours not just because the police are more efficient but because the media is too.

Target of evil plans
Having said that it needs to be emphasised that it is not the media’s job to catch the terrorists it is the job of government and we see no sign that either the Prime Minister or any of our Chief Ministers have understood the threat India faces. Al Qaeda’s evil spokesmen routinely identify India as a target and our political leaders respond with silence or by making statements that have long lost their meaning. After the Hyderabad attack the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh blamed Pakistan without giving us any proof of that country’s involvement. Instead of this kind of loose talk what we need is action.
We need not just twice the number of policemen on the ground as we currently have but
we need policemen specially trained in counterterrorism.
It is these specially trained forces that need to be deployed in sensitive cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi. These cities are targeted because one of the aims of the jehad is to destroy India’s economic strength and they are succeeding because we are just lying down and taking it.
A battle of this kind cannot be won without putting in place the most sophisticated, modern intelligence gathering network and despite the major terrorist attacks that have occurred on this Prime Minister’s watch we see no signs of improved intelligence. We do not see any
sign either that the home ministry has woken up to the seriousness of the problem. Perhaps, the crux of the problem lies here. Maybe what we need is our equivalent of the Department
of Homeland Security that was set up after 9/11. Let it take charge of training, intelligence and deployment and let it take full responsibility for every future act of terrorism on Indian
soil. What we need is some sign that the prime minister is not just going to do nothing till
the next attack.

Maoists kill 12 policemen in Chhattisgarh

30 Aug 2007, 0231 hrs IST,Amitabh Tiwari,TNN

RAIPUR: Red terror returned to haunt Chhattisgarh on Wednesday with Maoists ambushing a convoy of policemen travelling through the forests of Dantewada, killing at least 12 security personnel. It was the worst Naxal attack since the chilling July 10 offensive when Maoists killed 24 cops in a similarly brazen ambush. On March 15, this year, 55 policemen were massacred in Bijapur when Communist guerrillas attacked a police camp.

Wednesday’s attack, obviously executed on specific and early information about police movement, was carried out by 100 armed Maoists who were waiting behind bushes and trees in the area, about 550 km from Raipur, to welcome the convoy with a hail of bullets. It once again demonstrated how the Naxals, who control vast swathes of the forested areas populated by tribal sympathisers, easily obtain information on police movements. On the other hand, the cops haven’t been so successful in tracking Naxal plans. The attack also shows how the Naxalites, despite the security in the area, are able to cobble together attack squads of more than 100 combatants.

The policemen were on their way to secure an area at Tarmekla village in Jagargunda where the Naxals had blocked the construction of a road.

"The team comprising the Chhattisgarh Armed Force, SPOs and cops were divided into two groups. The Maoists ambushed the rear party and opened fire on it," DGP Vishwaranjan said, adding that there was a heavy exchange of fire during which the police party got fragmented and scattered in the forests. When the cops regrouped, they found 15 of their men were missing and presumed all to be dead. Later in the day, three policemen returned to the camp.

"Although 25 securitymen returned to the Jagargunda police station by evening, 12 of them, including Jagargunda SHO Hemant Kumar, were killed in the attack," he said. Three policemen were wounded in the gun-battle.

The guerrillas also looted sophisticated weapons like AK-47s, SLRs and .303 rifles.

In a separate incident, Naxalites set a Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board’s truck on fire in Nukanpal village under the Avapalli police station in Bijapur district. The rebels have targetted security personnel who dare to venture into the dense forests to prevent them from setting up strongholds inside the forests besides taking away their weapons. But the Red guerrillas also hit development works like road construction on a regular basis in a bid to stop the interior villages from getting better connectivity to the outside world, something that will pose a threat to their dominance.

Trigger happy

• Sept 3, 2005: 20 cops killed in landmine blasts in Bijapur
• Feb 28, 2006: Maoists blow up truck in Dantewada, 55 civilians killed
• March 25, 2006: 13 civilians killed in Kanker in a landmine blast
• April 28, 2006: 13 persons taken hostage beheaded in Dantewada
• March 15, 2007: 55 cops killed in an attack on a police outpost in Radi Bodli, Bijapur. More than 300 Naxals carried out the attack
• July 10, 2007: 24 security personnel killed in the forests of Regergetta near Errabore in Dantewada

Mumbai ATS officer to analyse twin explosions

Staff Reporter

Official to compare the nature and quantity of explosives used

Police to send team to UP to question Jalaluddin, ‘commander’ of HuJI

This could help them crack case, believe police

HYDERABAD: The city police are seeking the help of the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of Mumbai to analyse the bombs used in Saturday’s twin terror strikes.

A senior officer of the ATS, known for his expertise in bomb analysis, was invited to study the remains found at the two blast scenes.

Already, the forensic experts of Andhra Pradesh confirmed that usage of alarm instead of fixing time on the timepiece connected to the bomb was characteristic of the bombs triggered at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat.

The ATS officer would compare the nature and quantity of the explosives used in these explosions and the detonation mechanism with those reported across the country recently.

This would help the police find out the connection, if any, in the explosions triggered by terrorist organisations.

Team for UP

In another development, police higher-ups reportedly decided to send a team to Uttar Pradesh to question Jalaluddin alias Babu, self-styled area commander of Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami (HuJI) in India, who was arrested a month ago in Lucknow.

Huge cache

A huge cache of arms, including nine kg of high explosives and an AK-47 rifle were seized from him then.

Jalaluddin was accused of masterminding several terror attacks in the country and procuring RDX for distribution in different cities.

Shahed alias Bilal, the prime suspect in Mecca Masjid blast case, is believed to have been in contact with Jalaluddin and hence the Hyderabad police believe that interrogation of Jalaluddin would provide them with crucial clues about the twin blasts.

Chhattisgarh Naxal attack: Bodies of 5 cops recovered

30 Aug 2007, 1130 hrs IST,PTI

RAIPUR: Bodies of five policemen were on Thursday recovered from Balmeta area of Dantewada district where a police party was ambushed by Naxals.

Police sources said bodies of Jagargunda Station House Officer Hemant Singh and four others were recovered from the area, where the attack took place on Wednesday.

At least 12 policemen were feared killed in the attack. Search has been intensified to trace the remaining seven police personnel, the sources said.

15 initiatives proposed to improve India’s internal security

NEW DELHI: A Home Ministry status paper on India’s internal security situation has called for “effective enforcement of anti-terrorist laws, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967, National Security Act 1980 and other relevant laws” to prevent recurrence of incidents such as the Hyderabad bomb blasts.

The status paper tabled in the House by Home Minister Shivraj Patil envisages 15 initiatives to strengthen the internal security system, including enlisting local community leaders to prevent terrorist activities.

Some of the envisaged initiatives envisaged are: well-coordinated and efficient intelligence machinery at the centre and in states; revival of the beat constable system and states earmarking five percent of police modernisation funds to strengthen special branches that gather intelligence at the local level; community policing systems; enhanced physical security of vital installations, important buildings, congregation places, railway infrastructure and trains; and, ensuring special security cover to infrastructure projects in the terrorism-affected areas by including the cost in the project budgets.

