Pakistan: ISI: Twisted Shadows : India: Assam: Another Tenuous Peace | South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR), Vol. No. 11.16
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Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 11, No. 16, October 22, 2012

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ISI: Twisted Shadows
Sanchita Bhattacharya
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

On September 17, 2012, Tamil Nadu State intelligence sleuths arrested an Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agent, identified as Thamim Ansari, from Tiruchi in the Tiruchirappalli District, when he was heading for the Airport to board a flight to Colombo (Sri Lanka). 25 CDs and photographs of various important installations in the state were reportedly seized from Ansari. Subsequent disclosures by Ansari revealed that a Pakistan High Commission diplomat in Sri Lanka, Amir Zubair Siddiqui, had tasked him to secure pictures of Naval  and Coast Guard Stations, as well as Army installations in the State.

Unsurprisingly, the First Information Report (FIR) included the name of the Pakistani diplomat. The FIR noted that the diplomat, through contacts Haji and Shaji living in Colombo, had employed Ansari of Thanjavur District in Tamil Nadu to supply sensitive information on defence installations in India. Preliminary investigations indicate that a Pakistani espionage desk was operating from Colombo and was concentrating on South India. ISI agents were actively attempting to recruit Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, who had come to India during the course of the Eelam War, and have now returned to the island nation after the end of the conflict in May 2009.

Ansari’s arrest and subsequent disclosures are only the most recent evidence of a sustained effort by the ISI to encircle India with a network of subversive modules spread throughout the neighbourhood to engage in espionage, to recruit and support extremist and terrorist elements, and to engage in activities intended to destabilize the country from within.

According to the partial data compiled by the Institute for Conflict Management (ICM), 133 ISI-related modules have been discovered and neutralised in India since 2004. 37 such modules were neutralised in New Delhi, followed by 18 in Punjab, 15 in Uttar Pradesh, 10 each in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, nine in Maharashtra, eight in Gujarat, six in Karnataka, five in Rajasthan, four in Madhya Pradesh, three in Uttaranchal, two each in Tripura and Haryana, one each in Goa, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Assam.

Within the Indian neighbourhood, the ISI has been attempting to encircle India by sending and recruiting agents in countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. The interrogation of Mehrajuddin Wani alias Javed alias Daand, a militant arrested on September 12, 2012, for instance, revealed that the peripheries of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, were fast becoming a hub of Pakistani and Kashmiri terrorists, backed by the ISI. Moreover, according to US cables released by WikiLeaks in 2011, ISI had created an anti-India terror outfit, Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front (JKIF), with its main base in Kathmandu.

The ISI-Bangladesh linkages run deep, and, before the Sheikh Hasina Government cracked down of terrorist groupings operating against India from Bangladeshi soil, and fundamentally altered the relationship between the ISI and Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), intelligence and terrorist collaboration between the two countries was at the heart of a number of terrorist attacks executed across India. The ISI’s Bangladeshi linkages are now being examined anew, in the light of revelations made by the handler of the November 26, 2008, (26/11) Mumbai (Maharashtra) terrorist attacks, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative Syed Zabiuddin Ansari aka Abu Jundal. On July 19, 2012, Jundal revealed that Yasin Bhatkal, one of the most wanted terrorists in India and ‘chief’ of the Indian Mujahideen (IM), was hiding in Bangladesh with ISI support. He also provided details of e-mails and chat sites through which he communicated with Bhatkal on a regular basis. Indian agencies suspect that Bhatkal was constantly changing his location in Dhaka and Chittagong, with ISI operatives helping him with logistics.

Further, based on credible information developed over the past months by field operatives of intelligence agencies in the Indian Northeast, Bangladesh and Myanmar, it has been confirmed that Paresh Baruah, ‘commander’ of the Anti-Talks Faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA-ATF) and his trusted aides were being facilitated by two ISI agents, Khwaja Sultan Malik and Qalil Ahmed, who are operating out of Bangladesh. Both Malik and Ahmed were reported to have close links with drug cartels in Southeast Asia, and these were smuggling narcotics into India through the porous Indo-Bangladesh border with ULFA’s help.

During the course of the recent Bodo-Muslim clash in Assam, United Liberation Front of Asom- Pro Talks Faction (ULFA-PTF) leader, Mrinal Hazarika, claimed, on July 25, 2012, that groups such as the Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA) and Pakistan’s ISI may have been involved in triggering ethnic-communal clashes in the Bodo Territorial Autonomous District (BTAD) area. Further, according to a media report dated August 12, 2012, an unnamed intelligence officer commented, “(ISI) have used the social networking sites and mobile phones to create panic in the community and, unfortunately, it has worked for them”.

