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Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 3, No. 2, July 26, 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



An ongoing 'failure of imagination'?
Ajai Sahni
Editor, SAIR; Executive Director, Institute for Conflict Management

A "failure of imagination", the Panel investigating the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the US stated, was what kept US officials from understanding the Al Qaeda threat before the catastrophic events in New York and Washington.

There is, however, a manifest and abiding danger today, that a future investigation into terrorist plots that are yet to be accomplished would find another, even greater, 'failure of imagination', culminating in horrors that may easily dwarf the events of 9/11.

The 9/11 Panel has been sagacious in noting that the critical element that must be understood if an adequate response to global terrorism is to be crafted, is that "we are in the midst of an ideological conflict". The contemporary assessment of where precisely inimical ideologies are located will be crucial to the outcome of this conflict - and here, again, there is an evident error in the dominant American evaluation. It is, of course, the case that Osama bin Laden has been one of the most articulate representatives of this ideology, and his Al Qaeda one of its most effective manifestations. But there are many 'future bin Ladens' waiting in the wings, largely unnoticed, or systematically and intentionally ignored, by the American establishment, as well as by much of the world.

Among the most dangerous instances of this neglect occur in Pakistan. The present US Administration appears to have substantially 'outsourced' the management of its security interests in this region to what it perceives as a pliant, even servile, military dictatorship headed by General Pervez Musharraf, and there is a belief that this regime will bring about the 'enlightened moderation' that America hopes for in its favoured ally. It is useful, consequently, to identify where precisely, within this arrangement, the ideologies of hatred are articulated, what their constituent elements are, and what relationship the Musharraf regime has with their most visible advocates.

On May 20 this year, a meeting was organised at Muzaffarabad in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) by the Hizb-ul-Mujahiddeen (HM), the largest terrorist group operating in the Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). The meeting commemorated the 'martyrdom' of two of its 'commanders' in J&K, on May 6, 2004, and was only one of many such routinely organised to commemorate the rather frequent 'martyrdom' of prominent terrorist cadres in J&K. The current Pakistani fiction, substantially accepted by the 'international community', is that the HM is an 'indigenous' Kashmiri group with an agenda exclusively limited to the 'liberation' of Kashmir. The HM is not a banned organisation in Pakistan, and operates openly with significant infrastructural, material and military support from the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). The May 20 meeting was addressed by, among others, Syed Mohammad Yusuf Shah @ Syed Salahuddin, the 'Supreme Commander' of the Hizb; Shiekh Aqil-ur-Rahman, the District Chief, Murzaffarabad, of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), one of the largest 'mainstream' political parties in Pakistan, and Javed Iqbal, also of the JI; Ghulam Rasool Shah @ Abdur Rafiya, Deputy Chief, Jamiat-ul-Mujahiddeen, a terrorist organisation supposedly 'banned' in Pakistan; and Mohd. Farooq Rahmani, Convener, All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), POK, an organisation engaged in a 'peaceful struggle' for the 'liberation' of J&K.

Significantly, the meeting was held openly in a public ground in an affluent area in Muzaffarabad, and the benign presence of uniformed police personnel is visible in the video record secured by the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

It is not possible, here, to reproduce the full text of their speeches translated from the Urdu, but their main thrust can be communicated, without comment, with a few extracts:

Syed Salahuddin, 'Supreme Commander', Hizb-ul-Mujahideen thus states:

"Almighty Allah, by his will and tactics, is bringing the Jihad Movement of Kashmir on a track that will liberate not only the oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir but also crores of Muslims and other minorities in India oppressed by Brahmin imperialists…

"Islamic history, the Holy Quran, the biographies of the Holy Prophet Mohammed and his virtuous followers, and the whole of history proves that no Muslim issue could ever be solved on the negotiating table. Can anyone quote an example and tell me whether any Muslim issue has been solved in their favour according to their will on the negotiating table? Disputes have been solved only on the battlefield. On the table? Yes! We were cheated! Don't go far, ask the Palestinian people how they were cheated in the Camp David agreement. Afghan Mujahideen were cheated in the Geneva Agreement. If the Mujahideen had not tackled the problem through their iman (faith), then today Russia would have Afghanistan firmly in its claws…

"Most humbly and respectfully, I request the leadership of my base-camp and the political leadership of the God-gifted state (Pakistan), whether they are in power or in opposition, in politics or in religion that: "Take not for friends Unbelievers rather than Believers." Jews and Hindus were neither your friends earlier nor can they be today...