While calling for extended initiatives, the paper stresses: “no particular community is to be held responsible for anti-national activities of a few fringe individuals.”

The status paper, which covers incidents up till end-June, reports a significant improvement in Jammu and Kashmir, and says the communal situation remains under control. While overall terrorist violence increased in the northeast, incidents of naxal violence during the first six months of 2007 registered a marginal 1.81 percent increase though the police personnel and civilian casualties dipped by 9.60 percent.

The paper said there had been no suicide attacks in Jammu and Kashmir during 2007 aside from one car bomb attack, which did not cause any major damage, and there had also been fewer grenade attacks. The major successes of the security forces in the state, the paper said, were in terms of killing of 211 terrorists, including 37 foreigners, and arresting 217, with 81 other terrorists surrendering up till the end of June.

The status paper also noted a declining trend violence levels since 2001. “Overall stable security situation in the state is indicative of transition to normalcy” that has resulted in a constant flow of tourists to the state, the paper added.

Cross-border infiltration has, however, gone up since April after registering a 4 percent decline in 2006 from 2005, the paper said. Altogether there were 532 terrorism-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir in the first six months of 2007 as compared to 832 during the same period last year. Civilian casualties during the period dropped drastically from 207 to 78, but security personnel killed went up slightly from 59 to 61. The paper reported that 211 terrorists had been killed by end-June compared to 275 during the same period in 2006.

The situation in the northeast, however, provides a significant contrast, according to the paper. Extremist-related incidents increased from 636 in the first half of 2006 to 810 by the end of June this year, and the number of civilians killed shot up, from 130 to 271, as did the number of security personnel killed, from 29 to 47. The number of militants killed also rose from 209 to 257.

There was not much increase in incidents of Naxal violence, the paper reported. Up till June 2007 842 incidents were reported as compared to 827 in 2006. Civilian fatalities dropped from 304 to 220 but police personnel casualties rose from 92 to 138. The number of Naxalites killed in police action dropped to 93 from 128 in the previous year.

The half-yearly figures of naxalite incidents have been at more or less the same level over the past four years. There were 1,597 incidents in 2003, 1,533 in 2004, 1,608 in 2005 and 1,509 in 2006, the status paper reports. iftikhar gilani

Indian police busy protecting politicians

Published: Aug. 29, 2007 at 5:48 PM

NEW DELHI, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- India's police say terrorists have been able to strike as the forces are geared up to protect politicians from Maoists rebels in Andhra Pradesh state.

According to a senior state police official, terrorists have been able to strike at will in the state because the police and security forces are engaged in protecting ministers and politicians from Maoists attacks.

The counterintelligence wing of the state police, which was set up to deal with terror-related activities, is ill-trained, whereas the anti-naxal wing is flooded with the budgetary support and manpower, The Times of India newspaper reported Wednesday. Maoists are called naxalites in the Indian context.

The unidentified senior police official said the state government has been ill-treating the counterintelligence wing for the last decade despite the fact that the state police department had been alerted that Hyderabad is on the radars of terrorists.

Twin bomb blasts killed 42 people in the state this past Saturday.

"The entire police machinery from village to the state level is involved in anti-naxal operations because they have made politicians their targets. Maoists have become core of the security in the state. The forces are more geared up to protect politicians from chief ministers to legislators not the common man," the official said.

He said there are no special arrangements made for the counterintelligence wing. Of the total 80,000-odd police force in the state, only 30,000 are armed and given special training in dealing with terror and insurgent strikes. Besides, a large number of armed forces are also deployed on convoy duty following the chief minister.

No check on Naxals' stronghold in Chhattisgarh

30 Aug 2007, 0118 hrs IST,Amitabh Tiwari,TNN

RAIPUR: Wednesday's Maoist ambush on policemen in the forests of Dantewada in which at least 12 security personnel were killed shows how Naxalites, despite the heavy security dragnet in the area, are able to quickly cobble together attack squads of more than 100 combatants.

The security team was on its way to secure an area at Tarmekla village in Jagargunda, where the Naxals had blocked construction of a road. "The team comprising Chhattisgarh Armed Force, SPOs and cops was divided into two groups. The Maoists hiding in the area ambushed the rear party and opened fire on them," DGP Vishwaranjan said. There was heavy exchange of fire during which the police party got fragmented and scattered in the forests. When the cops regrouped, 15 of their men were missing and were presumed dead. Later in the day, three policemen returned to the camp.

"Though 25 securitymen returned to the Jagargunda police station by evening, 12 of them, including Jagargunda SHO Hemant Kumar, were killed in the attack," the DGP said. Three policemen were wounded in the gunbattle. The guerrillas also looted sophisticated weapons like AK-47s, SLRs and .303 rifles, police sources said.
In another incident, Naxalites set a Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board's truck on fire in Nukanpal village under the Avapalli police station in Bijapur district.

Naxalites have targeted security personnel venturing into the forests, essentially to prevent them from setting up strongholds inside their areas. But the Red guerrillas also regularly hit development works to prevent interior villages from getting connectivity to the outside world.

'Fight with terror far from over'

Rajesh Sinha

MHA says India is facing a low cost, proxy war situation

NEW DELHI: India has to ready itself to fight a prolonged "low-cost proxy war situation", according to the Union Ministry for Home Affairs (MHA). Detailing the threats and problems in its report on the security situation, the MHA said more resources need to be provided for internal security in the 11th Five Year Plan.

The MHA report said that the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan continues to be used by Pak-based and ISI-sponsored outfits like Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Al Badr.

The current strategy of attacks in the hinterland includes flow of finances to sustain network, target vital installations and infrastructure, train local modules and provoke communal tensions.

An important aspect is the recruitment of Indian youth by LeT and HuJI for training in Pakistan or PoK and sending them into India for sabotage and subversive activities. Mentioning steps proposed to fight the situation, the MHA noted the critical need for well-coordinated and efficient intelligence machinery at the Centre and in states. The MHA also spoke of the need to improve the police-population ratio of 1:728. The UN norm, says security analyst Ajay Sahni, is 1:450.

The report noted that the terrorist violence in the North East had gone up this year. Incidents of naxal violence in the country also showed an increase.

From naxal village to BPO hub

Arun Ram
Thursday, August 30, 2007 01:05 IST

75 youths get jobs in the nation's first rural outsourcing unit in Krishnagiri

CHENNAI: Married to a lorry driver and mother of two, Ilayarani Sivakumar (27) never dreamt of a life outside her home in Shoolagiri village in Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu. Today, the class 12 dropout is a BPO employee.

Ilayarani is among the 90 youths from the naxal-infested villages of Krishnagiri who have found a new life through Fostera (Fostering Technologies in Rural Areas).

Fostera, brainchild of district collector Santosh Babu, is a first BPO to train and employ the rural unemployed. The youngsters, most with no knowledge of English or computers, were trained by HCL experts in less than three months.

"I never thought I could operate a computer or talk so fluently. My husband proudly tells his lorry driver friends that his wife is a BPO employee," Ilayarani tells DNA in fluent English.

It all started last September when Babu was wondering how to implement a single-sentence letter from the IT secretary which said: "Start a call centre." The same day, he had a chance meeting with Ashok Kumar, an old friend and an MBA graduate.

