Thursday, March 17, 2011

Northeast and terrorist update (Jan-Mar, 2011)

1) UNLF and Manipur groups: Linky

After R.K. Meghen's arrest, UNLF finally turns around and offers a plebiscite proposal to the Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh. However, the Chief Minister rightly pointed out that it is a “good beginning”, but observed that it would be “difficult” for the state government and the Centre to accept the proposal as it involved a third party.

It would not just be difficult, but essentially impossible under the Constitution. After all, laws are laws (as the previous post shows), whether you are a terrorist or a politician or an institutionalist or otherwise. For good measure, it is amusing to note the responses:

The issue was first raised in the Assembly by Morung Makunga, an Independent Naga MLA. He urged the chief minister to put forward the matter before the central leaders. “The Centre may accept or reject the proposal, but it is the duty of the state government to pass on the proposal to Delhi as part of efforts to hold talks with militant groups in the state,” Makunga said. Supporting Makunga’s demand, leader of the Opposition in the House and former chief minister Radhabinod Koijam, welcomed the plebiscite proposal terming it a step towards democratic process.

KCF: Linky

On the basis of a tip-off provided by the army intelligence unit, KCP’s self-styled foreign secretary and lieutenant Khumbungam Ayuma Anandha Singh, 39, who has two aliases — Lamphel and Khumbungmayuma Anandha Singh — was arrested by police from a house on Ramakrishna Mission Road late last evening.
Another police officer, requesting anonymity, said Khumbungam Ayuma Anandha Singh disclosed during interrogation that the KCP, which was divided into a few factions, had reunited recently and again started working together. Various factions of the KCP were still operating independently and so far there was no sign that could indicate unification of the factions, the sources said.

2) Assam elections: While Assam elections are in full swing, this item caught my attention Linky.

Former Dima Hasao district chief executive member, who is now in jail, Mohit Hojai, will contest from Haflong constituency as an Independent in the Assembly election. Hojai’s relatives and advocate collected his nomination paper for the Haflong seat on March 11. It will be submitted within the next two days.
Hojai was arrested on May 31, 2009, for his alleged financial misdeeds and his nexus with the Jewel Gorlosa faction of the DHD. He has since been in jail.

More on Dima Hasao district: Linky

Just three weeks before the first phase of polling in Assam, politics in the troubled Dima Hasao district took a new turn today with non-Dimasas deciding to boycott the polls to teach the Congress “a good lesson”. The open platform of non-Dimasas of the hill district — Indigenous People’s Forum (IPF) — finalised its decision in a sitting yesterday of going for “no vote” in place of projecting a non-Dimasa candidate either as an Independent or from a political party.
After the Dimasas, Zeme Nagas, Kukis, Hmars and Karbis are the most influential tribes in the hill district, while Baites and Hrangkhols have a microscopic presence. Non-Dimasas of the hill district had floated the forum two years back, with an aim to pressure Dispur to accord a prestigious status to the minority tribes of the district. The forum was also strongly against renaming of North Cachar Hills district as Dima Hasao. Since June 2010, the forum had continued its democratic struggle, demanding a separate district for non-Dimasas, complete with a separate autonomous council.

Elsewhere in Dima Hasao matters (SATP, Feb. 16):

Shillong Times reports that Dima National Democratic Front (DNDF) 'chairman' Janata Maramsa alias Bihari Dimasa was killed in an encounter with the Security Forces (SFs) in Dima Hasao District on February 15. Bihari Dimasa was earlier a member of Black Widow (BW). When the outfit laid down arms on October 2, 2009, he along with some of his comrades abstained from surrendering and formed DNDF in February 2010.

On D voters: Linky

The Election Commission is in a dilemma over Gauhati High Court’s March 11 directive, asking it to find out the number of cases of “doubtful” voters pending in the foreigners tribunals of the state and categorise them as such in the voter list so that they cannot exercise their franchise in the ensuing polls. EC sources said they were keen to implement the court’s directive but time was a real constraint. On January 5, 1988, the EC had made it clear that persons whose names had been suffixed with “D” in the electoral rolls would neither be allowed to vote nor contest until and unless their citizenship status was determined in their favour by the appropriate tribunal (in this case the foreigners tribunal) to which their case had been referred. A “D” voter is one whose citizenship is doubtful or disputed.
According to the voter list, there are 1.47 lakh “doubtful” voters. The problem is about the cases referred to the foreigners tribunals by the police, which would be around 1.29 lakh. “Those in the voter list are already categorised as “D” voters but categorising those referred by the police with the polls almost upon us would be a challenge. How much can be done remains to be seen,” the source added.
The court has sought action because if those marked “D” in the voter list are not allowed to exercise their franchise then the same yardstick should be applied to those whose cases are pending in the foreigners tribunals. “There cannot be two yardsticks for ‘D’ voters and suspected ‘D’ voters. The order will be a test case for the EC and the state government,” a source said. Another problem with “D” voters is that they disappear after their names figure in the electoral rolls. They cannot be traced during enumeration with most changing their place of residence by moving to other districts or states.