"The God-gifted Pakistan will emerge as a prosperous Islamic, nuclear and Islamic country that can listen to the cry for help of the empty-handed, innocent child Mujahideen, the shamed mothers and sisters in Palestine. There is no Salahuddin Ayyubi[1] or Nooruddin Zangi[2] in the entire Arab world who can listen to their cry for help. There is no Mohammad bin Qasim,[3] Tariq bin Ziyad,[4] and no Salahuddin Ayyubi in the entire Muslim world who can prevent the blood shed of helpless Muslims, which flows like rivers in the hills of Afghanistan, in the deserts of Iraq, in the sky high mountains of Kashmir or in the Chechnyan valley strewn with flowers. There are 56 Muslim countries, 56 organized Muslim forces and all of them have surrendered to the devil's forces. They are defeated and helpless….

"Dear youth! Allah bless you, Allah has chosen you by his own powerful hand. He has chosen you for protecting the honour of Islam. Who is there today? Where have Saddam's 500,000 forces and 80,000 Republican Guards gone? Who is present today to challenge the imperialist powers? Who is defeating the allied forces in the deserts of Arab Iraq, and who is breaking the pride of America? Who is causing trouble in the hills of Afghanistan and for the 750,000 forces of Indian imperialists in the Kashmir Valley, strewn with flowers? Who is attacking the Generals in Chechnya? Dear youth! They are none other than the Mujahideen, the successors of the holy Prophet Mohammed. In this context, Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) said: "To embark on the cause of Allah, whether in night or day, is the greatest good on earth." These are the Mujahideen who teach a lesson to all forces of the devil, who will make Allah's religion achieve eminence and will protect the honour of the oppressed millat (community). They are the Mujahideen about whom it was said that on judgment day Allah will weigh all the treasures of the earth and the sky on one side and a day or a night in the life of the Mujahideen on the other side."

Sheikh Aqil-ur-Rahman of the JI declares:

"The rulers of Islamabad and India as well as those of America, who are conspiring against jihad should understand that Muslims cannot compromise with jihad. It is an integral part of our Iman (faith). We do not posses the same eminence and stature as the five hundred thousand brethren who have sacrificed their lives for this purpose. But we will also follow their paths and sacrifice our lives."

Javed Iqbal, also of the JI:

"My brethren! Today, after 9/11, people all over the world are saying that the situation has changed and the Mujahideen should learn their lesson and they should stop their activities. My brethren! If we believe in Allah, if we believe in the Holy Quran, if we are the followers of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) and believe in him, then jihad is the destination of our lives. Jihad is our only path and we have to follow it."

Sheikh Jamil-ur-Rahman, a political Leader in PoK:

"The Hindus can never be our friends. The Holy Quran confirms it. In clear words, Allah also says that the Jews and Christians too cannot be our friends. Those who are initiating friendship between India and Pakistan are misguiding the nation. They are cheating the nation. Friendship with the Hindus is unnatural, unprincipled and unlawful."

These voices are neither isolated exceptions, nor the most extreme in the ideological discourse that dominates the Islamist core in Pakistan.

In an address at Jamia Qadsia in Lahore, on July 9, 2004, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, founder of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its terrorist arm, the supposedly 'banned' Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), states:

"Islam was spread and propagated in the world through jihad. Jihad strengthens the relation between Islam and the Muslims and reinforces their Iman (Faith). In the past too, through jihad, infidels were defeated in the world and infidelity crushed. Islam achieved eminence and even today, jihad will lead to similar results by the will of Allah…

Earlier, on June 7, 2004, Saeed had written in Jasrat:

"The US thought that it would keep jihad limited to Afghanistan and extend its agenda of usurping the natural resources of the Muslim world to Central Asia. But jihad's wave spread all over the world. The US wants to control this wave. Jihad is the biggest threat to the US interest. There is nothing like al-Qaeda. It is the figment of the US' imagination. The US has concocted an outfit like al-Qaeda to massacre the Muslims all over the world. It has concocted false stories related to al-Qaeda with the help of the foreign media…

"America is bleeding these days. It has become a threat to peace. When a wounded animal becomes a threat to one's life, it is shot dead. It is time to gun down the US. The US is the enemy of our religious culture, jihad, curriculum, the two-nation theory, the people of tribal areas and Kashmir."

