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Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 1, No. 16, November 4, 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: Voting Percentages in Kashmir Valley



National Conference

Congress (I)

People's Democratic Party

Independents and Other Parties

































































































Comparative Results in the 1996 Elections:  
Did not exist
Computed from official sources and English language media.



A Troubled Peace Process
Guest Writer: G H Peiris
Senior Professor, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, and Senior Fellow, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

A four-day meeting between delegates of the government of Sri Lanka and of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) commenced in Bangkok on October 31, 2002, in continuation of the peace process that began with the December 2001 ceasefire in Sri Lanka's secessionist war. On the eve of his departure for Bangkok, Minister G.L. Peiris, head of the government delegation, stated that the meeting - "the second session of the first round of peace negotiations"- will formulate a joint appeal for development assistance for submission to the donor community scheduled to meet in Oslo next month. This would entail the setting up of a 'Joint Task Force' entrusted with the responsibility of rehabilitation and reconstruction of the war-ravaged 'north-east'. Minister Peiris added that the third session of the first round is to be held in December 2002, by the conclusion of which he expects the ceasefire agreement to have been "consolidated". The second round of negotiations will begin in January 2003 and will focus on "interim mechanisms" - an interim administration for the 'north-east', pending the final settlement of the ethnic conflict. The third round, he speculated, would commence in December 2003, and would deal with the 'core issues' of the conflict.

It is now ten months since the government and the LTTE decided to suspend the war and usher in what has turned out to be the longest period of peace the people of Sri Lanka have had since the convulsions of July 1983. From mid-December last year, there have been no mass murders; no political assassinations; no attacks on economic targets. The overall death toll of Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict since 1983, placed at about 65,000, works out to a daily average that approximates 10. By contrast, since the beginning of the current year, the total number of conflict-related deaths has been less than 30. The innumerable barricades and checkpoints along highways have vanished, and people in most parts of the country move about freely. Tamils in the north buy essential consumer goods at normal prices, and have access to basic services comparable to those provided elsewhere in the country. Over 800 Tamils incarcerated under the Prevention of Terrorism Act have been discharged. About 30 'prisoners of war' have also been released by the LTTE. Though the economic 'peace dividend' is yet to materialise, a trickle of foreign investment has begun, and donors of aid have been making hopeful signs. Tourists are back in fairly large numbers. Colombo's tiny stock market is buoyant. The city hosted the Asian Athletics Championship meet and the ICC Champions Trophy tournament in September - unimaginable even as recently as an year ago. It is such considerations that provide the most persuasive rationalisation for the on-going peace effort and the most forceful impulses to ignore or trivialise the illusions and risks these efforts so obviously entail.

The illusions and risks are, however, far more noticeable now than they were six weeks ago, when direct negotiations between the government and the LTTE formally began. Basic contradictions in the entire approach, ignored for a time in the initial euphoria of peace, have begun to affect public perceptions and impact upon the negotiation process. The difficulties of converting slogans and clichés into concrete action have become increasingly apparent. Divisions within the ranks of each negotiating party have become more pronounced. And, the opposition to the peace process, though still fairly muted, has gathered momentum, acquiring the potential capacity to disrupt the entire process.

Perhaps the most important contradiction in the on-going peace process is that, although one of the principal negotiators is identified as the Government of Sri Lanka', both in a statutory sense as well as from the viewpoint of political realities, the negotiations with the LTTE are, in fact, being conducted by a section of the government - the section headed by Prime Minister Wickremasinghe. One cannot ignore the fact that President Kumaratunga - head of state, head of government, and commander-in-chief of the armed forces - has remained outside the mainstreams of the peace process, hardly ever consulted in the formulation of the related strategies. The LTTE allegation that the president is attempting to sabotage the negotiations lacks substance, but the presidential stance vis-à-vis the negotiations has been incoherent and non-committal, except by way of a barely concealed propagation of an understanding among all concerned that, as leader the People's Alliance (PA), she would not allow her arch rival Wickremasinghe and the ruling coalition (United National Front - UNF) to make electoral gains from the peace process. In this context, setbacks of far-reaching consequence suffered by the UNF in the recent weeks is the failure of its attempt at a constitutional curtailment of the President's discretionary power to dissolve Parliament any time after the lapse of one year of a general parliamentary election. Against the backdrop of on-going political changes in the country - notably the declining cohesion in the UNF - one can no longer rule out the possibility of the presidential power over the parliament being exercised any time after December 5, 2002. In addition, this failure has prompted the LTTE to raise doubt about the capacity of the UNF to convert its negotiation pledges into necessary constitutional reforms.

