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Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 1, No. 10, September 23, 2002

Data and assessments from SAIR can be freely published in any form with credit to the South Asia Intelligence Review of the
South Asia Terrorism Portal


J&K Elections 2002 - Phase 1: Voter turnout (in %)


* Provisional figures, subject to final verification by the Election Commission of India.
Source: Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Srinagar.



J&K Elections: Round One to Democracy
Guest Writer: Praveen Swami, in Srinagar
Chief of Bureau, Mumbai, Frontline

"Respected President, Sumo [jeep] Service, Bandipora: As-salaam alaikum. You are hereby informed through this pamphlet that you have provided vehicles to the contestants for holding rallies during the so-called elections…. You are well aware of the sacrifices of the people and are bargaining with the blood of martyrs. You are therefore warned to desist from such activities. Obey, [baaz aa jao] or we or we will blow up both the vehicles and the traitors in them."
  - Bandipora District Commander, Jamaat-ul-Mujaheddin, code-name 'K.K.', August 28, 2002.

34 political activists have been murdered in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) in the four weeks since elections were announced there on August 22, 2002. This macabre roll call builds on the 40 who had been assassinated within the current year, before that date. 168 civilians have died in terrorist attacks from the beginning of August to September 22, and another 179 have been injured. The figures continue to rise day by day, at times, hour upon hour.

And yet, something quite remarkable is underway in Jammu & Kashmir. Despite sustained assaults by Pakistan-based terrorist groups of the Islamic Right, continued cross-border terrorism, and the wholesale intimidation of voters, democracy is managing, almost miraculously, to flourish. Voter turnout in the first round of the four-phase elections in the state, held in the hard-hit districts of north Kashmir and western Jammu, has exceeded the expectations of even the most incurable optimists. More important, there is every reason to believe that the Assembly elected to office in October will be the most widely representative the State has seen.

Media attention had, prior to the first round of voting, been obsessively focussed on the twin issues of terrorist coercion, and alleged state counter-coercion, of voters. The elections had, sadly, been reduced to something of a cricket match, with India batting, Pakistan bowling, and the people of Jammu & Kashmir reduced to obscure figures in the outfield waiting for the ball to come their way. In fact, the actual election process has seen a plethora of complex political themes play themselves out, ranging from purely local concerns of governance and development, to meta-issues of the State's political future.

Patterns of voter turnout point to the highly varied processes that were in operation during the voting on September 16. In areas like Kupwara and Handwara, where the ruling National Conference (NC) was confronted by credible opposition figures, turnout was considerably higher than in 1996 [Table]. This level of voter participation took place, incredibly, despite the assassination of State Law Minister, Mushtaq Ahmad Lone, in adjoining Lolab on September 11. On the other hand, Sopore, with a long history of Jamaat-e-Islami domination, registered an extremely low voter turnout - a fact that should have made journalists reporting allegations that the Army was forcing people to vote bring some scepticism to bear on their informants' claims. High turnouts were also recorded in one-horse NC pocket boroughs like Uri and Gurez. A complex of local factors - political competition, ideological affiliation, and candidate credibility, thus influenced the decision of voters to participate in the polling exercise.

Little attention has been paid to the fact that this was a fundamentally more inclusive election, despite its boycott by secessionist formations. The participation of candidates covertly-backed by the secessionist People's Conference has been much noted, but not, for example, the participation of Jamaat-e-Islami rebels led by Khaliq Haneef. 18 of 105 candidates in the first phase were one-time terrorists, individuals believed by the State police to have current links with terrorist organisations, or people with past links with terrorists or current secessionist groups. It is rumoured that Mushtaq Lone's assassination was itself the consequence of his recruiting the support of a local Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander, Asad Malik, which incensed the mainly Pakistan-national Lashkar-e-Toiba. Since this kind of participation took place in spite of terrorist fiat against the election, it would be plausible to suggest that it was the outcome of grassroots support for participation in the process of democratic conflict-resolution.

