Terrorism Update
Show/Hide Search
  Click to Enlarge

Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 4, No. 37, March 27, 2006

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



Orissa: Overrunning the State
Nihar Nayak
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

The Orissa Government has long claimed that the Maoist problem in the State is only a ‘spill over’ from neighbouring States, with no significant roots among the local communities, but this has, once again, been demonstrably proven wrong. In a surprise attack reminiscent of the February 2004 attack at Koraput in Orissa, and the more recent overrunning of the Jehanabad District sub-jail in Bihar in November 2005, an estimated 200 armed cadres of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), including women and some sympathisers, attacked the sub-jail in the Ramagiri Udayagiri town of the Gajapati District in southern Orissa on March 24, 2006, and freed 40 prisoners, including Ghirsinga Majhi, a senior Maoist leader. The Maoists who laid siege to the town from two directions simultaneously attacked the Police Station, the Camp of the 3rd Battalion of the Orissa State Armed Police (OSAP), the treasury, the Tehsildar’s (junior revenue officer) office and a telecom tower. The Maoists “pulled down” the Jail gates to help the 40 prisoners, including four hardcore Maoists, to escape. Three Police personnel were killed and three others injured during the exchange of fire, which lasted three entire hours, at the end of which they simply escaped unimpeded. The Maoists also abducted the Officer-in-Charge of the Police Station, Ranjan Kumar Mallick, and the jailor Rabinarayan Sethi. There was no information on their whereabouts till the time of writing.

  Also Read
INDIA-Orissa: Maoist Flowering under Benign Neglect - Nihar Nayak

INDIA-Maoist: Contagion in Orissa - Nihar Nayak

In a face-saving statement, Director-General of Police Suchit Das stated that, in the exchange of fire at the Police camp, at least three Maoists, including a woman, were killed, but that their bodies were ‘taken away’. According to District Collector Binod Bihari Mohanty, who escaped with his life by taking refuge inside a guard’s house, the Maoists looted 25 self-loading rifles, a pistol, a light machine gun and an AK-47 rifle, and also burnt stamp papers worth nearly Rupees 40 lakh in the treasury.

The Naxalites approached the town from two directions in five small trucks and a few light vehicles, allegedly hijacked at Nuagada. They retreated after the attack via Saralapadar into the deep jungles. Before the attack, the Naxalites had disconnected telephone lines to most of the offices, disrupted power supply in the town and blocked the entry point of the town by felling trees and pushing boulders on to the road. According to locals, about 150 to 200 Maoists had set up camp at the Saralapadara Bridge construction site since the night of March 23. Interestingly, the Maoists’ presence in this area, only nine kilometers from R. Udayagiri, went undetected by the Police. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told the Legislative Assembly on March 24 that the Maoists were believed to have come from the Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh and conversed in Telugu, Hindi and Soura (a tribal dialect).

The attack was the second time the Maoists had overrun a town in southern Orissa in two years. On February 6, 2004, the Maoists had overrun the District Headquarters of Koraput and looted arms and ammunition from the armory. In the same year, the Maoists also attacked the Malkangiri Police Station and the Narayanpur Police Station in Rayagada District. A year earlier, the Kalimela Police Station in Malkangiri District had been targeted. In year 2002, the Golpadar Police Station in Rayagada District had been attacked. There is a uniformity of pattern in these attacks across different States, reflecting a strategic design that goes well beyond the immediate objectives of freeing Maoist prisoners, looting arms and demoralizing the police and administration. In significant measure, these are ‘blooding’ operations, in which large numbers of cadres are being exposed to ‘military operations’ that would prepare them for a wider and coordinated mobilization across the entire ‘Maoist corridor’ along India’s eastern board.