What is articulated by these eminences grises of the jehadi terror finds constant echoes in the Urdu media.

In Jasarat, on June 12, 2004, Javed Kasuri, 'Deputy Supreme Commander' of the HM states: "The US, Israel and India feel threatened by those who sit on a mat and recite the Quran in madrassahs. Jihadis are the only force that can challenge US imperialism. The entire west is Islam's enemy… To save Islam, all the Muslim sects will have to unite and wage jihad against the west."

Conspiracy theories and denial abound in this discourse. In the Nawai Waqt of May 26, 2004, Dr. Asrar Ahmad, a 'well known Islamic scholar', writes:

"The US has invaded Iraq at Israel's behest. The US wants to make greater Israel by subjugating Iraq. Sharon had stated some time ago, that Iraq is part of Israel. The Iraq war is not the game of oil but securing a stable future for Israel. The 9/11 investigations have been stopped because it was masterminded by Israel and the US cannot take any action against the Jews. Europe will go to war against the US and Israel because a crusade is on the card that will be fought between the Jews and the Christians. The Europe will try to conquer the US and Israel to make the world a Catholic colony.'

On June 23, in an interview in Takbeer, Ahmad takes the thesis further:

"9/11 was not bin Laden's brainchild but of the US, Israel and the Jews. It was masterminded to provide the US an excuse to destroy Afghanistan. In fact, the US wants to make Afghanistan another home for the Jews. It will facilitate Jews' settlement in Afghanistan…

"The UN's agenda is to promote obscenity, incest and free-sex culture in the name of 'gender-empowerment'. The UN wants Musharraf to legalize prostitution, gay and lesbian marriage in Pakistan…"

Ludicrous as these statements may seem to Western sensibilities, they form a substantial component of Islamist 'scholarship' in Pakistan.

Worse still, as has been repeatedly noted in the past, the extremist Islamist discourse on jehad, and shahadat (martyrdom) and the 'global conspiracy' against and threat to Islam is not the province of mullahs and militants alone, and has penetrated every aspect of the Pakistani educational system - and not, as is widely believed, just the extremist madrassahs.

It is useful to note that the examples drawn up in this Assessment are a small selection of statements and writings in the past less than three months. A comprehensive archive of extremist discourse in this vein for the entire period since 9/11 would fill volumes, and would include innumerable statements by elements proximate to, or directly connected with, the Musharraf regime.

Some of these dangers have been acknowledged, for the pre-9/11 period under its review, by the 9/11 Panel. One writer notes that a cursory key word search of the Panel's report recovers "more than 200 references to Pakistan, many of them damning. There are less than 100 references to Iran and Iraq combined."

Nevertheless, ignorance persists at unacceptable levels. The international Press and diplomatic community, largely located in protected and affluent enclaves, with their attention fixed firmly on the relatively moderate and westernized English language media, remain substantially uncomprehending of these dangerous undercurrents. Worse, denial remains integral to the mindset of many Western - and particularly US - observers. A mention of the 'dominant ideology of Pakistan' to a senior US diplomat posted in that country, for instance, drew a sharp response rejecting the idea that any such 'dominant ideology' could actually be identified. Such denial also characterizes the mainstream political discourse on the issue in India today, and constitutes a danger even greater than the direct threat of contemporary terrorism, creating vast spaces for the continuous consolidation of ideas that will breed much worse in the years to come.



  1. The 12th-century Saladin, sultan of Egypt and Syria, who united Arabs across North Africa and Western Asia against the crusading Christians.
  2. Nooruddin Zangi, Saladin's army commander.
  3. Mohammad Bin Qasim, the Muslim soldier who conquered present-day Pakistan early in the 8th century (AD 712) and extended Umayyad Muslim rule to the Indus Valley.
  4. Tariq bin Ziyad, a Berber Muslim who led the conquest of Visigoth Spain in 711.