Terrorist activity did, however, succeed in reducing turnout sharply in some areas, like Rajouri and Poonch. An engagement between troops and terrorists claimed the lives of five Lashkar-e-Toiba cadre near Surankote even while voting was underway. Terrorist groups cordoned off several of the more remote villages of the region, while 107-milimetre rockets were fired at Thanamandi and Surankote. Poonch and Rajouri saw some of the worst pre-election violence, exceeding in scale even the carnage in north Kashmir. In the week before polling, influential NC leaders Qazi Mohammad Riaz was shot dead at his home near the Shahdara Sharif shrine near Thanamandi in Poonch. Another of his party colleagues was killed at Mendhar, in Rajouri. The worst pre-election attack came on September 11, when a rally being addressed by All India Congress Committee (I) general secretary Ambika Soni and State Congress (I) president Ghulam Nabi Azad was attacked at Surankote city. Four terrorists in army uniforms opened fire on the rally from nearby maize-fields, killing ten security personnel and two civilians, one of them just 14 years old. Two terrorists were killed and twenty-two persons injured in this incident.

Continuing violence makes it clear that the election process in itself isn't going to 'solve the Kashmir problem'. It has, however, opened up space for the people of J&K to address some of the more enduring problems of the State - of livelihood, education, health, infrastructure, the nuts-and-bolts issues of everyday life. Most importantly, if observers are correct, the election results will signal to Jammu & Kashmir's ruling party, that poor governance and corruption will be punished by voters. That too, may secure very real gains for ordinary people.

Whether or not the next six years will be less bloody than the last six, however, will depend on the extent to which Pakistan can be prevailed upon to turn the tap off on cross border terrorism.



Peace Talks: The Transformation of Terror?
Guest Writer: Dr. Rohan Gunaratna
Senior Fellow, Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, United Kingdom

The Government of Sri Lanka-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) peace talks that began in Thailand on September 16, 2002, are a first step in a process that is expected to culminate either in the restoration of a permanent peace or two separate nation-states on the island of Sri Lanka. In the immediate aftermath of 9-11, the LTTE embarked on a sustained dialogue for peace to evade further blacklisting as a terrorist group by governments worldwide. The LTTE has been proscribed, designated or banned as a terrorist group by a number of governments - India, Malaysia, USA, Canada, UK, Australia - countries where the LTTE has significant terrorist infrastructure for disseminating propaganda, raising funds, procuring and shipping supplies to support their terrorist campaign in Sri Lanka.

Stating that it will damage the on-going peace process, LTTE propagandists have been urging the European governments and New Zealand not to include them in their terrorist lists. As the LTTE operates through community organisations and also apply pressure on host politicians using significant constituency pressure, some governments have responded to the LTTE plea. After getting the LTTE de-proscribed in Sri Lanka, the current LTTE strategy is to get the foreign governments to take them off their terrorist lists as well. This is partly why the most prominent members of the LTTE peace delegation are from overseas - Anne and Anton Stanislaus Balasingham from the UK; V. Rudrakumaran from the US and Jay Maheswaran from Australia, all heads and deputy heads, if not prominent office bearers of the LTTE, in countries where the LTTE has been blacklisted.

The LTTE is one of the most successful terrorist groups in the world. The LTTE leadership, headed by Velupillai Prabhakaran, is confident that it is only a question of time before it achieves a military victory against the Sri Lankan security forces in the northeast. However, the LTTE is aware that it desperately needs to restore the international legitimacy it has lost in over a quarter of a century of unbridled terrorism since Prabhakaran killed Alfred Duraiappah, the then Tamil mayor of Jaffna, in 1975. The LTTE has consequently been exerting efforts to move away from terrorism (targeting civilians) and building guerrilla capabilities (targeting security force personnel), especially after it suicide-bombed Sri Lanka's World Trade Centre twin towers in January 1996. Even its leader 'Chairman Prabhakaran', also self-styled as 'the national leader of the Eelam Tamils', has changed his macho appearances in Army fatigues, holding a firearm, into a statesmanlike figure in a safari suit. In trying to change their leader's image of a 'ruthless megalomaniac' or as 'Asia's master of terror' into a Sri Lankan Nelson Mandela, the LTTE web sites quotes Nelson Mandella and Mahatma Gandhi.

