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SAIR Archive            SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW          LATEST ON SATP
Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 16, No. 25, December 18, 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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Telangana: Bhadradri Kothagudem: LWE Losses
Ajit Kumar Singh
Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management

Eight cadres of the Chandra Pulla Reddy Bata faction of the Communist Party of India – Marxist Leninist (CPI-ML, Chandra Pulla Reddy Bata faction) were killed in an encounter with Police in the Mellamadugu forest area under Tekulapally mandal (administrative unit) in the Bhadradri Kothagudem District on December 14, 2017. The deceased were identified as Etti Kumar aka Rakhi (35), Jakkati Praveen Kumar aka Azad (24), Nunavath Arjun aka Naveen (22), Boina Omprakash aka Ganesh (22), Easam Naresh aka Sudharshan (30), Turkuli Madhu (35), Gadudula Srinu (40), and Bhattu Adinarayana (38). Police also recovered a Self-Loaded Rifle (SLR), three 8mm rifles, two guns, and some other materials. The dead body of another cadre, identified as Rachakonda Kiran alias Karthik, was recovered on December 16.

On November 26, 2017, suspected Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres killed a tribal man, branding him a 'Police informer', at Peddamidisileru village in Charla Mandal in the Bhadradri Kothagudem District. The Police identified the deceased as Sodi Prasad (45), a native of Peddamidisileru, an interior village close to the State's border with Chhattisgarh.

On September 21, 2017, two cadres of the New Democracy faction of the Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML-New Democracy) were killed in an encounter with the Police in the Sidharam Forest area of Tekulapalli mandal in Bhadradri Kothagudem District.

According to partial data collated by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), the district has recorded at least 12 fatalities [11 Left wing Extremists (LWEs) and one civilian] in three incidents of killing so far in 2017 (data till December 17). However, no other violent incident like explosion or arson was reported in 2017.

No violent incident was reported in the District in 2016.

Bhadradri Kothagudem was carved out of Telangana’s Khammam District on October 11, 2016. Telangana itself was carved out of Andhra Pradesh as a separate State on June 2, 2014. Khammam was one of 23 Districts in united Andhra Pradesh and became part of Telangana after the reorganization of Andhra Pradesh. 

In 2005, Bhadradri Kothagudem was one of the violent most regions in Khammam District and had alone accounted for at least 62 fatalities (including 20 civilians, two Security Force, SF, personnel, and 40 LWEs) in 41 incidents of killing out of a total of 106 fatalities (42 civilians, three SF personnel, and 61 LWEs) recorded in 72 incidents of killing in the entire Khammam District till December 17, 2017. During this entire period, the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (since its formation) together had recorded at least 760 fatalities. Thus, Khammam alone accounted for almost 13.81 per cent of the total fatalities recorded in these two States. 

Further, out of seven major incidents (each resulting in three or more fatalities) with a total of 27 killed, recorded in Khammam District since 2005, five (resulting in 21 fatalities) were reported from Bhadradri Kothagudem alone. Similarly, out of seven incidents of explosion (no fatality) recorded in Khammam District since 2005, at least four were reported from Bhadradri Kothagudem alone.

Spread over a geographical area of 7,483 square kilometres, of which around 4286.98 square kilometres (more than 57.29 per cent of its total area) is under thick forest cover, Bhadradri Kothagudem shares boundaries with Bijapur and Sukma Districts of Chhattisgarh State in the North and the North East, East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh in the East, Khammam District (Telangana) and West Godavari District (Andhra Pradesh) in the South and the South East, Mahabubabad District (Telangana) in the West and Jayashankar Bhupalapally District (Telangana) in North West. With its District headquarters at Kothagudem town, the District comprises of 24 mandals and two revenue divisions: Kothagudem and Bhadrachalam.

Out of the seven districts with which Bhadradri Kothagudem shares borders, three (Bijapur, Sukma, and Khammam) are included in a list of 35 worst-LWE affected Districts released by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in July 2017. Khammam and Bijapur were included in the first such list released in 2009 (when 33 worst-LWE affected Districts were identified). Sukma was then the part of Dantewada District, which was also listed in the 33-worst LWE affected Districts in 2009.

