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An Indian Assessment
Low Intensity Conflicts & High Intensity Crime
Prakash Singh*

Low intensity conflicts (LIC) and high intensity crime present a deadly combination, one that constitutes a formidable challenge to the law enforcement authorities, and even to the armed forces of a country. These inject an element of political instability into the system of governance, and are a serious drain on the country's economy. India has, for nearly five decades, experienced low intensity conflicts in different theatres, and is now witnessing the emergence of high intensity crime by organised gangs and crime syndicates, as well as a complex pattern of co-operation and collusion between these.

A common thread running through both phenomena has been the involvement of external factors – cross-border terrorism from Pakistan fuels the LIC within the country and crime syndicates operating from the Middle East, particularly Dubai, with linkages in Pakistan, perpetrate acts of crime through their hirelings on Indian soil.


Low Intensity Conflicts

An idea of the magnitude and intricacy of the threat constituted by LICs can be gained from the definition by the US Commission on Integrated Long-term Strategy of low intensity conflicts as “insurgencies, organised terrorism, paramilitary crime, sabotage, and other forms of violence in the shadow area between peace and open warfare involving large units…  a form of warfare in which the ‘enemy’  is more or less omnipresent and unlikely ever to surrender”. [1] At a conference sponsored jointly by the US State and Defence Departments at the National Defence University as far back as 1986, the then Secretary of State, George Shultz, acknowledged that “low intensity conflict is the prime challenge we will face, at least through the remainder of the century,” and that “the future of peace and freedom may well depend on how effectively we meet it.” [2]   What Shultz said for the US for the remaining part of the twentieth century is true, a fortiori, for India in the new millennium. 

LICs have their own dynamics. Their focus, the issues involved and the parties engaged may change at different periods of time, and the exact characterisation of the conflict has to be assessed at a particular time on the basis of its intensity, spread, popular support, the nature of armaments used and the degree of external involvement.

If a panoramic view of the last fifty years is taken, a disturbing pattern emerges with regard to LICs and terrorist movements in India. Every decade has witnessed the enlargement of the area of LIC to newer theatres. The Nineteen Fifties saw the Naga Hills going up in flames. Angami Zapu Phizo propagated that the Nagas had always been independent and that, therefore, with the withdrawal of the British, they were independent again. He organised the Naga Home Guards and the Hongkin Government, and stoked the flames of rebellion. The Naga insurgency continues to bedevil the Government of India to this day.  It has, in fact, become the role model for insurgency in other parts of the Northeast.

The Sixties saw the fire spread to Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura.  Besides, there were stirrings in Naxalbari, which gradually spread to other parts of the country. 

The Seventies witnessed turmoil in Assam. The student community built up a formidable agitation over the infiltration of foreigners and the alleged neglect of Assam by the Centre.  In due course, the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) was formed, and this group continues to wage an armed struggle for sovereign independence.

The Eighties were overshadowed by terrorism in Punjab. Operation Blue Star hurt the psyche of the Sikh masses, and Pakistan exploited the situation. Disaffected youth fled across the border, and were indoctrinated, trained, and given weapons and explosives to cause destruction and mayhem in the State. Well-organised counter insurgency operations, however, broke the backbone of the terrorist movement.

The gains in Punjab, however, were neutralised by increasing violence in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) as that State came to occupy the centrestage of LIC in India. Seeking to avenge the loss of Bangladesh, Pakistan began executing a plan to wean Kashmir away from India. It trained and equipped a large number of Kashmiri militants and motivated them to wage a war for azadi.  A sizeable number of foreign mujahiddeen were also infiltrated into the State to reinforce the local militants. The proxy war continues.

The LICs in the tribal areas of the Northeast and in the northern states of Punjab and Kashmir were rooted in feelings of insecurity, a feeling that their ways of life, culture or even religion may be swamped in a predominantly Hindu India. The fears were unfortunately exacerbated by the flawed policies of successive governments. Not that there was any intention, let alone any effort, to interfere with the cultural traditions or the religious practices of any of the minority groups at any stage. The government’s failure was that, while showing excessive concern for the sensitivities of various ethnic and religious groupings, there was no conscious effort to bring them into the national mainstream. A conciliatory approach was adopted towards separatist trends of even smaller sub-nationalities, with even unreasonable demands meeting with an attitude of compromise and pacification. This was unfortunately taken to be a sign of weakness and gave a fillip to secessionist and fissiparous trends. As neighbouring countries stepped in to fish in troubled waters, the terrorist and insurgent groups were supplied with arms and explosives, trained in weaponry and sabotage, and provided sanctuaries. This sustenance from across the borders ensured a prolonged life to terrorist groups in the north-eastern parts of India and created a problem of formidable dimensions in the states of Punjab and J&K.


The Northeast

The secessionist movements in the Northeast can broadly be attributed to:

       a feeling of neglect by the central government;

       false propaganda by leaders of the area;

       alienation of tribals;

       changes in the demographic pattern caused by the influx of people from across the borders;

       availability of sanctuaries in Myanmar and Bangladesh;

       assistance to rebel groups by countries inimical to India; and

       inept handling by the Central government.

Nagaland has been the epicentre of low intensity conflict in north-eastern India. The Naga leader, Phizo, propagated the idea that Nagaland had never been a part of India, that it had been conquered by the British, and that, therefore, when British suzerainty lapsed, the Nagas ipso facto became independent again. He moved from village to village, organised a so-called ‘plebiscite’, [3] and, in 1954, announced the formation of a Hongkin Government. An armed wing known as Naga Home Guards (NHG) was also set up. In due course, these bodies were known as the ‘Naga Federal Government’ and the ‘Naga Army’. There were incidents of murder, loot, intimidation, arson and attacks on security forces. The Hills were set aflame.

The Government of India, while taking effective measures to put down the rebellion, decided to meet the genuine aspirations of Nagas, and announced the creation of a separate State of Nagaland. The State was formally inaugurated by the President of India on December 1, 1963. The Constitution (Thirteenth Amendment) Act, passed earlier in 1962, laid down that no Act of Parliament shall apply to the State of Nagaland unless the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland by a resolution so decides, in respect of:

       religious or social practices of the Nagas;

       Naga customary law and procedure;

       administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law; and

       ownership and transfer of land and its resources.