Yet another basic paradox in the current peace process stems from the unavoidable position of equality that needs to be accorded to the LTTE in the negotiation procedures. That this is not merely a problem of protocol has been evident all along in matters such as the 'most wanted criminal' status of the LTTE leader Prabhakaran in India, and the status of the LTTE as a banned terrorist outfit in several countries. This problem assumed sudden prominence when, on October 31, 2002, while the negotiations were proceeding in Bangkok, Prabhakaran was convicted and sentenced (in absentia) by the High Court of Colombo to 200 years' imprisonment for one of his innumerable crimes - the murder of 76 persons in the bombing of the Central Bank at Colombo in January 1996. Neither G.L. Peiris' prompt assurance that Prabhakaran's conviction will not affect the peace process, nor LTTE spokesman Balasingham's polemic that the government of Sri Lanka is guilty of more serious crime than the mere bombing of a central bank could detract from the fundamental dilemma stemming from two considerations - the judiciary is an integral component of the government engaged in the negotiations; and the very same government is committed to upholding the Rule of Law, and judicial decisions that flow from that principle.

Sporadic violations of the 'Memorandum of Understanding' (MOU) - the formal agreement between the Sri Lanka government and the LTTE, signed in February 2002 - have, all along, posed a potential threat to the peace process, and have tended to escalate during recent weeks. There are several possible explanations for the resulting deterioration of the ground situation in the 'north-east'. Perhaps the most plausible, is that the violations of the MOU by the LTTE collectively represent a carefully orchestrated plan by its leadership to evict government power and authority from the north-east and make its hegemony over that part of the country a fait accompli before any serious negotiations could commence. A second explanation could be drawn from the fact that the LTTE's grip on the Eastern Province has always been more tenuous than in the North, due mainly to the far greater ethnic heterogeneity of the East. It is possible, despite pretences to the contrary, that the brinkmanship displayed by the Tigers in the East is directed from their headquarters in the Vanni. Well informed observers have also speculated that, conforming to the well known tendency for monolithic command structures of terrorist groups to disintegrate, and for splinter groups to emerge during moves towards appeasement, the LTTE leaders of the Eastern Province (notably the hardliner Vinayagamoorthi alias Colonel Karuna) are acting in defiance of the Vanni high-command in promoting confrontation in their areas of control. In this context, it is of interest that Karuna has been incorporated into the current LTTE negotiating team at Bangkok in total disregard of the fact that he has personally directed several civilian massacres in the east - one as recently as 1999 in Gonagala which involved the mutilation and murder of 46 Sinhalese villagers.

The response of the Muslims to the ongoing negotiations and to the intensifying political turbulences in the Eastern Province (in which they constitute slightly more than a third of the population) is yet another problem that has acquired critical significance in the past few weeks. The apparent willingness of the UNF leadership to grant the LTTE a position of eminence (if not of sole authority) in the 'north-east' has made the Muslim demand for an autonomous unit of government consisting of the Muslim-majority areas of that part of the country far more vehement than it has ever been in the past. The significance of this is underscored by the fact that 6 out of the total of 9 members of parliament belonging to the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) - a constituent unit of the UNF - have embarked upon a boycott of Parliament in order to press home their demand for an assurance from Prime Minister Wickremasinghe that the interests of the Muslims will not be placed in jeopardy in any compromise worked out with the LTTE. This anxiety among the Muslims needs to be understood within the context of their past suffering at the hands of the LTTE, including several large-scale massacres. It has been aggravated further by several localised Sinhalese-Muslim clashes evidently instigated by anti-government Sinhalese extremists. An SLMC withdrawal from the UNF could eliminate Prime Minister Wickremasinghe's majority in Parliament and bring down his government.