The LTTE realises that India still holds the key to a durable peace in Sri Lanka, and India was the LTTE's first choice of the venue for the peace talks. The LTTE requested Norwegian mediators to lobby New Delhi to lift its proscription against the group, and sought to re-establish a strategic support base in Tamil Nadu. The Indian government, however, saw through the LTTE intention and opposed the re-use of Indian soil by the LTTE. Today, New Delhi holds the LTTE leadership responsible for the suicide assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the death of 1,555, and injury of some 3,000 Indian peacekeepers in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990. Having aided the LTTE from 1983-1987 and subsequently burnt its fingers, India is also aware that the LTTE has not truly changed its spots. India's vast intelligence community has been monitoring the LTTE at the same level that it monitors other terrorist groups that threaten India. Unlike the Sri Lankan intelligence service that was politicised after Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunge took to office in 1994, both India's foreign and domestic security services have been monitoring the LTTE's banking, procurement and shipping network. LTTE's pronouncements that it wishes to abandon violence and enter mainstream politics are inconsistent with the findings of the Indian services that the LTTE is continuing to build a significant military capability.

Thailand has been a safe haven for the LTTE after its head of banking, procurement and shipping, Tharmalingam Shanmugam Kumaran alias Kumaran Pathmanathan, moved out of neighbouring Malaysia after the Malaysian Special Branch detected and seized an LTTE ship in 1990. In addition to setting up a number of lucrative businesses, the LTTE established a state-of-the-art boatyard that manufactured a dozen different boats, including a mini-submarine for debussing divers. As LTTE attack crafts and suicide boats were getting hit in surface battles with the navy that had managed to procure fast craft and long range guns, the LTTE wished to improve their capability by sneaking in divers armed with explosive devices into Sri Lankan ports. The Thai authorities detected the LTTE operation in Pukhet, but since it was not an offence to build a submarine in Thailand, the Thai authorities released the head of the boatyard, a Sri Lankan Tamil refugee, who then returned to Norway. For a long time, both the Indian and Sri Lankan intelligence communities have been aware of LTTE activities in Thailand especially its procurement and shipping activities. For instance, the LTTE ship Horizon (Julex Comex 3) detected and destroyed in a joint Indian Sri Lankan operation originated from Thailand. Similarly, Cholakeri, a ship with a wooden hull transporting weapons to Sri Lanka, sank off the coast of Thailand due to excessive weight. Foreign intelligence services have reported that the LTTE works with corrupt politicians and military officers in the service of the Thai government who protect its operations. The choice of Thailand as the venue for talks, consequently, was no surprise.

What is important is for Norway, Sri Lanka, and other governments with an interest in peace in Sri Lanka, is to grasp this opportunity to facilitate LTTE's entry into the political mainstream. If sufficient political, military and economic pressure is applied on the LTTE, it can be made to abandon its avowed goal of an independent mono-ethnic Tamil State. Since early 2002, there has been a failure on the part of Norway and others to move the LTTE in the direction of peace. On the contrary, the LTTE has strengthened itself militarily, consolidated itself politically and is planning to harness the economic aid that is likely to come its way in the next few months.

As long as a terrorist group is unwilling to compromise on fundamental issues, a peace process would prove waste of time and energy, unless the government itself needs time to rebuilt its economy and its security forces. In the current Sri Lankan context, there is no evidence of the government restructuring, reorienting or strengthening its military. On the contrary, there is evidence of a military build-up by the LTTE, not only in terms of continuous recruitment (including forcible recruitment), procurement of supplies overseas, and training of cadres and fund raising (even by extortion), but also of a bid to go high-tech, procuring the services of a computer engineer to develop a computer guided integrated air defence system and underwater weapons to deter and cripple the Sri Lanka navy.

Sri Lanka's capability not only to fight terrorism but also to defend itself against the terrorist threat has suffered gravely in the recent past. In their attempts to survive, most Sri Lankan leaders have made the ethnic conflict a political football. Instead of strengthening the hand of, and working together with, the six Tamils groups that joined the political process in 1987, they looked to the LTTE that remained committed to establishing an independent mono-ethnic Tamil state.