It was virtually a testament of freedom for the Nagas and, as J.H. Hutton expressed it, “the Naga tribes...thus have the best of two worlds — complete self-determination for themselves, as much or as little administrative isolation from the rest of India as they wish, and the backing of India of which their country is essentially a geographical entity.” Pakistan, however, through its then eastern wing, fanned the embers by aiding and abetting the extremist Nagas who were not satisfied even with these liberal provisions and were not prepared to accept anything less than complete independence. A number of Naga gangs went to East Pakistan from time to time and came back laden with arms, ammunition and explosives. It is estimated that about 2,500 Naga underground cadres were trained and equipped by the Pakistani authorities — until the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.

China also meddled in the affairs of the Northeast and, towards the end of 1966, a three-hundred-strong gang led by Thinuselie and Isak Muivah went to the Yunan province of China and returned with sophisticated weapons. The security forces were, however, able to engage the insurgents, apprehend a large number of them and seize the bulk of their arms and ammunition. There were also large-scale surrenders. These developments undermined Chinese confidence in the potential of Naga insurgency. The Chinese were also disappointed with factionalism among the Naga tribes. In the post-Mao era, the Chinese gradually washed their hands off the secessionist movements in the Northeast.

The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), constituted in 1980, is presently carrying on the movement for an independent, sovereign Nagaland. Though split into two factions, the NSCN is the most formidable insurgent outfit in India’s north-eastern States. It is active not only in Nagaland but also in the Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur and Myanmar. NSCN leaders have made repeated trips to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand, Singapore and various European countries, shopping for arms and seeking international support. Pakistan has been extending all possible help and Bangladesh has, unfortunately, once again become a sanctuary for these insurgent groups. The Government of India has nevertheless been holding peace talks with the NSCN leaders in different parts of the world like Bangkok, Geneva and Davos, but there is a stalemate with Muivah having been arrested by the Thai Police.

In Assam, the agitation over the foreigners’ issue which commenced in 1979 and the subsequent formation of the ULFA, which has been committing terrorist acts, has created a serious internal security situation.  Manipur has a three-tier problem: insurgency by Meitei extremists in the Valley, depredations by the Naga militants in the Hill areas, and inter-tribal clashes between the Nagas and Kukis over the domination of the drug route from Moreh to Imphal.  In Tripura, the large-scale influx of the Bengalis into the State in the Sixties reduced the indigenous ethnic population to a minority, and they have since been rebellious. The National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) have been indulging in violent activities.

An overall view of the north-eastern States affected by insurgency shows the following common features:

       Authority, effectiveness and legitimacy of the State government(s) have been systematically undermined.

       Corruption level is very high.

       A good proportion of funds earmarked for development are siphoned off by the militants

       There is no long term or co-ordinated policy to tackle insurgency/terrorism in the area.

A high ranking US State Department official recently quoted in the Washington Times, stated that Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) was fomenting extremist violence in India’s Northeast, possibly working through dissident groups with bases in Bangladesh.  The paper also quoted Indian and Bangladeshi sources to say that ISI agents in Bangladesh were encouraging, training and arming some of the militants of the ULFA and other groups. [4]



Terrorism in Punjab was ruthless and bloody. It is a tragic chapter in the history of independent India because Punjab was considered the sword-arm of the country and its people are among the most valiant defenders of India's sovereignty and integrity. During colonial rule, the British, in pursuance of their ‘Divide and Rule’ policy, tried to give a separate identity to the Sikhs and made liberal concessions in their favour. However, at the time of Partition, the Sikhs joined the Indian mainstream. There was, nevertheless, an extremist fringe, which struck a discordant note from time to time. There was accretion in their strength when the States Reorganisation Commission (SRC) refused to concede the Akalis’ demand for a separate Punjab State on the basis of language. This led to a prolonged agitation and eventually Punjab was trifurcated in 1966 into three States, viz. Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The Anandpur Sahib Resolution (1977) was a landmark in the history of Sikh separatism. It demanded that the Indian Constitution be given a truly federal structure with autonomy to the States. In due course, the Akali Dal clarified that the Central Government’s role should be limited to managing Defence, Foreign Affairs, Post and Telegraphs, Currency and Railways.

Meanwhile, in a parallel development, fundamentalist trends started appearing among a section of the Sikhs in the early Seventies. The majority of Sikhs believe that Guru Gobind Singh was their last Guru, but there were splinter movements like the Nirankaris, Radhaswamis and Namdharis, who believe in a living Guru, as personified by the head of their respective sects. The orthodox Damdami Taksal led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale clashed with the Nirankaris on this issue on the day of the Baisakhi festival (April 13, 1978). Sixteen followers of the Damdami Taksal and the Akhand Kirtani Jatha were killed in the confrontation. The incident is regarded as the beginning of terrorist violence in Punjab. The fundamentalists were furious and they killed Baba Gurbachan Singh, the Nirankari Chief. Lala Jagat Narain, the proprietor and editor of the Hind Samachar group of newspapers who was critical of the fundamentalists, was also killed.  Bhindranwale became a cult figure and moved from strength to strength. A virtual parallel administration was set up within the Golden Temple Complex, where Bhindranwale had entrenched himself, and which became a fortress in which weapons were stored and from where diktats were issued. Hit lists were prepared, police officers and men threatened, and people were tortured and even killed inside the Temple complex. Unfamiliar with emerging patterns of terrorism, the administration was paralysed. Its helplessness was exemplified by the killing of A.S. Atwal, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, in broad daylight at the main entrance of the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple), Amritsar. Fear stalked the land.

It was against this background that the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered the Army to move into the Golden Temple, and Operation Blue Star was launched (June 2, 1984). Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Bhai Amrik Singh of the All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) and Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Subeg Singh, who had organised the defences of the Golden Temple, and a host of others were killed in the Army operation. The temple was cleared of the terrorists, but the damage to the Akal Takht deeply hurt the religious sentiments of the Sikhs. Indira Gandhi had to pay the price with her life. Her assassination, in turn, led to anti-Sikh riots at different places in which more than 3,000 Sikhs were killed, adding to the anguish the Sikhs. The fact that the perpetrators of the crime belonged to the ruling Congress and were not brought to book, caused profound resentment and anger among the Sikh community and, in course of time, led to violence on a scale, and accompanied by a brutality, perhaps not seen elsewhere till then.

Pakistan had been watching the developments in Punjab very closely. The alienation of the Sikhs gave them the opportunity they were looking forward to. In the wake of Operation Blue Star, a number of Sikh youth, especially from the border districts, crossed over to Pakistan. The Pakistanis screened them, indoctrinated and motivated, trained and equipped them, and then infiltrated them into India to precipitate terrorist violence. Pakistan's strategy was to:

       destabilise the government apparatus in Punjab;

       cause a communal divide between the Hindus and Sikhs;

       encourage secessionist elements in Punjab and thereby bring about disintegration along India’s western borders; and

       bring the Sikh and Muslim fundamentalists on a common platform with a view to disrupting India’s secular fabric.