"We started discussing about it and the same day, identified an old dilapidated village community hall that could be transformed into the BPO office at a cost of Rs 23 lakh," says Babu.

Today, the village hall boasts of 25 systems and two servers. It also has a cafeteria and a conference hall.

In two months, the average processing speed of the employees has increased from 16 words to 67 words.

"We have already begun work of image-to-text data conversion for a couple of companies. Our proximity to Bangalore is an added advantage," says Kumar, who now functions as Fostera's CEO.

"I still pinch myself to believe that I will be receiving my first salary from a BPO this Friday," said Vijay Kumar (24) from Onnalvadi village. The first month salaries have been tentatively fixed at Rs 5,000 each and will go up as Fostera gets more business.

Around 75 youngsters will work in three shifts. Babu is confident that the model can be replicated across the country to empower rural youth.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Greyhounds-like force in State soon

Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: An elite force will be constituted in the State soon on the lines of the Greyhounds, the special anti-naxalite police outfit, to tackle terrorism.

The new force will have two wings, one for collecting information about the terrorists’ plans to serve as a counter-intelligence agency and the other for field operations.

A decision to constitute the new force was taken by Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy at a meeting here on Tuesday to review the law and order situation in the State against the backdrop of the twin bomb blasts in Hyderabad and the spate of bomb threats on Monday.

Addressing a press conference later, Dr. Reddy declared “the force will be powerful, vibrant and dynamic to deal firmly with terrorism and threats to the security of the State. It will be developed as a world class organisation equal to the Union Government’s Research Analysis Wing.”

The Chief Minister said those taken in for the anti-terrorist force would be paid 25 to 50 per cent higher salaries than that of the regular police.

Fifty per cent of its candidates would be recruited directly and the other half filled by deputations. Dr. Reddy said an experts’ committee had been appointed to work out the details of the proposed force. It will submit a report by Monday next after a meeting with Chief Secretary J. Harinarayan.

Asked about the investigation of the bomb blasts case, he said, “there is progress”. He, however, refused to divulge further details, saying it was not good in the interest of the investigation.

‘Rebuild confidence’

The Chief Minister asked the police top brass to be vigilant against terrorism and rebuild confidence among the public, tourists and investors so that Andhra Pradesh would continue to be a happening State and Hyderabad a peaceful and expanding city.

Among those present at the meeting were M. A. Basith, Director-General of Police, K. Aravinda Rao, IG, Intelligence, Balwinder Singh, Hyderabad Police Commissioner

48 per cent polling in Jamshedpur bypoll

Jamshedpur, Aug. 29 (PTI): Around 48 per cent votes were cast in the bypoll for Jamshedpur parliamentary seat, which ended peacefully here today.

Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Officer N M Kulkarni said urban areas registered between 42 and 45 per cent polling while in rural areas it was between 50 and 52 per cent.

Only voters of Mako village under Potka block boycotted the polls without giving any reason, he said.

A Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader, Raju Giri, was detained after he was found roaming around a booth, the DC said and added the polling concluded at 4 pm amidst tight security.

Naxal-infested Ghatsila sub-division comprising Ghatsila and Baharagora assembly constituencies witnessed polling, according to official sources.

The bypoll was necessitated following the killing of JMM MP Sunil Mahto by CPI (Maoists) at Baghuria under Ghatsila sub-division on March 4 last.

Altogether, 12 candidates including former Jharkhand Health minister and BJP MLA Dinesh Sarangi, JMM candidate Suman Mahto (wife of Sunil Mahto), Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Democratic) nominee Vikas Mukherjee and Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Salkhan Murmu, ex-MP, were in the fray.

Police hope to crack Naxal operations

BY A STAFF REPORTER | Wednesday, August 29, 2007 12:2:51 IST
With the arrest of two suspected Naxal operatives, the police have received information on Naxal operations

With the arrest of two key members Shridhar Krishnan Shrinivasan alias Vishnu (50) and Vernon Stanilaus Gonsalves alias Vikram (50) the police have claimed that they have received very good information. They hope to use this information to understand the modus operandi and the pattern of work of the Naxalites in Bombay and other parts of the state.

"At present, along with the ATS (Anti Terrorism Squad) and ANO (Anti Narcotic Operation), teams of police officers from Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat have come to interrogate both of the accused men to extract information about the Naxalite activities in their respective states," said Sunil Deshmukh, a senior ATS Police Inspector.

"A team of ATS officers, while arresting them had also seized plenty of literature. Along with that, we seized a Toshiba laptop, a Canon printer, 52 CD's, one DVD and some pen drives from Vishnu's house. After analysing the information we have got much more important information. The information is about where their training camps are, their organisational hierarchy and how they operate. This will help us in our operations," Deshmukh added.

The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of the Bombay Police had arrested Vishnu and Vikram from the Municipal Colony at Govandi on August 19. They are alleged to have links with the Naxal movement at the national level. A holiday court on Monday directed the police to conduct the fresh medical examination and submit the report on August 22 in the regular court and apply for further remand. On Wednesday, the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate S. S. Shinde remanded the two men to further police custody till September 3.
The ATS also claimed that Vishnu was the state head of Maharashtra and also a member of the National Politburo and the Central Planning Committee of the CPI (Maoist). Vikram was a former chairman of the Maharashtra sector who continued his association with the movement.

TN: Meeting to combat Naxal menace

Wednesday August 29 2007 10:43 IST
ERODE: Top police officers and forest department personnel of Erode and Chamarajanagar held a joint meeting at Hassanur, Thalavadi Hill, on Tuesday on combating Naxal menace in forest areas.

The meeting, the first of its kind in the recent past, is considered crucial as there is increasing threat from the naxals in the south and attempts to intrude into the western ghats across Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka.

The meeting discussed means to share intelligence on the movement of Naxalites, prevention of poaching of elephants and tigers, holding joint patrolling exercises, forming village vigilance committees in border areas and tightening the security in the forest areas.
It may be recalled that the Sathyamangalam forest zone touching Erode and Chamarajanagar was, till a few years ago, an asylum for brigand Veerappan and some Tamil ultras.

The Special Task Force is still stationed at the Sathyamangalam forest to monitor the movements of anti-socials.

Coimbatore DIG MN Manjunatha, Karnataka IG RP Sharma, SPs Sonal V Mishra (Erode), B Srikandappa (Chamarajanagar), AG Ponn Manikkavel (TN STF), besides DFOs R Raju ( C h a m a r a j a n a g a r ) , Vijeyendrasingh Malik (Erode), S Ramasubramanian (Sathyamangalam) and M Subramaniam (Sathyamangalam DSP) attended the meeting.

AP : Reddy rebuffs Left, says no to land commission

29 Aug, 2007, 1029 hrs IST, PTI

HYDERABAD: In a rebuff to the Left parties agitating for land distribution, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy has firmly ruled out constitution of an independent commission as demanded by them, a decision that could escalate the stand-off with the estranged allies.

Reddy, however felt that Congress-Left relations have not reached a breaking point in the state in the face of intensifying land agitation by CPI and CPM.