According to Minister Peiris', at least another year would be required for the current negotiations to even approach the 'core issues' of the ethnic conflict. Why? These 'core issues' and the related negotiating stands have, for long, been well known. That being the case, what are the changes expected between now and December 2003 that would make mutual compromises and concessions easier? Does the government expect an economic miracle, brought about by an avalanche of foreign aid, to defuse economic rivalries and tensions that impact on ethnic relations? To reduce popular support for the LTTE among the Tamils and/or weaken the secessionist cause? To increase its own popularity in the Sinhalese segment of the electorate and thus empower it to push through constitutional reforms facilitating devolution of power to the north-east? Alternatively, does the government expect to strengthen itself militarily during the months ahead so that, if negotiations on the 'core issues' fail, it would have the military capacity to crush the LTTE? If this is the rationale that actually underpins the existing timeframe of negotiation, then, surely, the entire peace process could be heading towards a farce.



Border Talks: A Forward Movement, but in Denial on Terror
Wasbir Hussain
Associate Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi, & Consulting Editor, The Sentinel, Guwahati

The chiefs of the border forces of India and Bangladesh ended their biennial meeting in New Delhi on November 1. The meeting assumed greater significance coming, as it did, less than a fortnight after Dhaka launched a military offensive against 'crime' in the country, codenamed 'Operation Clean Heart.' Director General of the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) Ajai Raj Sharma and Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) chief Maj. Gen. Rezaqul Haider crossed swords on several issues, including New Delhi's oft-repeated assertion that separatist rebels from northeastern India were operating out of Bangladesh. But the two sides did agree to 'pool their resources' and launch a united fight against terrorism and to institutionalize a mechanism to tackle trans-national crime in a coordinated manner.

India shares a 4,095 kilometres border with Bangladesh, the longest among all its neighbours. Of this, four northeastern states - Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Assam - account for 1,879 kilometres, while the eastern state of West Bengal has a border running 2,216 kilometres along Bangladesh. An area of 6.5 kilometres has not been demarcated yet, and two Joint Boundary Working Groups have been set up to complete the boundary demarcation. The paramilitary BSF that is deployed along the border is faced with a plethora of problems, including illegal migration from Bangladesh, trans-border movement of armed separatist rebels belonging to a number of insurgent groups from India's northeastern states and West Bengal, and endemic smuggling activities. The challenge is compounded by the terrain, which spans thickly wooded hills, vast plains, rivers, streams and marshland.

While the Indo-Bangladesh border may not be as 'live' a border as that with Pakistan, it is far from easy to manage. In April 2001, in the wake of a sudden spurt of tension between the two neighbours, 16 BSF troopers were said to have been 'snatched' by a thousand strong Bangladeshi mob as they were patrolling the border in Assam's Mankachar sector. The BSF men were tortured and killed in a most brutal manner, some of them allegedly in BDR custody. Worse, an international news agency released a gory photograph of a slain BSF soldier being paraded by the Bangladeshis like an animal slung on a single bamboo pole with hands and feet tied.

With the rising dangers of terrorism in the region, the New Delhi meeting - the second meeting of the BSF-BDR chiefs in six months, the first being in Dhaka in March - assumed added interest. Both sides now acknowledge that terror does not recognize national boundaries and that it had to be combated jointly. India has identified 99 training camps' of Northeast rebel groups located inside Bangladesh, and the detailed list has been handed over to Dhaka for action. According to reports, the list includes 25 National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) training camps, 20 of the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF), 18 of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim - Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM), 17 of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), 10 camps run by the People's Liberation Army (PLA), two by (National Democratic Front of Bodoland) NDFB, two by the Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA), three by the Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC), one by Chakma National Liberation Front and one run by the Dima Halim Daogah (DHD). Maj. Gen. Haider predictably denied that Bangladesh was providing shelter to Indian separatists or that these rebels were using his country's territory to work against India. The BSF side was ready to furnish proof of the rebels' camps inside Bangladesh and their operations in different parts of that country. Dhaka, obviously, cannot easily admit the presence of Indian separatists working out of the country, but Indian authorities insist that top leaders of insurgent groups such as the outlawed ULFA, the NLFT, and the PLA, to name a few, are based in Bangladesh.