According to the “District Development and Diversity Index Report for India and Major States,” a joint survey conducted by the US-India Policy Institute (USIPI) and the Centre for Research and Debates in Development Policy (CRDDP), among the 599 Districts across India covered by the survey, Khammam ranked 232nd towards the middle of the listing. The report of the survey, which took composite development – measured in terms of economic development and the indices of health, education and material well-being – into consideration, was released on January 29, 2015.

Apart from the dominant CPI-Maoist, several factions of CPI-ML are active in the District. Indeed, of the seven major incidents reported in the entire Khammam District since 2005, the different factions of CPI-ML were found to be involved in five, while CPI-Maoist was involved in just two. These major incidents include:

December 14, 2017: Eight cadres of the Chandra Pulla Reddy Bata faction of CPI-ML were killed in an encounter in the Mellamadugu forest area under Tekulapally Mandal in Bhadradri Kothagudem District. The dead body of another cadre, identified as Rachakonda Kiran alias Karthik, was recovered on December 16.

May 5, 2008: Three cadres of the Janashakti faction of the CPI-ML (CPI-ML-Janashakti) were killed during an encounter with a Police party in Rollapadu Forest under the Tekulapalli Police Station limits in Khammam District.

November 16, 2007: Three persons, including two migrant tribals from the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, were killed by cadres of the CPI-Maoist in Narsingpet village of Chintoor mandal in Khammam District.

October 19, 2007: Four cadres of the CPI-ML-Janashakthi group were killed in an encounter with Police near Gattumalla village in Kothagudem mandal of Khammam District.

December 31, 2006: Three CPI-Maoist cadres were killed in an encounter with the Police in the forests of Khammam District.

December 8, 2006: Three cadres of the Pratighatana faction of CPI-ML(CPI-ML–Praja Pratighatana) were killed in an encounter with the Police on the Basigutta Hillocks near Kothagudem in the Khammam District.

September 22, 2006: Three cadres of CPI-ML–Praja Pratighatana faction were killed in an encounter with the Police in the core area of the Kinnerasani Wildlife Sanctuary in Khammam District.

In the aftermath of the December 14, 2017, incident Police said that, on July 24, 2017, a new group, called CPI-ML-Chandra Pulla Reddy Bata, had been formed with 12 members under the leadership of Kura Rajanna and B. Narasimhulu. According to the Police, group members had started their activities in four Telangana Districts – Jayashankar Bhupalpally, Mahabubabad, Bhadradri Kothagudem and Khammam – engaging in extortion from businessmen, conduct of ‘land settlements’, putting up pamphlets and posters, and creating terror. On December 3, 2017, the Police arrested three armed extremists of the group in Jayashankar Bhupalpally District and seized a rifle, two grenades, several rounds of ammunition, empty magazines, and seven cell phones from their possession.

On July 14, 2017, State Home Minister N. Narasimha Reddy, after laying the foundation stone for the India Reserve Battalion (IRB) premises at Chathakonda, stated that the State Government had allocated 140 acres land at Chathakonda in neighboring Khammam District for the IRB. The IRB establishment is being set up as part of a concerted effort to further strengthen the Police Force in LWE-affected areas in the region, including Bhadradri Kothagudem District.

Further, according to an August 17, 2017, report, four companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were deployed in neighboring Jayashankar Bhupalpally District to guard four important irrigation projects coming up on river Godavari: Tupakulagudem Barrage, Medigadda Barrage, Kannepalli Pump House Project and Annaram Barrage. Earlier, on May 8, 2017, State Director General of Police (DGP) Anurag Sharma had urged the Union Ministry of Home Affairs during a meeting of the Police Chiefs of LWE-affected in New Delhi, that Telangana needed Central Forces, since the Maoists might strike at the irrigation projects in their desperate attempts for a comeback.

Since its formation in June 2014, Telangana has mostly remained free of LWE violence, accounting for just 12 fatalities (six civilians and six LWEs), prior to the December 14, 2017 incident. Nevertheless, Bhadradri Kothagudem District remains a concern and requires significant attention.

