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SAIR Archive            SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW          LATEST ON SATP
Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 16, No. 20, November 13, 2017

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


ASSESSMENT


INDIA
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CPI-Maoist: Brutal Turn
Deepak Kumar Nayak
Research Assistant; Institute for Conflict Management

On November 8, 2017, two Railway Protection Force (RPF) troopers were attacked by cadres of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) at the Bacheli Railway Station in Bastar District of Chhattisgarh. Both the troopers were found with their throats slit. While one of them succumbed at the incident site, another was rushed to a nearby hospital where his condition is said to be very critical.

On October 5, 2017, CPI-Maoist cadres killed a villager, identified as Imra Kabasi, in the Bapanapalli area under Padia Police limits in the Malkangiri District of Odisha. The Maoists dragged Imra to the nearby forest and slit his throat, suspecting him of being a Police informer.

Earlier, on August 7, 2017, a group of 50 armed CPI-Maoist cadres killed Nandapur Sarpanch (head of the Panchayat, village level local self Government institution), Jaga Khara, by slitting his throat at Hatibari village under Padua Police limits in Koraput District of Odisha, alleging he was a Police informer.

According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) database, the Maoists have killed at least 13 persons using barbaric methods such as slitting the throat, hacking or beheading, including 10 civilians (including one surrendered Maoist) and three Security Force (SF) personnel, in 13 separate incidents so far in 2017 (all data till November 12, 2017). These brutal killings were spread across four Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected States. Odisha recorded five such fatalities (four civilians and one SF trooper); followed by Chhattisgarh with four fatalities (two civilians including the surrendered Maoist and two SF personnel); Bihar with three fatalities, all civilians; and Jharkhand with one civilian fatality. The total combined civilian and SF fatalities in Maoist violence across the country stands at 158 in 2017 (87 civilians and 71 SF personnel).

During the corresponding period of 2016, there were at least 19 comparably brutal killings, including 17 civilians and two SF personnel, in 16 such separate incidents, across four LWE-affected States in India. Odisha recorded a total of nine such fatalities, all civilians; followed by Chhattisgarh with seven fatalities (five civilians and two SFs); Jharkhand with three fatalities, all civilians; and Andhra Pradesh with two civilian fatalities. In the remaining period of 2016, another two such fatalities were reported: one civilian each from Chhattisgarh and Odisha.

There were 22 such fatalities in 2015, six in 2014; 10 in 2013; 17 in 2012; 29 in 2011; 30 in 2010; 51 in 2009; 20 in 2008; 12 in 2007; nine in 2006; and three in 2005.

Maoists have used these barbaric methods of eliminating adversaries since the formation of the CPI-Maoist on September 21, 2004. According to partial data collated by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), at least 243 persons, including 218 civilians (out of which six were surrendered Maoists), and 25 SF personnel, have been killed using these barbaric methods across eight LWE-affected States. The total combined civilian and SFs fatalities, during this period was 4,958.

According to the SATP database, the first such killing after the formation of the CPI-Maoist was registered on July 5, 2005, when Maoist cadres slit the throat and beheaded three members of the Shanti Sena (peace army), an anti-Naxalite (anti-LWE) ‘resistance force’, after seizing all their belongings and destroying their houses, at Khairpani village in the Gumla District of Jharkhand.

Number of persons killed by CPI-Maoist using Barbaric Methods Since September 21, 2004* - 2017**

State

 

Civilians
Surrendered LWEs
SFs
TOTAL
Slitting of throat
Hacked
Beheaded
Slitting of throat
Hacked
Beheaded
Slitting of throat
Hacked
Beheaded

Andhra Pradesh

2
3
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
7

Bihar

22
2
6
0
0
0
1
0
0
31

Chhattisgarh

30
8
0
0
1
0
9
9
1
58

Jharkhand

35
5
19
0
0
1
1
0
1
62

Maharashtra

7
0
3
1
0
1
1
0
0
13

Odisha

40
9
2
0
0
0
1
1
0
53

Uttar Pradesh

0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
1

West Bengal

9
7
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
18

TOTAL

145
34
33
1
3
2
13
10
2
243
* Formation of CPI-Maoist
** Data till: November 12, 2017

Jharkhand recorded the highest number, 62, of brutal executions by the Maoists during this period; followed by Chhattisgarh, 58; Odisha, 53; Bihar, 31; West Bengal, 18; Maharashtra, 13; Andhra Pradesh, seven; and Uttar Pradesh, one. As a percentage of total killings, however, Odisha tops the list with 10.11 per cent [number of such killings out of all civilian and SF killings in the State], followed by Bihar (6.39 per cent), Jharkhand (6.35 per cent), Maharashtra (4.27 per cent), Chhattisgarh (3.35 per cent), West Bengal (2.95 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (2.72 per cent), if Uttar Pradesh is excluded. Two fatalities were reported in UP, of which one fell in this category.