Incidentally, Chief Minister Patnaik had informed the Legislative Assembly on March 17 that, as a preventive measure to counter the Maoists who were operating in parts of 14 districts with an estimated 500 armed cadres, fortification of police stations in Maoist-affected areas had been taken up. “Most of the police stations have already been fortified. The remaining ones are likely to be fortified within the next two years,” the Chief Minister disclosed. He stated further that a ‘multi-pronged strategy’ was being adopted to deal with the problem by setting up a Special Intelligence Wing and Special Operations Group. On modernisation of the Police Force, the Chief Minister claimed that the Government had performed much better than many States as it had spent over 90 per cent of the funds provided by the Union Government. It had received INR 2.69 billion and had spent INR 2.34 billion, and efforts were being made to increase Police manpower in the State, which at present is at 92 policemen per 100,000 population, well below the national average of 123 per 100,000.

In the five years ending 2003-2004, the Orissa Government had an allocation of INR 3.05 billion under the modernisation grant from the Union Government (the State also bears a matching share), but this does not appear to have improved its muscle to contain the Maoists. Surprisingly, the share of the Maoist-affected Districts in the entire modernisation grants was less than five per cent. In fact, the modernisation grants do not have any specific head of expenditure for anti-Maoist measures. The State Government, in its 2005 budget, did not indicate any allocation for Security Related Expenditure. Later, INR 40 million was placed under this head in the Supplementary Budget, which was presented in the last session of the State Assembly. The lackadaisical approach to the Maoist threat is more than in evidence in the patterns of resource allocation and utilization.

There is, however, nothing lackadaisical about the Maoists, who are now extending their reach much faster than ever before in Orissa. While levels of violence remain low, the pace of Maoist consolidation has accelerated rapidly in regions where there has been some displacement of people due to mega industrial, mining and hydroelectric projects. According to the Institute for Socio-Economic Development at least 81,176 families from 1,446 villages have been affected by various projects since the early 1950s, as the Government acquired a total of 622,463.94 hectares of land from them. "People uprooted from their old habitat due to the development projects feel that the authorities had failed to restructure their livelihood base in accordance with their needs and aspirations. They feel neglected and alienated," the study noted. Institute for Conflict Management data indicates that at least 28 tribals were killed in police firing during tribal protests at various places, including in Maikanch, Raigarh, Mandrabaju and Kalinga Nagar, over the past five years, including 13 in the disastrous incident of January 2, 2006, while they were protesting against their ‘ouster’ to accommodate a proposed Tata Steel plant in Kalinga Nagar, Jajpur District. The neglect that the tribal people of the State have faced over the years makes them particularly vulnerable to Maoist mobilisation.

A white paper on the law and order situation tabled in the State Assembly on March 17, 2006 stated, "Naxalite activities, which were reported from southern and northern districts of the state, have affected law and order situation of the state. Of the 30 districts of the state, Naxalites were active in 14 districts in 2005." Expressing alarm on the growing influence of Maoists, it noted, further: "After spreading their influence in bordering Districts such as Sundargarh, Keonjhar, Sambalpur, Deogarh and Mayurbhanj, the Naxalites were trying to establish their foothold in Dhenkanal, Jajpur and other Districts."

The latest incident demonstrates the enormous inefficiency of the State administration in approaching the problem. In February 2006, a high-level meeting presided over by the Principal Secretary of Home, Santosh Kumar, in Bhubaneswar, had discussed the intelligence inputs on the Maoist plans to attack six jails where some Maoists had been imprisoned. Reports suggest that more than 150 CPI-Maoist cadres are lodged in six jails in Rourkela, Baripada, Sambalpur, Koraput, Rayagada and Malkangiri. All District Police chiefs of the Maoist-affected areas had been directed to keep strict vigil on the movement of Maoist under-trial prisoners. Instructions had also been issued to beef up security in and outside the prisons and strengthen the rooftop guard system.