By politicising the military and the intelligence community, past governments emasculated these national institutions and rendered them impotent. They dispatched the best military generals as ambassadors and high commissioners, retaining weak yes-men around them. Appointments and promotions were not on merit, ability and performance, but on personal and party loyalty. Sri Lanka must build a professional military with at least 40 per cent elite troops (commandos, special forces, etc.), as its regular soldiers with six months training cannot fight the LTTE effectively. In addition to inducting fresh blood and training, Sri Lanka has no option but to professionalise its intelligence services - the eyes and ears of the state. A well-trained (and retrained) and well-led military is a credible threat to the LTTE, as opposed to a numerically large military. Similarly, an intelligence community that can penetrate the terrorist group and know its inner workings is an asset, both in war and peace. Sri Lanka cannot be an exception to how other governments with similar threats manage their business.

The current international climate is likely to restrain the LTTE from returning to violence in the short term. Since 9-11, along with several other groups, the international spotlight has been on the LTTE, one of the world's most ruthless terrorist groups. The threat of further international isolation especially the likelihood of the US and other countries stepping up assistance to the Sri Lankan government in the event the group returns to violence, is understood by the LTTE. The post-9-11 policy response of the international community to criminalise and prosecute terrorist groups has placed all terrorist front, cover and sympathetic organisations, including the LTTE, under significant pressure worldwide. Nonetheless, all terrorist groups are creating new front, cover and sympathetic organisations periodically, in order to disseminate propaganda, raise funds, procure and ship supplies. The international community needs to move a step further and develop updated secondary lists that identify, name, and act against individuals and organisations supporting terrorism and terrorist groups. This is a labour intensive task requiring close cooperation and coordination between host and parent states. As a learning organisation, the LTTE has adapted to the international threat by seeking to operate below the intelligence radar screen and becoming more invisible. For instance, its procurement cells are time-sensitive where it would establish a cell in Europe for a few weeks, procure supplies and then dissolve the cell. Similarly, LTTE today prefers to use trawlers that hug the coast, rather than large cargo ships it used in the 1980s and 1990s.

Like Al Qaeda, the LTTE is an international organisation. When responding to an international organisation, an international response is essential. It was US-UK cooperation against the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) raising funds and procuring technologies from the US that finally forced PIRA to abandon violence and enter the political mainstream in the UK. Likewise, close cooperation between Sri Lankan and other host security and intelligence agencies aimed at disrupting LTTE banking, procurement and shipping networks are likely to pressurise the LTTE to accept a negotiated political settlement. The only way the LTTE can be made to commit to a permanent peace is by making it realise that they have no option but to go down this road. If continuous international and domestic pressure is not applied on the LTTE to dismantle their terrorist support infrastructure, the group is likely to mark time until the international focus shift away from the LTTE, and then recommence its campaign.

There are other issues that must be addressed principally in the peace process. The most important is the core problems of linking devolution to decommissioning, and not the peripheral problems of development aid. As in the past, the LTTE is likely to use development aid to strengthen itself politically, economically and militarily, and to resume the fighting in time. Sri Lankan and Norwegian leaders must develop a long-range view of the problem - otherwise they are likely to be entrapped by the LTTE. What is happening today is consistent with the past LTTE model of political behaviour, with the LTTE extracting the maximum by deception and deceit. Relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction are important, but unless core issues are not resolved, the patterns of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are likely to repeat themselves in Sri Lanka. At the moment, all the actors are wallowing on the periphery, leaving the centre untouched.

As a facilitator, Norway wishes well for the people of Sri Lanka. However, if permanent peace is to return, Norway must create a strategic umbrella of states that will guarantee the peace process. Norway itself has no political, economic or military strength to reinforce an agreement between the government and the LTTE. India, USA, and Europe - countries that have significant influence in Sri Lanka both with the government and the LTTE - must be part of this strategic umbrella. As the Norway-brokered Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Accords demonstrate, even if a strategic umbrella is created, it is no guarantee that peace will prevail. That, unfortunately, is the best one can hope for within the context of current attempts to establish a permanent peace in Sri Lanka.



Militant Camps: Ending a Foreign Scourge
Guest Writer: Palden Tshering
Web Editor, KUENSEL Online

What has been the result of the agreement between the Royal Government of Bhutan and the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) leaders last year for a phased removal of militant camps from Bhutanese soil? If the militants had kept their word, it would indicate the wisdom of the strategy of dialogue. But if the ULFA had failed to close down the four camps as agreed, and reduced their strength in the remaining five camps, the time for peaceful negotiations is over.