An overview of these executions indicates that the Maoists have killed most of their victims using these methods because the suspected them of being Police informers. A total of 629 alleged Police informers have been killed by the Maoists since the formation of the groups (data till November 12, 2017).

These barbaric methods remain unabated despite the fact that the Maoists have ‘expressed regret’ in some such cases in the past. Indeed, after the killing of Francis Induwar, on October 6, 2009, the then ‘spokesperson’ and a ‘Central Committee (CC)’ member of the CPI-Maoist, Cherukuri Rajkumar aka Azad, while he justified the use of violence on the grounds that it was in defence of the poor and unarmed, conceded that the beheading of Francis Induvar was an aberration that would not be repeated. Induwar who was an inspector with the State Special Branch (Jharkhand Police), was abducted on September 30, 2009, by the Maoists from Hembrom Bazaar in Khunti District and was subsequently killed on October 6, 2009, after the Maoist demand for the release of three of their leaders – Kobad Ghandy, Chattradhar Mahato, and Chandra Bhushan Yadav – in return for Induwar’s safe release, was denied.

With Maoists rapidly losing ground, and a rising incidence of specific intelligence operational successes by the SFs, the orchestration of such killings reflects a desire to create terror among people. These executions are intended to act as a deterrent against any attempt to ‘spy’ on Maoists activities or to help the Police in any other manner.

Indeed, in a review meeting held at an undisclosed location in early 2017, the CPI-Maoist concluded that their armed struggle was undergoing a “difficult phase”. Of 16 Maoist strongholds across India, the resolution spoke of “setbacks” in some, and a weakening of the movement in others. However, as K. Srinivas Reddy, the editor of Telangana Today, who accessed the party resolution noted,
This is not to say that there were no deadly raids against security forces by the party’s armed wing, the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA). They still have military might. But the movement is losing its political force.

Given the reverses the Maoists continue to suffer, they are likely to intensify acts to terrorize local populations. SFs are going to be hard pressed to prevent these actions in areas of receding Maoist influence. Only a continued intensification of SF operations can keep the Maoists off balance and on the run. Where local population progressively turn away from the Maoists and specially where they actively assist the Police, their protection must be an overwhelming priority for the SFs.

INDIA
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Nagaland: Widening Accord
Giriraj Bhattacharjee
Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management

The third round of talks between the Government of India (GoI) and the Working Committee of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPG), a grouping of six armed Naga militant formations, reportedly took place in New Delhi between November 1 and November 3, 2017. GoI was represented by the Union Government’s interlocutor for Naga Talks, R. N. Ravi. NNPG was led by the convener of its Working Committee N. Kitovi Zhimomi, who is also the General Secretary of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Neokpao-Kitovi (NSCN-NK). Other members of the NNPG include NSCN-Reformation faction (NSCN-R) and four factions of Naga National Council (NNC) – Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN), NNC-Parent Body, Non-Accordist faction of NNC/National People's Government of Nagaland (NPGN/NNC-NA), and Government Democratic Republic of Nagaland /NNC-NA (GDRN). On December 14, 2016, these groups, at the behest of the Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC), a civil society organisation, had come together in Dimapur to constitute a Working Committee to steer a ‘permanent solution’ to the ‘Naga issue’. The NNPG is led by Zhimomi and includes the ‘co- conveners’ of the Working Group, Zhopra Vero Kedallo (FGN), Hozheto Chophy (NPGN/NNC, NA), V.  Nagi (NNC-Parent Body), Kiumukam Yimchunger (GDRN/NNC, NA), Wangtin Naga (NSCN-R), and Alezo Venuh (NSCN-NK).

Though no further details are available about the talks, media reports stated that Nagaland Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang, who was present in New Delhi ‘with his team’, met the NNPG leaders on November 4, 2017. After the meeting with the Chief Minister, NNPG leaders stated that they impressed upon the ‘visiting team’ to continue working towards ensuring a ‘final settlement’ of the Naga Political issue that is “inclusive, honourable and acceptable to all for long standing peace in the State.”

Earlier, the second round of talks between GoI and NNPG had taken place at Dimapur (Nagaland) on October 23, 2017. The meeting was held behind closed doors with the GoI team led by R.N. Ravi and NNPG by Kitovi Zhimomi. According to reports, the discussions focused mainly on issues of principle, without delving into the specifics. In an interview with Nagaland Post, Ravi disclosed that the October 23 meeting was on ‘substantive issue’ and ‘business-like’. Separately, Zhimomi had stated that NNPG had set in motion the process of political negotiations with GoI on the basis of “historical and political rights of the Naga people for self determination and identity.”

