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Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 3, No. 46, May 30, 2005

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






Chhattisgarh: Reality Bites
Saji Cherian
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

Addressing a luncheon organised by the Consulate General of India and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) at New York on May 17, 2005, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said: "We are India's youngest, smartest State without any liability from the past. We intend to become the country's hottest investment destination." Heading a team of senior officials, Raman Singh was pitching for foreign investment for his State, which sits on some of India's richest mineral reserves of coal, iron ore, dolomite, bauxite and limestone. Returning home after the trip, on May 27, Singh declared that foreign investors would invest close to INR 56 billion in the coming months in the State. The Chief Minister's boast may, however, seem somewhat incredible, considering the security environment prevalent in Chhattisgarh.

  Also Read
Maoists: Contagion in Orissa -- Nihar Nayak
Andhra Pradesh: Back to square one… and worse -- Saji Cherian

On May 7, 2005, left wing extremists (popularly known as Naxalites) of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) attacked the Samri Aluminum unit of Asia's largest primary producer of aluminum, the Hindalco Industries Limited (a flagship company of the Aditya Birla Group) at Saridih in the Surguja District, destroying the company's buildings and documents. Following the attack, the Balrampur Superintendent of Police, Sitaram Kaluri, stated that security forces involved in combing operations in the region had earlier stayed in the company's residential premises, which may have prompted the attack. However, this was not the first attack on the Hindalco group by the Naxalites. On April 25, 2002, they had attacked Hindalco's Kutku Bauxite mines in the Balrampur area, damaging machinery and equipment worth INR 20 million.

The latest assault did not end immediately. On May 8, in an attack reminiscent of the Koraput incident of February 6, 2004, in Orissa, CPI-Maoist cadres attacked the Kanker District Headquarters, setting afire buildings belonging to the revenue and forest departments, as well as a branch of the State Bank of India. The offensive was meticulous and according to Kanker Superintendent of Police, Pradeep Gupta, "the attack was unexpected. The armed guerrillas blocked all the roads leading to the incident site by felling trees on roads." An interesting aspect in both the attacks - at the Hindalco unit and in Kanker - was the reported involvement of more than 200 cadres in a methodical operation, in both cases taking the security, corporate and bureaucratic machinery by surprise.

With 43.7 per cent of the State under forest cover, and a 31.75 per cent tribal population, Chhattisgarh has provided fertile ground for the Naxalites to operate in and dominate. According to a recent State Government intelligence report, the Naxalites have become a "dominant force in nine of the 16 districts and have partial but fast growing impact in four districts". Among the worst affected districts include Kanker, Dantewada, Bastar, Surguja, Rajnandgaon, Koriya, Kawardha and Jashpur. The report has also predicted that the Naxalites could capture nearly 60 percent of the State's land by 2010, if decisive operations are not carried out by the Union Government to dismantle their bases.

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According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Annual Report 2004-2005, "In Chhattisgarh, Naxal violence led by the CPML-PW (Communist Party of India Marxist-Leninist - People's War) sharply increased during 2004. The increase was primarily on account of coordinated Naxal attacks on police as a part of the CPML-PW/ MCCI (Maoist Communist Centre of India)-led poll boycott campaign." The MHA report further stated that, there were 37 fatalities in Naxalite violence in 2001; 55 in 2002; 74 in 2003; and 83 in 2004. In 2005, according to the Institute for Conflict Management database, till May 28, 16 security forces (SF) personnel, 11 civilians, and 3 Naxalites have been killed in different incidents. The preponderance of SF fatalities in 2005 has been alarming and has been attributed by official sources to increasing combing operations carried out in the districts of Kanker, Dantewada and Bastar, in an apparent effort by the Government to enter the 'liberated zone' (areas where Maoist influence and activities are dominant).

In May 2005, a senior CPI-Maoist leader, Ayatu, speaking to the media in the Bastar forest area had said, "Who said we are running parallel administration? We have liberated some of our areas through our sustained people's war in the Abujhmad (Abujhmar) area of Dandakaranya zone (of Bastar region) where we have established people's governance." The local media has often substantiated this claim with reports of the Naxalites administering a 'taxation' system in these areas; of police not venturing into the villages after dark; and of Government officials traveling in vehicles that bear a 'Press' sticker to avoid Naxalite attacks. Way back in 2000, (Chhattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh in November 2000) the Madhya Pradesh's Commissioner (Land Records) and Chief Conservator of Forests (Land Management) had admitted in a report that the Naxalites had forcibly occupied 20,000 hectares of forest area in the Bastar division and were running a parallel government there by appointing their own 'rangers' and 'deputy rangers'.