There are disturbing indications that promises may not have been kept. Between February 18 and 22, 2002, 10 heavily armed ULFA militants had entered Dagana through the jungles of Sarpang and Tsirang, followed by groups of four and 16 militants a few weeks later. The presence of armed militants was also reported in Tsirang, between February 16 and April 29, 2002. Does this mean that the militants had betrayed their written agreement with the government?

Compounding the issue, reports have also come in from Chukha that the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) and Bodo militants (the National Democratic Front of Boroland,
NDFB) have been seen moving in areas under Chukha Dzongkhag, posing a serious threat to the national power projects. Although the Government has long been aware of the close links between the ULFA and the KLO, it came to know of the existence of KLO camps within Bhutanese territory only recently.

Home Minister, Lyonpo Thinley Gyamtsho, confirmed that, as of December 31, 2001, the ULFA had indeed closed down the four camps it had agreed to: Gobarkonda, Nangri, Deori and the Military Training Centre in Martshala Geog. The campsites had been subsequently visited by Bhutanese military and civil authorities and all the camps were burnt down to ensure that they would not be used again.

"The closure of the four ULFA camps as per the agreed minutes of June, 2001, without firing a single shot and without the loss of a single life, is a small step towards a peaceful solution of the presence of these armed foreign militants in our territory," the Home Minister said.

Although only five camps should be left, it was later discovered that the ULFA had opened a new camp on a mountain ridge above the Samdrup Jongkhar - Trashigang highway. As a result, the ULFA currently has six camps within Bhutan.

The Home Minister also indicated that it was difficult to confirm whether militants from the camps that had closed down had left Bhutan. He stated that the ULFA leaders themselves had conceded that most of the men and materials could not be taken out of Bhutan in time because the Indian Army had sealed the Indo-Bhutan border. Thus, he added, "there is also every possibility that the ULFA may not have complied with the second clause of the agreed minutes, to reduce the strength of their cadres in their remaining five camps."

Meanwhile, the NDFB had established three main camps and four mobile camps between Lhamoizingkha and Daifam, even as the new group from the Indian State of West Bengal, the KLO, had set up two camps, one under Bhangtar Dungkhag and another near Piping under Lhamoizingkha Dungkhag.

Assamese militants are known to have first infiltrated into Bhutan in 1990 and 1991, after the Indian army launched a major military offensive against them in Assam.

With nowhere to turn to, they found the 266-kilometre Bhutan border convenient, because of its proximity with Assam; the dense forests and rugged hills were ideal for guerrilla warfare.

Initially, Bhutanese villagers and foresters mistook them for poachers and timber smugglers. It was only in 1994 that the government came to know that militants had set up camps in Bhutan.

Bhutan is faced with the dilemma of strained relations with a good neighbour and the rising Indian pressure urging the Bhutanese government to flush out the militants. On the other hand, there are strong apprehensions that if the Bhutanese forces attempted to purge the camps through military means and failed, the repercussions would be immense, eventually leading to a lengthy and destabilizing conflict. After all, for how long have the battle-hardened Indian forces been fighting the ULFA and other militant groups in the Northeast, with no end in sight?

When the ULFA camps were discovered by Bhutan, the country did not even have a single Army camp along the Assam-Bhutan border. Bhutanese have also been targeted by what is thought to be militant violence. In 1997, a police station in Nganglam, well inside the border town of Bhutan, was attacked and four policemen were killed. In 1998, a senior army officer and his convoy was ambushed in Patshala in Assam. Again, in December 2000, 15 people were brutally murdered and many more injured; and in August 2002, five Bhutanese were killed, all of them along the Assam highway. There was no provocation or armed response from the Bhutanese side to these terrorist attacks; the identity of the terrorists is still in question.

There was a strong feeling in the public mind that India's role in these incidents had to be questioned. While Bhutanese vehicles had been attacked and innocent travellers killed, there had not been a single militant attack on buses operated on the same route by Indian operators, although many Bhutanese travellers were using these buses. The people of Bhutan wanted answers but the government was unable to respond, indicating that it was unable to identify whether the incidents were executed by Assamese militants, or by other parties interested in provoking a response from Bhutan.