"It, (constitution of the commission) cannot be done. No commission can be independent of the assembly. In a democracy, government is answerable to the people through the assembly," he said here.

"Under what law?" Reddy snapped when asked about the Left's insistence on an autonomous commission to oversee distribution of land to the poor.

Disagreeing with the assessment that the Congress-Left ties were breaking he said, "In politics there is no such thing as breaking point. On some issues, we may agree and on others we may come together. Only at the time of elections, the issue of coming together or otherwise will arise."

To a specific query, he said, "it is ruled out".

While ruling out independent commission with quasi-judicial powers, the chief minister said a high-level committee headed by him was being planned to go into the entire gamut of land related issues.

The Revenue Minister would be the co-chairman of the panel which will have senior officials as members.

Reddy made it clear that there would be no room for "outside experts". The committee would periodically review the status of land distribution.

The structure of the proposed commission has become a bone of contention between the Congress government and Left parties, spearheading the "Bhooporatam" (land agitation) for the last three months that had often turned violent.

The Chief Minister spoke at length on various issues including the souring ties with the Left, anti-incumbency and charges of corruption against his government, the Telangana statehood demand, the Naxal issue and speculation about mid-term polls.

While taking a firm stand on the land issue, Reddy struck a conciliatory note on continuing alliance with the Left parties, saying secularism was their common agenda.

"Even on lands issue, our ideology is one and the same. Though we have differences in the approach, the ultimate goal is to benefit the poor," he said.

Though the Congress and Left parties had fought the 2004 elections together, the CPI(M) has since gravitated towards the main opposition TDP and CPI has also stepped up its offensive against the government on a plethora of issues.

Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), another pre-poll ally, has already walked out of the UPA.

Asked whether it would still be possible to revive the alliance before the 2009 polls, the Chief Minister said "Let's see. We will cross the bridge as and when it comes".

ORISSA : Naxal threat looms large on govt staff

Wednesday August 29 2007 08:11 IST
PARLAKHEMUNDI: The Naxals are planning to kidnap a Government employee and then demand the release of their leader S Srinivas, the head of Malkangiri divisional committee-cum- central committee member, if inputs received by the intelligence agencies are any indication.

Srinivas was arrested by Malkangiri police on July 25 in an exchange of fire.

According to sources, recently as per the information gathered by the intelligence agencies the ultras are planning to take a government employee into captivity to seek the release of their leader.

The message has been circulated among all the Naxal-infested districts of the State with the objective of keeping all concerned on alert.

Basing on which, instructions have been issued by the administration here to all the blocks and the field staff of different departments to be careful and cautious while making field visits.

Gajapati SP A N Sinha admitted to have received intelligence inputs in this regard, but said there is nothing to panic as the district police is well prepared to tackle any strategy adopted by the Naxals.

Elite intel wing for Andhra Pradesh

29 Aug 2007, 0237 hrs IST,TNN

HYDERABAD: Three bomb blasts in three months and nearly 60 deaths later, the state government on Tuesday decided to create a special intelligence wing of the state police on the lines of the elite Greyhounds to deal with terrorism and prevent terror attacks.

Announcing this after a review meeting on the law and order situation in the state, chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy told the media that the proposed organisation will be a world class one and will be on par if not above the standards of research and analysis wing (RAW) which is a central organisation.

A committee headed by chief secretary J Harinarayan, DGP M A Basith, Addl DG (Intelligence) K Arvind Rao, Hyderabad
police commissioner Balwinder Singh, etc, will study the various counter intelligence wings across the globe and make recommendations on the structure of the proposed new body. This committee would submit its report by next Monday.

The government will hold a special review meeting on Tuesday to take a final decision and the same would be ratified at the cabinet meeting scheduled to be held on Wednesday. Reddy said there would be no restriction on the size of the special team. "It can be as big as the police want and funds will not be a problem," he said.

He said the Greyhounds team in the state was formed with the specific agenda to deal with naxal problem in the state and it had succeeded in tackling the problem.

Some of the officers of the special wing will be drafted from the state police on deputation while some will be
recruited directly.

Special training would be imparted to them and their salary would also be 50 per cent higher than the normal pay. This special wing will have more teeth, he added.

Cops busy guarding VIPs from Maoists

29 Aug 2007, 0033 hrs IST,Jinka Nagaraju,TNN

HYDERABAD: Terrorists have been able to strike at will in Andhra Pradesh because the state security policy is geared to protect the VVIPs from Naxals, and not the common people from subversives, say senior police officials.
As a result, while the counter-intelligence wing, whose job it is to tackle terror threats, is understaffed and ill-trained, the anti-Naxal wing is flush with money and manpower. This complete negligence of the counter-intelligence wing has been going on for the last decade, despite central agencies alerting the state since the early '90s that Hyderabad is on the radar of terrorists in terms of strikes as well as developing sleeper cells.

"The entire police machinery, from village to the state-level, is deeply involved in anti-Naxal operations. This is because their targets are political VIPs and powerful people close to the ruling establishment. Therefore, with Naxalism becoming the core security issue for the police, the entire set up is geared to protect VIPs from the CM down to the MLA. In other words, by implication, the common man is worthless and can die by the dozens," a senior politicial official said.

The Greyhound force was raised in 1989 to combat Maoist violence and protect VVIPs from Left-wing terrorists. The force gets special incentives and a huge budgetary support from the political machinery that is liberal in arming the unit with manpower and money as it is their lives that it protects.

However, similar arrangement hasn't been made for the counter-intelligence wing. "Of the total 80,000-odd police force in the state, only about 30,000 are of the armed and special police wings. From these numbers, regular personnel are deputed as personal security for 294 MLAs and 90 MLCs. A huge number is also deployed on convoy duty whenever the CM travels. The result: Not many personnel are left for law and order duty or protecting the common man," the official said.

Urban revolutionaries in Naxal fight

Supriya Sharma
Tuesday, August 28, 2007 (Vidarbha)

The arrest of two men - a former college professor and an ex-student leader - in Mumbai presents a shadowy confusing world of urban revolutionaries.

Vernon Gonsalves and Sridhar Srinivasan were arrested with arms and explosives.

Police in Vidarbha, where these men are said to operate, say they are Naxals - not just members but senior leaders of CPI Maoist - the banned Naxal group.

''Fashionable parable of Leftism in the drawing rooms of Mumbai results in fatality and murdering of innocent villagers in Gadchiroli,'' said Pankaj Gupta, Inspector General, Anti-Naxalite Operations, Maharashtra Police.

Police say just because Vernon and Sridhar were educated, urban activists, it does not mean they are not hardcore Naxals.

''This is a banned organisation. Being a member of CPI (Maoist) is an offence in itself. But a number of cases have been registered against both of them, of looting explosives, burning railway engines, encountered attack on police,'' said Gupta.

So why the delay in arresting them?

''You have to realise system of CPI (Maoist) party underground. All activities (of CPI Maoist) are secret. They have double roles, double names. On one side, they are activists, on another side they may be working for them,'' said Gupta.

''Sufficient evidence that people earlier working as activists have participated in violent activities as Dalam members. Similar evidence that Dalam members have been shifted to perfectly front organsaitions for propaganda,'' he added.