Under pressure from Pakistan, the Panthic Committee of separatist Sikhs, announced the formation of ‘Khalistan’ on April 20, 1986. There was a proliferation of terrorist groups, popularly known as Jathebandis, the important ones being the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF), Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF), Bhindranwale Tiger Force of Khalistan (BTFK), Babbar Khalsa (BK), and Khalistan Liberation Organisation (KLO). The modus operandi of the terrorists included:

       indiscriminate mass killings;

       attacking security forces personnel and liquidating suspected police informers;

       kidnappings for ransom;


       bank robberies;

       assassination of VIPs; and

       hijacking aircraft, etc.

The government responded with a reorganisation of the State police force, an induction of para-military forces and even the Army, and made determined efforts to contain terrorist violence. Operation Black Thunder in 1988 was a landmark. The National Security Guard (NSG), an elite paramilitary force, assisted by the CRPF and the Punjab Police, flushed militants out of the Golden Temple in a brilliant operation in which 38 terrorists were killed and 199 surrendered. It was a serious setback to the terrorist movement in Punjab. Unfortunately, the success was not followed up, and terrorist violence picked up again, reaching a crescendo in 1991, when there were 2,586 killings in the State, including 493 fatalities among security forces personnel. The graph of violence, however, started coming down sharply from about the middle of 1992. This was achieved through a combination of factors:

       Border security fencing and flood-lighting of the Punjab border with Pakistan, which made infiltration/exfiltration far more difficult, choking the supply lines with Pakistan;

       Vigorous anti-terrorist operations, whose main ingredients were:

·         formation of well trained and highly motivated commando units;

·         improving the intelligence network;

·         giving sophisticated weapons to the police forces;

·         employing unconventional tactics;

·         Internecine killings among the terrorist outfits;

       Alienation of the public due to reckless killings and extortion from all and sundry, and immoral conduct of the terrorists; and

       Revival of political activities and the democratic process through the holding of State Assembly elections, and the peaceful conduct of municipal and Panchayat elections further helped to normalise the situation.

Punjab offers a unique example where one of world’s deadliest terrorism has not only been contained but almost stamped out. There is however no room for complacency. The fact remains that some hard core terrorists are yet to be accounted for, that terrorist leaders are being sheltered across the borders, and that Pakistan continues to explore avenues to resuscitate terrorist violence in the Punjab.


Jammu & Kashmir

Kashmir has been described in the past as a paradise on earth. This paradise has unfortunately been bleeding. The Kashmir Valley suffered repeated aggressions in 1947, 1965 and again in 1971 and has been the target of cross-border terrorism since 1989.

The Kashmir problem is a legacy of the Partition of the Indian sub-continent in 1947. Certain territories were carved out to constitute a new State of Pakistan. The plan for partition did not apply to some 565 Princely States. The future of these States was left to be decided by their rulers. By August 15, 1947, most of the States acceded either to India or to Pakistan. The ruler of the State of J&K, however, prevaricated and, pending a final decision, concluded a Standstill Agreement with Pakistan. The Agreement was to ensure continuity of administrative arrangements in respect of communications, post and telegraphs, central excise, etc. It was essentially intended to maintain the status quo, and did not create or affect any rights or obligations that would arise from the act of accession.

Pakistan however violated the Agreement and began to apply pressure on J&K to secure its accession. Economic sanctions were imposed. Supplies and services which Pakistan had agreed to give to Kashmir under the Standstill Agreement were either withheld or delayed. The Maharaja, however, refused to be hustled into a decision.  Pakistan precipitated matters on October 22, 1947, by sending tribesmen from its Northwest Frontiers to invade Kashmir. The invaders caused havoc, committing savage atrocities on men, women and children, and reducing the towns and villages they passed through to scorched earth. The tribesmen overran large areas of the State and were within striking distance of the State capital, Srinagar. Faced with this grave emergency, the Maharajah of Kashmir appealed to the Government of India for assistance and, on October 26, 1947, executed the Instrument of Accession, making J&K an integral part of the Indian Union. As Allan Campbell & Johnson concluded in their book Mission with Mountbatten  “the legality of the accession is beyond doubt”. Indian troops were flown into Srinagar on October 27, 1947, to stem the tide of invasion. The invaders were pushed back and large areas occupied by them were cleared.

It was, however, apparent that Pakistan had embarked on an undeclared war in Kashmir. All along the Pakistan-Kashmir border, there were a number of places where invaders were collected and from where supplies and services to them were being organised. In its anxiety not to aggravate tensions and worsen Indo-Pak relations, the Government of India decided to refer the Kashmir dispute to the United Nations' Security Council (UNSC), hoping that the UN would bring to bear the weight of world opinion upon Pakistan and prevail upon it to discontinue its aggression in Kashmir. On January 1, 1948, invoking Articles 34 and 35 of the UN Charter, India lodged a complaint with the UNSC that Pakistan was sending its own nationals and tribesmen in the invasion of the State of J&K, and that such assistance constituted an act of aggression.

The UNSC set up the UN Commission for India and Pakistan and, after consultations and discussions with the two Governments, brokered a cease-fire which became effective from 11:59 p.m. on January 1, 1949. The Truce Agreement recognised “the presence of troops of Pakistan in the territory of the State of Jammu & Kashmir” and stated that this “constitutes a material change in the situation”. The J&K Constituent Assembly confirmed the legality of its accession to India in 1954 and drafted a Constitution for the State, which formally came into effect from January 26, 1957. The Constitution declared that “the State of Jammu & Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India”.

Pakistan’s case in Kashmir is based mainly on its assertion that the majority of Kashmiris are Muslims and that, therefore, Kashmir must become a part of Pakistan. The premise is that the religion of a given people determines their nationality and their political affiliation.  Whatever may have been the validity of this argument in the medieval past, such a premise can never be accepted today. It would, indeed, be dangerous if it were otherwise; for its acceptance would provide a basis for subverting, in the name of religion, the loyalty of a people to the country of their birth. Pakistan’s argument, if stretched to its logical conclusion, would threaten the survival of pluralistic nations all over the world.

The Pakistani position, moreover, ignores the fact that the State of J&K has three well-defined geographical regions: the Kashmir Valley, the Jammu region, and Ladakh. Only the Valley has a majority of Muslims, Jammu has a preponderance of Hindus, and Ladakh is essentially a Buddhist Shangri-La. India, moreover, has the second largest Muslim population in the world, next only to that of Indonesia. 