NEPAL
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Lingering Problems
S. Binodkumar Singh
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

The counting of votes under the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system to elect 165 House of Representative (HoR) seats and 330 Provincial Assembly (PA) seats concluded on December 13, 2017, with the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) emerging as the single largest party. The CPN-UML won 80 HoR seats and 167 PA seats. Its ally, the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre (CPN-Maoist Center), bagged 36 HoR seats and 74 PA seats. The two parties, which had formed the Left Alliance, have left the governing Nepali Congress (NC) far behind. NC managed to claim only 23 HoR constituencies and 41 PA constituencies. The Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJP-N) won 11 HoR and 16 PA seats, while the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal (FSF-N) won 10 HoR and 24 PA seats. The Naya Shakti Party-Nepal (NSP-N), Nepal Workers Peasants Party (NWPP), Rastriya Janamorcha, Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) and an independent candidate emerged victorious in one HoR constituency each. In PA elections, independent candidates registered wins in three constituencies, NSP-N and Rastriya Janamorcha in two each, and NWPP in one.  

Vote counting under the proportional representation (PR) system concluded on December 17, 2017, with the CPN-UML set to win the largest number of PR seats in the HoR. Out of 49 parties that contested PR elections, only five — the CPN-UML, the NC, CPN-Maoist Center, the FSF-N and the RJP-N — were able to secure three per cent votes, the required threshold to be recognized as national parties. Among the five parties, the CPN-UML got 3,173,494 votes, followed by NC’s 3,128,389, CPN-Maoist Center’s 1,303,721, RJP-N’s 472,254 and FSF-N’s 270,201 votes.  Of the total of 275 members in Parliament, 110 will be elected under the PR category while 165 have already been elected through the FPTP electoral system. Experts estimate that the CPN-UML will get 41 seats, NC 40 seats, CPN-Maoist Center 17 seats and RJP-N and FSF-N six seats each. However, EC Spokesperson Navaraj Dhakal stated on December 17, 2017, “The final results of the PR category will be made public only after verifying the poll results. It may take some time to announce the number of seats won by the five parties under the PR category."

HoR and PA elections were held in two phases after a gap of 18 years. The first phase for 37 HoR and 74 PA seats was held across 32 Hill Districts in six Provinces on November 26, 2017. 65 per cent of 3.19 million voters cast their votes. Voting for the remaining seats was held on December 7, 2017, in the second phase covering 45 Districts, including Kathmandu valley and the southern plains of Nepal known as the Terai. 70 per cent of the 12.21 million voters cast their votes in the second phase. This is for the first time that elections for HoR and PA are being conducted under the new Constitution adopted on September 20, 2015. The last parliamentary poll was held in 1999.

After the conclusion of the elections, the Carter Center, Election Observation Mission (EOM), Nepal at a Press meet in the capital, Kathmandu, on December 9, 2017, commented that the elections held in two phases were completed successfully despite political tensions, logistical, operational and security challenges and tight timelines. Similarly, on December 10, 2017, the European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission (EOM) also noted that the EC successfully organized the logistics of the election in two phases in a very short timeframe. Separately, domestic election observation agencies including the National Election Observation Committee (NOEC), General Election Observation Committee (GEOC) and Inclusive Women Network for Peace, Justice and Democracy, issue a joint press statement on December 12, 2017, remarking that, despite the short period provided for preparations and incidents aimed at undermining the independence of election, political parties, general voters and citizens participated enthusiastically.

Some violent incidents were, nevertheless, reported during the polls. According to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), 17 persons were injured in six incidents of bomb explosion and another 15 were injured in six incidents of clashes between political parties during the first phase. One person was killed and 26 were injured in five incidents of bomb explosion, and another six were injured in three incidents of clashes during the second phase. 

Expectedly, CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli and CPN-Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal during a meeting in Kathmandu, on December 15, 2017, agreed to initiate the processes of forming a new Government and unifying their parties simultaneously. Earlier, prioritizing Government formation rather than party unification, senior CPN-Maoist Center leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha had stated, on December 12, 2017, that leaders of the two parties had agreed to form the new Government by mid-January and pursue merger afterwards. According to Shrestha, before the parties unite they need to draft the merged party’s ideology document and finalize party structure and organization, all of which was quite time consuming.