Significantly, the first round of talks between the two sides had taken place on September 27, 2017. GoI representative Ravi met an 18-member delegation led by NNPG Working Group convener Zhimomi. According to a Press Release issued on the same day by the media cell of the NNPG, the Working Group and GoI “officially began a political dialogue today [September 27], to resolve the protracted Indo-Naga political issue.” The release added that during the talks Ravi pointed out that the “moment was a historic one for both the Center and the Nagas as the effort was aimed towards resolving a seventy year old political problem through dialogue.” The interlocutor had also stressed on the principle of equality, mutual respect and trust for resolving the issue and urged the Naga delegation “to be realistic and not dwell on rhetoric.”

With this initiative almost all the known armed Naga outfits based in Nagaland have come under ambit of negotiation for a ‘final settlement’. This is, indeed, a major success, as the Union Government had earlier called for wider participation, and had signed the Framework Agreement with the Isak-Muivah faction of NSCN (NSCN-IM) on August 3, 2015. In an exclusive interview to Nagaland Post on May 15, 2015, Ravi had categorically stated that his approach was to take the entire Naga society on board. Elaborating further he had clarified that “there is nothing called settlement with NSCN-IM as it is a settlement of the Naga issue.”

Nevertheless, worries persist. Talks with NSCN-IM continue to drag on. Reports indicate that the talks have hit hurdles due to NSCN-IM’s insistence on a separate constitution for the proposed ‘Nagalim’. An unnamed ‘senior functionary’ of NSCN-IM reportedly asserted, "Having a separate constitution for the Nagas has become the bone of contention in the talks." Earlier, on August 13, 2016, a joint communiqué was issued by both NSCN-IM ‘general secretary’ Thuingaleng Muivah and R. N. Ravi in which it was stated, “We assure the people that the talks have been progressing in the right direction with determination. We are closer than ever before to the final settlement and hope to conclude it sooner (rather) than later.”

At this juncture widening the arc of talks may, in fact, have the potential to irk NSCN-IM, which has always claimed to be the ‘sole representative of the Naga people’. In a statement issued on April 3, 2015, NSCN-IM ‘general secretary’ T. Muivah had claimed that “the GoI [Government of India] and the Nagas represented by the NSCN are in the process of working out an honourable political solution acceptable to both.”

It may, however, be a case that the Government has reached out to the new grouping with the tacit support of the NSCN-IM. The implications of the new initiative, however, remain to be seen. Indeed, according to an August 24, 2017, report on the issue of the Government’s desire to take all Naga factions on board for the ‘final agreement’, an unnamed NSCN-IM source had said that it is understood that the Centre wanted other groups to accept the agreed points with the NSCN-IM and accept the final accord. Significantly, on September 13, 2015, NNC had stated that any agreement arrived between the NSCN-IM and New Delhi would be “invalid” because the Naga people have, at no point of time, given the mandate to NSCN-IM or any other group other than NNC to negotiate on the Naga issue.

Moreover, the Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K), presently the most violently active group in the region, continues to remain out of the ambit of talks. On March 31, 2015, NSCN-K had unilaterally abridged the CFA signed between the outfit and the Union Government on April 28, 2001. Subsequently, the Union Government also called off the agreement with NSCN-K in a statement released on April 28, 2015.

Worryingly, according to an October 21, 2017, news report, an Intelligence Bureau (IB) report suggests that there are frequent meetings between the Chinese and NSCN-K leaders at Ruli and Kunming in China's Yunnan province. The Chinese are reported to have held at least two meetings in a month with NSCN-K to ensure that the peace talks are stalled.

Further, there have been substantial changes in the leadership structure of both the NSCN-IM and NSCN-K. Two of the prominent figures of the Naga insurgency recently passed away. Shangwang Shangyung Khaplang, ‘chairman’ of NSCN-K, died on June 9, 2017, after a prolonged illness in a hospital at Taga in the Sagaing Division of Myanmar. Earlier, Isak Chisi Swu, ‘chairman’ of NSCN-IM, had died of multiple organ failure at a hospital in Delhi, on June 28, 2016. Khango Konyak replaced S.S. Khaplang in NSCN-K, while the post of ‘chairman’ remains vacant in NSCN-IM. Also, on May 19, 2016, the Kholi Kitovi faction of NSCN (NSCN-KK) leader ‘general (retired)’ Kholi Konyak, moved to NSCN-IM and joined as its ‘vice-chairman’. M B Neokpao Konyak replaced Kholi Konyak and the erstwhile NSCN-KK is now known as the Kitovi-Neokpao faction of NSCN (NSCN-KN)]

The Naga Peace talks have taken an interesting turn with the inclusion of several other formations. An ‘inclusive’ settlement would certainly be an optimal outcome to resolve the longest surviving insurgency in the Northeast; but this is still a long way off.