Further, the Gajapati District – within which R. Udayagiri lies – has officially been identified as a highly Maoist-affected for some time now. Yet, the OSAP barrack was not only ill-equipped but was manned by just 25 personnel, who lacked adequate ammunition to meet the Maoist' challenge. Nor was the Jail adequately protected. While the Maoists use rocket launchers to destroy police stations in Gajapati, the District Police suffer from serious deficiencies in weapons, communications, infrastructure and manpower. Of the 70 Police vehicles available in the District, 10 are not in operational condition and, for the remaining 60 vehicles only 20 drivers are available. As many as 59 police positions up to the sub-inspector rank are vacant in the District, and the District has only three platoons of Armed Police and one Grey Hound squad to counter the Maoists.

The Maoists have a strong presence in the Gajapati District, operating through a front organization, the Lok Sangram Manch (People’s Revolutionary Front), as well as their ‘military wing’, the Praja Bimukti Sainya (People’s Liberation Army, now the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army). The primary functions of these organizations at present are to organize village meetings, campaign against Government policies, recruit new cadres, organize training programmes, and, eventually, to engage in ‘armed struggle’. The Gajapati and Rayagada Districts fall under the Andhra-Orissa Border Regional Committee of the CPI-Maoist and there are two armed squads (Udanam and Kondabaridi) active in the area.

The decision to attack the Jail in R. Udayagiri was possibly taken in November somewhere in the forests of Malkangiri. During the Annual Day celebration of the 5th PLGA on December 2, 2005, in Rayagada, the CPI-Maoist’s ‘Orissa State Secretary’, Sunil, had declared that the outfit would intensify the guerilla war and convert it into the ‘mobile warfare’ stage in the State.

The R. Udayagiri attack reflects a pattern that will increase in frequency in the foreseeable future in India’s ill-protected mofussil towns within the ‘Maoist corridor’, and demonstrates the failure of both the States and the Centre in evolving an effective counter-terrorist strategy in the face of a rising onslaught. The Maoist rampage has intensified under a complex of policy failures, a failure to secure effective policy and operational coordination between States as well as with the Centre, persistent neglect of the fundamentals of policing, and, most significantly, the absence of a coherent perspective on the problem. With little signs of any emerging unity of perspective within Government at various levels, and as the Maoists augment their campaign of militarization across their areas of influence, a necessary and dramatic escalation in violence becomes inevitable.


Rising Anarchy
Saji Cherian
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

On March 19, 2006, representatives of the seven agitating political parties (SPA) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) made public, through separate statements, the Memorandum of Understanding reached between them. The SPA also announced the launch of a fresh agitation on April 6 against King Gyanendra, which includes a four-day general strike and civil disobedience movement, besides a large public rally in the capital Kathmandu on April 8.

  Also Read
NEPAL: The 'Clouds of Pessimism' Darken- Saji Cherian

NEPAL: Drifting into Anarchy - S. D. Muni

This is the second such understanding reached by the Maoists with the SPA, the first having been arrived at on November 22, 2005, in what was then referred to as the ‘Twelve-Point Agreement’ . Fundamental differences continue to persist, as the parties continue to demand restoration of the dissolved Parliament (through a people’s movement), formation of a powerful all-party Government, peace talks with the rebels and a new Constitution through elections to the Constituent Assembly; the Maoists, on the other hand, have demanded a national political conference of all democratic forces, formation of an interim Government and elections to the Constituent Assembly. Dubbing these as only a “procedural difference”, the SPA statement read,

The agitating seven political parties and the CPN Maoists have also reached an understanding to resolve this procedural difference through ongoing dialogues aimed at reaching a common understanding. They also accept the fact that people’s movement is the only way for achieving the common goal.

As a sign of goodwill, the Maoist senior leadership, Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka ‘Prachanda’ and Baburam Bhattarai, announced on March 19 the withdrawal of the indefinite blockade that the Maoists had clamped on the capital Kathmandu and other District Headquarters across the country. Launched on March 14, the blockade had virtually brought the whole country to a standstill, further undermining the authority of the King. Essential supplies to the capital and other District centres was severely hit, with reports indicating prices of fresh vegetables shooting up by 80 per cent in the Kathmandu valley alone. Industries were also severely affected even as Nepal’s only railway service on the Janakpur-Jayanagar route was closed down. Apart from the blockade, violence in 2006 continues unabated in Nepal, with deaths of 39 civilians, 150 security force personnel and 203 Maoists recorded till March 21. In the latest incident on March 25, suspected Maoists threw a bomb at the Kathmandu residence of Assistant Minister for General Administration Toran Bahadur Gurung, damaging a vehicle parked in the house and shattering window panes. The incident occurred even as the Government began a fresh crackdown, banning pillion riding in the Valley, beefing up security checks on highways and entry points to the Valley and asking residents to carry proof of identity with them.