On the other hand, NC and the CPN-UML are at odds as to whether the new Prime Minister should be elected prior to the formation of the National Assembly (NA), the upper house of Parliament. CPN-UML claims that the new Prime Minister can be appointed by the President even prior to the election of the Upper House. But NC, which has met with a humiliating defeat in the just concluded polls, insists that Parliament can’t take full shape without the election of the Upper House. NC leaders are also urging the EC to ensure at least 33 percent women’s representation in Parliament as a whole, including HoR and NA, arguing that if a sufficient number of women lawmakers are not elected to NA, the EC needs to ask political parties to make up the shortfall from the Lower House.

Meanwhile, terming the NC’s claim invalid, former Law Minister and CPN-UML leader Agni Kharel stated, on December 14, 2017, “Article 86 (1A) of the Constitution has a mandatory provision that at least three women must be elected from each of the seven provinces, which will be enough to ensue 33 percent women in the National Assembly. So why should the EC wait for the PR seat allocations? The new government, immediately after it is formed, will bring in the law for election of the National Assembly. So we shouldn’t engage in a procedural dispute over the formation of the new government.”

Lawyers are also divided on whether NA elections should be held before the formation of the new Government or after. Senior Advocate Surendra Kumar Mahato and General Secretary of Nepal Bar Association Khamma Bahadur Khati observed, on December 14, 2017, that according to Article 84 (8) of the Constitution, if any party failed to ensure 33 per cent women’s representation in Parliament through the parliamentary and NA elections, such a party would be required to elect its PR members in such a way that could ensure 33 per cent women in the Parliament. He argued that the EC could announce the final results of PR elections only after NA elections were held. Meanwhile, Advocate Dipendra Jha argyed that since the current Government had suffered a debacle in the polls, it would be better if the new Government brought a new law to govern the Upper House elections.

CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli held a meeting with President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on December 15, 2017, to discuss the National Assembly Election Ordinance. The National Assembly Members Election Bill was supposed to have been passed by Parliament on October 4, 2017. As the CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre were against the Bill, the Government was forced to withdraw it. However, on October 24, 2017, the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led Government issued the National Assembly Election Ordinance, which contains the provision of the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system. The Ordinance has been pending at the Office of the President due to a dispute between parties over the electoral system.

The governing NC is in favour of adopting the STV system, while the Left Alliance of the CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist Centre, the victors in the recent polls, are making a pitch for the majoritarian system. Under the STV system, a quota is first determined and whichever candidate gets the number of votes to meet the quota gets elected, while the remaining votes are transferred to the next preferable candidate. However, under the majoritarian system, whichever candidate gets the highest number of votes gets elected, as in the first-past-the-post system. According to political analyst Hari Roka, “This (STV system) might slightly benefit the Nepali Congress which has less number of seats in local units and provincial assemblies.” The Left Alliance has won is over 60 percent seats in the PA. In local level elections, CPN-UML won 295 seats, while the NC won in 265. CPN-Maoist Centre stood third, winning 107 local units.

Meanwhile, ignoring the objections by the Left Alliance, the Deuba-led Government announced on December 15, 2017, that it was preparing to appoint Governors in seven provinces within a week. However, CPN-Maoist Centre Chairman Dahal in a meeting with Prime Minister Deuba at his official residence in Kathmandu on December 16, 2017, urged Deuba to make political and constitutional appointments only on the basis of an agreement among the three major political parties. Stating that the elections had given a new mandate, the CPN-Maoist Centre Chairman urged the Prime Minister not to make the political appointments, including that of the State Governors. Dahal also asked Prime Minister Deuba to initiate discussions among the major parties for a way out on the issue of NA elections. Similarly, accusing the NC of disrespecting and refusing to accept the people’s mandate, CPN-UML Chairman Oli observed on December 16, 2017, “The NC has indicated that it is reluctant to accept the popular mandate by raising the issue of legal hurdles. It is not appropriate to wrongly use and define a respected institution.” He also remarked that the NC tabled an unconstitutional ordinance on the NA election so as to suit its own interests, following their electoral defeat in the local level elections.