Extraditions: Flight to Freedom?
Saji Cherian
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

Post September 11, there has been a virtual deluge of wanted criminals, including many who have linkages with terrorist groups and operations, deported from foreign shores into Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, bringing joy to the police apparatus in the country, and especially the city cops of Mumbai. A majority of these criminals have been deported from Dubai, a favourite haunt for the crime-syndicates, as the city-state apparently came under increasing pressure from the US and other countries to take action against the latter. However, the latest name that may be added to the list is that of mafia don Abu Salem, as a result of a Lisbon High Court order on July 19, 2004, for his extradition to India. Salem is among the prime conspirators in the March 1993 multiple Mumbai Blasts, the largest single act of terrorism in India, in which 257 persons were killed, and another 713 injured. This carnage had been orchestrated by the Dawood Ibrahim gang, at the behest of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), with explosives and logistics support, as well as subsequent safe havens for the perpetrators, provided by Pakistan.

Organised crime syndicates, especially the one led by Dawood Ibrahim, have long had links with a range of terrorist groups, including a complex web of connections that have been exposed during investigations into the Al Qaeda and Taliban network. As a result, on October 16, 2003, the US Department of Treasury announced that it was designating Dawood Ibrahim, under Executive Order 13224, a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist". Investigators had found that Ibrahim had been sharing his smuggling routes and infrastructure with Al Qaeda and had been funding the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).

In India, Dawood's men have been involved in numerous crimes including contract killings, murder, land-grabbing, extortion, drug-running and the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts. The gang's nexus with terrorists operating in Kashmir was first established when, on August 9, 1998, the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Police eliminated the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen's (HM) top Kashmir Valley 'commander', Ali Mohammad Dar, alias Burhanuddin Hijazi. According to Frontline's Praveen Swami, hundreds of sheets of hand-written notes meant for Syed Salahuddin (the Hizb's 'Supreme Commander', based in Pakistan), were recovered from Dar's temporary hideout in Srinagar. One of the note stated: "Ways and means should be found to launch the movement in India on (a) priority basis." He suggested that a broad linkage be established with the Dubai underworld. "Kingpins of the underworld (should) be contacted to have the weapons and ammunition launched for us through other possible ways." "A cell of three persons" would work "to develop relations with underworld beings like Dawood Ibrahim and trying to have a project of counterfeit currency."

Each deportation of a high-profile Dawood lieutenant is, consequently, seen as a significant step towards bludgeoning the criminal-terrorist-network into submission.

Over the past two years, a noteworthy 'who's who' of the Mumbai underworld have been deported into India. The most prominent among these include Dawood Ibrahim's assistants, Riyaz Siddique and Raju Sharma (deported on May 29, 2003); Mustaffa Mohammed Umar Dossa alias Majnu Sheth (deported on March 19, 2003); Dawood's younger brother Iqbal Sheikh Kaskar, and Ejaz Pathan, a 1993 Mumbai serial blast accused (deported on February 19, 2003); Mohammed Altaf, accused in the December 2, 2002, bus blast in Ghatkopar, Mumbai (deported on January 26, 2003); Muthappa Rai, a Dawood Ibrahim aide (deported on May 30, 2002); and Aftab Ansari alias Farhan Malik, main accused in the American Center shootout in Kolkata (deported on February 9, 2002). Recently, the Mumbai Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Satya Pal Singh (now transferred), disclosed that Iqbal Mirchi, another one of Dawood Ibrahim's trusted lieutenants, had been detained by enforcement agencies in the United States and is likely to be deported soon. The most recent deportation from Dubai has been that of Dawood-aide Tariq Parveen, on July 19, 2004. Parveen faces charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999 (MCOCA) in connection with the Sara-Sahara Shopping Complex land grab case, in which Dawood's youngest brother Iqbal Kaskar has already been charge-sheeted.

But the extraditions to India may just be the beginnings of a new set of problems for authorities here, as the process of securing convictions for these criminals is proving far more difficult than securing their arrests. Given India's extraordinarily sluggish judicial system, poor investigative mechanisms, and the ubiquitous and persistent threat of organized criminal groups, convictions in even the most high profile cases have been elusive.

Thus, on August 7, 2003, a Sessions Court in Mumbai discharged Iqbal Kaskar, Dawood Ibrahim's younger brother, in a case pertaining to the murder of a Customs informant for 'want of evidence', leaving the sibling now charged only in a case relating to a relatively minor land-grabbing offence.