Although, the Maoists withdrew the blockade, they immediately indicated no let-up in their campaigns and attempted to assert their supremacy in the scheme of things with a deadly ambush on Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) soldiers at Dapcha in Kavre District, leading to the death of 13 soldiers. The Maoists also continue to consolidate in all sectors, especially their finances, with sporadic reports of looting of banks and ‘forced donations’. According to officials at the Nepal Bank Limited, 29 branches of the Bank had been affected from various insurgency-related events. Cash and property worth nearly NPR 250 million has been looted from the NBL after the onset of the Maoist insurgency. Similarly, a spokesperson of the Rastriya Banijya Bank, Janardan Acharya, disclosed that the Maoists had looted property worth 160 million rupees from various branches of the Bank over the past years. The Bank had to close down a total of 20 branches in the last three years mainly due to security reasons.

Even as the Maoists amass wealth and, as one report indicated, continued to be ‘the richest political party in the country’, the Monarchy’s profligacy continues to shock the nation. In the month of March, in a clear case of misplaced priorities, the Crown Prince along with his royal retinue went off on a junket to Vienna to present two rhinos to the local Schonbrunn Zoo. While, the Austrian Government denied extending any formal invitation to the Prince, the total expenses incurred by the cash-strapped Finance ministry for this ‘Rhino diplomacy’ already amounted to NPR 60 million out of the NPR 90 million allocated by the Ministry in its budget for the current fiscal year for high-level visits. Significantly, sources indicate that, by June, the King would have difficulty paying salaries to the RNA, unless he is bailed out by some external source. Other signs of an impending financial crisis are visible in withdrawals by Nepalese Banks on their Reserves with Indian Banks at a significantly escalated rate, particularly since August 2005.

As in the past, this new agreement between the Maoists and the SPA has raised unrealistic hopes of an imminent solution to the conflict in certain quarters. Such a solution, however, is nowhere in sight. There exists, at present, little ‘unison in strategy’ between the two sides, as indicated in their separate statements, and their only commonality continues to be their target, King Gyanendra. Further, the SPA comprises parties that have a history of disunity, often bringing that baggage along, whenever they meet. These, coupled with apprehensions regarding ‘Maoist sincerity’, are powerful impediments to a stable alliance. Nepali Congress (Democratic) President Sher Bahadur Deuba, for instance, observed: “The Maoists should make us trust them on the fundamental issues (of democracy). It is still a fear as to what the Maoists will do once they come in power, within as well as outside Nepal. On the one hand, (there is) the fear of the King; on the other – Prachanda’s. Is anybody assured? Everybody has the suspicion that (the Maoists) will bring one-party authoritarianism in the name of ‘people-ism’.”

An example of the authoritarianism of the Maoist leadership played out on March 14, when two Maoist ‘central committee’ members, Ravindra Shrestha and Mani Thapa alias ‘Anukul’, were summarily expelled from the outfit for accusing Prachanda and Bhattarai of ‘ideological deviation’ and ‘adopting nepotism’. Issuing a statement, Prachanda termed the two leaders “deserters of the revolution and servants of the autocratic monarchy and counter-revolution.”