Significantly, former ISI Chief Asad Durrani admitted before the Pakistan Supreme Court, in March 2012, during proceedings relating to the Agency’s mandate, that the ISI had provided logistical support and funding to insurgent groupings in India’s Northeast in a campaign intended to destabilize India.

On October 18, 2012, West Bengal Director General of Police (DGP) Naparajit Mukherjee warned that the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) had established links with the ISI. Mukherjee claimed that several pro-Maoist over-ground outfits had joined hands with some elements of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which was closely connected with the ISI, and these elements had held several meetings jointly in four Districts of West Bengal – Murshidabad, West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura. Significantly, the ISI had long sought to make common cause with the Maoists, but has largely been unsuccessful, as the Left Wing Extremists (LWE) have tended to believe that such an association would cut into their recruitment base. Nevertheless, the CPI-Maoist has repeatedly expressed its support for various ‘nationalist movements’, including the separatists in Jammu and Kashmir who are backed by the ISI.

The ISI Directorate, formed in 1948 following the Indo-Pakistan war of 1947, has dramatically augmented its capacities, both within Pakistan, and across expanding theatres abroad. Backed by USA’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) through the anti-Soviet Campaigns in Afghanistan after 1979, the ISI came to control huge – often unaccounted – finances, executing a range of sustained covert operations, including the creation and support of a multiplicity of terrorist groupings, across the South Asian neighbourhood. Hein Kiessling, who represented the Munich (Germany)-based Hanns-Seidel-Foundation in Pakistan from 1989 to 2002, in a book titled ”Revisiting Contemporary South Asia”  notes:
The (real) ISI budget is top secret, only a few people know the figure. In fact officially the ISI budget today is between $300 and 400 million... The personnel strength of ISI has also been a secret. During Zia-ul Haq’s tenure it was estimated to be 20,000 men. In the 1990s and in the new millennium there were drastic reductions in personnel. Therefore, it is now assumed that ISI’s base strength is approximately 4,000. About five percent of the ISI personnel are from the military on a contract basis. Approximately 45 percent are from the military. ISI has 50 percent of civilian staff members... It (ISI) is controlled and efficiently run — there is no ISI within the ISI. Although officially the Internal Cell was declared closed, it still exists. The ISI is the eyes and ears of the military. The military forces see themselves as guardians of Pakistan’s survival. Therefore, it is very unlikely that the Internal Cell was closed.

The ISI, headquartered, in the Pakistani capital city of Islamabad and currently headed by its Director General, Lieutenant General Zaheer ul-Islam (who assumed office on March 9, 2012), has acquired increasing notoriety even within Pakistan. Amidst growing concerns of political machinations, human rights violations, ‘disappearances’, and widespread intimidation, a Bill was introduced in July, 2012, by Farhatullah Babar, spokesman of President Asif Ali Zardari in the Senate (Upper House) to make the ISI more accountable to the Parliament and Government. It recommended internal accountability within the agency and a better discipline system to end enforced disappearances and victimisation of political parties. The bill was, however, withdrawn on the apparent grounds that Babar had not secured the prior approval of the Law Minister Farook H. Naek-headed Special Committee of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), of which President Asif Ali Zardari is the Co-Chairman. The development, however, is widely seen as evidence of the ISI’s clout within the political establishment. Past attempts at imposing a measure of accountability over the agency have also proven abortive.

On July 26, 2008, the Government had issued an order placing the ISI under the administrative, financial and operational control of the Interior Division. An official statement declared, “The Prime Minister (has) approved the placement of Intelligence Bureau and Inter Services Intelligence under the administrative, financial and operational control of the Interior Division with immediate effect," Within hours, however, the order was reversed, and on July 27, 2008, the Government ‘clarified’ that, "The said notification [July 26] only re-emphasises more co-ordination between the Ministry of Interior and the ISI in relation to the war on terror and internal security."

The ISI political mischief within Pakistan has been further established in the Supreme Court hearings on the 1996 petition filed by former Pakistan Air Force Chief Asghar Khan accusing ISI of financing politicians in the 1990 General elections by providing Pakistan PKR 140 million to them to create the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) and prevent Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) from winning the polls. However, on October 3, 2012, the Defence Ministry of Pakistan told the Supreme Court that there was ‘no political cell’ in the ISI. The Ministry, however, conceded that a political cell ‘might have’ existed in the past, but that no notification regarding its creation was found in the records. The three-judge bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, on October 4, served notice to the secretary to the President, seeking records of the existence of any political cell in the ISI.