In another appalling incident that highlights the incompetence of the police authorities, another two deported criminals walked free as a result of the Police's failure to produce the evidence it had collected. Raju Chikna alias Rajkumar Ramdas Sharma, a key member of the Dawood gang, and wanted for kidnapping and murder of a rival, was deported on May 29, 2003, from Dubai. Evidence against Chikna included five tapes recording the conspiracy to murder being plotted by Chikna, Dawood, and Chhota Rajan. The Tapes were turned over to Crime Branch, but the Court was later informed that the former ''could not find the tapes''. Chikna walked free on May 11, 2004, and has apparently flown back to Dubai to rejoin his trade.

Riyaz Ahmed Siddiqui, wanted for two murders, was deported on May 29, 2003 from Dubai. The evidence against him comprised solely of the First Information Report (FIR) filed against him, as the case papers were 'missing', as were witness statements. Siddiqui was released on a bail of Rupees 25,000 in September 2003.

Charges against Saquib Nachen, a key accused in the Mumbai blasts of 2002-2003, and eight others under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), were dropped for the first Ghatkopar Blast that took place in a bus in the Mumbai suburb on December 2, 2002. Though police claimed he was the main conspirator, there was no material evidence on record. [Nachen remains under detention with charges under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) for his involvement in three other blasts in 2003].

On April 17, 2004, Muthappa Rai, was set free from a Bangalore jail, two years after he was deported from Dubai, following his acquittal by a court in the last of the nine cases against him. The Court acquitted Rai and five others on April 13, 2004, in a case relating to the murder of a real estate agent in Bangalore three years earlier, and held that the prosecution had 'failed to prove charges'.

Abu Salem's extradition has additional complications, and there is little possibility of his eventually facing condign punishment for his outrageous crimes. The Lisbon High Court's extradition order comes with a rider: the Court has ordered that Salem can only be tried for minor offences such as passport forgery and possession of illegal weapons in India. Even if he chooses to plead guilty, Salem could walk free in a few years, after serving the maximum possible sentences for these offences concurrently.

The greatest embarrassment of the future may well be Dawood Ibrahim himself. Ibrahim figures prominently on the famous 'List of 20' handed over by the Government of India to Pakistan, allegedly of terrorists currently enjoying safe haven in that country. The predecessor Atal Behari Vajpayee regime at Delhi had led a shrill propaganda campaign - before an abruptly initiated 'peace process' catalyzed a deafening silence on the issue - on the importance of the arrest and deportation of the terrorists on this 'List of 20', at one time, predicating any possibility of negotiations with Pakistan on the fulfillment of this demand, among others. The problem, however, is that the Mumbai police apparently does not have the case papers of the various crimes personally committed by Dawood Ibrahim. In the 1993 bomb blasts case, which is the 'strongest' case against Ibrahim, his role is that of a 'conspirator', and it is well known that the charge of conspiracy is rarely proved in India, since case is usually based on circumstantial evidence. In all the cases registered against Ibrahim after 1983, including the 1993 serial blasts case, Ibrahim is accused only as a conspirator, with no direct evidence against him. On the other hand, of the six cases registered against him before 1983, the case papers and crime registers are 'not available' in five. The sixth one is a case of dacoity registered with the Crime Branch in 1974 - the oldest pending case against Ibrahim - in which he was acquitted by the Bombay High Court in 1985. No case has been registered against Ibrahim since 2001.

It would, consequently, be no surprise in the future, if we see Dawood walking in through the International Airport in Mumbai, and, possibly after a brief entanglement with the judiciary, onwards to freedom, and to recover his vast organized criminal empire and its illegal wealth.

The recent and increasingly frequent deportation of wanted criminals to India is definitely a remarkable development; but a combination of ground realties in the country may turn this apparent blessing into a damning indictment of our languid justice apparatus.


Meghalaya: Truce on Track
Wasbir Hussain
Associate Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi; Consulting Editor, The Sentinel, Guwahati

Yet another separatist militant group in India's Northeast has joined the truce train, raising hopes of an end to another insurrection in the turbulent region. On July 23, 2004, the Indian Government and the outlawed Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC) signed a ceasefire agreement in New Delhi, paving the way for cessation of the cat-and-mouse battles between its cadres and the security forces in the Garo Hills area of Meghalaya State, bordering Assam and Bangladesh. The two sides are to utilize the period of truce to talk peace and evolve an acceptable solution to the issues raised by the ANVC.