The Bhutanese people and the National Assembly, two years ago, were in agreement that steps had to be taken to address the problem of the militant camps. A four-pronged approach was agreed upon: Peaceful dialogue; Cutting off ration supplies to camps; Prosecuting and punishing people assisting militants; Military action. After exhausting the first three options, military action was left; for the first time in a century, the people and their government were willing to shed blood. But a breakthrough occurred, and a comprehensive strategy was announced for the ULFA and Bodo militants in 2001, after the Home Minister, on the directives of His Majesty the King, had held five rounds of talks with the militant leaders in 1998,1999, 2000 and 2001. An agreement was eventually signed in June 2001, between the Government and the militants on three points:

  • The ULFA will remove four of their nine camps in Bhutan by December 2001.
  • They will also reduce the strength of their cadres in the remaining five camps.
  • Following the implementation of this agreement within December 2001, the government and the ULFA will meet again to find a solution to the five remaining ULFA camps in Bhutan.

Although the ULFA has reduced the number of its camps, its strength in Bhutan in terms of men and material is difficult to assess. Meanwhile, after two rounds of meetings with the NDFB, in October 2000, and May 2001, including talks with its president D. R. Nabla @ Ranjan Daimary, no more negotiations could be held with this militant group. However, the NDFB militants had also been told to remove their camps from Bhutanese territory as soon as possible. The discovery of the third militant outfit, the KLO from West Bengal, further complicates the whole issue of the presence of armed foreign militants in Bhutan. Their continued operation from Bhutanese soil constitutes a grave threat to Bhutan's national security and sovereignty.

The Government has now articulated a new three-pronged strategy to address the problem:

  • To hold talks with the chairman and the military commander of ULFA together because, in the past, it was on the pretext of the absence of one or the other that no final decisions could be taken during the meetings.
  • The government would not agree to any more meetings on the reduction of camps but would only discuss the closure of the main camp, which served as their headquarters. ·
  • If the leaders of the ULFA refused to relocate their headquarters, then it will be clear to the government and people of Bhutan that the ULFA has no intention of leaving Bhutanese territory and therefore there would be no other option but to evict them physically.
The country now awaits a meeting with the ULFA chairman and military commander. What will be the result? Will an armed response be necessary? Or will the hopes of the people become a reality: that a peaceful solution, though dialogue, goodwill and mutual respect, will end the activity of foreign militants in the Land of the Thunder Dragon.



Weekly Fatalities: Major conflicts in South Asia
September 16-22, 2002

Security Force Personnel
Jammu & Kashmir
Left-wing extremism
Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


Left-wing extremists kill four police personnel in Sirajganj district: In an attack on a police camp under Belkuchi Upazila (sub-division), Sirajganj district, approximately 40 left-wing extremists of the outlawed Purba Banglar Communist Party (PBCP), commonly known as Sarbahara Party, killed at least four police personnel and injured nine others on September 16, 2002. They also looted 12 firearms and an unspecified quantity of ammunition. Dailystar News, September 17, 2002.


Mafia don Abu Salem arrested in Portugal: Abu Salem, one of India's most wanted criminals and an accused in the 1993-Mumbai serial bomb blasts case, was arrested in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon by the Interpol on September 18, 2002. Wanted in several cases of murder, extortion and abduction, Salem was arrested along with his associate Monica Bedi. He has been detained because of an Interpol notice in connection with the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts. Salem was being trailed by the FBI and is believed to be linked with Al Qaeda's financial operations. The Hindu, September 23, 2002; Hindustan Times, September 21, 2002.

MCC Naxalites kill six persons in Jharkhand: Left-wing extremists - Naxalites - of the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) killed six persons and injured many others in a forest between Asnachua and Bokhra villages in Hazaribagh district, Jharkhand, on September 20, 2002. Outlook, September 21, 2002.

First phase of J&K elections positive, says US Ambassador Blackwill: The United States Ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, said on September 19, 2002, that the first phase of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) had been 'very positive' and the 48 per cent turnout was 'remarkable'. Condemning terrorist violence in J&K, Blackwill reportedly said that infiltration across the Line of Control (LoC) was down in June and July, but since the end of July it had increased and had been up in August and September. The Hindu, September 20, 2002.