Similarly, in other districts like Surguja, there have been recent reports of sales tax officials leaving their inter-state check gates on the borders of Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand well before sunset for fear of the Naxalites. In the Bastar region, the Indian Army's Border Road Organisation's (BRO) attempt to construct the 200 kilometer long national highway between Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh has hit bottlenecks due to Naxalite attacks.

Acknowledging the difficulties faced by the police in entering this 'liberated zone', the State Government had approached the Hyderabad-based National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) in January 2005, to conduct a survey of the Abujhmar Hills, in order to provide them with the geographical locations of the Naxalite camps.

The Abujhmar Hills are located in the western part of Bastar District. The terrain varies from 450 meters to 750 meters above sea level, is densely forested, and comprises many high ridges and deep valleys created by numerous streams, which provide an effective natural barrier from all sides, isolating it from the rest of the region. The Hills are inhabited by the Maria tribes.

The task of recovering control and restoring governance in the Naxalite affected areas of Chhattisgarh appears far from easy, as evidenced by the May 19, 2005, incident, when senior police officials, supervising operations to enter the Abujmarh Hills, came under heavy Naxalite attack at Narayanpur in the Bastar District. Military helicopters were used to evacuate them.

The capacity to mount affective anti-Naxalite operations in the State is undermined by low police strength. According to the Crime in India, 2003, report published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), for an estimated mid-year population of 21,721,000 in Chhattisgarh, the police strength (civil and armed) was 20,472; this yields a police-population ratio of 1:1,061. The all-India ratio is 1:814, but in Delhi it goes up to 1:269; and in Mizoram: 1:129. [The worst ratio in the country obtains in Bihar - 1:1,652]. In an attempt to replenish this deficit, the Chhattisgarh Government requested the Gujarat Government to send police personnel to help man police stations when the local police was sent out for combing operations. This request has apparently been accepted, with Gujarat Director General of Police, A.K. Bhargava stating on May 4, that a battalion comprising six companies of the Special Armed Force would be sent to Naxalite-affected areas in Chhattisgarh. A similar request has reportedly been made to the Nagaland Government. Whether this will result in any dramatic improvement in operational capacities remains to be seen. The presence of outside troops often adds to disenchantment among the locals, and tends to yield unreliable human intelligence.

Nevertheless, as the State Government fires up its efforts to penetrate Naxalite dominated areas in Chhattisgarh, the coming months may well see body counts rising. For the Government, the success of these operations is paramount if the promised foreign investment is actually to materialize; investor confidence can hardly be expected to improve as long as the Naxalites continue to function as 'a state within the state.'


Fighting Words, Hidden Pacts
Guest Writer: Mohammad Shehzad
Islamabad-based freelance journalist and writer

The Pakistani military establishment's fondness for Islamist fundamentalists, jihadists and rightwing groups remains as strong as ever, and the May 15 Convocation of Deeni Madaris (religious seminaries), as well as the May 18 edict against suicide attacks provide the latest evidence to this effect.

  Also Read
Deadlock in Balochistan -- Kanchan Lakshman
War and Peace in Waziristan -- Amir Mir

On May 15, Wafaqul Medaris Al Arabia (a coalition of more than 9,000 Deobandi seminaries that claims to be the original patron and creator of the Taliban) organized a grand convocation in the immediate vicinity of the Parliament, Presidency and the Prime Minister's House at the state-owned Convention Center, with the full patronage of the present regime. Venomous speeches against the US were made on the occasion; jihad was glorified; Government policies in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kashmir were condemned.

The May 15 Convocation was both unusual and, in many respects, incredible. The state owns and runs the majestic Convention Center that is used for high-profile activities like South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Conventions. It is the most elite venue in Islamabad. Securing access for a programme is no easy matter, and it is not the kind of place that has often lent itself to extremist political or religious outburst. This is the first time that this facility was extended to such an organization, and to give vent to their fury against the US.

