Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Updates

1) Activists to launch movement for ‘Greater Jharkhand' Linky

The ‘Greater Jharkhand' would comprise Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts of West Bengal and Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sundergarh and Sambalpur districts of Orissa, besides Jharkhand, founder president of the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU), Surya Singh Besra told a press conference here.

2) Mizoram: Linky

Forty five villages in Mizoram were required to be relocated due to the fencing work on the Indo-Bangladesh border. Of the villages, 29 in Lawngtlai district, seven in Lunglei district and two in Mamit district needed to be relocated, Home Minister R Lalzirliana told the assembly yesterday.

3) Linky

On September 19 Maoists abducted seven policemen from Bhopalpatnam in Bijapur, over 500 km from Raipur, close to the Andhra Pradesh border. Three policemen were killed a day later. Assistant sub-inspector Sukhram Bhagat and constables B Toppo, Narendra Bhosle and Subhash Ratre are held captive. “The Chattisgarh government has established a backdoor contact with a section of the military unit of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist). It is holding secret talks with the rebels,” the reliable source told IANS. “We are looking into their (Maoists) demands. We have conveyed our intention that the deadline should be extended comprehensively. No demand can be met with a trigger on our heads,” the source said.

Meanwhile, Linky

Some CPI(Maoist) leaders are trying to field their wives and relatives in the forthcoming Assembly polls. At some places, they are themselves planning to contest the polls slated for October-November.

Sources said that a former area commander of CPI(Maoist), Prithi Raj Hembram alias Police Da, is contesting the polls from Chakai constituency in Naxal-infested Jamui district. He is trying his luck as a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate. The constituency is presently represented by Falguni Prasad Yadav of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). Hembram hails from Chandramandi police station area of Jamui district. In police records, Hembram was named in 13 incidents of Naxalite violence in the region. “But he has been granted bailed in all the cases pending against him,” said Jamui Superinten-dent of Police Kamal Kishore Singh.

Devta Devi, wife of Gaurishankar Jha, a former zonal commander of Maoists’ north Bihar regional committee, is all set to contest the election from Riga seat in Sitamarhi district. Devta, who is at present block pramukh of Purnahia block in Naxal-hit Sheohar district, is lobbying for a ticket from a national party. Jha, who is credited with establishing the base of the Maoist outfit in Sheohar, Sitamarhi and East Champran, is currently lodged in Sitamarhi district jail.

Another Naxalite leader Sanjeev Yadav alias Vijay ji is trying to field his wife from Gurua Assembly seat in Gaya district. A member of Bihar-Jharkhand Special Area Committee, Yadav is trying to get a Janata Dal (United) ticket for his wife. Gurua is at present represented by Shakeel Ahmad Khan of the Rashtriya Janata Dal. Though Rajya Sabha MP and national spokesman of JD(U) Shivanand Tiwari denied that any Naxalite leader approached the party for a ticket from Gaya or Aurangabad, sources said that Yadav was in constant touch with some senior leaders of the JD(U). In 1990 Gurua was represented by a top Naxal leader, Ramadhar Singh alias Guruji.

Sources said that Singh’s son Ashok is making all out efforts to get a ticket either from the JD(U) or the RJD from Rafiganj seat in Aurangabad district. Intelligence sources said that at least half a dozen Maoists or their relatives would be contesting the forthcoming Assembly poll from different constituencies. While some of them would fight the elections as the official candidates of recognised parties, many others may contest as independents.

A politburo member Kameshwar Baitha has already been elected as a member of Parliament from Jharkhand’s Palamu. Baitha had contested the elections from behind the bars.