The internal contradictions of the alliance of opportunity between the political parties and the Maoists are also played out at the ground level between their cadres and activists, and there is an extended history of conflict at the lower levels which will be difficult to overcome, even if the senior leaders arrive at an understanding. For example, in a continuation of a long war of attrition, Maoists killed a Nepali Congress cadre in Dhanusha District and injured two others on February 22, in clear violation of their understanding with the political parties. Further, in Rolpa district, the Maoists, in violation of the November 22 twelve-point understanding have hindered SPA supporters from participating in their protest movement and have forced the latter to involve themselves in Maoist activities. According to local Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) activists, the Maoists have discouraged the seven-party alliance’s movement, and have given emphasis only to their own programmes in the District. For instance, the Maoists have made it mandatory for everybody to work for at least 20 days at a road construction site. Madhav Prasad Acharya, a district leader of the Nepali Congress protested, “Such action by the rebels has discouraged civilians from participating in the seven parties' programs.”

Kathmandu’s response to the agreement was along expected lines, with Home Minister Kamal Thapa declaring that the Government would not hesitate to take any kind of action against the political parties if they did not withdraw their deal with the Maoists. “What has been publicized as the second understanding is nothing but the Maoist agenda. The parliamentary parties committed a blunder,” he noted. The King's response has, therefore, been simple; to fortify militarily as well as politically. The political parties have repeatedly relied on agitation and street protests to dent the King’s position, but the latter has muffled such protests by arresting their top leadership in the past. Entirely in character, police personnel arrested CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal from his residence in Kathmandu and whisked him to the Armed Police Force barracks at Kakani on March 23. Nepal had been under house arrest for the past over two months.

It remains to be seen whether the parties have gained ground vis-a-vis their political might in the country by aligning with the Maoists or have, indeed, committed a ‘blunder’ by aligning with an outfit that is militarily, territorially and financially by far their superior. The April 6 agitation, therefore, as Nepali Congress chief G.P. Koirala said, is ‘crucial’, and if the combined force of the parties and the Maoists can engineer a comprehensive breakdown across the country, this would certainly pave the way for similar moves in the future.

Confusion within Nepal has substantially been fed by the continuing confusion of the ‘international community’, particularly the principal external players in Nepal. The Indian assessments – and consequent efforts to facilitate agreements between the Maoists and the political parties – have been based on a perception that the Maoists are in no position to take over militarily, and are increasingly willing to take the path of ‘bourgeois democracy'. Within this assessment, the King is also perceived as lacking the power to break through the existing logjam. The King, moreover, is increasingly seen as more of a problem than any part of a solution. On the other hand, the US considers a Maoist takeover not only possible but imminent, and finds such an outcome unacceptable. The US would, consequently, be increasingly inclined to increase support to the King. The UK has also articulated the position that the Maoist-SPA alliance “was not sufficient enough for restoring peace in Nepal.” Given India’s extraordinary failure to correctly assess the significance of the Maoist insurgency within its own territories, its assessment on Nepal can inspire little confidence. Moreover, if India progressively disengages with Kathmandu, and increases its support to the Maoist-SPA alliance, China can be expected to significantly enhance support to the King – and this has been a visible trend in the recent past.

Within these myriad and conflicting perspectives, the Maoists have been the only ones who have continued to dominate and steer the discourse through violence interspersed with opportunistic dialogue and calls for a tactical peace, even while international and domestic policymakers fail to reconcile their long term projections with their immediate postures and interventions.




Rhetoric Divorced from Reality
Guest Writer: G. Parthasarathy
Columnist, former Indian High Commissioner / Ambassador to Pakistan, Myanmar and Australia

If good atmospherics, sweet diplomatic phrases and glossing over differences alone are the ideal recipe for setting right the strains and suspicions that have clouded relations between India and Bangladesh in recent years, the visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia to India can be described as a resounding success. But beyond the references to a shared destiny and nostalgia about cooperation in 1971, there was pretty little to show as a concrete achievement during the Prime Ministerial visit. The Trade Agreement of 1980 was replaced by a new trade agreement. There was also a routine agreement on measures to jointly cooperate in drug trafficking and abuse. All this glossed over the fact that there have been, and remain, serious differences on highly emotive and sensitive issues.