It is clear that two powerful players continue to dominate Pakistani politics - the Army and the mullahs (clerics). The convention creates doubts about Musharraf's 'enlightened moderation' and his claims of liberalism. There is mounting evidence that the regime is strengthening a miniscule but violent minority instead of encouraging the silent and peace-loving majority. The mullahs, it appears, are Army's 'B' team, and are bound to become stronger in future with the establishment's patronage. With the state's patronage, they will eventually come to dominate the entire political space in Pakistan, with the jehadi element becoming an increasing threat, both internally and externally.

The May 15 Convocation brought together thousands of Deobandi clerics from all over the country including the self-proclaimed 'spiritual leaders' of the Taliban - Maulana Samiul Haq, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, former Inter Services Intelligence Chief (ISI) Hamid Gul, and Qazi Hussain Ahmad. Former Prime Minister Shujaat Hussain, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad and Minister for Religious Affairs Ejaz ul Haq represented the Government. The Convocation, ostensibly intended to award outstanding clerics, sent out a strong message, emphasized particularly in speeches by Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Fazl ur Rehman and Samiul Haq: politics and religion are intrinsically linked and cannot be analysed in isolation; and the mullahs are the greatest custodians of politics.

As Fazl-ur-Rehman declaimed: "Politics is the governance of a society the rules of which were set by Koran and propounded by the holy Prophet. Therefore, the Prophet was the greatest politician and statesman. Muslims are bound to follow him in all respects of life. Since the mullahs are the true disciples of the Prophet, politics is their religious right. And by doing politics, the mullahs are carrying forward the Prophet's mission. Politics is surely not the business of the Army."

Rehman also held General Musharraf responsible for the desecration of Quran in Guantanamo, and for The Washington Time's derogatory cartoon depicting Pakistan as a dog. He accused Musharraf of imposing the so-called modernism/liberalism on the nation at the West's behest.

In his prepared speech, Rehman recalled the days when the clerics would go door-to-door and collect food as alms. "The beggars of yesterday have now become a threat to global powers," he said, "Today, they are ruling the country. This shows clerics are successful politicians!"

Rehman accused the powerful nations of exploiting the resources of the weak nations through international treaties and argued that Pakistan should not adhere to such treaties. "The international treaties have imposed extremely unfair conditions on us completely nullifying our constitution."

Insisting that it was not the seminaries that were extremist or terrorists, he declared, "What the US has done in Afghanistan and Iraq sufficiently proves the fact that there is no terrorist/extremist bigger than America. The inhuman policies of the US are pushing the Muslims to extremism."

In his highly charged speech, Samiul Haq claimed that the big powers were working on a single-point agenda - the annihilation of the seminaries. "The international community is against only one thing, the seminaries. Its target is not the Islamic Army, the Muslim rulers, generals or the politicians. It is not concerned with our natural resources. Its target is only one - to label our seminaries as hub of terrorism and extremism."

The convocation passed a 14-point resolution, which included:

  1. The five wafaq (coalitions) of religious seminaries should be given the status of a board and their degrees/certificates should be recognized at the national level.
  2. The Seminaries Reforms Board should be immediately abolished. It is a violation of the agreement that the Government had entered into with the five wafaq.
  3. Seminaries are not involved in any act of terror. Such propaganda is a Jewish conspiracy.
  4. We condemn the Agha Khan Board (AKB) and demand that it should be immediately banned.
  5. The proceedings of all the Government and private events should start with the recitation of Koran and it should be made part of the law.
  6. The ban on the foreign students who want to come to Pakistan for religious education should be lifted and they should be granted visas.
  7. The Government should stop patronizing the Hindu and European culture in the country and ban such NGOs that are involved in this crime.
  8. The state-media should stop promoting nudity.

The May 15 Convocation was extraordinarily well-organised. A media cell, equipped with computers, internet connectivity and photocopiers had been established at Lal Masjid; security was tight, and nobody was allowed entry without invitation. The proceedings of the Convocation were transmitted live through the internet at Some clerics who could not make it to the Convention Center participated online. Several observers were inclined to some skepticism regarding the administrative skills of the clerics, and suspicions were voiced that the 'ISI has sponsored this show.'

Arif Jamal - a prolific writer on jihad and rightwing politics - observed: "The Convocation marks a new beginning of relations between the Musharraf Government and the Deobandi ulema. The conflict between the Musharraf Government and the Pakistani Deobandi ulema that started with the fall of the Taliban Government in Afghanistan and reached its climax with the attempts on the life of General Musharraf appears to be over. The Musharraf Government's reconciliatory efforts towards the ulema in general and friendly acts towards the Deobandi ulema in particular have finally convinced them that the Government is not hostile towards ulema."