Six SF personnel among 13 persons killed in Manjakote, J&K: Six security force (SF) personnel, three terrorists and four civilians were killed at Katarmal village in Manjakote block, on September 18, 2002. Reports indicated that a group of 20 to 25 infiltrators had initially taken shelter in three houses, but later escaped to the Katarmal forests after SFs commenced cordon and search operations. As the SFs headed for Katarmal forests, they were attacked by the terrorists, and in the ensuing encounter two terrorists and an SF person were killed. Later, in a resumed encounter, five more SF personnel including, a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO), and a terrorist were killed. While two SF personnel were injured in this encounter, four civilians are reported to have been killed in the cross fire. Daily Excelsior, September 19, 2002.

Higher voter turnout expected in remaining phases of J&K poll, says Premier Vajpayee: Speaking to the media in New Delhi on September 17, 2002, on his return after a week-long visit to the United States, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said the first phase of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) were according to "our expectations". He expressed confidence that voter turnout would increase in the remaining three phases. He said, "It is a big thing… It is clear the people of Jammu and Kashmir want peace and are keen to live in harmony". Times of India, September 18, 2002.

Pakistan's comments on J&K elections false, says External Affairs Ministry: India, on September 18, 2002, dismissed as false, Pakistan's charges that the first phase of State Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was a 'sham', saying it showed how 'completely isolated' Pakistan has become on the issue. The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson added that the whole world has welcomed the manner in which the first phase has been conducted, and that the very satisfactory voter-turnout was an expression of faith in the democratic process and the rejection by the people of J&K of terrorism, violence and intimidation. Press Trust of India, September 18, 2002.


9/11 suspect Ramzi Binalshibh's associate identified as Daniel Pearl's killer: An Al Qaeda terrorist arrested along with 9/11 suspect Ramzi Binalshibh has been identified as one of the killers of US journalist Daniel Pearl, an unnamed senior police official said in Karachi on September 17, 2002. The identification was reportedly made by Fazal Karim, a Pakistani, detained but not charged in the abduction-cum-murder of Pearl. The official refused to identify the alleged Pearl-killer by name, but added that he was not among the five persons, including Binalshibh, who were handed over to US authorities on September 16 and flown out of Pakistan. Jang, September 18, 2002.

9/11 suspect Ramzi Binalshibh and four others flown out of Pakistan: Pakistan, on September 16, 2002, handed over 9/11 suspect and key Al Qaeda terrorist Ramzi Binalshibh and four others to US custody and they have been flown out of the country. "Five people have been handed over to US custody, Ramzi [is] amongst them… I have no information on where they were taken," Major-General Rashid Qureshi, military regime spokesperson said. Binalshibh was reportedly arrested after an encounter in Karachi on September 11. Jang, September 17, 2002.


Government-LTTE talks conclude; More rounds to follow: The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) announced on September 18, 2002, at the now concluded first round of peace talks with the Sri Lankan government, at Sattahip, Thailand, that it was not demanding a separate state - Eelam. In a statement approved by the government and the LTTE and released by Norwegian facilitators, LTTE chief negotiator Anton Balasingham said homeland and self-determination do not mean a separate state but "self determination involves substantial autonomy in the historical areas where we live". The government delegation head and Cabinet Minister G.L. Peiris, commenting on the LTTE-stand, said, "their aspirations can be fulfilled within one country if we set about it in the proper way." The LTTE, however, stated that it would not disarm its cadres. Both the parties resolved to constitute two joint-committees to further strengthen the permanent truce arrived at in February 2002, and to implement humanitarian and reconstruction activities. Furthermore, they agreed to hold three more rounds of talks between October 31 and November 3, 2002; December 2 and December 5, 2002; and January 6 and January 9, 2003. (Official website of the Secretariat for Coordination of Peace Process, Government of Sri Lanka, Colombo).

The South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR) is a weekly service that will bring you regular data, assessments and news brief on terrorism, insurgencies and sub-conventional warfare, on counter-terrorism responses and policies, as well as on related economic, political, and social issues, in the South Asian region.

SAIR is a project of the Institute for Conflict Management and the South Asia Terrorism Portal.


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