The tripartite ceasefire deal was signed by ANVC 'General Secretary' Wanding K. Marak, who had led the seven-member rebel delegation, and 'Joint Secretary' Janggam Momin. On behalf of the Meghalaya Government, State Chief Secretary P.J. Bazely and Director General of Police L. Sailo signed the agreement, while A.K. Rastogi, Secretary, Border Management in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Rajiv Agarwal, Joint Secretary (Northeast) in the MHA, represented the Central Government. The following are the highlights of the agreement:

  • The ceasefire deal is for a period of six months, and renewable thereafter.
  • Both the ANVC and the security forces would stop operations against each other.
  • ANVC has agreed to stop violence and unlawful activities like extortion, killing, abduction and intimidation and not to carry weapons in public.
  • The ANVC cadres would be housed in two designated camps along with their arms, and their movement would be regulated by the security forces. They have to move out with police guards, at least one of whom would be from the Meghalaya Police.
  • A joint monitoring group headed by the Joint Secretary (Northeast) in the MHA has been formed to oversee the implementation of the ceasefire deal. The Group would have representatives from the Meghalaya Government, the ANVC and different federal security agencies.

After signing the deal, ANVC 'General Secretary' Marak commented to the media that his group has 'full faith in the country's Constitution' and that he was 'expecting a fruitful dialogue process'. This must have been comforting news for the authorities dealing with this armed band. Ever since its formation in December 1995, the ANVC has been engaged in a hit-and-run campaign to push for its demand for an 'Achik Land' comprising the two Garo Hills districts in Meghalaya, and a large chunk of Kamrup and Goalpara district in adjoining Assam. Reports suggest that the ANVC had indulged in some 137 violent incidents since its formation.

Intelligence estimates put the number of ANVC cadres at 250. But, it is not really the numbers, but its strong linkages with other dreaded rebel groups in India's Northeast, and its trans-border reach and activities that had been worrying the authorities. Initially, it was believed that the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) had propped up the ANVC. Later, however, the ANVC snapped links with the NSCN-IM as well as with the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), and got closer to the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). Intelligence sources suggest that both the ULFA and the ANVC needed each other. While the ULFA needed the ANVC's help to provide shelter to its cadres in the strategic Garo Hills region which give them access to Bangladesh, the ANVC needed the Assam outfit's assistance in procuring weapons, receiving training and getting funds.

Despite being a comparatively minor insurgent group with a low strike potential, much like the other rebel group in Meghalaya, the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), the ANVC had created torrid times for the Government with the string of killings and abductions that it had carried out. The group had targeted traders, school teachers, and Government officials, and had kidnapped, among others, an Assistant Director of the Intelligence Bureau, and a Customs officer, besides extorting money from traders and exporters in the area. Significantly, intelligence sources had also accused the ANVC of earning substantial amounts of money by circulating fake currency 'at the behest of the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence.'

The signing of the ceasefire agreement is not an overnight development. In February 2003, then Union Minister of State for Home I.D. Swamy had stated that peace efforts were underway with the ANVC. Later, in April 2003, reports indicated that the ANVC had held exploratory talks with Indian Government emissaries at Bangkok. The Meghalaya Government stepped in with Chief Minister D.D. Lapang offering truce to the ANVC in September 2003. For long, however, the ANVC refused to admit that it was on its way to sign a truce with the Government. In fact, in September 2003, days after Chief Minister Lapang's ceasefire offer, the ANVC took the decision not to attend a peace meeting called by the Church under the banner of the Garo Baptist Convention.

It is not clear why the ANVC leaders, after signing the truce deal on July 23, 2004, stated that no political leader was involved in the negotiation process. In fact, the role of politicians was manifest, if the actions of the Meghalaya Government are to be taken as any indication. At one stage, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker, P.A. Sangma, who represents the Tura Lok Sabha seat from Meghalaya's Garo Hills in Parliament, was supposed to have been assigned the task by the predecessor Atal Behari Vajpayee Government in New Delhi, to talk peace with the ANVC. Chief Minister Lapang had even accused Sangma of 'conniving with' the ANVC to retain his seat, a charge that Sangma had laughed off. The Meghalaya Police had also arrested State Minister Adolf Lu Hitler Marak on charges of links with the ANVC. Linkages between mainstream legislative politics and underground insurgent politics are not uncommon in Northeast India, though that is a long and different.