Meanwhile, On October 19, 2012, the Supreme Court ordered the Government to take legal action against former Army Chief General Mirza Aslam Beg and former ISI Chief Asad Durrani for distributing millions of rupees among politicians to rig the 1990 General Elections. The Supreme Court also said that any "political cell" operating in the Presidency, ISI, Military Intelligence (MI) or Intelligence Bureau (IB), should be shut down immediately as such an institution was unconstitutional.

The ISI officially has seven sections: Joint Intelligence X (JIX), Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB), Joint Counter Intelligence Bureau (JCIB), Joint Intelligence/North (JIN), Joint Intelligence Miscellaneous (JIM), Joint Signal Intelligence Bureau (JSIB) and Joint Intelligence Technical Division (JIT). JIN concentrates on Jammu and Kashmir, conducting operations and supporting various terrorist proxies in the State, and also monitoring Indian forces in the region. JIX serves as the Agency’s secretariat; JIB monitors political intelligence; JCIB is responsible for oversees intelligence operations in Central Asia, South Asia, Afghanistan, the Middle East, Israel and Russia, and is also responsible for field surveillance of Pakistani diplomats stationed abroad; JIM is responsible for covert offensive intelligence operations and war time espionage; JSIB operates a chain of signals intelligence collection stations and provides communication support to its operatives; and JIT is a covert unit with a separate explosives section and a chemical warfare section.

Media reports also indicate that ISI has four "wings": ‘A Wing’ directs analysis and is the bureaucratic department; ‘T Wing’ is the technical section and provides assistance to the other wings. ‘C Wing’ is the counterintelligence wing. The ‘S Wing’ oversees ‘external security’ and is responsible for state sponsorship of various terrorist formations, including al Qaeda, the Taliban, and anti-India jihadi groups. An unnamed former Indian intelligence official observes, "We have known about its (S Wing) existence for several years. It took shape probably in the 80s, and from then on it has grown in size and strength”. He further added that the entire operation of Kashmir militancy, over the past 20 years, had been handled by the ‘S Wing’. On July 9, 2012, the then acting Director General of Police (DGP), Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), K. Rajendra, noted, “…No terrorist activity can take place in our country without the support of the actors from across the border….There are state actors headed by the ISI”.

Crucially, on July 21, 2012, the arrested handler of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks Abu Jundal, provided first-hand evidence of the ‘Karachi Project’, an ISI backed terror scheme to mobilize and direct Indian terrorist fugitives in Pakistani safe havens. Abu Jundal’s disclosures confirmed earlier details relating to the Karachi Project and its role in the 26/11 attacks, provided by the Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley. The Karachi Project was set up by the ISI in collaboration with LeT, and sought to make use of Indian terrorist operatives trained in Pakistan to execute bomb blasts in Indian cities.  According to sources, "The scheme is funded by ISI and Gulf investments”.

The ISI-IM nexus has also been re-established in the charge sheet filed by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) before a special Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act Court on May 25, 2012, regarding the July 13, 2011, Mumbai serial bombings case. It has been stated that the blasts were planned and coordinated by IM leaders from Pakistan. In its 4,478-page charge sheet, the ATS observed, "The IM has been expressly created by (the) ISI of Pakistan ostensibly to spread terror in this country through Indian front outfits."

Despite apparent bans on the LeT and the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), moreover, these groups continue to operate under a multiplicity of new identities, with their infrastructure intact. A Government of India dossier on ‘Anti-India Activities on Pakistan Soil’, passed on to the Pakistani authorities during the Home Secretary Level Talks of May 24-25, 2012, listed as many as 42 terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Making a presentation at the Annual Conference of Directors General Police/Inspectors General of Police, held at New Delhi on September 7-8, 2012, the Delhi Police noted that IM “has Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) patronage”. This is regarded as the first official confirmation of ISI-IM link.

Additionally, ISI’s links with India’s most wanted terrorist and crime boss, Dawood Ibrahim, are also well documented. Ibrahim is on the US listing of “Specially Designated Global Terrorists”, but operates with impunity from Pakistan. Mumbai Police sources thus stated, in May 2012, “D-company [Ibrahim’s crime syndicate] aides holed up in Pakistan are provided security and shelter by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s spy agency. Dawood and his aides can easily obtain bogus passports issued by Pakistan authorities and travel abroad”. During the May 24-25, 2012, secretary level talks in Islamabad (Pakistan), India handed over to Pakistan a list of four precise coordinates of Dawood Ibrahim’s location, with addresses. In Islamabad, Dawood stays in an ISI safe house on Bhoubhan Hill, 20 kilometres on the road to Muree.