But this police claim opens up a minefield of debate on the nature of support to Naxal cause.

Student radicals

Vidarbha, the backward region of Maharashtra, acted as a magnet for student radicals from Mumbai in the 80s.

''As far as myself goes, I don't think I have made any big sacrifice. I am teaching in college and getting good salary. I am only active in women rights movements and democratic rights movements,'' said Shoma Sen, Professor, Civil Rights Activist.

''But as far as some of my friends in the student movement go, they did continue their revoltionary lives and make these sacrifices. Some of the people I knew, Vernon, Sridhar and others seem to have gone underground,''
Sen said.

Shoma names others like the academic Anuradha and her husband Kobad Gandhi.

Police documents say they are senior Naxal leaders but Shoma calls them victims of state repression.

''Anuradha Gandhi, who was mass leader friend of mine was active here. Now there was this thing among lawyers: 'Look madam, sooner or later you will be put under TADA.' Now there was a choice before her. She could continue that way and go and sit in jail. Or she could go to another place and take another name and work. They are out to fight against the state. That is the path they have chosen,'' Sen said.

Shoma Sen is unapologetic about the Naxal movement and its aims, even its use of violence. These views have placed her on an informal police watch list.

The police do not admit to this watch list but privately it says more than 30 groups are being closely monitored.

Legal support

On the surface are civil rights groups, those working for the poor or for students. But according to police, in reality, Naxal front organizations meant to provide legal support or help with propaganda.

Surendra Gadling is a Nagpur-based lawyer known to take up only cases of those arrested as Naxals.

''I believe in Mao's ideology. If that makes me a Maoist, then yes I am a Maoist,'' said Surendra Gadling, advocate.

It's an increasingly polarised debate with little middle ground for an activist who wants to work for social change but does not support the Naxals.

Paromita has been working with Tribals in Gadchiroli for nearly a decade and was labelled a Naxal supporter when she spoke out against fake police encounters.

But she was also targeted by the Naxals when she condemned their killings.

Of the two, she says, the Naxal groups are more dangerous because there is no one to question them unlike the state.

''We have to understand, in this environment, the police at least we know them. They are in uniform. Even when they killed China Matami, I could identify the police. I could go to High Court and say this inspector is responsible. As a citizen, there was a face I could hold responsible,'' said Paromita Goswami, activist.

''The problem with non-state people are, who are these people, how do we identify them, what are there names, what do they look like, why do they kill people. For us as citizens when we have a right to life it doesn't matter whose bullet is killing the tribals,'' Goswami said.

What angers Paromita is her's is not a view shared by many other civil rights groups.

''When the police arrests someone they raise a hue and cry but when Naxals kill tribals they are nowhere to be seen,'' said Goswami.

Is it a wider Naxal political strategy? On one hand to reject the Constitution and wage war on the state but selectively invoke the same Constitution and its rights when need be?

''What's wrong with that? Because you are rejecting it, it means through a process you would like to overthrow the present system and replace it with a better system. But while you are living in the present system, you use so many things of the present system,'' said Shoma Sen.

The same language of human rights is now surfacing after the arrest of Vernon. So is this in defence of an innocent man or is it again the Naxal strategy to mislead?

AP mulls anti-terrorist body

BS Reporter / Chennai/ Hyderabad August 29, 2007

The Andhra Pradesh government would take a final decision next Tuesday on a proposal to set up a specialised organisation to deal with terrorist operations in the state.

A committee of senior police officials would be immediately constituted to look into the proposal. The committee would come up with suggestions by Monday, a press release issued by the Chief Minister’s Office said.

Chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy has mooted the idea of a powerful, vibrant and dynamic organisation on the lines of Greyhounds in the intelligence department with the state police to deal firmly with terrorism and the security of the state.

“This oganisation will be world-class and could be on par or above the standards of Centre’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and other top class intelligence organisations,” it said.

The new organisation would have a full-fledged set up and infrastructure with dedicated manpower, who will be given higher pay and perks. The state currently has a Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB), exclusively meant for anti-naxal operations.

The new anti-terrorist wing is expected to be headed by an Inspector General rank official, according to sources.

The government wants to hand over the investigation of the Hyderabad twin blasts case to this new organisation. The state cabinet in its next meeting will give a formal approval for the creation of this anti-terror wing.

Three landmines recovered ahead of Jamshedpur polls

Jamshedpur, Aug. 28 (PTI): Three landmines were recovered today from naxal-infested Ghatsila sub-division of East Singhbhum district ahead of Jamshedpur parliamentary bye-election tomorrow.

The explosives weighing between five kg to 10 kg each were recovered near Kasiabeda jungle adjacent to the naxal bastion Ghorabandha, police superintendent Navin Kumar Singh told newsmen here.

A search operation was launched in the area following the recovery of the landmines and all police stations in the adjoining areas were alerted, he said.

Para-military forces staged a flag March to inculcate confidence among the electrorate.

The district administration has made elaborate security arrangements deploying altogether 57 companies of forces including CRPF twenty companies, ten companies of BSF and five companies of Indo-Tibetan Border Police.

Five-day bandh by Maoists in Malkangiri

Malkangiri (Orissa), Aug. 28 (PTI): A day after exploding a landmine at Kalimela, Maoist outfits today called a five-day shut down in the district to protest alleged excesses by security forces in Andhra Pradesh during anti-naxal operations.

The Maoists put up posters and banners at several places in the district to garner support for the bandh.

Shops and business establishments downed shutters and vehicles kept off the roads. Schools and colleges were, however, closed today on account of Raksha bandhan festival.

Security forces intensified patrolling and combing operations and borders with neighbouring naxal-affected states of Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were sealed to prevent ultras from sneaking in, police said.

The Maoists had triggered a landmine blast at Kalimela yesterday and at least 17 CRPF personnel had a narrow escape when their vehicle crossed the area just seconds later.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Maoists attack railway station

Tuesday August 28 2007 07:24 IST
ROURKELA: Maoists on Monday attacked Topadihi railway station master’s office located on the Orissa- Jharkhand border and asked the SM not to allow any train to run on the route.

Police said a group of Maoists reached Topadihi railway station under K Balang police station of Sundargarh district, about 110 km from here, and assaulted its station master.

They reportedly had wanted the SM to detain iron ore ferrying goods trains. The railway line, passing through forests, is mainly used to carry raw material from the Kalta captive iron ore mines to the Rourkela Steel Plant.

The ultras also threatened the official with dire consequences if he failed to carry out their diktat. A few months back, the Maoists had burnt two diesel locomotives at the same station.

Sundargarh SP S Ravi Kumar said a police team from K Balang had left for Topadihi

Hit and miss with Indian terror attacks

Aug 29, 2007
By Ajai Sahni

Terrorist attacks on soft targets have been occurring with sickening regularity across India (outside of Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast), at intervals of about two to three months over the past few years, and last weekend's twin bombing in Hyderabad falls squarely into this pattern.