After centuries of absolute monarchy followed by decades of chaos, Nepal is taking to democracy in a big way. Though the final result is yet to be announced for the two phases of the polls, the winner is clear – a coalition of two communist parties, the CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist Centre, who are set to control the Government. However, issue, including the NA election, persist.


NEWS BRIEFS

Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
December 14-17, 2017

 

Civilians

Security Force Personnel

Terrorists/Insurgents

Total

INDIA

 

Assamr

2
0
3
5

Arunachal Pradesh

0
0
1
1

Jammu and Kashmir

2
0
1
3

Left-Wing Extremism

 

Chhattisgarh

0
0
2
2

Maharashtra

0
0
1
1

Odisha

0
0
1
1

Telangana

0
0
9
9

INDIA (Total)

4
0
18
22

PAKISTAN

 

Balochistan

9
0
2
11

FATA

2
2
0
4

PAKISTAN (Total)

11
2
2
15
Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.

INDIA

ULFA-I still lethal, states Assam DGP Mukesh Sahay: Director General of Police (DGP) Mukesh Sahay stated that Independent faction of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA-I) was down but not out. He stated, "ULFA is down but not out. I don't have a fair idea about its current strength, but then, strength does not lie in numbers but in lethality. I can say, however, that something which was pervasive all over the state at one point of time is today confined to pockets bordering Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland". Northeast Today, December 15, 2017.

Desperate to spread terror in India, ISI trying new methods in Punjab; says report: Desperate to create disturbances in India, Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is trying to revive terrorism in Punjab by recruiting radicalised youth from Canada and Europe while allegedly training them for sabotage activities in countries like Canada, Dubai and Thailand. Investigations by intelligence agencies have revealed that the ISI is using the annual pilgrimage to Nankana Saheb (birthplace of Guru Nana Dev) to scout the radicalised Sikh youth and facilitate meetings with Sikh terrorists in Pakistan. India Today, December 12, 2017.

"Do not be fooled by spies from R&AW or ISI, behead Indian and Pakistani soldiers", 'urges' Islamic State to Kashmiri Muslims: In a publication dated December 1 in their magazine Rumiyah the Islamic State (IS) has urged the Kashmiri Muslims to re-initiate their jihad under the "banner of the Khalifah" and behead every Indian and Pakistani soldiers who confront them. The 'article' also warned the audience not to be swayed away with lies by spies of Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW ) and Inter Service Intelligence (ISI), intelligence agencies of India and Pakistan, respectively. Timesof India, December 12, 2017.

Al Qaeda restructures organizational in India, says report: The al Qaeda has restructured its organisational apparatus in India, with one unit being dedicated to terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir and the other to subversive actions in the rest of India. The terror outfit has also released a video exhorting Muslims in the uniformed services in India to join their fold, where they can continue to fight while practising Islam. As part of the internal restructuring, the outfit designated for Jammu and Kashmir has been named Al Qaeda Kashmir (AQK), to be led by Zakir Musa, who has been operating in the Valley under the banner of Ansar Ghazwat-ul Hind after breaking away from Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) in 2016. New Indian Express, December 12, 2017.


NEPAL

CPN-UML emerges largest party in FPTP for federal parliament and provincial assembly: Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) has emerged as the largest party with the end of vote counts of the first-past-the-post (FPTP) for federal parliament and provincial assembly on December 13. As per the final FPTP result, the CPN-UML has emerged victorious in 80 federal constituencies. The party has won the election in 166 provincial constituencies. Similarly, the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre (CPN-Maoist Center) has won in 36 federal constituencies. The party has emerged victorious in 73 provincial constituencies. Likewise, the Nepali Congress (NC) has won in 23 federal constituencies. The party has been elected in 45 provincial constituencies. Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJP-N) has won in 11 federal and 16 provincial constituencies. Kathmandu Post, December 14, 2017.