Pakistan has also been repeating ad nauseum that Kashmiris should have the right of self-determination. It is true that, notwithstanding the accession, assurances were given by eminent Indian leaders that the wishes of the people of J&K would be ascertained with regard to the State forming a part of India.  These assurances were, however, given in the context of vacation of the Pakistani aggression and withdrawal of Pakistan’s forces from Kashmir as a condition precedent.

Pakistan started abetting terrorist actions in J&K as far back as the early 1970s. Terrorists belonging to the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which was formed in 1965 in Pakistan with the object of 'liberating' Kashmir, hijacked an Indian Airlines aircraft in 1971 and again in 1976. In January 1984, a group of JKLF terrorists operating from the United Kingdom kidnapped an Indian diplomat and demanded the release of Maqbool Butt, who had been sentenced to death by an Indian court for his involvement in terrorism. The diplomat was later murdered. There were strong grounds to suspect that Amanullah Khan, the founder member of the JKLF, was responsible for the incident. The British authorities ordered Amanullah Khan to leave UK and he returned to Pakistan, where he was given shelter by the then military regime, and helped to reorganise the activities of the JKLF. His return to Pakistan saw the beginning of the escalation of Pakistani abetment of the terrorists in J&K, through the provision of money, weapons, training facilities and sanctuaries.  

The separatist movement in Kashmir began to metamorphose into militancy in April 1988 due to a combination of factors, primarily external and partly internal. The external factors included the resurgence in the activities of the JKLF and the involvement of Pakistan's intelligence agencies such as the ISI Directorate and the Field Intelligence Unit, in imparting arms training to the Kashmiri youth. On the domestic front, the alliance between the Congress (I) and the National Conference (F) created a political vacuum which was exploited by anti-national elements. The expulsion of the Jamaat-e-Islami from the Muslim United Front in June 1988 led to the party assuming a pronounced anti-national posture; it was no longer inhibited by electoral or political constraints. The Jamaat-e-Islami also entered into a tactical alliance with secessionist and pro-Islamic forces, including the Peoples League (PL), Islamic Student’s League (ISL) and Islamic Jamaat-e-Tulba (IJT).

In 1989, the situation had undergone a sea change with the use of sophisticated firearms and extensive use of explosives, which were smuggled in from Pakistan. Infiltration of Pakistan-trained Kashmiri youth also went up. On January 19, 1990, therefore, Governor’s Rule was promulgated in the State.  Pakistan’s role in sponsoring international terrorism and promoting insurgency in J&K has been comprehensively unmasked in a report prepared by the Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, a Republican Research Committee of the US House of Representatives. It stated that Pakistan started playing this nefarious game as early as the 1970s, when Islamabad commenced training of Sikh militants and members of other separatist movements in India as a part of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s strategy of ‘forward strategic depth’, as also of his effort to avenge the loss of Bangladesh. By the mid-1980s, as brought out by the Task Force, “Islamabad began to broaden its horizons and set its sights on bigger goals”. With growing experience in training, organising and running the mujahideen campaigns in Afghanistan, and with vast military supplies available (through US, Saudi and other foreign assistance), Pakistan began “expanding its operation to sponsor and promote separatism and terrorism, primarily in Kashmir, as a strategic long term programme”. 

Muslim fundamentalists in Pakistan saw the movement in Kashmir as “the long awaited hour for jihad against Indian infidels, a holy war for which Pakistan must funnel material and moral backing.” Pakistan’s obsession with Kashmir, according to the Republican Research Committee, stemmed from three basic factors.  First, the tension over Kashmir creates a diversion from the frustrations at home.  Second, the Kashmir cause allows Islamabad to rally the support of Pakistan’s Islamist parties and their loyalists in the military and the ISI. And, third, it provides the regime an important access point to the markets of Central Asia.

The armed Islamic movement as well as several Saudi, Gulf, Arab and other supporters of the 'Islamic cause' put Kashmir high on their list of jihads to be fought. Kashmir is seen as a relatively easy target.  Many Islamic groups believe that the wresting of Kashmir from India would be a great prize acquired at minimal cost and would inspire their followers and further their cause. An environment has been created in which “ideological zeal and strategic and political considerations have coalesced.”

It was estimated by the Task Force that a total of about 20,000 Kashmiris were trained and armed by/in Pakistan. “Logistical support, primarily weapons and ammunition, is brought from Pakistan.  Training, organisation, propaganda and indoctrination are carried out in the safety of Pakistani sanctuaries.” It further stated that by 1990 there were well over 30 militant groups in Kashmir representing a wide array of ideologies. Of these, as many as 29 groups were receiving assistance and shelter in Pakistan. Yossef Bodansky, Analyst with the Freeman Centre for Strategic Studies, aptly stated:

For Islamabad, the liberation of Kashmir is a sacred mission, the only task unfulfilled since Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s days. Moreover, a crisis in Kashmir constitutes an excellent outlet for the frustration at home, an instrument for the mobilisation of the masses, as well as gaining the support of the Islamist parties and primarily their loyalists in the military and the ISI. [5]

The infiltration into J&K of mujahideen from Afghanistan and other Muslim countries in Central Asia, North Africa and parts of Europe has completely changed the complexion of militancy in the State. In December 1993, during his visit to Pakistan, the Deputy Prime Minister of Afghanistan, Maulana  Arsalan Rahmani, admitted that Afghanistan was providing military assistance to various insurgencies because “we cannot remain aloof from what is happening to the Muslims in occupied Kashmir, Tajikistan, Bosnia, Somalia, Burma, Palestine and elsewhere.”  He hailed Afghanistan’s active support to Islamist militants in different parts of the world and stressed that “we don’t consider the support as intervention in any country’s internal affairs.” Rahmani added that Afghanistan had played a major role in the merger of Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami and Harkat-ul-Mujahiddeen into the potent Harkat-ul-Ansar, and said that “there are about 8,000 members of Harkat-ul-Ansar who are supporting the Kashmiri struggle against Indian occupation.”

In early 1994, according to Bodansky, Pakistan had a force of 2,000-2,500 highly trained mujahideen assigned to Kashmir and that “the key force includes 1,000 Pakistanis (including Pakistan-born Kashmiris), 500 Afghans, as well as numerous Saudis, Egyptians, Sudanese, Algerians, Nigerians, Jordanians, Palestinians and other foreign volunteers”. [6]   The summer of 1994 witnessed a “fundamental turning point in the conduct of the Pakistan-sponsored jihad in Kashmir”, when Islamabad organised the 13 leading Islamist organisations into the United Jihad Council (Muttahida Jihad Council - MJC) under the leadership of Manzur Shah and the overall control of the ISI.  Its members included the Harkat-ul-Ansar, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, Al-Jihad, Al-Barq, Ikhwan-ul-Mussalmin, Tehriq-ul-Mujahideen, and several other Islamist militant organisations. 