  Also Read
BANGLADESH: The Fraud Continues - Bibhu Prasad Routray

BANGLADESH: Counterfeit War on Terror- Bibhu Prasad Routray

While sweet phrases were being exchanged in New Delhi on March 22, India’s Border Security Force (BSF) was exchanging fire with its Bangladesh counterparts the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) at the Goldach outpost in the North Dinajpur District of West Bengal. While the Joint Press Release of March 22 spoke of activating bilateral discussions in forums like the Joint Rivers Commission, the Bangladesh Minister for Cooperatives Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan proclaimed on the same day that India is creating a water crisis by constructing dams on 52 of the 54 rivers flowing into Bangladesh from India. He added that 80 rivers and many canals in Bangladesh have dried up because of India’s denial of water to Bangladesh. At the same time, it was reliably reported in Dhaka that, while the Bangladesh Government had identified 20 “strategic corridors” by road, rail and river to facilitate trade with India, no decision had been taken on providing transport facilities to India. This made it clear that the Khaleda Zia dispensation did not regard references in the newly signed trade agreement to “mutually beneficial agreements for the use of their waterways, railways and roadways for commerce” as constituting any basis to provide transit facilities to India, for transporting goods to its northeastern states.

It is evident that while the Khaleda Zia visit will give the ruling dispensation in Bangladesh electoral mileage by being able to claim that New Delhi has welcomed its leader with open arms, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its allies have no intention of toning down anti-Indian rhetoric or sentiments in their country, and India-bashing will remain a useful electoral tool. It is pertinent to note that Bangladesh never tires of claiming to be an aggrieved party because of its trade deficit with India, but it expresses no such complaints about its even larger trade deficit with China. In the long term, as a member of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation), Bangladesh will have to display far greater realism on issues of regional free trade, or find itself marginalized in this forum. New Delhi does, however, need to recognize that it sullies its image as an emerging economic powerhouse by placing a number of non-tariff barriers restricting exports from countries in its neighbourhood. Similarly, a more accommodative approach needs to be adopted by India on issues like border demarcation and adverse possession of enclaves.

Interestingly there was no mention either in the Joint Press release or in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s banquet speech, of the most serious issue that today clouds India-Bangladesh relations, namely the support that the Bangladesh establishment, often in collaboration with Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), provides on its soil to separatist and terrorist violence directed against India. More surprisingly, the External Affairs Ministry spokesman observed that both India and Bangladesh are “victims of terrorism”! Just on the eve of Begum Khaleda’s visit, the West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhatacharjee, however, observed: “The Bangladesh Government is encouraging two kinds of terrorism. There are religious, fundamentalist groups functioning from within Bangladesh. There are also groups like the ULFA and the KLO that have taken shelter there”. There is no dearth of evidence to establish that, till over 450 bomb blasts triggered by the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) shook Bangladesh on August 17, 2005, this terrorist outfit enjoyed close links with and support from the ruling BNP and its allies like the Jamaat-e-Islami. If Bangladesh is at all a ‘victim’ of terrorism it has only itself to blame, because the violence it has faced on its soil has arisen from the nexus between its political and military establishment, on the one hand, and radical Islamist groups, on the other.

A major factor behind the recent crackdown by the Begum Khaleda Government on the JMB has been the threat by the European Union and other western donors that economic aid to Bangladesh would be curtailed in the absence of effective action against terrorist groups. The US and its NATO allies recognize that groups like the JMB and the Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami Bangladesh (HuJI-BD) have connections with the Al Qaeda and its affiliates operating in South East Asia. These countries would like to see tougher action against those involved in assassination attempts against the Awami league leader Sheikh Hasina and the British High Commissioner Anwar Chowdhury.