AIUDF campaigners: Linky

In addition to Bollywood personalities like Raj Babbar and Mahesh Bhatt, who are already on the list of AIUDF campaigners, the party would try to rope in some more faces including veteran actors like Naseeruddin Shah and Farooq Sheikh from Mumbai.

3) NDFB nexus with GNLA and HNLC: Linky

Both the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) and the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) have been receiving training from the Bodo outfit, Lachit Boro, an NDFB rebel, told police after being arrested from Ri Bhoi with three other rebels on February 10.

On top of Champion Sangma and Roster Sangma, one more Meghalaya policeman (Savio Marak) has deserted the State police force and joined GNLA. Apparently, the GNLA pays anywhere from 4-5 lakhs INR per month to such top deserters. Further, the GNLA has been fanning the Garo-Rabha violence and to extend its extortion spree. On the topic of extortion,

Earlier, intelligence inputs suggested GNLA militants' nexus with the Bangladesh Border Guards (BBG) to carry out extortion from coal-laden trucks on the other side of the border. The coal-laden trucks reportedly face demand of INR five lakh to INR 10 lakh when they enter the neighbouring country from Meghalaya.

4) Maoists: Recall from the swap drama (SATP, Feb. 25) that the Maoists had called for the release of Srinivasulu, Ashutosh, and Shobha, after Odisha Government had already conceded 14 original demands. The Government agreed to release Ganti Prasad whose bail application was heard in a Koraput court on February 24, apart from Padma (wife of Ramakrishna alias RK), Ishwari, Sarita and Gokul. The key Maoists whose release was sought but rejected by the Government are Srinivasulu and Ashutosh. Shobha, another key Maoist leader, is in a Jharkhand jail and the Odisha Government said it would take up her release with that State.

Update on these folks now: Linky

Hardcore Maoist Sriramulu Srinivasulu, whose release had been demanded by abductors of Malkangiri district collector R.V. Krishna, and 12 others were acquitted in a dacoity case by a fast track court here on Wednesday. Additional District Judge of the fast track court P.K. Karna acquitted Andhra Pradesh based rebel Srinivasulu and 12 others in a case involving dacoity in a house in MV-72 village in July, 2007. The acquittal order was pronounced in view of lack of sufficient evidence after examination of 17 witnesses, Srinivasulu’s counsel R.P. Panaik said. Sriramulu Srinivasulu, who is currently lodged in Malkangiri jail, would continue to be in prison as another case involving attack on police personnel was pending against him, he said.
The Maoist leader, who was arrested in July 2007 from Bariguda forest in Kalimela area of Malkangiri dsitrict, happened to be former chief of Revolutionary Writers Association. He had earlier been acquitted in four cases by Malkangiri court.

SATP on March 12:

In a separate development, the Odisha High Court rejected the bail application of top CPI-Maoist leader Ashutosh Soren who was arrested for his alleged role in the Nayagarh armoury loot case of February 2008, reports Outlook India. Justice C R Dash refused to grant bail to Ashutosh stating that some arms looted from the armoury were traced in possession of the bail applicant who was arrested by Rourkela Police just about a year after the Nayagarh incident. Ashutosh was booked by the Police on charges under section 396 (dacoity with murder), 436 (mischief with fire or explosive substances with an intent to destroy house etc), 121-A (conspiracy to wage war against the Government) and 132 (abetment of mutiny) of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

So the deal (which has been clouded so far) has been the swap of Vineel Krishna with the five-some. This must have happened as the demand was (SATP, Feb. 24): "The Maoists say they need Prasad and four others to be escorted to Malkangiri in exchange for Collector Krishna." The rest of the cloudy demands were just that, in the cloud. Elsewhere, on March 9:

Times of India reports on March 8, that over 2,600 civilians and Security Force (SF) personnel were killed between 2008 and 2010 in several incidents of Left Wing Extremist (LWE) violence across the country, says Minister of State (Home Affairs) Gurudas Kamat. According to the information given by Kamat in Lok Sabha, out of the total of 2,632 casualties, including 1,799 civilians and 833 SF personnel, a highest of 1,003 was in 2010, followed by 908 in 2009 and 721 in 2008. Incidentally, there has been an increase in the number of incidents of economic targets by Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist). Out of the 909 such attempts, a highest of 325 were on forest road, culvert 158 on telephone exchanges 135 on school buildings 127 on railways properties 61 on panchayat (village level local self-Government institution) bhawans 33 to disturb electric supply by targeting poles and 18 on mining related projects among others in the last three years. About 6,061 incidents of violence by LWE were reported during the period, the Minister said.