Kashmir has, in fact, ceased to be a simple territorial dispute between Indian and Pakistan. The United Nations Commission had noted as far back as August 13, 1948, that the presence of Pakistani troops in J&K had brought about a “material change” in the situation. Later, Gunnar Jarring, UN mediator and subsequently President of the UNSC, reported to the Security Council on April 29, 1957, that he could not fail to take note of “the concern expressed in connection with the changing political, economic and strategic factors surrounding the whole of the Kashmir question together with the changing pattern of power relations in West and South Asia”. The situation has since undergone a complete metamorphosis.  There is aggression by the fundamentalist Islamist forces from several countries - an aggression organised, co-ordinated and spearheaded by Pakistan. It is part of the so-called jihad which the fundamentalist forces have started all over the world. Gen. Hamid Gul, a former Director of ISI, is on record as having stated that it was Pakistan’s ‘divine destiny’ to form a ‘Unified Islamic Entity’ in Southern and Central Asia. “We have nuclear weapons, experience of Afghan jihad and the wherewithal in the shape of Islamic zealots and volunteers to carry out such a global campaign.”

Despite the sustained onslaught, the restoration of the democratic set up in J&K, together with the launch of well co-ordinated counter-insurgency operations, brought about an improvement in the situation, albeit temporarily. In the Assembly elections held in September 1996, Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference (NC) got a massive mandate, winning 57 out of the 87 Assembly seats. A US Congressional Study acknowledged that “India has slowly gained the upper hand against the Kashmiri secessionists.” The advantage has unfortunately been frittered away by politicians who are unresponsive to the aspirations of the people and bureaucrats who lack commitment.

The intrusion in Kargil (1999) demonstrated that Pakistan was determined to keep the pot boiling. It is another matter that the military adventure failed and led to a political upheaval in Pakistan, culminating in the ouster of Nawaz Sharif and the capture of power by the Pakistan Army. Kargil was a triumph; it was also a tragedy.  It was a triumph for the Indian forces. It was a tragedy in the sense that the intrusions need not have taken place at all and that the resultant loss of precious lives was avoidable. The security establishment of the country was caught napping, and by the time Rip Van Winkle awoke after nearly four months, the enemy had dug in and fortified itself well inside Indian territory. India's failure was basically on two fronts: intelligence and operational. The intelligence furnished was much too general and vague for any military effort to be mounted. Operationally, the Army committed the cardinal sin of withdrawing during winter from posts it should have continued to hold.

The massive infiltration in Kargil and the paramount need to drive away the intruders made it imperative that the Army formations closest to the area of confrontation should be diverted there. And so, troops of the 15 and 16 Corps in J&K were withdrawn from counter-insurgency duties and diverted to pushing back the intruders. The Corps Commanders of these formations, who were security advisors with the Unified Headquarters, were replaced by the Director General of Rashtriya Rifles (RR) at the instance of Army Headquarters. The Central and State governments were, perhaps, not consulted in the new arrangement. This was resented by the State government, as also by the paramilitary forces. The security grid, which regulated the deployment of forces and ensured operational co-ordination between them, became loose in the process and even showed centrifugal tendencies. Meanwhile, about 1,200 foreign militants took advantage of the thinning down of troops and their diversion to operational sectors to infiltrate into the Valley. There has, as a result, been a stepping up in the tempo of militancy marked by daring attacks on the security forces’ establishments.

Pakistan’s strategy in Kashmir could be summarised as follows:

       Continue fanning the flames of insurgency by providing

·         Training facilities;

·         Sanctuaries;

·         Financial help; and

·         Arms / ammunition / explosives to the militants.

       Raising the level of violence by

·         Providing more sophisticated weapons and  communication equipment to the militants;

·         Upgrading their training skills; and

·         Inducting mujahideen from foreign countries.

       Expanding the arc of violence to

·         the Jammu region of the State; and

·         Other parts of India.

       Subverting / sabotaging the political structure in the State;

       Raising the issue at international fora from time to time; and

       Bringing the fundamentalists elements, viz., Kashmiri militants, Sikh terrorists, and communal groups on a common platform with a view to:

·         Disrupting India’s secular character;

·         Causing communal disturbances in different parts of the country; and


·         Working for the disintegration, particularly of the border States.

The strategy has acquired a sharper edge over the past months, particularly after Pakistan’s failure to gain ground in Kargil and the hijacking of an Indian Airlines Airbus, which culminated in the release of three notorious militants including Maulana Masood Azhar. The Maulana subsequently threatened to organise a 500,000 strong mujahideen force to wage jihad against India and declared that he would not rest until Kashmir was liberated. [7] The Pakistan-based religious extremist groups have also threatened that their jihad would spread beyond the Kashmir Valley and that “the Islamic flag would be unfurled on the Red Fort”. [8]  

The United States has taken cognisance of these developments.  The Clinton Administration’s top counter-terrorism official, Michael A. Sheehan, while testifying before a Senate Sub-committee, accused Pakistan of becoming a base for terrorist attacks in India. “Within Pakistan, there are numerous Kashmiri separatist groups and sectarian groups involved in terrorism, which use Pakistan as a base… We have continuing reports of Pakistani material support for some of these militants,” he said. [9]   The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director, George Tenet has also stated before a Senate Committee that Pakistan is now one of the breeding grounds for extremists and “there is now an intricate web of alliances among Sunni extremists world-wide, including North Africans, radical Palestinians, Pakistanis and Central Asians.” [10]   Madeleine Albright, US Secretary of State, has also conceded that Pakistan had become a “transit point” for terrorists.

The Government of India claims to have a multi-dimensional strategy to tackle the situation. It includes, inter alia, strengthening the border management, neutralising the militants by proactive action against them, gearing up the intelligence machinery, reorganising the police forces and giving them sharper teeth, raising special battalions of Central Paramilitary Forces for counter-insurgency operations, providing the Village Defence Committee (VDCs) with sophisticated weapons and integrating them with the counter-insurgency grid, greater functional integration through an improved institutional framework at the Unified Headquarters and, at the same time, accelerating the economic development of the State. [11]

The territorial, ethnic, religious and political disputes in the region have, nevertheless, the potential to escalate into a fourth Indo-Pakistan war with nuclear dimensions. The Director of the Non-Proliferation Project of the Carnegie endowment recently stated that the South Asia region is “most likely to see the combat use of nuclear weapons” as Kashmir continued to be a “frightening flash-point” [12]


High Intensity Crime

The virulence of the widening arc of low intensity warfare is compounded by the increasing incidence and influence of high intensity crimes, a phenomenon that includes:

       violent crimes;

       crimes by organised gangs;

       hijackings; and

       Crimes by Left-wing extremists or Naxalites.