The ISI has also been patronising Sikh terror groups since 1984. On September 1, 2012, following the arrest of a Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) terrorist, Kulwant Singh alias Guddu, from Sahora village near Kharar in Mohali District of Punjab, an NIA official observed, “ISI is also reportedly keen on forging coordination between Khalistani terrorists, terrorists operating in J&K and some fundamentalist groups and in this process Jagtar Singh Tara who escaped from Burail Jail in 2004 is favoured by the ISI to revive the Khalistan movement.” Terror outfit BKI, among others, is actively supported by the ISI, and is believed to have received more than INR 800 million over just the last four years to fund its terrorist activities. On September 4, 2012, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Jitendra Singh told Lok Sabha (the Lower House of India’s Parliament) "Available inputs indicate the patronage and assistance provided by Pakistan's ISI to leaders of various Sikh terrorist groups including BKI based in Pakistan. Interrogation of arrested Sikh militants revealed that short term modules are being run in Pakistan for training gullible Sikh youths from India and abroad.” During the May 24-25, 2012, Home Secretary Level Talks between India and Pakistan at Islamabad, India handed over a dossier on ‘Pakistan’s Support to Terrorism in Punjab’, which included details of recent attempts to organize terrorist actions in India, recruitment of extremists in India and win Western countries, as well as detailed listing of prominent Sikh terrorists sheltered in Pakistan. Details and locations in Pakistan of the top leadership of BKI, the Khalistan Zindabad Force, the International Sikh Youth Federation, Dal Khalsa International, Khalistan Commando Force (Panjwar), and the Khaistan Tiger Force were included in the dossier.

Meanwhile, in continuing with its policy of seeking to gain full control over the internal affairs of Afghanistan and to emerge as the sole decisive power in future Government formation in that country, in the aftermath of the withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in 2014, the ISI continues to support Afghan insurgent and terrorist formations in their fight against the Allied Forces. A May 2008 transcript given to Mike McConnell, the Director of US National Intelligence, stated that Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, referred to the Haqqani Network, one of the most active terrorist formations in Afghanistan, which has consistently targeted ISAF and Afghan National Security Force personnel, among others, as a “strategic asset”. Similarly, on September 21, 2011, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen described the Haqqani Network as 'a veritable arm' of the ISI. The Quetta Shura Taliban, headed by Mullah Omar, the former ‘Head of the Supreme Council’ of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, between 1996 and 2001, operates with impunity, and under the protection of the ISI, from Pakistani soil. A number of ISI-backed Pakistani terrorist groupings, including the LeT, are reported to have shifted focus and cadres to Afghanistan over the past years, to help the Afghan Taliban groupings in anticipation of the Western ‘withdrawal’. Further, in its attempt to deter India, which is helping Afghanistan in a multiplicity of nation building projects worth some USD two billion (since the year 2001), ISI-mentored terrorist groups have attacked Indian targets (in Afghanistan) on at least 15 occasions since 2003, according to partial data on the SATP database.

In addition to conventional patterns of terrorism, the ISI has also extended its mischief into cyber space. A highly-specialised cyber division in the ISI is reported to have been assigned the task of training operatives of terrorist outfits like the LeT, JeM and the IM, to train their cadre in the use of computers. A classified note circulated among participants of the DGPs/IGPs meet of September 2012, observed, “The ISI is now working on a bigger game plan in training terrorists in the use of cyber and computer technology as the Pakistani agency feels India is not fully equipped in dealing with incidents of cyber war or attack.’’

Pakistan continues to evade designation as a terrorist state by the skin of its teeth, despite overwhelming evidence of the ISI’s support and sponsorship of terrorism in a multiplicity of theatres. Erroneous western calculations of ‘strategic interests’ and an inability by the western powers to prevail effectively in Afghanistan have resulted in a policy of continuing ambivalence towards Pakistan’s visible support to terrorists and the country’s widening ‘footprint of terror’ across the world. There is, however, increasing awareness of, and a growing against, Pakistan’s sustained international criminality on this count, even as the bloody blowback of this deceit mounts within Pakistan. It remains to be seen if the country will ever find the sagacity and the capacity to pull itself back from the brink, and reverse the grave and intentional harm it has inflicted both domestically and internationally.