On March 6: reports that Satrughan Biswal alias Mangu alias Mohan, the second-in-command in Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) of the Odisha State Committee, was arrested by the Police from near the railway station in Bargarh District on March 5. Biswal, actively associated with Maoist activities since 2006, is considered as next to Sabyasachi Panda in the Maoist rank and file in the State, adds PTI.

Maoist nexus in the NE: Linky

Police investigation into Maoist activities in the Northeast, including Assam, has revealed that Koteswara Rao alias Kishen, chief of the People’s Liberation Army and politburo member of the CPI (Maoist), had visited Manipur sometime in 2007. “According to information gathered by us in recent weeks, Kishen spent a couple of months at a camp of the People’s Liberation Army of Manipur — which is the military wing of the Revolutionary People’s Front of Manipur,” a highly placed police source told The Telegraph.
“Even though the Maoists and Ulfa had not been able to work out a concrete alliance, they may have arrived at some kind of consensus like supplying arms and explosives, imparting training on techniques of bomb-making and providing logistical support. However, we do not have any definite evidence in this regard,” the source said.

On Feb. 9 from SATP:

According to sources in the State Intelligence Department, the national plenary is currently underway in an undisclosed location in Bihar under the leadership of Muppalla Lakshman Rao alias Ganapathy. A Senior Police Official said, “Ganapathy might step down. Kishenji alias Mallojula Koteswara Rao and Kishan da alias Bose are the contenders for the post”. There was, however, open opposition against Kishenji from other Maoist leaders like Kanchan, Ashokda, Ajay da and Deepak. “Kishan da had written a four page letter to Kanchan on the humiliation he faced at the hands of Kishenji,” added an official. In contradiction, a Maoists leader, Nalla Bixapahty alias Subash, revealed that North Indian cadres were looking down on the South Indian comrades.

5) NLFT-ATTF: Linky

The BSF has sought the pushback of 26 militants belonging to the banned National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and All Tripura Tiger Force from Bangladesh. The issue came up in the just-concluded five-day conclave between the BSF and newly reconstituted Border Guard Bangladesh that was held in Delhi from March 8 at the highest level. The list included names of Tiger Force chief Ranjit Debbarma, NLFT president Biswamohan Debbarma and their closest lieutenants still hiding in Bangladesh. Srivastava told his counterparts that eight more camps, five run by NLFT and three by Tiger Force, still exist in Bangladesh, especially in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and requested the Border Guards to have them dismantled.
For their part, the Bangladesh delegation expressed concern over continued smuggling of Corex and Phensydil cough syrups, used as alcohol in Bangladesh. Islam said the smuggling of syrups had declined earlier because of steps taken by the BSF. Recently, however, there has been a resurgence.

Meanwhile, SATP Feb. 18 reports:

A splinter group of All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) headed by Sachin Debberma has ‘reportedly’ joined hands with its arch rival National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), reports Assam Tribune. Sources confirmed that ATTF suffered a vertical split over sharing of funds leading to exit of self-styled militant leader Sachin Debbarma from the outfit about one-and-half month ago. According to latest intelligence inputs, a group of 14-15 hardcore cadres of ATTF headed by Sachin Debbarma merged with NLFT to carry on the subversive activities in Tripura.

6) Dialog with NSCN and the consequences: Linky

The Eastern Nagaland People’s Union, Kohima will boycott the visit of President Pratibha Patil to the Nagaland capital on March 9 and 10 in protest against her decision to skip Tuensang at the eleventh hour. Last September, Vice-President Hamid Ansari also cancelled his trip to Tuensang at the last minute without citing any reason. This is the second time that the high-profile leaders have cancelled their trips to Tuensang.

Enrichen the coffers by adding more subjects under purview of the State, SATP March 7:

The Government’s interlocutor RS Pandey on March 6 said that Government is willing to offer Nagaland greater autonomy in running its affairs and is learnt to be considering a move to transfer a few subjects from the Concurrent List to the State List exclusively in the case of this state to resolve the six-decade-old conflict and insurgency, reports Nagaland post. “They deserve greater autonomy in running their own affairs. Greater autonomy is something which ought to be considered as part of the honorable negotiated settlement,” added R.S Pandey.

NSCN(K) vs. NSCN(IM): Linky

But with the ongoing clashes between the NSCN groups in Myanmar and in Noklak sub-division in Tuensang district, people are sceptical about the reconciliation process. According to NSCN (Khaplang), fighting was on in five places deep inside Myanmar between the two NSCN groups. NSCN (K) sources said heavily-armed NSCN (I-M) cadres have intruded into Khaplang’s bases in Myanmar. There were reports of casualties on both sides.