Musharraf has also back-paddled on the issue of seminaries registration and reforms in their curriculum. Jamal notes, further, "The Government has been going slow on its reform agenda for the madaris for the last one year. It has considerably reduced its interference in the affairs of the madaris. It has also stopped issuing any hostile statements against the ulema and madaris. It has also exempted them from mandatory registration under the Deeni Madaris (Voluntary Registration and Regulation) Ordinance, 2002, which was an important demand of the madaris. It withdrew cases against some of the leading Deobandi ulema as a part of its reconciliation efforts…"

The regime's efforts to secure support from the Islamist right were also at least partially visible in the fatwa (edict) of May 18, issued by a group of 58 ulema, against suicide attacks in the country. Significantly, the fatwa exempted the masterminding of suicide attacks against 'foreign occupation', including such attacks in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kashmir. The impact of the fatwa, however, is expected to be negligible, since it has little backing from scholars of repute. As the Daily Jasarat columnist, Shahnawaz Farooqi, noted, out of the 58 ulema who issued the fatwa, 57 had no standing. "We have heard their name for the first time in our life. There is only one familiar name - Mufti Muneebur Rehman."

Farooqi went on to urge Mufti Muneebur Rehman to issue an edict against the Army. "Pakistani generals subjugate the country whenever they wish to do so. National, international and Islamic law does not allow such subjugation. Therefore, Mufti Muneeb and his clique of other so-called 57 scholars should issue another edict that should declare Army's dictatorship as un-Islamic." He added, further, that violent resistance against an oppressive ruler was also jihad, giving the example of Hazrat Ali's jihad against Yazeed. "Yazeed was a Muslim and Hazrat Ali had waged jihad against him. In the light of Muneeb's edict, Hazrat Ali's resistance against Yazeed becomes an act of terrorism."

The fatwa has been outrightly rejected by the dominant rightwing formations. Fazlur Rehman declared: "The edict has been issued under political compulsions. It is not based on Shariat but on politics. The Government has bribed ulema to obtain the edict at the US behest. The US is responsible for introducing the trend of suicide attacks."

Interestingly, Mufti Muneeb's colleague Sarfraz Naeemi also disagreed with his fatwa: "The edict will benefit unbelief. The entire world knows the motives behind the edict. The greatest benefit will reach to the murderers of the Muslims - India, Israel and the US. At the moment, the Muslims are being massacred all over the world. Instead of issuing the edict of jihad against the butchers of the Muslims, Musharraf has bribed the ulema to get an edict against suicide attacks. The suicide attacks are not haram [forbidden in Islam] but are the supreme form of jihad. There should have been an edict against Bush - that whoever will kill him will go to the heaven."

The outcome of the fatwa came exactly after 10 days, on May 28, when the Shia shrine, the Hazrat Bari Imam, in the vicinity of the heavily guarded Diplomatic Enclave, witnessed a powerful suicide explosion that killed 25 people and injured more than a 100. The message to the Government was loud and clear: the fatwa meant nothing. Extremist elements would continue to do whatever they deemed necessary.


Assam: Truce before the Storm?
Wasbir Hussain
Associate Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi; Consulting Editor, The Sentinel, Guwahati

The Congress Government in Northeast India's Assam State is euphoric. Mainstream political and student leaders, besides former rebel chieftains, in the Bodo tribal heartland - spread over western and northern Assam - have managed a smile. After some uncertainty, the predictable has happened: the outlawed insurgent National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), fighting for a sovereign Bodo homeland since its formation on October 3, 1986, has signed a ceasefire agreement with the Government. But events that could follow from this point on, promise to be highly unpredictable, if not dangerous.

  Also Read
ULFA: Playing Hard to Get -- Bibhu Prasad Routray
NDFB: Claiming Murders, Calling Truce -- Wasbir Hussain

The truce, inked in New Delhi on May 25, 2005, between the NDFB, the Union Government and the State Government of Assam, is for a year to begin with, with effect from June 1, 2005. The outfit, headed by Ranjan Daimari, alias D.R. Nabla, its 'president', has an estimated 500 trained fighters, according to intelligence sources in the Assam Police, although its overall cadre strength is said to be around 2,000. These cadres will now have to stay put in designated camps set up by the authorities, and cannot move about with weapons. Besides, the group will have to furnish the Government with a detailed list of cadres and the weapons in their possession.