While one can understand New Delhi’s desire to give diplomacy yet another chance by laying out the red carpet for Begum Khaleda, it would be naïve to presume that large sections of the BNP and its allies like the Jamaat-e-Islami, which thrive on anti-Indian rhetoric and policies, would be amenable to back any quest for good neighbourly relations with India. Further, the present generation of leadership in the Bangladesh Armed Forces has little interest in what transpired during the liberation struggle in 1971. By inclination, the armed forces in Bangladesh adopt postures domestically and in their approach to India which are not very different from those of their counterparts in Pakistan. And the BNP is a product of the maneuverings of the country’s military establishment. This political and military establishment believes in ideas like creating an Islamic Emirate in the Muslim majority districts of Assam and of severing the northeastern states from the rest of India. It would be pertinent to remember that, not too long ago, the Bangladesh Foreign Minister Morshed Khan proclaimed: “Bangladesh is India-locked. Delhi has also to remember that seven of its northeastern states are Bangladesh locked”.

In these circumstances, any approach to Indo-Bangladesh relations has to combine the carrot with the stick. There is no room for sentimentalism about what happened during the liberation struggle of 1971, though there is a strong section of public opinion in Bangladesh that favours good relations with India. It remains, however, to be seen how the Bangladesh establishment responds to the views of this section of its people. In the meantime, efforts to promote economic cooperation and resolve differences with Bangladesh must be coupled with a readiness to raise the costs domestically, diplomatically, strategically and economically for Bangladesh, should it persist on its present path of promoting separatist and terrorist violence in India. It needs to be remembered that, like India, Myanmar is also a victim of separatist and terrorist violence sponsored by Bangladesh. Cooperation with Myanmar and other ASEAN countries such as Thailand can be a vital constituent in dealing with Dhaka’s more adventurist propensities.



Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
March 20 - 27, 2006

Security Force Personnel




     Jammu &


     Left-wing Extremist




Total (INDIA)





Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


Islami Bank denies financing militants: Bangladesh’s top Sharia (Islamic law)-based commercial bank, the Islami Bank, has denied it played a role in financing militants after regulators detected that funds had been transferred to suspicious accounts from its branches. The Government has ordered a crackdown on sources of funding to thousands of Islamist militants, including members of two outlawed groups whose top leaders have been captured recently, in efforts to wipe out Islamist extremism in the country. The Islami Bank has come under the spotlight of the Central Bank’s anti-money laundering investigations, as it draws most of its capital from overseas Islamic institutions. "We do not support terrorist activities, and we don’t have any involvement with terror financing in any form," Abdur Raquib, Executive President of the Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited, told Reuters on March 21, 2006. The Central Bank had probed many of its accounts and the bank itself had conducted a separate investigation, he said. "We have suspended five employees including three branch managers and issued show cause notice to 15 others for their involvement in suspected transactions," Raquib added. Daily Times, March 23, 2006.


13 persons killed in Maoist-triggered landmine blast in Chhattisgarh: 13 persons were killed and four others sustained injuries on March 25, 2006, in a landmine blast triggered by the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres in Kanker district. District Superintendent of Police Pradeep Gupta stated that the Maoists triggered the blast targeting a vehicle, mistaking it to be a police vehicle, near Ghoda village under the Pakhanjur police station area. Rediff, March 25, 2006. .

Prime Minister offers "Treaty of Peace, Security, Friendship" to Pakistan: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on March 24, 2006, offered a "Treaty of Peace, Security and Friendship" to Pakistan as a culmination of the ongoing peace process. Flagging off the Amritsar-Nankana bus service linking the two Punjabs, in Amritsar, he also said "meaningful agreement" was possible on issues like Siachen, Sir Creek and Baglihar. "I have a vision that the peace-making process must ultimately culminate in our two countries entering into a Treaty of Peace, Security and Friendship to give meaning and substance to our quest for shared goals", Dr. Singh said. "I make this offer to the people of Pakistan on this historic occasion. I am sure the leadership of Pakistan will reciprocate", he said. The Prime Minister added, "the time has come to leave behind the animosities and misgivings of the past and to think the unthinkable." On President Pervez Musharraf’s statements that normalisation of bilateral relations cannot move forward unless the "core" issue of Jammu and Kashmir is resolved, the Prime Minister said "in my view, it is a mistake to link normalisation of other relations with finding a solution to J and K." Daily Excelsior, March 25, 2006.