Violent crimes have been divided by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) into crimes affecting life, affecting property, affecting public safety and affecting women. There has been a steadily increasing trend in violent crimes against life during the last three years (from 95,939 in 1995 to 98,638 in 1997) and violent crimes against women (from 13,754 in 1995 to 15,330 in 1997). The incidence of murder went up by 31.7 per cent over the decade 1987-1997.  The highest incidence of murder (7,756 cases) was reported from Uttar Pradesh followed by Bihar (5,354 cases). [13]

The mega-cities, with a population of over one million, showed an overall increase of 4.7 per cent in crime during 1997 compared to the previous year. The share of crime reported in Delhi has been the highest (21.1 per cent) followed by Bombay (12.3 per cent) and Bangalore (11.5 per cent).

The total quantum of crimes will inevitably show an upward trend reflecting increases in population, industrialisation, urbanisation, economic disparities, the growth of slums, unchecked migration and a host of other factors. It is not surprising, therefore, that there were a total of 6.41 million cognisable crimes reported in 1997, representing an increase of 28.3 per cent over the preceding ten years. On an average, 12 cognisable crimes were reported every minute in one part of the country or another.

Among the states, Madhya Pradesh reported the highest incidence of crime with 205,026 cases, which amounted to 11.9 per cent of the total Indian Penal Code (IPC) crimes reported during the year in the country. The other States, which reported more than 150,000 cases were Maharashtra (1,85,122 cases, 10.8 per cent), Rajasthan (1,65,469 cases, 9.6 per cent) and Uttar Pradesh (1,52,779, 8.9 per cent).

The courts' inability to dispose-off the registered cases, has also contributed to the worsening of the crime situation. Disposal of cases by the police has not been up to the mark, but the disposal of cases by the courts has been pathetic. During 1997, a total of 21,95,848 cases, including those pending from the previous years, were awaiting disposal or investigation by the police. The police were able to clear 16,72,386, that is 76.2 per cent of the total IPC cases. Actually, the pendancy of cases awaiting disposal by the police has fluctuated around 20 per cent during the decade 1987-1997. On the other hand, there were a total of 54,61,004 cases pending trial in 1997, including the pending cases of the previous year. At the end of the year, 43,95,644, that is 80.5 per cent of these cases were still pending trial in various criminal courts. The pendancy increased by 3.1 per cent in 1997 as compared to 1996. The NCRB concludes that the ratio of disposal of IPC cases by the Police to Courts is around 80:20. The police may be the villain, but this is no compliment to the judiciary.

A disturbing fallout of the pendancy of cases has been that as many as 1,16,54,404 persons (including those from previous years) constituting 1.2 per cent of the country’s total population, were awaiting trial at various criminal courts in the country during 1997. The figure is simply too high for comfort. Those concerned with the administration of criminal justice will have to sit up and think of ways and means to reduce the pendancy and bring down the number of persons held in custody. The conviction rate, that is, the ratio of cases convicted to the total number of cases tried, was a mere 38.2 per cent, which is far from satisfactory. The principle of jurisprudence, borrowed from the British, that it is better that nine guilty men go unpunished rather than that one innocent man be punished, perhaps deserves a second look in the light of our experience over the last fifty years. In our keenness to save the one innocent man, we have repeatedly allowed the nine guilty persons to cause havoc in the society.


Organised Crime

Organised crime is increasingly becoming virulent and devastating in its spread and effect on the socio-economic life of the people. It implies unlawful activities by members of a highly organised and disciplined association, engaged in supplying illegal goods and services. It has generally a ruthless leader at the top with a well-defined hierarchical structure. Its members are bound by a strict code of conduct and those deviating therefrom are punished with liquidation. Corrupt police and public officials, lawyers and judicial officers, political leaders and businessmen provide a protective shield for their operations. The specialist support is extended by sharpshooters, telecom experts and computer wizards. It is the underworld’s government, often with a trans-national network, providing services, allocating resources and territories and settling disputes. The INTERPOL has defined organised crime as:

Any enterprise or group of persons engaged in continuing illegal activity which has as its primary purpose the generation of profits irrespective of national boundaries.

The US Task Force Report, 1967, described the phenomenon in the following words:

Organised crime is a society that seeks to operate outside the control of the American people and their Governments. It involves thousands of criminals working within structures as complex as those of any large corporation, subject to laws more tightly enforced than those of legitimate governments.  Its actions are not impulsive but rather the result of intricate conspiracies, carried on over many years and aimed at gaining control over whole fields of activity in order to amass huge profits.”

The UN Human Resource Development Report has sounded the alarm bell on how organised crime cartels could, in the coming years, establish an iron grip on the world's economies. It is estimated that these syndicates have a turnover of $1.5 trillion, which exceeds the combined Gross National Product (GNP) of more than 50 of the least developed nations of the world. These groups have, in fact, been dubbed as ‘crime multi-nationals’. Syndicates such as the Six Triads in China, which controls the restaurant trade of London, the Japanese Yakuza who are in the business of promoting pornography, and the US-based Cosa Nostra controlling the heroin trade, have developed strategic alliances with key partners in different parts of the world.

The nature and extent of organised crime in India has changed substantially during the last few decades.  Its important forms today are:

       Arms trafficking;

       Drug abuse and drug trafficking;


       Money laundering and hawala;

       Terrorism and Narco-terrorism;

       Contract killings;

       Kidnappings for ransom;

       Trafficking in women and children/prostitution;

       Illegal immigration; and

       Counterfeiting currency.

Mumbai is the nerve centre of organised gangs in the country. The first gang to acquire notoriety in that city was that of Vardharaj Mudaliar, popularly known as Vardha Bhai. Starting from bootlegging, he graduated to gold smuggling, matka gambling, extortion and supari(contract) killing. The other gangs that acquired eminence in the early phase were those of Haji Mastan, Yusuf Patel and Karim Lala.  Mastan and Patel specialised in gold smuggling.  Lala, a Pathan, dealt in drugs. 