Having accomplished step one in its peace efforts, both the Assam Government and New Delhi appear happy. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is particularly elated in an election year, because the NDFB had responded favourably to his September 30, 2004, offer of truce to all rebel groups in this State of 26 million people. The other frontline insurgent group in Assam, the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) had rejected the call, but later indicated its desire for entering into peace negotiations with the Government of India. New Delhi, on May 26, 2005, addressed a letter to ULFA 'Chairman' Arabinda Rajkhowa, inviting his group for unconditional peace talks - the immediate response was the assassination of a Congress party leader, Amrit Dutta, president of the North-west Jorhat Anchalik Panchayat and the executive president of the Dergaon Block Congress, who was shot dead in Jorhat, the Chief Minister's home constituency, by two ULFA gunmen, on the same day.

The stage is now obviously set for the beginning of a process of negotiations for a permanent peace between the Government and the NDFB leadership. What is absolutely unpredictable at this stage is the possible shape of the deal with the NDFB and its fallout on Bodo politics, which has always been murky, to say the least. What can the NDFB bargain for? A Union Territory for the Bodos? Or a brand new autonomy package? Will that mean New Delhi can or will scrap the agreement that it signed in 2003 with the Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) to end that group's armed campaign for autonomy? Can there be a new Bodo accord without disturbing the one already in place, according to which the Bodoland Territorial Council came into existence? No player in the tortuous Bodo political arena has a clue, nor, indeed, does it seem that the Union or State Governments have a game plan either.

As things stand today, a new turf war is bound to emerge the moment an agreement between the Government and the NDFB takes shape. The war that has bloodied Assam's Bodo inhabited areas from the time the BLT emerged on the scene in 1996 could re-surface in various forms once again. The NDFB and the BLT have been bitter foes, the former fighting for an independent homeland and the latter, from the beginning, pushing for maximum autonomy for the Bodo ethnic group within the ambit of the Indian Constitution.

There is actually very little political space now vacant in the Bodo heartland, particularly since the BLT bid adieu to arms and joined the political and social mainstream after the agreement with New Delhi in 2003. The BTC, a 40-member elective politico-administrative structure, has been created under the terms of the agreement, three new districts were carved out, an allocation of Rs. One billion a year has been earmarked for the new Council, and most of the former BLT cadres have been absorbed in the paramilitary forces as part of a rehabilitation package.

Significantly, while the major mainstream Bodo forces, including erstwhile BLT members, the All Bodo Students' Union (ABSU) and others, had wholeheartedly backed the BLT-led autonomy campaign, they turned political rivals the moment the first elections to the BTC was announced. The BTC polls, held on May 13, 2003, witnessed former BLT 'chief', Hagrama Mahilary, openly campaigning against official candidates nominated by the newly floated Bodo People's Progressive Front (BPPF), despite the fact that the BPPF had the backing of the ABSU, and the former BLT, at least officially.

Indications of trouble have already emerged. Former BLT boss Hagrama Mahilary, while welcoming the NDFB-Government truce, has made it clear that New Delhi must look for a solution without disturbing the existing BTC. On his part, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has said in no uncertain terms that there is no question of conceding to any demand for a separate Bodo State. If that remains the Government's position, the rebel group will have to be satisfied with another 'autonomy package'. Whatever that may be, it will certainly have the potential to disturb the prevailing Bodo power equations. And the former BLT rebels could well be poised for a new turf war with the NDFB. There will, of course, also be other major political realignments, making the scene in Assam's Bodo heartland even more volatile. For sometime now, however, at least until the talks reach a decisive stage, a relative calm can be expected in the Bodo dominated areas, with all insurgent groups joining the peace bandwagon.



Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
May 23-29, 2005

Security Force Personnel






     Jammu &








Total (INDIA)







 Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


Six Indian insurgents killed during security force crackdown in Moulavibazaar district: According to Daily Star, six suspected Indian insurgents were killed on May 27, 2005, during a gunfight with a joint raiding party of Bangladesh Rifles and Rapid Action Battalion at Kamalganj in the northeastern district of Moulvibazaar. Another operation was launched in the border areas of Jhenaigati in the Sherpur district targeting hideouts of Indian insurgents in Bangladesh territory. Official sources, however, said that the crackdown was aimed at "suspected gunrunners, who supply illegal arms and ammunition to local hoodlums." The Daily Star, May 28, 2005.