4) ULFA update Linky

The fleeing of a group of ULFA members, of whom five are said to be close to outfit commander-in-chief (c-in-c) Paresh Baruah, from Bangladesh to Assam last Wednesday has made Dispur go euphoric. It is as if a dialogue with the proscribed outfit could start any day. On Monday, the Centre’s interlocutor for peace talks with the ULFA, PC Haldar, met Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and discussed the peace process with the outfit. Gogoi said that the ULFA members who had deserted their camps in Bangladesh were in Assam "to join the peace process and are not in the custody of the police but in their own places among their own people." Therefore, as the Chief Minister said, the development "has made us more hopeful of holding talks at the earliest." He also said that more and more ULFA members were realizing the futility of an armed struggle and deciding to come and join the peace process.

What will be the centrality of the peace process? In an e-mail statement to the media on Monday, Paresh Baruah said, "Every member of the group, including me, has no complaints about going to the negotiating table for a respectable dialogue, but without compromising our ideology. There is no pro-talks or anti-talks group within ULFA." He harped on the "unity" of the outfit and rubbished the reports of a split in it. He said that there were differences within the outfit only on "the way to going to the negotiating table, which is a minor one."

How does one construe this? A realistic interpretation of the latest Paresh Baruah discourse cannot lose sight of the fact that he is still adamant when it comes to the "ideology" of the outfit, though this time there is no mention of a "sovereign Assam" outside the ambit of the Indian Constitution. The question now is whether Baruah has already dropped the demand for a "sovereign Assam" and replaced it with the "ideology" of the outfit, implying the advocacy of the cause of Assam within the framework of the Indian democracy in relation to the discrimination meted out to the State by New Delhi, or whether by "ideology" he still means "sovereignty", merely changing the word to mean the same thing. If the former is true, with Baruah on board one fine day, the peace process might yield the desired results. But if the ULFA c-in-c is still insisting on the absurdity of a sovereignty outside the purview of the Indian Constitution, he is either sending out the message that he has nothing to do with the peace process because he cannot at all dispense with the many illicit businesses on foreign shores in which he has huge stakes, or living in a fool’s paradise, failing to see the writing on the wall.

Can a man who has been the c-in-c of an outfit such as the ULFA for the past 31 years be living in a fool’s paradise? Can he be still unintroduced to the reality of the day — that in Assam there is no support for the ULFA-defined sovereignty and the educated youth, who are the future of the State, have nothing to do with such sovereignty because they want to be stakeholders in the happening of the India of the 21st century — an India poised to overtake China as the world’s fastest growing major economy by 2015? He cannot be. Baruah is informed by the fact of life in Assam, and yet he must pretend that he comes across starkly different facts of life because he must sustain the myth that he has championed Assam’s cause all along, despite the hijacking of his outfit’s agenda by hostile foreign powers in Bangladesh after 1990. Wisdom lies in doing away with such pretence; terrorism dressed up as insurgency cannot have any ideology.

It is meaningless for the ULFA leadership, especially Baruah, to cling on to the "sovereignty" demand when they know it only too well that the Government of India will never preside over its own dismemberment. And why should it? The people of Assam already enjoy the sovereignty bestowed on them by virtue of they being citizens of a sovereign nation-state. As simple as that.

Elsewhere, Linky

Central Government’s interlocutor PC Haldar today met the jailed leaders of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) in the Central jail here for a detailed discussion on the possibility of initiating the process of talks, while, three more members of the militant outfit returned from Bangladesh last night bringing the number of those who came back to the State within this week to 31.

5) Nepal SATP update:

There are sharp disagreements between the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) and the Nepali Congress (NC) on how to end the current stalemate on Government formation, reports Kantipuronline. The NC argues that the parties should agree to a ‘package deal’ on the fundamental issues of the new constitution, critical issues of the peace process and power sharing arrangements before its candidate for the Prime Minister’s (PM) post, Ram Chandra Poudel, withdraws his candidacy. The Maoist party, meanwhile, continues to stand by its previous position that the withdrawal should precede any deal. Speaker Subash Nembang convened a meeting of the Maoists, NC, Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) and Madhesh-based parties on September 28 to break the deadlock, but in vain. The ninth round of the PM poll is scheduled for September 30.