For the present, the ceasefire deal with the ANVC is expected to help counter-insurgency agencies in the region by denying dreaded groups like the ULFA the Garo Hills bridge, which gave them access into and from Bangladesh. It was the ANVC that had acted as a facilitator in this region, helping ULFA activists with shelter and safe passage to bases across in Bangladesh. The ULFA had begun to use the Garo Hills-Bangladesh corridor more frequently after the Royal Government in Bhutan forced the group to close some of its camps in 2002-2003, before the Royal Bhutan Army launched its military assault in December 2003. On a more simplistic note, New Delhi has won over yet another insurgent group in the volatile frontier, and needs now to capitalize on the truce to work out a lasting solution for a wider peace in the region.



Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
July 19-25, 2004

Security Force Personnel




     Jammu &






Total (INDIA)







 Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


Bangla Bhai is a media creation, claims Jamaat-e-Islami chief: Speaking to the media in Dhaka on July 22, 2004, chief of Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) and Industries Minister, Motiur Rahman Nizami, claimed that Islamist vigilante leader Bangla Bhai does not exist in reality. He reportedly said, "Bangla Bhai was created by some newspapers as the government has found no existence of him." He also accused some newspapers of having links with Bangla Bhai and publishing 'excessive' news regarding him. Meanwhile, JeI Secretary General, Ali Ahsan Mohammed Mujahid, refuted some recent comments made by Opposition Leader Sheikh Hasina where she had alleged links between JeI and some militant organisations. Mujahid reportedly said "Jamaat-e-Islami never dreams for Taliban style revolution, rather it wants to establish an Islamic state in a systematic manner." The Daily Star, July 23, 2004.


22 Bhutanese found guilty of aiding terrorist groups active in India's Northeast: At least 22 Bhutanese nationals have reportedly been found guilty of aiding and abetting Indian terrorist groups active in the Northeast and 123 more are facing trial on the same count. Kuensel, quoting Prime Minister Lyonpo Jigmi Thinley, said penalties for the 22 people would be decided by the judiciary. He said, among the suspects and those convicted on charges of conspiring with Indian terrorists were eight civil servants, 36 business people and 94 farmers, besides some Government and private road construction workers. The charges include supplying rations to the terrorists and accepting money in exchange for services. Kuensel Online, July 17, 2004.


ANVC signs ceasefire agreement with Union Government in Meghalaya: On July 23, 2004, the Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC) signed a tripartite agreement with the Union and Meghalaya Governments for immediate suspension of hostilities. The agreement was signed by the Secretary, Border Management in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) A.K. Rastogi, Chief Secretary of Meghalaya, P.J. Bazely, and representatives of ANVC led by its 'General Secretary' Wanding K. Marak. The peace dialogue would be preceded by suspension of operations by security forces, reports added. The Ground Rules for the suspension of operations have been worked out by the MHA in conjunction with the Government of Meghalaya and the ANVC representatives. Under the ground rules, ANVC has committed that they will completely abjure the path of violence, will not engage in violent or unlawful activities like killings, injuries, kidnappings, extortions, intimidation, and carrying of arms in public, and agree to abide by the Constitution of India and the laws of the land. Hindustan Times, July 24, 2004.

Three Indians among six persons taken hostage in Iraq: Three Indians are among six persons taken hostage by a terrorist group in Iraq. The captors have announced that the hostages will be beheaded unless their Governments declare that all their citizens will be withdrawn from Iraq. The abducted Indians, identified as Antaryami, Tilak Raj, and Sukhdev Singh, worked for a Kuwait-based transportation company involved in ferrying supplies to United States Forces in Iraq. The others abducted are two Kenyans and an Egyptian. The terrorist group, calling itself "The Holders of the Black Banners," said in a statement that it would behead a hostage every 72 hours (this deadline has since been extended) unless the Governments to which they belonged withdrew their citizens from Iraq and the companies they worked for closed their branches. It also reportedly aired its threat in a videotape broadcast by the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television. "We have warned all the countries, companies, businessmen and truck drivers that those who deal with American cowboy occupiers will be targeted by the fires of the Mujahideen," the statement said. However, none of those countries whose citizens are abducted is part of the 160,000-member U.S.-led military force in Iraq. The Hindu, July 22, 2004.