Geelani rejects Pakistan invitation to board Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus: Syed Ali Shah Geelani, leader of the breakaway faction of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), on May 29, 2005, rejected Pakistan's invitation to visit that country and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus on June 2, in protest against Islamabad's "flexible stand" on the Kashmir issue. "We have decided against going to Pakistan and PoK in the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus on June 2. We are showing our resentment to the present policies of the Pakistan Government vis-à-vis Kashmir issue," Geelani told a press conference in Srinagar. Daily Excelsior, May 30, 2005.

Hurriyat Conference faction of Umar Farooq decides to visit PoK on June 2: The secessionist All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) faction headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on May 25, 2005, decided to travel on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus scheduled for June 2. During a meeting at the Hurriyat's headquarters in Srinagar, the Mirwaiz faction deliberated over the single agenda of whether or not to visit Pakistan. Farooq had called a joint meeting of the Hurriyat Executive Council, Working Committee and General Council to discuss a communication of the Government of Pakistan inviting him and other Hurriyat constituents for a visit to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Pakistan on June 2. Meanwhile, the Union Government said on May 26 that the travel of Hurriyat leaders' beyond PoK would be contrary to the understanding between the two countries. Daily Excelsior, May 27, 2005.

National Democratic Front of Bodoland signs tripartite cease-fire agreement: On May 25, 2005, a tripartite cease-fire agreement was signed between the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), the Union Government and the Government of Assam at New Delhi. The agreement will be valid for a year beginning June 1, 2005. As per its provisions, security force personnel will suspend operations against the outfit and the NDFB cadres will neither carry arms nor move about in uniform. The outfit is also barred from providing assistance to any other militant group. The NDFB cadres are expected to move into designated camps after the group submits a list of its cadres and of weapons in its possession to the Assam Police. Sentinel Assam, May 26, 2005.

Maoists kill five police personnel in Chhattisgarh: Five police personnel were reportedly killed during a landmine explosion triggered by left-wing extremists (also known as Naxalites) of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) near Jhangla village in the Dantewada district of Chhatisgarh on May 23, 2005. An Army helicopter was pressed into service to evacuate the nine injured police personnel from the blast site. Earlier, the Naxalites had detonated a landmine at Errabor in the same district and reports indicated that the five police personnel who were killed near Jhangla were on patrol following the blast in Errabor. Daily Pioneer, May 24, 2005.


25 people killed and 100 injured during suicide bombing at shrine in Islamabad: At least 25 people, including a suspected suicide bomber, were killed and approximately 100 others sustained injuries during a powerful explosion at the Bari Imam shrine located in vicinity of the diplomatic enclave in capital Islamabad on May 27, 2005. Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 devotees were reportedly attending the annual gathering of the Shia sect when a bearded man of medium height and dark complexion walked up to the stage and blew himself up. The Shia sect claims Bari Imam as their religious leader and holds a special Majlis-e-Aza (religious gathering) the day after the conclusion of the four-day annual Urs of Bari Imam. Dawn, May 28, 2005.

Any pact on Kashmir will need international guarantees, says President Musharraf: During an interview to Daily Times, President Pervez Musharraf said he would prefer some kind of "international guarantees" for the implementation of any pact reached with India on the Kashmir issue, which he wants to be settled in a year's time. ''I don't know, I haven't thought of this point, but may be the peace process should be guaranteed by the international community. I think if we reach an agreement there should be something other than just bilateral guarantees. I think the international community should play a role in the guarantees. And this is a new thing that I am saying,'' he said. Daily Times, May 25, 2005.


Attack on LTTE air assets could restart war, says SLMM chief: The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) chief, Hagrup Haukland, speaking to the Foreign Correspondents' Association of Sri Lanka in Colombo on May 27, 2005, stated that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) possess an airstrip in the island's north, but warned that any move by Government forces to bomb it could lead to the resumption of war. "We have seen the air strip from the air while flying in a Sri Lankan military helicopter," Haukland disclosed. The SLMM had been denied access by the outfit to verify Government charges that they possess at least two light aircraft and warned that "it not only destabilises Sri Lanka's security, but India's security as well." "If the Tigers fly, it will be a violation of Sri Lankan airspace and also of international law because the air space is a matter only for the Sri Lankan Government… If the (Government) air force bombs the air strip, then it will be war. If bombs fall, we pull out," he said. The Hindu, May 28, 2005.

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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