Monday, November 15, 2010

Why was Suu Kyi released --- a hypothesis, and other updates (November 16, 2010)

1) Now that Aung San Suu Kyi has been released, the big question is why was she released. Obviously, given the state of affairs in Burma, knowing the answer to this question with complete certainty is nigh impossible. So let me throw some darts in the air and build a believable hypothesis.

The elections are over and the junta is firmly in control with its 1/4 share of the available seats in the Parliament, topped over by the USDP share. The junta has already created enough dissensions in the NLD to not worry about its viability even with Suu Kyi out. Further, she can be re-arrested anytime soon in case she ends up being major trouble. Enough bartering of economic aid has been achieved especially from ASEAN and Japan and brownie points on being progressive can be scored with the US and the APac-Europeans upon Suu Kyi's release. What the release could also mean is that the nominal replacement of Than Shwe by his successor(s) could have been de jure accomplished. This would also segue in well with the new Constitution, new flag, a change in policy, and whatever else has happened that we wont know for a long while.
2) Indo-Nepal border: Linky

India will provide nearly Rs 700 crores to Nepal for road projects in the Terai region, close to its border, to help improve transport infrastructure. This was decided here at the first meeting of the Project Steering Committee for the strengthening of road infrastructure of the Terai area of Nepal committee.

The project will be implemented in three phases and envisages to construct over 1,450 kms of black topped all weather roads in the Terai area of Nepal adjoining India. Phase-I, on which work is expected to start by next month, includes 19 roads totaling 605 kms. The project would be funded totally by the Government of India under the Nepal-India Cooperation Programme and will be constructed at an estimated cost of nearly Rs. 687.5 crores. As per the agreement, Nepal government should provide necessary lands to the contractors without any barrier. RITES is working as consultant for the project from the Indian side.

Meanwhile, Linky

Ex-King Gyanendra Shah has left for Mumbai, India on a family visit, Monday afternoon. Shah is going to India on pilgrimage and to attend the wedding function of one of his relatives, it is learnt. His spouse and ex-queen Komal Shah and his personal secretary Sagar Timilsina are accompanying him in his India trip. He left on a Jet Air regular flight at 12.30 pm. Although, it is a personal visit, Shah will also meet with top Indian political leaders during his India visit, it is learnt.

3) NDFB update: Linky

“According to information available with us, of late, the anti-talks faction of the NDFB has forged an alliance with the NSCN (K) and relocated its camps and cadres from Bangladesh to Myanmar,” the source said. He said NDFB cadres have found refuge not only in Arunachal Pradesh but also in Nagaland. “If we have to contain NDFB in Assam, we will have to deny sanctuary to the outfit in neighbouring states like Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. The security along the Bhutan border also needs to be strengthened as NDFB cadres may try to carry out strikes in lower Assam by entering the state from Bhutan,” he said.

There are several militant bases in Arunachal Pradesh, bordering Nagaland, where NDFB and Ulfa militants take shelter with Khaplang militants. “So far we have refrained from mounting a full-scale attack on the NSCN (Khaplang) camps since the outfit is currently in a ceasefire with the government but now we will have to do something about it,” he said.

4) Demographic warfare in Assam: Linky

Assam’s invasion by Bangladeshis from silent to open has more or less become a fait accompli. With no let up, the unabated influx is casting ominous shadow on the demographic profile of Assam.
Quite alarming has been the rise in the border districts of Dhubri (6.81 per cent), Goalpara (4.83 per cent), Hailakandi (4.56 per cent), Karimganj (3.96 per cent) as well as Nagaon. Even the inner district of Barpeta rocked by the violent protests of All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) over National Register of Citizens’ revision (NRC) update, now kept in abeyance by a shaky Tarun Gogoi led Congress Government, swamped by infiltrators, has registered 4.07 per cent rise. Other districts away from the Bangladesh border which are on the fast track of influx of aliens are Bongaigaon (6.79 per cent), Kamrup (5.20 per cent), Udalguri (3.90 per cent), Darrang (4.41 per cent), Dhemaji (4.50 per cent) and Karbi Anglong (4.11 per cent). Significantly, Morigaon district which was projected to become another Muslim majority area by 2011 has recorded moderate rise in the number of voters (1.51 per cent). Upper Assam districts of Jorhat, Golaghat, Sivasagar, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia have seen more or less normal growth rate of less than two per cent. This has been attributed to sustained campaign by AASU, BJP, BJYM and ABVP about the menace of infiltration without any dilution and ambiguity which has caught the psyche of Assamese population in general.

From all reckoning, in six of the 25 districts of Assam, religious minority holds the key to electoral battle and its outcome. At present, of the 126 Assembly seats in the Assembly and 14 in Lok Sabha, religious minority has 25 and two representatives respectively. It has been pointed out after all the calculation and permutation that in the 2011 Assembly elections, the religious minority will be able to win at least 34 seats and play crucial role in another 20 constituencies. How unabated infiltration has impacted adversely the demographic structure of the State can well be understood from the fact that Assam with 7,88,438 sq km of geographical area had a population of 2,66,38,407 as per 2001 census with a density of 286 persons per sq km which is higher than the national average of 267 persons per sq km. Dhubri and Goalpara which are teeming with infiltrators have the highest population density of 470 persons per sq km.