The serial blasts in Bombay in March 1993, in the wake of the demolition of the Babri mosque, showed that Pakistan's intelligence agencies had used three mafia dons of Bombay, namely, Dawood Ibrahim, Tiger Memon and Mohammad Dossa to inflict serious damage on the country’s economy and to destabilise its communal equation. Dawood, Memon and Dossa now operate from Dubai and Karachi. Their henchmen extort large sums of money from builders and film producers and undertake supari killings. A study conducted by a former Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, on behalf of the Centre for Police Research, Pune, showed that the majority of gangsters came from outside Bombay city, and that thirty per cent were from outside the State of Maharashtra. They were not divided on the basis of region or religion, but after the 1993 bomb blasts, Hindu gangsters dissociated themselves from the Dawood gang.

Dawood’s is the most powerful gang with a network all over the country and with linkages abroad. The gang is mostly involved in drug trafficking, smuggling, extortion and contract killings. It has a strength of about 4,000 men and the turnover of its business empire is estimated to be around INR 20 billion per year. Apart from his brothers, who are Dawood’s chief counsellors, he is assisted by Abu Salem and Chhota Shakeel.  

There is yet no comprehensive law in the country to deal with the phenomenon of organised crime. The offences have to be dealt with under different sections of the IPC, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, Arms Act, Explosives Act, Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, Foreign Exchange Regulations Act, etc. Countries like the United States, Japan and Italy have legislation on the subject. The US deals with the problem under the Organised Crime Control Act, 1970. Japan has a Prevention of Irregularities by Gangsters Act.  Italy deals with it under Article 416 of its Penal Code.

The Government of India, conscious of the need to tackle organised crime in a systematic manner, has drafted an Organised Crime Control Act. It defines an organised criminal gang as:

A band of two or more persons who commit or attempt to commit or cause to be committed, either individually or collectively, in furtherance of a common object or objects and on a continuing basis, for material gains or otherwise, by taking recourse to use or show of violence or threat of violence, either direct or implied, or by fraudulent or dishonest means corrupting the public servants, any of the acts listed in Schedule - I to this Act.

Schedule-I of the draft includes most of the major criminal offences like murder, physical harm, smuggling, trafficking in drugs, kidnapping for ransom, espionage, causing bomb blasts, aircraft hijacking, hostage taking, mass killing, contract killing, gang rapes, extortion, etc. The draft, significantly, also provides for the setting up of a national body to co-ordinate efforts against organised crime and setting up of Organised Crime Cells at the State level.

Organised crime in India, according to the CBI, is on the rise.

Extortion, kidnappings for ransom, gun running, illicit trafficking in women and children, narcotics trade, money laundering using the hawala network, every conceivable kind of cheating and fraud, bank scams and so on, not only spread a sense of insecurity in the common man but also drain the country of thousands of crores of rupees.  What gets reported to and investigated by the law enforcement agencies is only a minuscule percentage of the overall quantum of organised criminal activity. [14]   



The hijacking of the Indian Airlines Airbus-300 (Flight IC-814) on December 24, 1999, was the thirteenth episode of its kind since 1971, when the first hijacking took place involving a Fokker friendship aircraft. The Government of India, after a prolonged drama lasting over a week, exchanged three militants for the release of the hostages on board the Airbus at Kandahar. As stated by Brahma Chellaney, “whatever the apparent and hidden costs of the Kandahar deal, the main lesson of the hijack crisis is obvious: India is under siege from fundamentalist-terrorist forces fattened by a thriving heroin trade, plentiful supply of modern weapons, and aid from regimes lacking legitimacy.” [15]   A leading national daily also deplored that “the Indian Republic has been outmanoeuvred by terrorists and by a neighbour which supports them and unleashes them on this country” and that “the decision to free three notorious terrorists will be hailed as a great victory by Islamabad in its proxy war.” [16]


Naxal Crimes

The Naxalite movement, which erupted violently in 1967, actually originated from a small village by the name of Naxalbari at the tri-junction of India, Nepal and what was then East Pakistan. Two decades had passed since the dawn of freedom and yet large segments of the Indian population - peasants, workers and tribals - continued to suffer from the worst forms of exploitation. The peaceful political process, it was felt, would not be able to bring about the necessary changes because vested interests controlled the levers of power, regulated the wheels of industry and had a feudal stranglehold over the predominantly agrarian economy. An armed struggle, it was consequently argued, was the only way out. The movement attracted some of the finest brains and some of the finest among the country’s youth. Charu Mazumdar, the ideologue, gave a call for the “annihilation of class enemies”, which was projected as a “higher form of class struggle and the beginning of guerrilla war.” The identified 'class enemies' included the landlords and their agents, rich peasants, moneylenders, and policemen and their informers. The fire spread to several parts of the country. There were acts of terrorism involving targeted killings. Naxalite violence touched a peak between the middle of 1970 and the mid-1971, when there were a total of about 4,000 violent incidents in which 565 persons lost their lives. The Government of India thereupon initiated joint operations by the Army and the Police in the worst-affected areas of West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. The leading cadres of the movement were apprehended or killed. The movement suffered a setback. Intra-party differences weakened it further. The formation, in 1980, of the People’s War Group (PWG) in Andhra Pradesh gave a fresh lease of life to the movement. Gradually the PWG emerged as the most formidable and the most aggressive Naxalite formation in the country, spreading its tentacles to the adjoining areas of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Orissa. Bihar has also witnessed fierce Naxalite violence, particularly by the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC).

Naxalites have been killing about four to five hundred persons a year through the nineties, demonstrating thereby their lethal punch. The PWG in Andhra Pradesh has lately been on a rampage to express its protest and anger over the ‘encounter’ in which three of their top comrades were killed.  It was alleged that PWG Central Committee Members Nalla Adi Reddy, Y. Santosh Reddy and Seelam Naresh were whisked away from Bangalore and thereafter killed in what was described as an encounter between Naxalites and the police in the forests of Karimnagar district on December 2, 1999. The Naxalites gave a call for a two-day State bandh in mid-December during which they set off landmines, blasted railway tracks, burnt houses of ruling party legislators and torched State-owned buses. Seven Andhra Pradesh Police personnel were also killed by the Naxalites in an attack on the Dorukonda armed outpost in a dense forest area, about 180 kilometres from the port city of Vishakhapatnam, on February 18, 2000.

The PWG in Andhra is believed to have a formidable arsenal.  Organised into 54 dalams the Naxals have, according to the State Police, a total of 1,690 weapons including 90 AK 47 rifles, 650 revolvers and pistols and 950 other weapons. [17]

In Madhya Pradesh, the Naxals hacked to death the State Transport Minister, Lakhiram Kavre at Sonepuri village, Balaghat district, on December 15, 1999. They followed this up by killing 23 policemen in a landmine explosion near Narayanpur in Bastar district on February 20, 2000. Those killed included Additional Superintendent of Police, Bhaskar Dewan. It is estimated that out of the 150 people killed by Naxalites in Madhya Pradesh during the past decade, 122 have been policemen. The Bastar division has been the worst affected, with 86 killings.