Three police personnel killed during Maoist attacks in Orissa: Approximately 200 cadres of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) shot dead three police personnel and took hostage at least two Government officials in attacks on a police station, a camp of the Orissa State Armed Police, the local Jail and a bank at R. Udayagiri town in the Gajapati District on March 24, 2006. In the pre-dawn strike, a group of over 200-armed Maoists, including women and some sympathizers, attacked the sub-jail, freed 40 prisoners, killed three police personnel, and took a Police officer and the Jailor hostage. They pulled down the Jail gates to help prisoners escape and also simultaneously attacked the Police Station, an Orissa Special Armed Police Camp, the treasury, the tehsildar’s (local administrative official) office and a telecom tower. Hindustan Times, March 25, 2006. .

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Begum Khaleda Zia discuss bilateral issues, including terrorism: Following discussions between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the visiting Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia at New Delhi on March 21, 2006, both countries agreed that they were victims of terrorism and should join hands to fight the problem. The Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson stated that Home Secretaries of the two countries would meet often and exchange information, while the Joint Rivers Commission too would meet frequently to address water disputes. The two countries also agreed operationalise the Sealdah-Devpura railway link. Two pacts, a revised trade accord and another to prevent illicit narcotics trafficking were signed in the presence of the Prime Ministers. The Times of India, March 22, 2006.

Babbar Khalsa 'head of operations' Paramjeet Singh Bheora arrested in Delhi: Paramjeet Singh Bheora, 'head of operations' of the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) in India, and two of his accomplices, who were planning to set up base in Delhi, were arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police near G.T. Karnal Road on March 20, 2006. Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police (Special Cell), Karnal Singh, said Paramjeet and his accomplices, Jasbir Singh and Bhupinder Singh, were arrested following an exchange of fire. The Police official added, "four kilograms of RDX, three detonators, one remote control device along with a wireless set, one timer, three pistols, 39 live cartridges and three fired cartridges were recovered from them. The stolen Santro car in which they were traveling was also seized." Paramjeet was allegedly involved in the assassination of Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh in 1995 and had taken over control of the BKI in India after its previous chief Jagtar Singh Hawara was arrested by the Delhi Police on June 8, 2005. The Hindu, March 21, 2006.


13 soldiers killed in Maoist ambush in Kavre District: 13 soldiers were reportedly killed during a Maoist ambush in the Dapcha area of Kavre District on March 20, 2006. The Ministry of Defense said that a security patrol was on its way to open up a drinking water supply canal in the Dapcha area, which was blocked by the insurgents for the last two days, when it was ambushed. It added that the body of a Maoist was also recovered from the incident site. Nepal News, March 21, 2006.


14 persons killed in LTTE suicide blast off the northwest coast: Six Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres and eight sailors were feared killed, when a boat heading to northern Sri Lanka and carrying LTTE cadres exploded off the northwest coast on March 25, 2006, near a naval craft, a military spokesman said. The boat, believed to be carrying explosives, was approached by a Naval Fast Attack Craft to carry out an inspection when it exploded in the Kalpititya region, 200 kilometres north of the capital, Colombo, Brigadier P. Samarasinghe stated. People aboard are believed to have detonated the vessel to avoid detection, he said. The naval craft sank and 11 sailors were rescued. "The suicide-style explosion carried out by the crew of the trawler causing damage to a naval vessel and claiming the lives of Navy personnel is a violation of the cease-fire," the Government said in a statement. However, the LTTE denied any involvement in the incident. "We never engage in any offensive operations against the Sri Lankan Army and Navy," S. Puleedevan, head of the LTTE Peace Secretariat, told Reuters from Kilinochchi. "There is no (Tiger) connection to this attack," he claimed. Daily Times, March 26, 2006.

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

To receive FREE advance copies of SAIR by email Subscribe.

Recommend South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR) to a friend.





Copyright © 2001 SATP. All rights reserved.