It has gone on record that rise in number of voters during 1966-1996 in 14 Assembly constituencies was over 100 per cent and in 43 constituencies over 80 per cent. The increase over the 30 year period was of the order of over 200 per cent in some constituencies. In one year during the period under question, the rise was 20 per cent in 25 constituencies and 10 per cent in 105 constituencies. Alarmed at the phenomenon, the Chief Election Commission of India had then directed the State Government to undertake comprehensive and critical review of the electoral rolls of the constituencies with abnormal rise in the number of voters in order to purge them of the names of foreigners. The AGP led Government of Prafulla Kumar Mahanta was not any way different. It preferred to ignore the directive and toed Congress just for the sake of political survival.

Buoyed up by tilting balance in its favour, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief Badaruddin Ajmal with 10 seats in the Assembly in its maiden electoral battle of 2006 has decided to go it alone with an eye on the 36 constituencies with sizeable minority presence to play decisive role in the formation of government at Dispur. AGP-BJP tie up which alone could save the State and stem the flow of infiltrators could not sustain, much to the disappointment of people of the State. Taking advantage of the fluid situation, Congress which has gone all hog with election oriented welfare schemes and projects including the most ludicrous “one hospital a day” and huge financial bonanza for minorities in particular is desperate to remain at the citadel of power for the third consecutive term. Political analysts however do not rule out the possibility of post poll understanding or adjustment of AGP with BJP.

5) With the changing religious profile comes the following: Linky

In view of the increasing number of slaughter houses and indiscriminate killing of cows for food as well as their smuggling out to Bangladesh with the same purpose from across Barak Valley, NGO ‘Silchar Goshala’ located at Kathal Road on the Southern side of this town has intensified campaign to bring an end to this evil practice which hurts deeply the sentiments of Hindus.

6) HPC-D talks: Linky

Negotiations between Mizoram Government and Manipur-based Hmar People’s Convention –Democrats (HPC-D) would continue after the executive council of the outfit prepared its demands to solve the problems of the community, a senior Home Department official said here. HPC-D, breakaway group of HPC, has been demanding a separate Hmar territorial council comprising the north eastern part of Mizoram adjoining Manipur. The meeting, which was participated by Mizoram Home Secretary Lalmalsawma and a five-member HPC-D delegation led by its ‘army chief’ Roupia, was held here on Saturday. The talks were held in a cordial atmosphere and mutual understanding, an official said adding the outfit’s delegation left Aizawl yesterday to hold further talks with its top leadership.

The HPC-D delegation would soon get in touch with the government to fix the date for holding talks, he said. HPC has signed an agreement with the State Government to end six years of Hmar insurgency. Official sources said the State Government and HPC-D agreed that operations by the State police and the Central forces against the outfit would not be launched for the next six months.

7) When Hemchandra Pandey was "encountered", there were a lot of bleeding heart journalists that were castigating the Police for taking necessary action. I wonder what they have to say now. Linky

A raid by Andhra Pradesh police at the Shastri Nagar house of journalist Hem Chandra Pandey, killed along with Maoist spokesperson Azad in an encounter in Adilabad forest, yielded piles of Maoist literature, documents, CDs and letters. The contents of the CDs couldn't be read though. They seem to be encrypted, said sources. The bound volumes were meant for internal circulation among the CPI-Maoist members. The AP police team seized 68 copies of Maoist financial policy, 210 copies of the banned outfit's cadre policy, 66 copies of Maoist strategy and tactics, 63 copies of `Political Resolution', 103 copies of `Peoples War: Political Organ of CPI-Maoist' and 246 copies of `CPI-Maoist: Ideology and Preface'. Around 500 copies of `Shahari Kaam ke Baare Mein' in Hindi, detailing Maoist activities, strategy and propaganda in urban areas, came as a revelation. There were also 46 copies of the English version of the document. Documents on Maoist war strategy and field manual and the People's Liberation Army are expected to provide insights about the outfit.

In addition, sources claimed, the AP police team found documents on anti- personnel mines and a document detailing `How to use handgun' during the raid at the second floor apartment where the Pandeys had rented on February 7. Pandey was killed in the encounter on July 2. His wife Babita alias Binita Pandey left the house on July 2 and hasn't returned since. Speaking to TOI, Pankaj Gupta, a neighbour who was also a witness, said, "The AP police team broke the lock to enter the apartment in front of me. I was present throughout while the police searched the house." Slamming the raid, Pandey's wife Babita on Sunday said, "This is a malicious propaganda by Andhra police to hide the fact that they had killed my husband." She said this was an attempt by the AP police to harass her. "Without taking my permission, the police raided our house and now they are showing the seizure of objectionable things from the house," she said.

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