Dhaka's claims that no Indian rebel group has camps inside Bangladesh, and that Dhaka would not encourage any anti-India activity from within its territory rings hollow, with increasing reports of the consolidation of terror groups in the country. These include increasing numbers of disclosures in the western media (Time, Far Eastern Economic Review and the Wall Street Journal) saying that Bangladesh has become a new theatre of the Al Qaeda and other Islamist fundamentalist groups. Indeed, Time asserted that ULFA representatives were among those who attended a meeting of the jihadi groups at a secret rendezvous in Bangladesh in May 2002. There are also suggestions that the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) government of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia - described as a mix of 'religious nationalists, militant fundamentalists and subdued communists' - is either lending support or is 'soft' towards the radical jihadi groups and their supporters.

These reports have, of course, been rejected by Bangladesh as 'malicious and unproven.' However, former prime minister and present leader of the Opposition, Sheikh Hasina, has also asserted that the BNP government was aiding radical terror groups. Speaking at Brussels, Hasina added that the last general election results "were manipulated through planned fraud, vote rigging and unfair practices," and that, "If the election process is betrayed, if a fundamentalist alliance assumes power through conspiracy, the country might become a hotbed of terrorism, it can become a safe haven for terrorist network as the government of fundamentalist alliance will morally and physically help so-called fundamentalist terrorists…" Hasina has also been quoted as saying that the BNP, Jamaat-e-Islami and Islamic Oikya Jote (IOJ) - partners of the ruling alliance - "are open about their support for the religious fanatics."

The Bangladesh Army offensive against 'crime' - Dhaka has not called it an anti-terrorist operation - that was launched on October 17 under the code name 'Operation Clean Heart' needs to be viewed in this context. Bangladeshi news reports indicate that, till Wednesday, October 30, around 3,500 people had been detained and 500 weapons recovered in countrywide 'anti-crime' raids under this operation. This lends greater credence and hope to the BDR delegation's agreement with the BSF at New Delhi, to tackle terrorism 'jointly'.

Another positive outcome of the BSF-BDR meet was the agreement to evolve practical solution to tackle widespread criminal networks used for arms, drug and other smuggling activities along the border and in settlements on the zero line. For this, sector level committees are to be created to identify all areas of specific threat, and to define solutions in terms of wire fencing etc., without obstructing visibility across the international border, to check criminal activity. Even such construction, under present norms, would violate the ban on construction within 150 yards of the zero line. Besides, both sides have conceded that criminal elements are abusing the porous border and settlements on the zero lines. The BDR chief agreed that, given advance warning on criminal activities or movements, effective action would be taken. Other areas of continuous cooperation and increased institutionalized interaction between the two Forces have also been identified, and the air of latent hostility that marked earlier phases of relations between the BSF and the BDR is said to have been manifestly absent in this latest round of talks.

Deep differences do, of course, persist, particularly on the orientation and response to terrorism and cross border insurgent activities. There is, however, evidence of a growing area of potential cooperation in many aspects of border management between the two countries, and it is these 'areas of agreement' that need to be consolidated to bring the security situation in one of the world's most populous and potentially volatile stretches under control.



J&K: The Politics of Illusion
Guest Writer: Praveen Swami in Kashmir
Chief of Bureau, Mumbai, Frontline

"When you see Tom Sawyer immediately after Mozart or you enter the case of The Planet of the Apes after having witnessed the Sermon on the Mount with Jesus and the Apostles", wrote Umberto Eco after a visit to a waxworks museum in the United States of America, "the logical distinction between the Real World and Possible Worlds is definitely undermined."

The Real began intruding on the Possible in the hours before Mufti Mohammad Sayeed became Jammu and Kashmir's (J&K) new Chief Minister. A day earlier, his daughter Rubaiya Sayeed had returned to Srinagar to witness the swearing-in. Shaukat Bakshi, the terrorist who had kidnapped her in 1989, also returned to his home, after being released on bail after twelve years. Three hours before the swearing in, members of one of the same terrorist groups with whom he has promised negotiations fired rifle grenades at his home. The attack came after Al Umar chief Mushtaq Zargar, released from jail in December 1999 in return for the safety of the hostages on board Indian Airlines flight IC814, warned the People's Democratic Party (PDP) against entering into an alliance with the Congress (I). A little later, Sikandar Khan, a Congress candidate who narrowly lost the Karnah Assembly seat, was shot dead along with his security guards while shopping in a Srinagar market. The new Jammu and Kashmir seems as depressingly surreal as the old.

All this did little to puncture the curious political reverie in Srinagar, perhaps because the circumstances of the new government's birth have done not a little to affirm faith that the impossible can be willed into existence. Until October 21, the Congress' mediator with the PDP, former Union Finance Minister Manmohan Singh, had failed to arrive at even a minimum understanding with Sayeed. Singh even offered Sayeed a rotating Chief Minister deal, which, sources say, was rejected out of hand. On his return to New Delhi, the Congress began to consider staking a claim to power on its own. Senior Congress leaders in Srinagar believed they would be able to manage a majority with the aid of PDP rebels. As the prospect of a split in the PDP accelerated, Sayeed backed down from his hardline stand, and flew to New Delhi for talks with Congress President Sonia Gandhi on October 25.

Sayeed was now willing to accept Manmohan Singh's rotating Chief Minister plan, but with key caveats. First, the PDP would have the first shot at the top job. Second, it would hold it for all of three years, half the length of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly's tenure. Congress Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) found both proposals unacceptable, but Gandhi thought it best to override the state party. Senior Congress leaders, particularly Arjun Singh, persuaded her that a Congress-led government would end in disaster. A fractious alliance, with only tenuous support from maverick figures like Panther's Party leader Bhim Singh, would be too busy fighting internal fires to actually get on with governance. Gandhi also held broad consultations with several intellectuals, who insisted that blocking Sayeed's rise to power would fuel popular alienation in Kashmir. Speaking to journalists after the deal with the PDP was inked on October 26, Gandhi made this concern explicit: the decision, she said, was made "in the larger interests of the people of the Valley".

Outraged Congress and Independent MLAs responded with unprecedented public protests, and threatened to boycott the swearing-in. The Congress MLA from Uri, Taj Mohiuddin, described Gandhi's decision as "a betrayal". A group of fourteen MLAs held a series of meetings through October 27, to consider their course of action. The three-year term given to Sayeed was unacceptable, they argued, since there were no guarantees he would not bring the government down after that time. In any case, the Valley-based MLAs in the group of fourteen said, the decision to accept Sayeed's claims to represent the Valley was political suicide.

Sonia Gandhi's notion of the 'larger interest of the Valley' needs examination, since it is widely shared by much of New Delhi's intelligentsia. Effusive editorial writers who have greeted the rise of the PDP as something of a latter-day resurrection might have done well to spend a little time with a calculator and a piece of paper. The PDP share of the 2002 vote does nothing to affirm the proposition that it is the principal voice of the Kashmir region [Table]. Indeed, the combined vote share of the PDP and the Congress in Kashmir only narrowly exceeds that of the defeated National Conference. In the north Kashmir district of Baramulla, over half of the PDP's votes were cast in a single constituency, Gulmarg. The PDP exceeded the vote share of the National Conference in only three of the Valley's six districts, all in central and southern Kashmir. Two of those districts registered below average voter turnout, and five of the PDP's sixteen MLAs were elected in constituencies where terrorist violence led to exceptionally poor turnout. Indeed, three of them by less than 1,000 votes. And while the PDP's claims of 'representation' in the Valley itself are at least dubious, without a single seat outside the Valley, it cannot even pretend to advance any such claim in the Jammu or Ladakh regions of the State. This cannot, of course, undermine the decisive rejection of the National Conference in the elections. But it does show that the battle for oppositional space has had a multi-dimensional outcome.

While the PDP's Kashmiri-chauvinist position has allowed it to gain the office of the Chief Minister, the victory is not cost-free. It has, most important, given a new lease of life to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) backed Jammu State Morcha, which has been demanding the creation of a separate state for the southern region. The Morcha succeeded in winning just one seat - which went, not to an RSS activist but a long-time Congress dissident who jumped ship after being denied a ticket. But on October 28, RSS activists were able to shut down much of Jammu in a protest strike. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which won only a single seat in the elections, has now started demanding that local body elections be held in the State, hoping to cash in on regional anger. Similar regional aggression is also evident in Kashmir. On November 1, for example, the Kashmir Bar Association threatened to boycott court, claiming that Muslims from the Valley were under-represented in the High Court, and demanding that Kashmiri Muslim judges posted outside the State be brought back.

At least one potential flashpoint is already visible in the horizon. Jammu has for long been under-represented in the Assembly, because of constitutional provisions that had suspended the delimitation of constituencies until after the completion of the 2001 census. In the last Assembly elections, approximately 78,000 registered voters in Jammu and Ladakh were represented by each of 37 MLAs; in Kashmir, each block of approximately 55,000 voters was represented by each of 46 MLAs. Now that a Commission has been charged with redrawing constituency boundaries to ensure equitable representation, struggle seems inevitable. Sayeed's demands for a Kashmiri Chief Minister, said Bhim Singh a day before he accepted his leadership, "substantiated the claim of the people of Jammu that the future growth of their identity, culture and language is possible only when they are accorded statehood." Unless the new government handles Jammu's legitimate concerns with care, its historic contribution might just be the tearing apart of Jammu and Kashmir along ethnic-communal lines.

Few in the new government, sadly, are likely to have time to address long-term problems. With the caucus of twelve independent MLAs on whose support the government depends having decided to offer only 'issue-based' support, survival itself will be time-consuming business. Then, the alliance will have to find acceptable ways of implementing its 31-point Common Minimum Programme (CMP). The CMP rests on three major pillars, all intended to bring what Mehbooba Mufti tirelessly refers to as a "healing touch". First, the CMP mandates the assimilation of the Special Operations Group (SOG), alleged to be responsible for a welter of human rights abuses, into the Jammu and Kashmir Police. Second, the alliance has said it will terminate the use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), and release alleged terrorists held for long period of time facing trial for minor offences. Along with this, compensation to the families of victims of terrorism is to be doubled, while the children of terrorists who have been killed will receive State support for their education. Finally, the CMP calls for unconditional dialogue with terrorist groups.

At least some of these promises mean very little. The SOG is and always has been part of the 60,000-strong Jammu and Kashmir Police, and constitutes less than five percent of its overall strength. Its troops and officers are drawn from the same ranks, wear the same uniforms, earn the same pay, and report to the same superiors. As such, its 'assimilation' seems little other than a re-branding of the product. The end to the use of POTA and the release of prisoners will also have marginal impact. Only an estimated 190 people are currently charged under the Act, eight of them of Pakistani origin, including those released on bail. Hard figures on the precise numbers of people held on terrorism-related charges are unavailable, but data published in October 2001 suggested the number who had not by then secured bail was just 366. Interestingly, all of thirteen individuals have actually been convicted of terrorist crimes since 1989 - an index both of the efficiency of the criminal justice system, and of the kinds of redress available to victims of terrorism in a State where 33,288 people have lost their life to terrorism over 13 years.

The PDP-led coalition's promise to initiate dialogue with terrorist groups is another case in point. Each Indian Prime Minister since P.V. Narasimha Rao has offered to initiate such a dialogue; Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee actually began negotiations with the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) faction of Abdul Majid Dar during the Ramzan Ceasefire of 2000-2001. The reason such dialogue went nowhere is a matter of record: groups ranging from the mainstream Hizb-ul-Mujahideen to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) have made it clear they will not engage in a dialogue until India commits itself to final status negotiations with Pakistan. Pakistan's military establishment sees continued violence as an instrument to secure concessions from India - concessions of a scale no government in India can make. Sayeed may succeed, as others have done in the past, in beginning a dialogue with secondary terrorist groups, but such initiatives have had little concrete impact before. Nor has the PDP made clear just what it intends to negotiate, since India-Pakistan issues are well outside its remit.