Andhra Pradesh Government allows ban on People's War Group to lapse: On July 21, 2004, the Andhra Pradesh Home Minister, K. Jana Reddy, announced that the ban on the Left Wing extremist (also known as Naxalite) outfit, the People's War Group (PWG), and its six frontal organizations - the Radical Students Union, Radical Youth League, Singareni Karmika Samakhya, All India Revolutionary Students Federation, Dandakaranya Adivasi Kissan Mazdoor Sanghatan and Andhra Pradesh Rythu Coolie Sangham - has been allowed to lapse. The Government decided not to extend the ban, due to expire on July 22, as a prelude to direct talks with PWG representatives, the minister added. The Hindu, July 22, 2004.

Six persons killed and 50 wounded during attack on Deputy Chief Minister in Jammu and Kashmir: Even as Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma escaped another assassination attempt - six days after a grenade attack on him in the capital Srinagar - at least six persons died and 50 others sustained injuries when terrorists carried out a grenade attack on three Congress Ministers and over a dozen senior Government officials during a rally at Kapran village in the Anantnag district on July 19, 2004. No terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the blast thus far. Daily Excelsior, July 20, 2004.


Maoist chief Prachanda rules out cease-fire: Chief of the Maoist insurgents, Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Comrade Prachanda, has said that there was no possibility for an "immediate ceasefire or talks" unless the Government was ready for a Constituent Assembly and United Nations mediation to solve the armed conflict. A statement issued on July 20, 2004, signed by Prachanda, has condemned the latest series of murders and violent attacks of the security forces saying his party will be forced to take stronger measures to safeguard "the revolutionary process adopted by the Nepali people." On July 19, the Nepalese Government had expressed readiness to initiate talks with the insurgents if they were willing to accept constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy within the current Constitution. Nepal News, July 21, 2004.


Hizb-ul-Mujahideen announces conditions for cease-fire: Syed Salahuddin, chief of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), said in Islamabad on July 25, 2004, that the outfit would declare a cease-fire if the Indian government withdraws its troops from Jammu and Kashmir and begins tripartite negotiations on the Kashmir issue. During an informal meeting with a select group of journalists, Salahuddin urged the Indian Government to immediately release 'Kashmiri fighters', end human rights violations and accept that Kashmir was a disputed territory. He explained that the Hizb would only announce a cease-fire if all five conditions were met. Daily Times, July 26, 2004.

10 terrorists killed in South Waziristan: Security force personnel are reported to have killed at least ten foreign terrorists while targeting two hideouts with artillery and gunship helicopters at Shakai in South Waziristan on July 20, 2004. Among those dead are believed to be two Uzbeks. Pakistan Army spokesperson, Maj. Gen Shaukat Sultan, while confirming the attack on terrorist hideouts, did not give details on the number of suspects killed. Daily Times, July 21, 2004.


Eight persons shot dead in Colombo: Seven suspected cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) faction led by 'Colonel' Karuna and a Sinhalese person were reportedly shot dead at a house in Kottawa, 15 kilometers from the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, on July 25. Quoting LTTE sources from Batticaloa, reports said the victims include Kuhanesan, the second-in-command of the Karuna faction, and Castro, who was in-charge of Karuna's military unit. The pro-LTTE website, Tamilnet alleged that the Sinhalese who was killed in the incident was a military intelligence officer, a charge denied by the Army. The Hindu, July 26, 2004.


Commemorative Meeting at Muzzafarabad, Pakistan occupied Kashmir, May 20, 2004, on the death of Ghazi Shahabuddin and Khalid Ansari, killed May 6, 2004 in Indian Jammu & Kashmir

       Syed Mohammad Yusuf Shah Video I, Video II, Video III,
Video IV
, Video V, Video VI
       Sheikh Aqil-ur-Rahman Video I
       Javed Iqbal, Jamaat-e-Islami Video I
       Sheikh Jamil-ur-Rahman Video I

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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.


South Asia Intelligence Review [SAIR]

K. P. S. Gill

Dr. Ajai Sahni

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