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Assam: Another Tenuous Peace
Giriraj Bhattacharjee
Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management

On October 8, 2012, the Central and the State Governments signed a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS)  with both factions of the Dima Halim Daogah – the Dilip Nunisa faction (DHD-N)  and the Jewel Garlosa faction [(DHD-J also known as Black Widow (BW) ], eight years after the signing of a ceasefire agreement with the undivided DHD. The formal MoS signing ceremony held at North Block, New Delhi, was attended by Union Home Minister (UHM), Sushil Kumar Shinde, Assam Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi, the Centre’s interlocutor, P.C. Haldar, Union Home Secretary, R.K. Singh, Assam Chief Secretary, Naba Kumar Das, Assam Director General of Police (DGP), J.N. Choudhury, as well as the top leaders of the rival factions of DHD. The MoS was signed by Dilip Nunisa and Jewel Garlosa on behalf of the DHD factions, and by Joint Secretary (North-East), Shambhu Singh and Assam Principal Secretary Home and Political, Sailesh.

UHM Shinde used the occasion to invite other insurgent groupings to abjure violence, stating, “I urge all such groups to give up violence and come for settlement with Government of India.”

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs release dated October 8, 2012, the MoS provides for enhanced autonomy for the North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council (NCHAC), which has been rechristened as Dima Hasao Autonomous Territorial Council (DHATC), and a special package for socio-economic and educational development of the area has also been announced. Under the MoS, a committee would be constituted to deal with matters relating to the Sixth Schedule Councils. The DHD will disband itself as an organisation within a ‘reasonable time’, specified as six months, as a precursor to the Government initiating further processes to implement the decisions of the agreement. A special economic package of INR 2 billion (INR 400 million per annum), over and above the Plan allocation, for the next five years will be provided to the DHATC, to undertake special projects. Thirty-nine subjects will be transferred to the Council under Para 3A of the sixth Schedule of the Constitution, conferring legislative powers. The State Government has agreed, in principle, to set up a Development Council with a suitable package for preservation and promotion of Dimasa culture and language.

The increase in the strength of the Territorial Council is intended to ensure suitable representation to all communities. The provision for setting up village level Councils for devolution of powers to the grassroots are intended to benefit non-Dimasa tribals as well. The MoS specifically states that the heritage sites of non-Dimasa indigenous tribals are to be preserved and maintained. The present District is to be trifurcated into three administrative Divisions. The Central Government and both the DHD factions have entrusted the State Government with the task of dividing the Dima Hasao District. Further, Dimasas living in the plains of Assam, especially in Cachar and Nagaon, known as Barman and Hojai respectively, will now be officially renamed as Dimasa Kachari.

The DHATC is the third Territorial Council to be formed under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. Earlier, Bodo [Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC)] and Karbi [Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council (KAATC)] militant groups had settled for similar councils.

Dima Hasao District is a sparsely populated area of 4,890 square kilometers, with a population of 213,529. It is home to as many as 18 Hill tribes, and has extensive unguarded borders with the insurgency-affected States of Manipur and Nagaland. In the absence of any inter-State border outposts, the border has turned into a free corridor for militants. The Dimasas constitute the single largest tribal group, estimated at 43per cent of the District’s total population.

The struggle for a separate homeland for the Dimasas became an armed struggle with the formation of the Dimasa National Security Force (DNSF) in 1990. DNSF ‘chairman’ Bharat Langthasa and a large number of cadres, however, surrendered on November 17, 1994. Later, renegades led by Jewel Garlosa floated the Dima Hasao Daogah (DHD) in 1995. A ceasefire agreement was signed between the DHD leadership and the Central Government on January 1, 2003. However, Jewel Garlosa broke away to form the DHD-J also known as BW, at some time in 2004. ‘Commander-in-Chief’ Pranab Nunisa and ‘Vice-President’ Dilip Nunisa took charge of what was left of the DHD after the split, and called it DHD-N. The undivided DHD team had met the then Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil on September 23, 2004, and had submitted a memorandum demanding a separate homeland for the Dimasa tribals. Meanwhile, BW indulged in large-scale violence. On March 8, 2008, Jewel Garlosa was arrested in Bangalore. The following year, two batches of BW militants surrendered along with their weapons.

Both the factions have a combined estimated strength of about 1000 cadres, and were fighting for a separate State of 'