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Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 2, No. 37, March 29, 2004

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, Again.
Guest Writer: Praveen Swami
New Delhi Chief of Bureau, Frontline Magazine

Campaign 2004 has already claimed its first life. On March 18, Mukhtar Ahmad Bhat went for a walk near his Srinagar home. A police van brought his body back late that evening. Security force officials in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) are hoping the assassination isn't a sign of things to come - and are asking for some 56,000 additional troops to make sure their worst fears aren't realised.

No one is certain just who killed Bhat, a one-time terrorist who renounced violence and joined the youth wing of the Janata Dal (United). His killing, however, comes in the context of a wave of terrorist attacks on mainstream politicians and their families. Two days before Bhat's killing, terrorists executed a grenade attack on the home of the daughter of the Kulgam Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and Communist Party of India (CPI) leader, Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami. A People's Democratic Party activist, Ghulam Hassan, and a former MLA, also named Ghulam Hassan, were targeted on the same day. Soon after, terrorists ambushed former Jammu and Kashmir Minister and National Conference leader Abdul Rahim Rather.

For politicians in J&K, such violence is routine. The 2002 Assembly elections, hailed across India as free and fair, cost the lives of 41 political workers in the month of September alone. The bulk of the victims were members of the National Conference, targeted by the Islamist right in an effort to bring down the party they saw as their principal enemy. In all, 99 political workers died in 2002. 1999, the year of the last Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) elections, saw the deaths of 49 political workers; 1998, the year of the previous Lok Sabha elections, saw 41 killed; 1996, the year of the previous Assembly elections, saw 69 such deaths. The numbers indicate just how violent the 2002 elections were, notwithstanding ill-informed but widespread claims that the massive Indian military build-up that began the previous year had coerced Pakistan into deescalating support for the terrorists' anti-election campaign.

Despite considerable media hype about recent and dramatic acts of terrorism, however, figures compiled by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs show that violence has been declining since 2002. Combat fatalities peaked in September last year, true to the regular seasonal cycle of violence in J&K, and have since been in steady decline. Military officials, however, have warned New Delhi that the elections will be taking place in the summer, when Pakistan could lift restraints on cross-border infiltration, allowing terrorist groups to replenish their cadres. Although few security experts take the J&K Government's demands for enormous numbers of additional troops at face-value, most agree that some additional forces will have to be found to secure the State as elections approach.

Interestingly, February 2004 saw a marginal increase in violence compared with the same month of 2003. There were 60 attacks on security forces last month, compared with 53 in February 2003. 183 people died in terrorism-related violence, compared with 126 the previous year - although this was partly the result of killings of terrorists by security forces, which stood at 86, in February 2004, compared with 71 in February 2003. It is, of course, hard to draw conclusions from these figures, although they do, at face value, seem to suggest that the escalatory cycle that begins in J&K each spring has set in again. Indian intelligence officials also note that wireless stations operating from terror camps across the Line of Control have been telling their operatives to step up efforts to escalate violence during the election process. Election-time violence will confront Indian security forces with a dilemma: whether to allow voters to be coerced into staying away from the elections, or to use troops to encourage polling, and attract charges of counter-coercion.

During the 2002 elections to the J&K Assembly, politicians proved only too willing to engage in coercion and counter-coercion. Posters were put up in several parts of southern Kashmir by the Hizb-ul-Mujaheddin (HM), for example, asking voters to oppose the National Conference. In areas like the Mendhar and Surankote Tehsils (administrative unit) in Poonch, for example, various terrorist groups used their leverage to block voters from the Gujjar community from exercising their franchise, and to aide candidates from specific villages. Last year, senior South Kashmir-based People's Democratic Party leader Abdul Aziz Zargar was even accused by the National Conference of having recruited Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist to target the campaign of his rival, Sakina Itoo. The allegations followed claims made by an arrested LeT terrorist that Zargar's village home was used to plan a terrorist attack on the famous Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat.

Pakistan, of course, has good reason to allow - or even encourage - terrorists to proceed with their anti-election coercion. For all the apparent India-Pakistan bonhomie, broadcast ably by politicians on both sides during the ongoing cricket series, Pakistani strategic planners seem nervous about losing political leverage within J&K. Members of the Abbas Ansari-led centrist faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) met India's Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, on March 27, and Pakistan has made no secret of its displeasure at this event. Significantly, this faction of the APHC has now indicated that it would not call for a boycott of the elections, as it has done for each of the elections in the past. Pakistan has clearly rejected this faction's credentials, and has put its weight behind the hardline Syed Ali Shah Geelani-led splinter as the 'sole representative' of the people of Kashmir. The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi described the anti-talks Islamist, Geelani, as the 'Hurriyat chairman' in its invitation for the Pakistan Day celebrations here on March 23; centrist leaders like Ansari, Abdul Gani Bhat, Mirwaiz Omar Farooq and Bilal Gani Lone were referred to only as 'Kashmiri leaders.'

What Pakistan chooses to do, of course, depends on just how much pressure the international community is actually able to bring to bear on it. It is at least possible that the recent institutional encouragement offered to Pakistan by the United States of America could translate into a more aggressive posture on J&K.



Failing State
P.G. Rajamohan
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

Through two major attacks within a span of 20 days, the Maoist insurgents have put the entire Himalayan Kingdom on notice. On March 20-21, 2004, in their biggest strike since the beginning of the 'People's War', insurgents ransacked Beni Bazaar, headquarters of the Myagdi District, completely destroying the district administrative offices, police station and army barracks. Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) sources claimed that, out of the 5,000 insurgents involved in the attack, 500 were killed, and that security forces have foiled the Maoists attempt to 'capture the city'. According to official records, 207 dead bodies had been recovered so far, including 128 Maoists, 51 security force personnel and 28 civilians. But the Maoists 'supreme leader', Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda, claimed that only 40 insurgents were killed in the incident. The insurgents have also captured 33 persons, including security force personnel, the District Officer and Deputy Superintendent of Police, and other bureaucrats, during the operation, and have raised the demand for the release of three Maoist leaders in return for these officials.

Earlier, on March 3, some 1,500 Maoists overran the Nepal Telecommunications Office, District Administration Office and a branch of the National Bank at the Bhojpur District headquarters, where at least 29 security force personnel and more than 50 insurgents were killed, and 10 SF personnel were abducted as 'war captives'.

Through these two attacks, the Maoists have clearly demonstrated that they had not weakened after the collapse of the ceasefire on August 27, 2003, as was widely presumed, and that they remain capable of major operations in any part of the country, including strong Army positions and security installations. While the Maoists' losses have been significant, the damage they have caused has also been heavy. Both sides are now claiming 'victory', but the incidents have clearly demonstrated the Maoists' capacity to unleash a new round of escalating terror in Nepal.

The attacks in the Myagdi and Bhojpur districts exemplify a pattern that had been common in the mid-western districts before the beginning of the peace talks in 2003. Though significant casualties were inflicted on the Maoist cadres, the scale and impact of these incidents brings into question the entire concept of joint mobilization (Unified Army) and the effectiveness of attempts to increase the strength and deployment of Armed Forces. The intensification of violence is also being seen as an effort to disrupt the emerging process for elections in the country, as well as pressure to restore talks for a negotiated solution. Prachanda has called on the United Nations (UN) and international human rights organisations to monitor the conflict situation and help conduct a 'peaceful' dialogue with the Government. The Government, on the other hand, has categorically rejected the Maoists' call for talks, stating that they would not give the Maoists another chance to further consolidate their military strength under cover of a 'peace process'. The Government is also firm on not permitting any third-party mediation, including efforts by the UN, in its internal conflict. Meanwhile, the Maoists have warned the Government that they would continue with the current series of 'military actions'.

A shift in strategy is visible in the present pattern of Maoist operations, with increasing focus on large scale operations in the plains areas, as against the earlier pattern of attacks in rural and hilly areas. There is a clear effort to demonstrate operational capacities throughout the country, and to create a stronghold in the Terai, as well as to strengthen their presence in the Eastern and Western Regions. In addition to the large scale attacks in Myagdi and Bhojpur, the insurgents have been engineering a continuous succession of almost daily bomb attacks and landmine explosions virtually across the country; there have been at least 164 such attacks since the renewal of hostilities on August 27, 2003, and these have contributed enormously to a pervasive atmosphere of insecurity among the general public and a loss of confidence in the security forces and the Government.

Reports from the Beni Bazaar incident have shocked the security forces. The insurgents are said to have made use of a range of modern weapons, including 81mm mortars, rocket launchers, M16 and AK-47 rifles, machine guns and hand grenade. Most of the M-16 and AK-47 rifles, rocket launchers and machine guns had been looted from the Army in earlier operations. During the ceasefire period, the Maoists had reportedly also acquired arms and ammunitions from the Indian weapons black markets in Uttar Pradesh, through their contacts with Indian left-wing extremist groups, and had smuggled these through the Terai districts in Western and Mid- Western border areas. The Humla, Darchula and Baitadi border districts in the Far-Western Region have been used for their arms traffic.

The Home Ministry's latest report, released on March 13, discloses that that 2,178 persons have been killed, including 1534 Maoists, 365 security force personnel and 279 civilians, since the breakdown of the ceasefire in August 2003. Further, 160 policemen, 147 RNA soldiers and 58 Armed Police Force (APF) officials were killed. More than a third of the 4,000 Village Development Committee (VDC) buildings in the country are also reported to have been destroyed. Post offices, bridges and telecommunication and power stations in almost all the districts have been bombed. Telecommunication repeater stations in most of the hill districts have been damaged and are inoperative. The Maoists have attacked schools and colleges as well, declaring these as 'instruments of the state'. According to a Nepalese organization, Community Study and Welfare Centre, the violence has resulted in the displacement of some 350,000-400,000 persons. The Maoists have also 'conducted elections' in various areas under their control, including the Achham, Kalikot and Bajura districts in Mid-Western Nepal, in January 2004. Apart from declaring these as 'autonomous regions', the Maoists have created a structure of parallel governments called 'people's governments'. A majority of developmental projects and large-scale business establishments operate in these areas with the permission of these people's governments and pay 'tax' to them.

Major donor countries and International development projects are now threatening to revoke assistance if the conflict continues at the present pace, and observers have warned Nepal that it was evolving as a classic example of a 'failed state'. Within this broad scenario of chaos, there appears to be little prospect for a coherent political response from any of the mainstream political parties, who continue with their confrontation with King Gyanendra. The King has, in the meanwhile, broken their agitation for the restoration of Parliament, and, with the political parties completely alienated from mainstream politics, there appears to be little possibility of popular participation in the country's destiny, which remains, for the time being, at the mercy of the Army and the Maoists.


Assam: Karbi-Kuki Clashes
Bibhu Prasad Routray
Acting Director, ICM Database & Documentation Centre, Guwahati

Suspected insurgents of the Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) are reported to have killed at least 34 Karbi villagers in three separate places in the Karbi Anglong district of Assam on March 24, 2004. In the first incident, a group of about 30 KRA cadres raided Uden Tisso and Sarpo Terong villages under Bokajan police station jurisdiction and killed 28 persons and wounded eight others. Separately, another group of KRA cadres attacked Jari Teron, a Karbi village under Manja police outpost, and killed another six Karbis. Inspector-General of Police (Special Branch), Khagen Sharma, said that the attacks were carried out by separate hit squads of the KRA, who also set fire to many houses in these villages. In what suggests the beginning of a sustained campaign, the Kukis struck again on March 27, 2004, killing five Karbi villagers and setting 60 houses on fire in remote villages of the upper Deopani area under the Bokajan police station.

On the surface, the conflict appears to be a case of innocent civilians being caught in the crossfire of a battle of attrition between two insurgent groups, the United Peoples' Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) and KRA. However, the discord is inherently rooted in the growing schism between two communities at a time when local politics in the district has witnessed significant transformations.

The apex Kuki organisation in Karbi Anglong, the Kuki National Assembly (KNA), has been demanding an autonomous regional council for the Kukis, living predominantly in the Singhasan Hills area. Since 1992, when the demand was first raised through a memorandum to the State Government, the KNA has grown from strength to strength, mainly through two rounds of negotiations with the State Government in 1997 and 1998. Even though the KNA's original demand for the establishment of an autonomous region in the district has been long renounced, it's acceptability among the Kukis and also among non-Karbi organisations struggling to carve a niche for themselves in the district, remains paramount.

However, as things stand currently, KNA's demand finds little support among influential political entities in the district, mostly dominated by the Karbis. This opposition however, needs to be placed in the larger context of the autonomy movement for the Karbis. The autonomous Karbi Anglong district, constituted under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, has been aspiring for an autonomous State status since 1986 under article 244A of the Constitution, a provision created through the 22nd Constitution Amendment Act, 1969. The demand for autonomy is curiously intertwined with local politics, mostly represented by the Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC), the Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) and the Congress party. Interestingly, Karbi Anglong had decided not to be a part of Meghalaya, which was created as an autonomous State in the year 1970, as it would have meant renunciation of its autonomous district status.

Today, the movement for an autonomous State stands at the crossroads, in the aftermath of the split in the ASDC in July 2000. Internal contradictions, which once threatened to obliterate the movement altogether, led to the creation of two factions, the ASDC-Progressive (ASDC-P, aligned with the CPI-ML) and the ASDC-United (ASDC-U). The split has also divided the once influential Karbi Students' Association (KSA) into three units, aligned with the two different factions of the ASDC and with the Congress Party, which rules the Karbi Anglong Autonomous District Council (KAADC) today.

The July 2000 split in ASDC was a major turning point in the course of the KNA's autonomy movement. The ASDC-U, in a bid to expand its support-base, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the KNA in December 2000, not only recognising the distinct historical rights of the Kukis in the district, but also promised a common effort to fulfill their political aspirations. The MoU states: "The ASDC is firmly committed to recommend and ensure the creation of a Regional Council for the Kuki tribe within the framework of the Sixth Schedule provision of the Indian constitution." Such a stand would have been unimaginable in the ASDC's pre-split era. The ASDC-U also entered into two controversial deals, one with the 'Banner organisation' of the Bodo Kacharis in the district in April 2001 and the other with the Meghalaya Government in July 2001. In the present context, all these agreements are seen as distinctively against the interest of the Karbis as they accommodate aspirations of non-Karbi tribes in the district. In a changed political environment, where compulsions are less demanding and any adherence to such agreements presents adequate vote generating opportunities to other political groupings, the ASDC-U prefers to overlook these agreements, on one pretext or the other. For example, with regard to the agreement with the KNA, ASDC-U now maintains that, since the KNA representative L. Singson, who had put his signature on the MoU, is dead, the agreement stands void. In the words of the ASDC-U President, Holiram Terang, "The agreement has become redundant. It died with Singson. The character of the KNA has changed since then."

The ASDC-U's stand, in a recently published leaflet titled, 'Problems of Unrestricted Influx into Karbi Anglong: The Karbi-Kuki Dimension: An Overview', is interesting in this context: "The KNA, acting as the apex organisation of Kukis in Karbi Anglong, has been aligning with various political formations, mainly with the anti-Karbi axis, taking part in electoral activities and at the same time championing the Kuki political cause prompted by the Manipur based Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA).'

The growing number of the Kukis is also perceived to be a threat to the aspiration of the Karbi groups. Even though Kukis claim themselves to be the 'aboriginal tribes of the district', living in contiguous areas in Diphu, Bokajan and Howraghat before the creation of the district, a look at their growing population brings out the essentially mobile character of this tribe. According to the 1951 census, only 15 respondents in Karbi Anglong returned their mother tongue as Kuki. The number grew to 2,914 by 1961. The 1971 census suggested that there are 21,034 Kukis in Assam. However, by 1991, only 21,883 Kukis were said to be living in the State. Thus, where as till 1971, Karbi Anglong witnessed an inward migration of Kukis, the 20 years time between 1971-1991 points to an outward migration.

The approach of the political organizations in the district towards the Kuki population remains varied. While the ASDC-U is willing to provide 'son of the soil' status to the some of the Kukis, who lived in the district before 1951 (the year in which the Karbi Anglong district was created), the ASDC-P does not accept this line. According to its finance secretary, Daniel Teron, "There were no Kukis in the district before 1951 and all of the present inhabitants are essentially migrants." Both factions suggest that the growing number of Kukis (said to be 35,000 by the KNA, according to a 'voluntary census' conducted in the mid-1990s) is due to migration from Manipur and Nagaland, following the Naga-Kuki and Kuki-Paite clashes there.

The result is that the polarisation along ethnic lines is duly complimented with political divisions among the communities. In addition to the larger issue of Kuki autonomy, which has very little chance of garnering support from the dominant Karbis, basic issues of livelihood and economic opportunities have also been marked, and the consequent standoff has benefited the insurgents.

Since its origin in 1999, with the avowed objective of establishing a land for the Karbis, the UPDS has pursued a systematic campaign of cleansing the area of non-Karbis. As a result, the Kukis, like the Bodos, Nepalis and the Hindi-speaking people in the district, become natural targets. Over the last two years, the UPDS has targeted the ginger-producing Kukis in the Singhasan Hill range for systematic extortion. According to the General Secretary of the KNA, ginger-laden vehicles are forced to pay anything between Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 20,000 to the outfit. The UPDS, in spite of the split it underwent in May 2002 on the question of negotiating with the Government, continues to announce economic blockades, primarily targeted at prohibiting the ginger trade. In January 2003, for example, the UPDS's armed wing, the Karbi Anglong North Cachar Hills Peoples' Resistance (KNPR) announced a seven day-long economic blockade starting January 12 to protest against the alleged destruction of forests by ginger cultivators. On several occasions, its armed cadres have set ginger-laden vehicles on fire.

The Kukis over the years have resisted such attempts at extortion, thereby infuriating the UPDS. Recently, the UPDS came up with a notification announcing a ban on ginger cultivation, terming it a 'threat to the environment of Karbi Anglong'. Ginger cultivators, with the slash and burn mode of Jhum cultivation are alleged to have destroyed the forest cover in the hill areas, a charge which can also be leveled against the Karbi cultivators who have settled in the lower part of the same hill areas.

The UPDS' concern for the environment has found favour among various Karbi organisations in the district, primarily with the ASDC-U and the section of the KSA aligned with the Congress party. In the words of the KSA President, Hanuram Engti, "The UPDS demand for environment preservation is a genuine one. The Kukis must stop cultivation of ginger. They have destroyed out environment." In a State like Assam, which is gradually losing its forest cover, Karbi Anglong is no exception. Reserved forest area in Karbi Anglong East has declined from 111,855 hectares in 1993-94 to 72,720 hectares in 1996-97 and further to 48,042 hectares in 2000-2001. It will however, be difficult to relate the depletion to ginger cultivation alone.

The UPDS action against the Kukis has brought the KRA, primarily a Manipur-based outfit, into the scene opening up another and most violent front of conflict. The group, with a declared objective of protecting the interest of the Kukis, is seen to be a serious challenge to the militancy of the UPDS, which till recently enjoyed a local monopoly over violence. Both these groups have clashed repeatedly, and have not only targeted each others' armed cadres, but also civilians, conveniently projected as the rival's sympathizers. The result is that the district has come to witness significant internal displacements, mostly into Nagaland and Manipur. More importantly, the rising violence has pushed the KNA's autonomy demand into the background.




Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
March 22-28, 2004

Security Force Personnel






     Jammu &








Total (INDIA)





 Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


United Liberation Front of Asom planning to regroup, indicates report: The Hindu quoting Indian official sources indicated that top United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) leaders had held a meeting in Dhaka on March 4, 2004, at the house of a "prominent personality" in Gulshan-II area. The meeting was reportedly attended by ULFA 'Commander-in-Chief' Paresh Baruah and Raju Baruah in a bid to reorganize themselves after being dislodged from their camps in Bhutan during December 2003. The report further stated that the meeting occurred in the backdrop of "serious differences" between ULFA 'Chairman' Arabinda Rajkhowa, and Paresh Baruah with the former questioning the ability of ULFA's armed wing to resist the Bhutanese army assault and Baruah highlighting "political shortcomings" as being responsible for the debacle. Baruah, who is now reportedly based in a Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) camp in the Srimangal area, in his recent 'Sainik Day' speech criticised Rajkhowa's "political" leadership for having allowed the cadres to "enjoy themselves" with their families in the camps in Bhutan, which led to the debacle. The Hindu, March 22, 2004.


Second round of APHC-Union Government talks held in New Delhi: The second round of dialogue between the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and Union Government was held in New Delhi on March 27, 2004. Among others who represented the Union Government were Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, Home Secretary Anil Baijal and interlocutor on Jammu and Kashmir, N.N. Vohra. The Hurriyat delegation was represented by its chairman, Maulvi Abbas Ansari, as well as Abdul Ghani Bhat, Mirwaiz Omar Farooq and Bilal Lone. "Recognising that a new Government will be in place in the latter half of May 2004, it was agreed that discussions on substantive issues would start at the next meeting to be held in June, 2004,'' a statement issued by the Union Home Ministry said at the end of the talks. Addressing a press conference later, Advani said that the Hurriyat leaders expressed concerned on two issues - release of political detenues and violation of human rights by the security forces in the State. "We are ensuring that human rights violations do not take place and even while discharging their duties in relation to maintaining security and law and order, [the] security forces must have a human face and they should see to it that ordinary citizens are not subjected to any harassment,'' said Advani. The Hindu, March 28, 2004.

Kuki Revolutionary Army kills 39 Karbi villagers in Assam: Suspected terrorists of the Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) are reported to have killed at least 39 Karbi villagers in the Karbi Anglong district of Assam on March 24 and 27, 2004. In the first incident on March 24, a group of about 30 KRA terrorists raided Uden Tisso and Sarpo Terong villages under the Bokajan police station jurisdiction and killed 28 persons and wounded eight others. Separately on the same day, another group of KRA terrorists attacked Jari Teron, a Karbi village under Manja police outpost, and killed another six Karbis. Inspector-General of Police (Special Branch), Khagen Sharma, said that the attacks were carried out by separate hit squads of the KRA who also set fire to many houses in these villages. On March 27, five more Karbi tribals were killed in the upper Deopani area under Bokajan police station. Sentinel Assam, March 28, 2004; The Hindu, March 25, 2004.


50 Maoists killed in Baglung district: At least 50 Maoist insurgents were reportedly killed during an air-operation launched by the security forces in a forest area of Aargal Village Development Committee (VDC) in the Baglung district on March 23, 2004. The raid was launched after a tip-off that Maoists involved in the Beni Bazaar attack of March 20-21 were hiding in Aargal forests and allegedly burying their dead cadres. The Himalayan Times, March 24, 2004.


U.S. lifts sanctions imposed after 1999 military coup: The United States on March 24, 2004, lifted the sanctions against Pakistan imposed after the 1999 coup that brought Gen. Pervez Musharraf to power, saying the action would ease democratic transition in Pakistan and contribute to the war on terrorism. The lifting of restrictions on Pakistan "would facilitate the transition to democratic rule in Pakistan" and "is important to the United States efforts to respond to, deter or prevent acts of international terrorism," President George W. Bush said in a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell. "Accordingly, I hereby waive, with respect to Pakistan, any such provision," said the letter. Jang, March 26, 2004.

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri urges Pakistanis to overthrow President Musharraf: Arabic television Al Jazeera aired on March 25, 2004, a purported new tape by senior Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahri in which he called on Pakistanis to overthrow "traitor" President Pervez Musharraf's regime. "I call on Muslims in Pakistan to get rid of their government which is working for Americans," said the voice on the tape. The tape added, "Musharraf wants to stab the Muslim jihad in Afghanistan in the back. The Pakistani people had offered a helping hand to their brothers in Afghanistan, that's why Americans delegated Musharraf to take revenge on the tribes along the border, especially the Pashtun." Daily Times, March 26, 2004.

11 religious scholars booked under MPO for issuing Fatwa against Army: The Islamabad Police have reportedly launched a crackdown against at least 11 top religious leaders for issuing a Fatwa (edict) against the Army operations directed at Al Qaeda and Taliban in the Wana area of South Waziristan. Two of them serving in the Lal Masjid mosque and secretariat mosque have reportedly been dismissed from service. The police have also registered cases under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) against these leaders. Jang, March 25, 2004.

13 troops killed in terrorist ambush near Wana: At least 13 soldiers were killed and 22 others sustained injuries as terrorists ambushed a Pakistan Army convoy on March 22, 2004, near Sarwakai on the Wana road in South Waziristan, bordering Afghanistan. The convoy was reportedly carrying fuel and rations to the troops taking part in the operations against the Al Qaeda and Taliban. Dawn, March 23, 2004.


LTTE may liquidate renegade leader 'Colonel' Karuna, indicates report: According to The Hindu, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said on March 25, 2004, that it had "decided to get rid of Karuna from our soil.'' The former eastern military 'commander', Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias 'Colonel' Karuna, alleged the LTTE political division, was attempting to "create regional differences and fratricidal war'' to "cover up the offences committed by him." The "immoral conduct, fraudulent financial transactions and arbitrary assassinations'' of the former military commander for two eastern districts - Batticaloa and Amparai - "were proved with substantial evidence and he was called for an inquiry,'' the LTTE statement said, adding "To safeguard our nation and our people, it has been decided to get rid of Karuna from our soil." The Hindu, March 26, 2004.


The South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR) is a weekly service that brings you regular data, assessments and news briefs 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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