What is perhaps most disturbing about the CMP is that it appears to have no real vision of what political perspective its authors have for J&K. As the Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M) recently pointed out, the document contains not a single reference to greater federal autonomy for the State. Nor is there evidence that the new government has any real conceptual framework for addressing violence. Speaking in New Delhi after the PDP-Congress alliance was formalised, Arjun Singh said the alliance drew on his experience in Punjab, where terrorism was solved by dealing with "each and every small thing". He perhaps forgets the record. Singh's own signal contribution to Punjab was installing the S.S. Barnala-led ministry, whose indiscriminate release of jailed terrorists and winding-down of police operations laid the foundations for five more years of bloodshed. Six months on, Governor Siddharth Shankar Ray and Director-General of Police Julio Ribeiro were brought in and assigned the impossible task of fighting terrorism without the cooperation of the State government. When terrorism was finally stamped out, not one of the issues Singh had privileged, from the status of Chandigarh to the sharing of river waters, had been resolved.

Back in J&K, in May 1990, three young men walked into the home of Srinagar religious leader Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq, and shot him dead in his study. The leader of the hit squad, Mohammad Abdullah Bangroo, was shot dead in an encounter less than a month later. Both their bodies rest today in a graveyard near the Idgah in downtown Srinagar, separated by just a few dozen metres. Both victim and assassin are revered as martyrs; martyrs, moreover, for the very same cause. The People's Democratic Party is now in power having marketed itself as a representative of the same cause. Now, it needs to work out just what the cause might be.


Weekly Fatalities: Major conflicts in South Asia
October 28-November 3, 2002

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


Grenade attack precedes Mufti Mohammed Sayeed's swearing- in as J&K Chief Minister: People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mufti Mohammed Sayeed was sworn in as Chief Minister of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) on November 2, 2002. J&K Governor Girish Chandra Saxena administered the oath of office and secrecy to him and eight other Ministers of his cabinet at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Complex (SKICC) in Srinagar. Mangat Ram Sharma from the Jammu region has been appointed Deputy Chief Minister. Meanwhile, a few hours ahead of the swearing-in, a grenade attack was launched on Sayeed's Nowgam residence, on the outskirts of the State capital Srinagar. Two grenades were fired from a rocket launcher at the house, injuring a security force officer and causing some damage to the house. Sayeed was present in the house at the time of the attack. A hitherto unknown terrorist outfit Al Nasreen has claimed responsibility for the attack. Daily Excelsior, November 3, 2002.

12 terrorists killed in Poonch, J&K: 12 terrorists were killed in an encounter at the Chaprian village of Poonch district in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) on November 2, 2002. The slain terrorists included fresh recruits and were reportedly being taken to Pakistan for arms training by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). Two SF personnel also sustained injuries during the encounter. Daily Excelsior, November 3, 2002.

BSF, BDR disagree on existence of terrorist camps in Bangladesh: The bi-annual talks between Border Security Force (BSF) and the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) to discuss border problems between India and Bangladesh concluded in New Delhi on November 1, 2002, with both the sides maintaining disagreement on the existence of training camps of terrorists operating in India's Northeast in Bangladesh. According to official sources, both the sides decided to set up a Joint Coordination Committee to "look into border problems". The two sides also re-affirmed the intention to pool resources and carry out a determined fight against terrorism. Outlook India, November 2, 2002.

Intercepts not admissible evidence under POTA, rules Delhi High Court: The Delhi High Court, on October 30, 2002, held that intercepted telephonic conversation between accused persons would not constitute as admissible evidence under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), as it had not been procured as per the procedure laid down under the Act. Setting aside an order of a Delhi Special Court which held that intercepted conversation between the accused in the December 13, 2001, Parliament Attack case, S.A.R. Geelani, terrorist Shaukat Hussain alias Guru and his wife Navjot Sandhu alias Afsan, was admissible under POTA, the Court said, "the admissibility of intercepted evidence for proving charges under POTA is specifically barred by Chapter-V of the Act," if not procured as per the laid down procedure. The Hindu, October 31, 2002.