On Saturday evening, 43 people were killed and dozens injured in blasts at a laser show and an eatery in the Kothi locality in


Reacting on television shortly after, federal Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta, with suitable gravitas, informed the nation: "It is a terrorist strike" (the ignorant public was, perhaps, at risk of mistaking it for a humanitarian strike). Lest the profundity of this observation be lost on national audiences, Gupta, for good measure, trotted out his own practiced cliche for all such occasions: "It is a dastardly act," he intoned.

Such attacks, however, are progressively becoming iconic manifestations of utterly senseless violence. This is terrorism without strategy, purpose or direction. The succession of attacks over the past five years across India have secured no recognizable tactical or strategic terrorist objective and, once the media storm after each incident dies out, they leave little trace of impact on the administrative order, policing, or the lives of common people.

Apart from the tragic consequences for the direct victims of terrorism and their families (and they are, by definition, merely incidental to the terrorist objective), these attacks leave little trace, and literally weeks - indeed, often days or hours - after the incident, the target areas return to a forgetful, if perverse, "normalcy", as do local and national authorities. In terms of structural impact on national or local politics, governance and public intercourse, the consequences of the succession of incidents over the past years have been negligible.

This factor has been the more pronounced as a result of the fact that after the December 2001 attack on India's Parliament, there has been no significant Islamist terrorist attack on a strategic target. Despite all the clamor about "intelligence" and "security" failures, the fact is, Pakistan-backed Islamist terrorist groupings - principally the Lashkar-e-Toiba, the Jaish-e-Mohammed, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen - the Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) and their Indian collaborators, such as the Students Islamic Movement of India, have failed to strike at anything but the softest of soft targets outside Jammu and Kashmir.

Moreover, those killed have, with rare exception, been the poor - and their lives have little value for India's elite, except when elections come around and the political parties are compelled, briefly, to solicit their votes.

Nevertheless, each terrorist attack provides the occasion for posturing and creating a little storm of uninformed "analysis" in the national media teacup, as well as for a continuous sequence of motivated leaks from intelligence and investigative agencies.

Hence central agencies leak the information that, since March, they have known that 8 kilograms of military-grade explosives (RDX) were delivered to a HUJI operative in Hyderabad, but that "for its own reasons, the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh did not allow the kinds of aggressive - and unpopular - policing that the Central Bureau of Investigation and city police felt were necessary to secure the city".

It does not appear to be relevant to this critique that it was not military-grade RDX but locally available industrial explosives that are known to have been used in last weekend's twin blasts; nor is it clear what kind of "aggressive policing" would be required, either to find a little packet of 8 kilograms of RDX or to secure every potential soft target in a city of 6.25 million. It is useful, in this context, to note, however, that at least six modules or cells of Pakistan-backed terrorists have been located and neutralized in Hyderabad since 2004, the last of these on April 1. Indeed, the very fact that Islamist terrorists have failed to target strategic locations, and have been forced to limit their attacks to the softest of locations, would suggest that policing and intelligence have been reasonably successful.

As for "securing the city", that is, simply stated, an impossible task under existing conditions. For one, attacks are overwhelmingly no longer orchestrated by networks and cells established within the target city, and have progressively been transformed into synchronized multi-group operations coordinated by handlers most likely in Pakistan or Bangladesh.

Individual members of these groups are simply directed by handlers to make evanescent and anonymous contact with members of other groups to provide specific materials and services: explosives, detonators, safe haven, bomb-making expertise and local support, and most disappear without trace long before the attack. It is only the low-grade cadres or mercenary elements charged with the "delivery" of the explosive devices to target areas who are occasionally recognized by witnesses and eventually arrested, but they have no idea of the broader participation in, and location or execution of, the larger conspiracy. Significantly, the planning and preparation components are ordinarily outside the (urban) target areas, in India's vast and virtually unpoliced greater areas of large cities and rural hinterland.

It is useful to reiterate that India's cities cannot be "secured" if its hinterlands remain entirely "unsecured", and India is a thoroughly under-policed country. It has an average police-to-population ratio of 122 officers per 100,000 civilians. Most Western countries have ratios ranging between 250 and 500 per 100,000, and the United Nations recommends a minimum norm of 222 per 100,000. Andhra Pradesh, the state of which Hyderabad is the capital, has a ratio of just 98 per 100,000, and is also tackling (fairly effectively) a raging Maoist insurgency.

Deficiencies of capacity are also endemic in the intelligence agencies. While disaggregated data are unavailable, it is useful to recall that previous reports have called for a tremendous augmentation of capacities, including manpower, a massive upgrading of technical, imaging, signal, electronic counter-intelligence and economic intelligence capabilities, and a systemwide reform of conventional human-intelligence (HUMINT) gathering.

Most of these recommendations remain unimplemented, beyond a few symbolic changes. One recommendation calls for a "multi-agency setup" to confront the challenges of terrorism, and this was, at least formally, implemented through the creation of two new wings under the Intelligence Bureau: the Multi-Agency Center (MAC) and the Joint Task Force on Intelligence (JTFI).

MAC was charged with collecting and coordinating terrorism-related information from across the country; the JTFI is responsible for passing on this information to the state governments. Regrettably, both MAC and JTFI remain understaffed, under-equipped and ineffective, with even basic issues relating to their administration unsettled. Their principal objective, the creation of a national terrorism database, has made little progress.

Augmenting HUMINT capacities has also lagged far behind requirements. In 2001, the Girish Saxena Committee recommended at least an additional 3,000 cadres in the Intelligence Bureau. According to available information, until now, just 800 additional posts have been sanctioned, though the requirements would have expanded dramatically over the intervening years. As with the larger administrative apparatus in India, there has been a long, slow process of deterioration in the country's intelligence and policing capabilities - perhaps not in absolute terms, but certainly in terms of capacities lagging well behind the magnitude and pace of emerging challenges.

The specifics of the twin blasts in Hyderabad are yet to be determined - and given the recent operating methods of Islamist terrorist groupings, it is possible that, as with investigations into earlier blasts, inquiries will hit a dead end.

Crucially, however, if India is to devise effective counter-terrorism policies, strategies and tactics, the country's leaders and intelligence and enforcement agencies will have to go beyond the current incident-led patterns of response and analysis, and address the gaping capacity deficits that afflict every aspect of security and intelligence administration, policing, and law-and-order management in the country.

A strategy to exert pressure and impose costs on the external sponsors and supporters of terrorism, and capacities to implement such a strategy, are also necessary. If India is to secure its cities, its hinterlands cannot be abandoned to lawlessness, and its hostile neighbors to a policy of hopeful supplication.

Ajai Sahni is editor of the South Asia Intelligence Review and executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management.

(Published with permission from the South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal .)

Celebrating 60 Years of Indian Democracy and 50 Years of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958

By: Malem Mangal Laishram

Irom Sharmila, the young lady from Manipur who has been on fast for the last six years since the infamous Malom massacre of 2000, demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958 – is the 21st century legacy of Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violence. Her struggle is symbolic of the people’s tooth and nail opposition to the draconian law – the AFSPA. She is neither Irom Sharmila Chanu nor an ordinary Manipuri woman rather she is the “Iron Lady of Manipur” who has challenged a callous and apathetic government and its regime of draconian law with her unique struggle1. Sharmila is a living legend of the people’s undying spirit against the black law – the AFPSA.