NEWS BRIEFS

Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
November 6 - 12, 2017

 

Civilians

Security Force Personnel

Terrorists/Insurgents

Total

INDIA

 

Jammu and Kashmir

0
1
3
4

Left-Wing Extremism

 

Chhattisgarh

0
1
9
10

INDIA (Total)

0
2
12
14

PAKISTAN

 

Balochistan

0
4
1
5

FATA

0
1
5
6

KP

0
2
0
2

Punjab

2
0
0
2

Sindh

0
0
3
3

PAKISTAN (Total)

2
7
9
18
Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.

BANGLADESH

Militants are trying to reorganize, says IGP AKM Shahidul Hoque: Inspector General of Police (IGP) AKM Shahidul Hoque on November 9 said that militants a are trying to reorganize. “Militants are not that strong now. Although they are trying to reorganise, we have broken their strength,” he said. The IGP said most of the militants arrested across the country are from Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions. He also sought proactive help from common people as well as police, so anything bad can be checked before it occurs. The Daily Star, November 10, 2017.

Biman co-pilot confesses to 9/11 style plot to attack Prime Minister's residence, says report: Biman Bangladesh Airlines co-pilot Sabbir Ahmed alias Amam Sabbir has confessed to 9/11 style plot to attack Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s residence. Sabbir had planned to crash an aircraft on the residence of Prime Minister in a similar manner to infamous terror attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001. Sabbir is a first officer of the national flag carrier arrested on October 31 for plotting to carry out sabotage with aircraft. Dhaka Tribune, November 8, 2017.


INDIA

Pakistan's ISI behind the targeted killings in Punjab, says Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh claimed on November 7 that his Police force had cracked the string of targeted killings of religious leaders in the State by busting a terror module managed by Pakistan-based Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). Amarinder said ISI was working in tandem with gangsters and ‘cells’ abroad to destabilise Punjab. Times of India, November 8, 2017.

Handlers of the ISI-backed terror module behind targeted killings of religious leaders in the state were based in Italy, the UK and Canada, says Punjab DGP Suresh Arora: Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Suresh Arora claimed that the handlers of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI)-backed terror module behind targeted killings of religious leaders in the state were based in Italy, the UK and Canada. "The role of the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) is being investigated. Although it is too early to share details, funding for the module from foreign sources has been confirmed," he said. Times of India, November 11, 2017.

Draft MoS between HPC-D and Mizoram Government approved by apex Hmar body: The draft memorandum of settlement (MoS) proposed to be signed between the Mizoram Government and the Hmar People's Convention-Democratic (HPC-D) was approved at the consultation meeting of the Hmar community on November 8. The meeting also approved the draft Sinlung Hills Council Bill, 2017, which is required to be approved by the Mizoram council of ministers before its introduction in the State Legislature. The Telegraph, November 10, 2017.

Odisha and West Bengal to hold first-ever joint coastal security exercise: The Governments of Odisha and West Bengal will soon organize a joint security exercise named as 'Sagar Kavach' to further tighten the existing coastal security mechanism along the 630 km long coastline. This was informed by Odisha's additional chief secretary, Home department, Asit Tripathy after attending a meeting in Bhubaneswar. Times of India, November 10, 2017.


NEPAL

CPN-Maoist Center expels rival candidates: Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre (CPN-Maoist Centre) on November 9 expelled leaders and cadres who filed their candidacies in the elections to the House of Representatives and State Assemblies and their supporters against party policy. The party has expelled them from party's general membership. Sending a letter to Province no 6, the party headquarters cancelled general membership of party's politburo members - Umakanta Sharma, Chhakka Bahadur Lama and Bhim Prakash Sharma, who had filed their candidacies against authorized candidates of the leftist alliance. Similarly, the party also expelled General Convention organizing Committee member Jit Bahadur Pun, local leaders of Salyan - Pramod Shrestha, Shalikram Bhattarai, Setiram Oli, harilal DC, Tanka Dhakal and Kirti Bahadur Rana from general membership. My Republica, November 10, 2017.

FPTP ballot papers for first phase printed: The Election Commission (EC) on November 6 announced that it had printed all seven million ballot papers needed for the first phase of provincial and parliamentary first-past-the-post (FPTP) elections slated for November 26. The first phase of elections will be held in 32 mountain and remote hilly Districts. EC Spokesperson Navaraj Dhakal said the poll panel had already started supplying FPTP ballot papers and other electoral materials to those 32 Districts. “We are preparing to start printing FPTP ballot papers for the second phase of elections,” said Dhakal.  The Himalayan Times , November 7, 2017.