15 Corps GOC not for disbanding Special Operations Group in J&K: The proposed decision of the Congress-People's Democratic Party coalition to merge the Special Operations Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir Police would be a disadvantage, though not a setback to anti-terrorism operations in the State, a senior Army officer said on October 29, 2002. "Disbanding the SOG of the State police will be a disadvantage but not a setback to the security operations against the terrorists," General Officer Commanding 15 Corps Lt Gen V G Patankar told reporters in Srinagar. He said the SOG, also known as the Special Task Force, is a motivated force that works very hard work to fight terrorism. Daily Excelsior, October 30, 2002.

US Ambassador Blackwill says India is a victim of terrorism: Addressing a Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) meeting in New Delhi on October 29, 2002, US Ambassador in India Robert Blackwill said India was a victim of terrorism which was "entirely external driven" Times of India, October 30, 2002.


Lashkar-e-Toiba chief set free, put under house arrest in Lahore: The Federal government on October 31, 2002, released Hafiz Saeed, chief of the proscribed Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), and later put him under house arrest after holding him for five months in detention. His residence at Johar Town has been declared a sub-jail. In a press statement, a LeT spokesperson said Hafiz Saeed was placed under house arrest after being held without charge for months and added that he was released from custody at an unknown location and then placed under house arrest at his Lahore residence. Daily Times, November 1, 2002.

Three top-Al Qaeda terrorists in country: According to a media report, of the six new Al Qaeda leaders, who the United States believes are currently in active command of the group, one is said to be residing in Pakistan and two in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. The three terrorists are Saif al-Adel alias Makkawi, an Egyptian, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah alias Abu Mohammed al Masri, Al Qaeda's 'financial officer' and Tawfiq bin Atash alias Khallad, Al Qaeda's 'senior operational planner'. While the first two are believed to be in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, the last is reportedly in Pakistan. Daily Times, October 31, 2002.

Sipah-e-Sahaba chief released after 11 months in detention: Maulana Azam Tariq, chief of the outlawed Sunni group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), was released on October 30, 2002, after 11 months in detention at a prison at Rawalpindi. Tariq, who was elected member to the National Assembly in the October 10 elections, was imprisoned in November 2001 under provisions of the Maintenance of Public Order. He was accused of more than a dozen murders of activists from the rival Shia community, but has never been convicted. He was released following a Lahore High Court instruction. Jang, October 31, 2002.


LTTE to shelve demand for interim administration in North East: At the end of the second round of peace talks between Sri Lanka government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on November 3, 2002, the latter shelved its demand for an interim administration for the North-East, while looking at 'models' that would satisfy its concept of self-governance. Speaking to media persons in Bangkok, LTTE chief negotiator Anton Balasingham said, "We may or may not go for an interim administration. What is important is a solution that would immediately address the humanitarian issues in the North." He said though the LTTE demanded an Interim Administration as a transitional measure, they would also like to address core issues. This is widely seen as a major breakthrough in the peace process. Daily News, November 4, 2002.

200-year sentence for LTTE chief Prabhakaran and intelligence head Pottu Amman: The Colombo High Court, on October 31, 2002, convicted and sentenced Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) chief Velupillai Prabhakaran to 200 years in prison for conspiring to and carrying out the bombing of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in 1996. Five more LTTE cadres, including intelligence chief Pottu Amman, have also have been sentenced along with Prabhakaran. On January 31,1996, in the massive explosion at the Central Bank in the Fort area, Colombo, over 78 persons were killed. Daily News, November 1, 2002.

Two persons killed and 13 injured in Muslims-Sinhalese clash in Colombo: On the eve of the second round of peace talks between the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), clashes occurred between the Sinhalese and Muslims in the capital Colombo on October 30, 2002, leaving a Muslim dead and 12 more injured. The following day, an angry mob of mourners attacked a Buddhist monk and as security forces opened fire to control the mob a Muslim was injured. Daily News, November 1, 2002.


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.


South Asia Intelligence Review [SAIR]

K. P. S. Gill

Dr. Ajai Sahni

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