More updates from SATP:

An agreement between the Central Government and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM) is likely to be signed later in 2011 highly placed sources said, quoted Assam Tribune on January 25. However, the official declined to comment on the demand for unification of the Naga-inhabited areas spanning across the States of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. The NSCN-IM proposed a federal relationship with the Indian Union with additional financial and legislative powers while the Central Government has offered financial package for socio-cultural development of Naga people. “If the recognition of the unique history and situation of Nagas is translated into a reality, the solution is not far off. While acknowledging the democracy of India, we can also assure that understanding the right of Naga to self determination will only strengthen India’s democracy,” the leaders of the NSCN-IM said.

The Unified Command, a three-tier security arrangement that plans and executes counter-insurgency operations in Assam, urged Dispur to move the Central Government and the Nagaland Government to rein in Naga militants and stop them from venturing into neighbouring states. They contend that Naga rebels are not only frequently disturbing peace in Assam but also in neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. They want the governments to act because the ceasefire with the NSCN factions would remain a mockery if those venturing into the neighbouring states were not checked. Though the estimated number of NSCN cadres in designated camps is not known, six camps of the Isak-Muivah and four of the Khaplang factions are functional as of today, Telegraph reported.

Meanwhile: Linky

The demand for a state by the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation has gained impetus with legislators from the four backward districts whose people aspire for a separate entity extending their tacit support. The ENPO, which is supported by several organisations from the four districts, namely Mon, Longleng, Tuensang and Kiphire, have been demanding a “frontier Nagaland state” on the ground that they have been discriminated against on all fronts. They have even vowed to approach the Centre. Chingwang Konyak, a former PCC president who is a senior legislator from Mon district and leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), said the statehood demand was a people’s movement and there was no question of him supporting it or not. He said he could not comment any further as he must “examine the issue first” but would continue to highlight the plight and sufferings of the people of the four districts. He said successive governments had discriminated against the people of the four backward districts in terms of employment opportunities and development for too long and this had prompted the people to come up with the demand for a separate state.

The ENPO comprises six Naga tribes namely, Sangtam, Yimchungru, Chang, Konyak, Phom and Khiamniungan. There are also unrecognised sub-tribes like Tikhir under Kiphire district. The CLP meeting slated for Thursday is expected to discuss the demand.

Just for laughs, Patricia Mukhim makes a haloed saint out of the NSCN thugs. She claims: Linky

Compare this with the Naga insurgency. It was and still is a straight fight between the Centre and Naga insurgents. Later, killings have taken place between the two factions of the NSCN. At no time did the Nagas carry out acts of terror on defenceless citizens to make a political point with New Delhi.

When someone claims with absolute authority that "at no time" the Nagas carried out terror against defenseless citizens, you know you are witnessing a joke parade. I am not as absolutely informed as she is, given that she is a Naga herself whereas I am just a leg-less Tamil. I would just advise the lay-reader to get a hold of either:
a) Terrorism in India's north-east: a gathering storm, Vol. 1 (p. 674) by Ved Prakash for Kuki-NSCN clashes. More on the same can also be found at Linky. If one digs the origin of these reports, one goes all the way back to GoI bulletins: Linky, so yes, this is the official GoI viewpoint.
b) Assam-NSCN clashes: From Linky

The issue of inter-State border disputes has always been one of the most contentious issues all along in the Northeast. The border problems between Assam and Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram have persisted for decades now. The longest and bloodiest of these is the border dispute between Assam and Nagaland, which began right at the inception of Nagaland State in 1963. The Nagaland State Act of 1962 had defined its borders according to the 1925 notification when Naga Hills and Tuensang Area (NHTA) were integrated into a new administrative unit and made an autonomous area. The Nagas, however, did not accept the boundary delineation and demanded that Nagaland should comprise the erstwhile Naga Hills and all Naga-dominated areas in North Cachar and Nagaon districts too, which were part of Naga territory according to the 1866 notification. Since Nagaland did not accept its notified borders, tensions between Assam and Nagaland soon flared up resulting in the first border clashes in 1965 at Kakodonga Reserve Forest. Since then, violent clashes along the Assam-Nagaland border have become a regular feature, with major armed conflicts reported in 1968, 1979 and 1985. Now the NSCN is providing direct help and logistic support to the anti-Assam movement by the people of Arunachal Pradesh bordering Assam.

c) etc... I can go on and on about inter-tribal conflicts initiated and driven by NSCN, but then two examples shall suffice to put a hole through the haloed-warrior type glorification attempts.

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