In Bihar, the MCC killed 12 members of the minority community at Loto village, 42 kilometres from Daltonganj, on November 16, 1999.  The marauders, said to number 200, slit the throats of the victims, not even sparing women and children. The MCC also tried to disrupt the recently held Assembly elections in the State. In the violence let loose by them, eight CRPF jawans and four Border Security Force (BSF) personnel lost their lives. The Naxalites also killed eight Bihar Military Police jawans and a driver in a landmine explosion at Lamari village under the Majhiaon police station of Garhwa district on March 11, 2000, and decamped with their rifles and a large amount of ammunition.

State governments have generally made the mistake of treating the Naxalite problem as a law and order problem alone. They forget that development has exposed the tribals to economic and social injustice, and that this draws them towards the Naxalites, who take cudgels on their behalf to protect them from forest contractors and middlemen. The process of globalisation has unfortunately sharpened the divide between the haves and have nots.  As stated by Pranay Gupte, Editor of The Earth Times:

Yet political freedom hasn’t brought a better life for most of the world’s people. As a new millennium dawns, the global imbalance of misery is far more dramatic than anything…even imagined: 2 billion of the world’s population of 6 billion live under the poverty line, subsisting on less than the equivalent of $1 a day. While industrialised countries are largely awash with prosperity, the benefits of globalisation seem to elude growing number of people in more and more countries. For many of these people, it has been a transition from Raj to rags. [18]


Tackling the Terror

Low intensity conflicts and high intensity crime are a serious threat to regional political stability and a big drain on the country’s economy. Moreover, they generate social tensions, dividing people along caste, ethnic, communal, sectarian and regional lines. They need to be tackled in a comprehensive manner. The basic requirements necessary for engagement in LIC, according to Kimbra L Krueger, are: [19]

1.        Insurgency and counter insurgency;

2.        Combination of military and political means to achieve well defined goals;

3.        Covert action including SOPs and HUMINT (Special Operations and Human Intelligence);

4.        Protracted commitment to protracted conflict;

5.        Hierarchical and integrative policy co-ordination, execution and implementation;

6.        Unitary command structure integrated with civilian and diplomatic efforts;

7.     Peace Operations based on the principles:

       Peace keeping preferred to peace enforcement;

       Planning for a political end state and a clear exit point for the peace keepers;

       Effective policy co-ordination, implementation and execution;

       Strict adherence to objectives;

       Humanitarian Assistance;

       Exit point;

       Effective cease fire in place;

       Limited and specific goal with reasonable chance of success;

       Low risk environment.

India will have to evolve a long-term policy for tackling LICs, and has to examine the basic causes that have led people in a particular area to take up arms. These causes should be analysed threadbare and the legitimate grievances addressed. At the same time, there should be a conscious effort to bring disaffected groups into the national mainstream without snapping their cultural moorings. Counter-insurgency operations should be well orchestrated, with complete unity of command at the apex. Human rights must be respected and there should be no recourse to short-cut methods. Intelligence available with different agencies needs to be pooled. External involvement and support, where it exists, must be cut-off. The local police needs to be energised and motivated to engage the insurgent outfits. The paramilitary forces require greater mobility, weaponry and improved communications.  It will also have to be ensured that the right force is deployed at the right place. There is also urgent need to reform the civil administration in order to make it more loyal, committed and responsive to the aspirations of the people.

A note prepared by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) contained the dismal observation that “there is widespread corruption and leakage of funds”, that “the politician/ bureaucrat / businessman / contractor nexus has defeated all attempts to tackle insurgency”, and that the insurgent activities had become “a self-sustaining system promoted and kept alive by the very people charged with its eradication”.  As long as this nexus persists, and accountability cannot be enforced at all levels, all efforts to bring the unending tragedies of escalating violence under control will remain doomed to failure.


*       Prakash Singh was Director General of the Border Security Force and also Police Chief of Uttar Pradesh and Assam. He was awarded Padmashree for his contribution to national security during his four year stint as Inspector General, BSF Punjab. He has published books on Nagaland and The Naxalite Movement in India. Yet another book, Kohima to Kashmir is to be published in the near future. He has lectured at several American Universities on subjects connected with Terrorism and Kashmir. Currently, he is Convenor, Vivekananda Kendra, UP and also President, KARNA INDIA, an NGO.

[1]      Hayde, Lt. Col. H.T., Shadow War: Special Operations and Low Intensive Conflict, Pacific Aero Press, p. xi.

[2]       Ibid.

[3]       The plebiscite, as examined at length in my book Nagaland [National Book Trust], India was a fraud perpetrated on the Naga people for the following reasons: a) the exercise covered only Kohima and Mokokchung districts and left out the Tuensang area; b) in the districts covered only the men were asked to exercise their franchise as women were not considered intelligent enough to give their choice on such a critical matter; c) villages which were comparatively inaccessible were left out; d) the issues were oversimplified, like asking the villagers if they wanted to retain their land or surrender that to India, and never explained in their full implications to the people.

[4]       The Hindustan Times, March 11, 2000.

[5]      Bodansky, Yossef, Pakistan’s Kashmir Strategy, Houston, Texas: Freeman Centre for Strategic Studies, p.1.

[6]       Ibid, p.5

[7]       The Times of India, January 11, 2000.

[8]       The Times of India, December 15, 1999.

[9]       The Times of India, November 4, 1999.

[10]      The Times of India, February 4, 2000.

[11]      Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Annual Report 1998-99, p.26.

[12]      The Hindustan Times, March 4, 2000, citing an article in the Christian Science Monitor.

[13]      Statistics under this heading are based on Crime In India: 1997, published by National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs.

[14]     Kumar, Neeraj, ‘Organised Crime’, Seminar, November 1999, p.26.

[15]      The Hindustan Times, January 1, 2000.

[16]      The Times of India, January 1, 2000.

[17]      State Director General Police, HJ Dora’s statement reported in The Hindustan Times, January 4, 2000.

[18]      Newsweek, Dec. 27, 1999 - January 3, 2000.

[19]     Krueger, K.L., ‘US Military Intervention in third World Conflict : The need for Integration of Total War and LIC Doctrine’, Low Intensity Conflict & Low Enforcement, Vol.4, No.3 (Winter 1995), p.421.





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