It is almost 60 years today that the Indian democracy took birth on 15th Aug.1947. India - the child of freedom at midnight, is a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic and perhaps, the largest democracy in the world today. For every Indian, the fateful day of 15th Aug. 1947 was the greatest jubilation and rejoicing moment they ever experienced in their lifetime. And for those, from M.K. Gandhi, who was entitled the father of the nation later, and to the several million ordinary Indians, 15th Aug. 1947 was much more than freedom from colonial yoke. Indeed, it was the dawn of a new life….., a new beginning with an unlimited horizon and a universe of freedom … unexplainable …to all the Indians and the newly born Indian nation-state. Politically, India got its shape with the adoption and enactment of the Indian Constitution on 26th Nov.1949.

Every historic event of the Indian freedom struggle against the colonial British, from the Battle of Plassey, 1757 to the Quit India movement of 1942, among a hundred significant others, ultimately accomplished its one and only long cherished dream – independence of India when the Indian Independence Act was passed by the British parliament on 15th Aug. 1947. 15th August is the greatest triumph and victory for every mainstream Indian and Bharat-vasi then and now. The Indians cannot dream without 15th August in the whole 365 days of a year.

It was the one side of the whole episode. The another side of the story is often surprising and offending. This story was about the peripheries of India – Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh or then North East Frontier Areas (as existed in 1947) in the east, Panjab or then North West Frontier Province in the west, Jammu and Kashmir in the north, etc. Unlike the mainland India, these peripheries were experiencing something different - a strong discontentment and anxiety. The newly emerged Indian state was in the fast process of nation-state building. The Indian leadership like Pandit Nehru, Sardar Patel, etc. were on the fore-front of engineering the integration of these peripheral princely states into the Indian Union2.

That engineering and integration process was, perhaps, the greatest mistake of the then political leadership and there is a principal connection with the turmoil besetting the north eastern region, and other peripheries like Jammu and Kashmir, etc.

The violence and extreme unrest that characterises the NE region today is the result of that process. The turbulence which began in the aftermath of the process is still alive and more vivid today. A number of Instruments of Accessions and Merger Agreements of the princely states of the region into the Union of India took place as a crucial part of the integration process.

In fact, these princely states opted the provision to remain politically independent of either India or Pakistan3. It is a known fact that before the passage of the Indian Independence Act 1947, these princely states of the north eastern region were administered by British India save the Naga hills and Tuensang district (excluded areas) of the then Assam4. Further, the British paramountcy lapsed and all the princely states formerly under the British India became independent5. Thus, the independence of these princely states was obvious and legitimate. There was no doubt to their post-British-1947 status.

These princely states were all rejoicing and singing the songs of freedom from the bondage of the colonial rule. For instance, Manipur adopted modern democracy and parliamentary form of government in 1947 itself by the Manipur Constitution Act of 1947. General elections were held all over the state6. Till then, shocked and astounded by the Annexation of Manipur in 1949 by the Indian state7. Gradually, the rest of the region was brought under the banner of the Indian Union. Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram were carved out of Assam in 1962, 1971 and 1986 respectively.

The subsequent rebellion by these NE states against the authority of the Indian state in post –colonial-British-regime was put down with an iron hand. The prevailing turmoil in the region which is deep-rooted in history, politics and economy has never been seriously and properly addressed by the Central government rather it responded with brute force.

The colonial repressive law – the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958 which was used against India by the then British was the response to the situation from the top political brass of India. Today, the life in the NE region is caught in the decades long armed conflict between the Indian armed forces and the armed opposition bodies of the region. Leave alone personal liberty, even right to life – the basic essence of all human rights and fundamental freedoms is at peril and great dismay. Everyday life is seriously threatened and not free from the worse imminent danger (right) to life – Death.

"The core of all human rights and fundamental freedoms – RIGHT TO LIFE is done to death. Humanity is killed at suspicious behaviour, no rule of the Rule of Law, and Justice slaughtered – devil AFSPA reigns"

It has almost completed 50 years that the AFSPA has been in force in the region since 1958. The irony is clear while the mainstream Indians celebrates their joyous diamond jubilee of the Independence day, the people of the entire region condemns, mockingly, the golden jubilee or the 50 years of brutalities suffered due to the imposition of the draconian law – the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958. It is significant to trace the history of the AFSPA 1958 in the backdrop of the celebration of 60 years of Indian independence. For it was the same instrument which the colonial British deployed against India during the peak of the Indian freedom struggle in 1942. The heightening freedom struggle of India – particularly – the Quit India movement of 1942 was suppressed by Lord Linlithgow, the then Viceroy and Governor-General of British India by promulgating the Armed Forces Special Powers Ordinance 1942.

The Indian parliament enacted the Armed Forces Special Powers Act after discussing for only 3 hours in the Lok Sabha and 4 hours in the Rajya Sabha with retrospective effect from 22nd May, 1958. A xeroxed copy of the 1942 colonial statute, the AFSPA 1958 bears a more draconian and terrorized version. Thus, it is crystal clear that the AFSPA 1958 is the successor of the 1942 colonial legislation and a colonial residue of the British regime. The demoniacal colonial law had to exist in order to sustain colony, the justification of the colonial statute today, proves that the colony survives8. While protesting against the law, the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha on 18th Aug. 1958 stated "It pains me that we have an occassion in this house to give our assent to a martial law which was forced on us by an Ordinance… why have they (government) smuggled this legislation in this way? It is really a challenge to the concept of democracy and freedom that we have".

Earlier, only Assam and Manipur were covered by the AFSPA, however, by the 1972 Amendment of the Act whole of the north-eastern states viz. Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya were brought under the ambit of the Act (except Sikkim). Since then, without any break and judicial review, the black law has been in force in the region. The highly praised judicial activism of the Supreme Court of India failed when it upheld the constitutionality of the Act on 27th Nov. 19979.

The AFSPA is the most draconian of all the black laws – the National Security Act, Panjab Security Act, etc, which are hyperactive in the region. The Central government justifies the invocation of the AFSPA to contain insurgency. It was basically enacted to quell the Naga ethnic uprising in the then Naga Hills and Tuensang District of the then Assam. There were no organized insurgency in 1958 as it is today. Contradictorily, insurgency flourished only after the advent of the AFSPA in the region. Many insurgent affected states blame the AFSPA for giving birth to a host of armed opposition bodies which were unknown elsewhere before the arrival of the Act. The Act has much to do with the prolonged frustration and restlessness of the peoples in the region.

The naked truth about the AFSPA 1958

The AFSPA gives the armed forces wide and blanket powers to shoot to kill (sec. 4,a), arrest (sec. 4,c) and search (sec. 4,d) without a warrant in a disturbed area in aid of the civil power. The greatest outrage of the Act is sec. 4(a) depriving life on mere suspicion in order to maintain public order. What constitutes “mere suspicion” and “public order” is nowhere mentioned in the Act. This power to shoot to kill is not given only to a private jawan. But in reality, every rank and file of the armed forces exercise this power.