6) Gorkhaland Linky

The Adivasi and Rajbangshi outfits of the Dooars and Terai and Cooch Behar district today said they would request Mamata Banerjee to visit the regions, the invitation opening up the Trinamul Congress scope to expand its base in north Bengal where the Left Front has been losing ground since last year’s Lok Sabha polls. The Adivasi and Rajbangshi pleas also mean the Congress, which in other circumstances could have cashed in on the erosion of the Left support base, will have to yield space to Mamata.
...
For Trinamul, this is a chance to make inroads in the region. Unlike in the hills where the party can at best ride piggy back on the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, in the plains Trinamul can count on the support of the tribals to set up its own base. The 2009 parliamentary polls revealed that the Left’s vote share had gone down significantly, compared to 2004, in the tribal-Nepali dominated Dooars and Terai and in Rajbangshi-concentrated Cooch Behar.

Adivasi leader Barla said one of the reasons for the tribals moving away from the Left was that despite several representations, the state government had done little to improve the infrastructure in the region. “Besides, tea workers who have been living in the gardens for generations have not been given land rights.” A CPM minister of north Bengal said: “The tribals and the Nepalis constitute nearly 80 per cent of the population of the Dooars and Terai and that is a cause for worry for the Left. Trinamul is likely to get good support from them’’.

7) Assam Rifles uvacha Linky

The Assam Rifles has set up a full-fledged field intelligence unit with the strength of 200 personnel to gather information on militants and smuggling activities along the Indo-Myanmar border, Yadava said. The setting up of the unit assumes significance in view of growing militant activities and largescale smuggling of arms from across the border. He said the officer-dominated unit was deployed in the sector headquarters all over the Northeast and the men working in the unit are well trained to gather intelligence along the Myanmar border.

The official said there was a need to beef up intelligence along the border, as many militants from the Northeast take shelter in Myanmar after leaving Bangladesh. The men posted at the unit will mingle with the local population to gather information. “Earlier we had only an ad hoc intelligence unit and now we have the full fledged unit,” the official said. Yadava admitted that there was movement of the Northeast militants along the border, but the difficult terrain and weather conditions hampered anti-insurgency activities. He added that 26 more battalions will be sanctioned by the Centre to guard the Myanmar border, but the delay was because of the pending decision on the part of the government whether the BSF should raise these battalions or not.

8) NSCN Linky

NSCN (I-M) chairman Isak Chishi Swu is expected to land in New Delhi soon for the next round of parleys with central leaders. Sources in the NSCN (I-M) said Swu’s coming was a sign of breakthrough in the Naga peace talks. “Major general” Phungthing Shimrang, the convenor of the ceasefire monitoring cell of the NSCN (I-M), admitted that there has been a breakthrough in the talks and Swu was expected to land in New Delhi soon though the date had not been fixed yet. Sources in the NSCN (I-M) said there was a problem with Swu’s travelling documents and Delhi was trying to clear them.

9) This one is in a special category of its own, thats why we have our "Incredible India" section: Linky

Violating protocol, Magadh University vice-chancellor (VC), Arvind Kumar, interrupted Bhutan Prime Minister Jigme Thinley while he was delivering a special lecture with a bouquet of demands. The note contained three demands, including financial assistance for the construction of a building for Buddhist studies on the university premises. Thinley politely turned down the demand for the financial help, saying it was not within his rights to grant funds for any construction work. The Bhutan cabinet and not the Prime Minister has the authority to make such commitments, he said. The two other demands pertained to a book grant and the establishment of a Buddhist chair in the department of Buddhist studies. The Bhutan Prime Minister accepted them.

The incident last night on the varsity premises embarrassed several dignitaries, including Gaya district magistrate Sanjay Kumar, who told the Telegraph “Besides violation of protocol, the incident revealed that the organisers of the Magadh University function were not even familiar with the basic etiquettes. Interrupting a foreign dignitary in the middle of his speech is something unheard of.”

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