Sec.4 (a) violates Article 21 of the Indian constitution which provides "No person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to procedure established by law". It also violates Article 6(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of which India is a party. Sec.4 (a) is against procedure established by law. " Procedure established by law" has come to mean just, fair and reasonable since the case of Maneka Gandhi v Union of India10. Because it takes away or kills LIFE arbitrarily on mere suspicion which does not have any lawful basis or procedure at all.

For an offence which is only murder, the punishment is death or life imprisonment (Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code). Murder is nowhere listed as an offence in sec. 4(a). Yet, death is the only answer or Sec .4(a) is synonymous with death. It is totally ridiculous and absurd. The AFSPA is the “butcher law” but not a law in the true sense of the term. Because “People’s Good is the Highest Law”, stated the Roman lawyer, Cicero.

The South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre (SAHRDC) rightly observes "this provision give broad license to extra-judicially execute innocent and suspected persons under the disguise of maintaining law and order. It violates every norms of a civilized society". Sec.4 (a) is a sheer negation and denial of the fore-most fundamental right to life.

Section 5 of the AFSPA violates Article 22 of the constitution by permitting the armed forces to detain persons arrested under the Act for an unspecified period of time without judicial review. Section 6 violates Article 32 of the constitution by denying legal prosecution against the armed forces without the previous sanction of the Central government.

The existence of the draconian AFSPA poses a serious setback and challenge to the human rights jurisprudence, advocates, defenders and activists as well. It was hundred per cent colonial instrument used for legitimization and continuation of colonialism11. The AFSPA undermines the very foundations of democracy, justice and human rights. Basic human rights are curtailed and fundamental freedoms denied. It shook the conscience of all humanity.

The infamous killings and massacres like Malom, RIMS, Heirangoithong, etc. among hundred others are all glaring instances showing that the armed forces blatantly violates the basic tenets of human rights and fundamental freedoms systematically and persistently, under the AFSPA regime in the region. There is no way for the Act to stay for a day longer in the statute book of a civilized legal system. The people of the NE region has been suffering the barbarious oppression under the AFSPA rule. Their non-derogable rights are murdered and sacrificed at the cost of the so-called larger national interests and security of India. The victims of human rights violations are left with no remedy but to their fate alone. Indeed, AFSPA has defeated humanity in this region.

The Rule of law is dead in the region. State of undeclared emergency prevails and right to life is extremely uncertain. The military rules the region. Their whims and doubtful 'opinions' rule over the rule of law. The AFSPA denies equality before law. Not a single armed forces personnel has been punished for blatant violations of human rights, reports the Amnesty International. Thus, there is no remedy for the victims of the abuse practices and mockingly, for those who-would-be in future. Justice is ultimately assassinated in the poor NE region.

The sweeping powers of the Act, license to kill, lack of accountability and judicial review earned the AFSPA the title of a Demon's law. The nature of the Act proves that such a law is best applied to the kingdom of demons. No human civilization would justify such a senseless law.

The infamous nude protest following the custodial rape and extra-judicial brutal murder of Th. Manorama, in front of the historic Kangla by Manipuri women demonstrated people's resentment and fury against the oppressive Act. It exemplifies people's intolerability to the lawless law. It has questioned the very justification of the black law by the largest democracy. Democracy must be substantial rather than by virtue of the largest number of electorates.

The fundamental question is why the people of the region are suffering like colonial subjects? Are they not considered as the legitimate citizens of the Indian democracy? If they are the citizens of India why their basic and inalienable rights are denied arbitrarily for such a long period? Do the Central government does not have any responsibility towards the citizens of the region to protect and safeguard their fundamental human rights? Why equality before law is denied to the people of the NE region of India? Is the north-east a foreign land or a region colonized with the help of the AFSPA? Why the draconian law – the AFSPA has been in force for such a long period of half-a-century in the region, contrary to the earlier contemplated short-term measure?

Why the armed forces of India are being engaged or deployed against its own people of the region? Why the ordinary criminal laws like the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code or the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, etc. cannot maintain law and order in the region when the same laws can do so in other states of the country? Why the AFSPA is specifically deployed in the region? If it is for insurgency or armed violence then why the same act is not applied to the Naxalites affected states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chatisgarh, etc?

Why is the North-eastern region being targeted discriminatorily and racially? Are the Mongoloid-Asiatic-yellowish faces of the region not included in the definition of citizens or people as proclaimed in “We, The People of India” the very first beginning of the preamble of the Indian Constitution? Then, who are these north-eastern people? Where is their place in the Indian society? Are they being conceived as an occupied alien community? Is that the reason behind the strong feeling of alienation in the minds of these peoples from the mainland India? Does the Central government follow a special policy of governance for the entire region? The questions are thousands and pouring in ever, never ending.

If the Central government feels that there is a genuine political cause behind the unrest and violence in the region, it should strive seriously and sincerely to address and resolve the situation at the earliest. The Annual Report of the Home Ministry, Government of India 1996-97 reports about the states most affected by insurgency. The Union Government’s effort and subsequent political dialogues with one of the major insurgent bodies of the region – the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Issac-Muivah) indicates that the government considers insurgency a purely political problem as against the earlier misconception of law and order problem.

The Attorney General of India while submitting India’s Annual Periodic Report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in 1991 defended and justified the AFSPA on grounds that the NE states are demanding secession from India. Even if there is secessionism in the region, the Central government cannot massacre and eliminate all the peoples of the region by deploying the AFSPA 1958. The AFSPA has covert agenda for genocide12.

The Central government should strive for a viable and practicable political solution to the complicated problem of the region. History is testimony that neither genocide nor draconian law like the AFSPA is the solution for genuine political problems. If the Central government goes on by this strategy to solve purely political problems through brute force or use of draconian laws, democracy India would be reduced to the most outrageous military regime second but to the erstwhile Nazi Germany of Hitler.

Thus, there is no denying to the fact that humanity is dead wherever AFSPA reigns. The AFSPA means human rights ends. There is absolutely nothing beyond AFSPA. What waits the peoples of the NE region? Where is their destiny? Only the AFSPA knows. Would the Supreme Court save them by pronouncing the Act unconstitutional? And what if not? Mainstream Indians celebrates freedom from colonial British, the peoples of the region endure and condemn vehemently colonization under the regime of AFSPA 1958.

The writer is a final year student of LLB from Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Pune and can be reached at

1. Mainstream, 21st October, 2006, New Delhi

2. Patel Scheme

3. Indian Independence Act 1947

4. Mackenzie, A, 1884, History of the Relations of the Government with the Hill Tribes of the North East Frontiers of Bengal, Calcutta, Home Department Press

5. Indian Independence Act 1947

6. Manipur Constitution Act 1947

7. PDM, Annexation of Manipur 1949, Imphal, 1995

8. Sanajaoba, N, 2000, Human Rights in the New Millennium, Manas Publications, 24, Ansari Road, Darya Ganj, New Delhi

9. NPMHR v UOI AIR 1998 SC 431

10. AIR 1978 SC 597

11. Sanajaoba, N, 2000, Human Rights in the New Millennium, Manas Publications, 24, Ansari Road, Darya Ganj, New Delhi

12. Sanajaoba, N, 2000, Human Rights in the New Millennium, Manas Publications, 24, Ansari Road, Darya Ganj, New Delhi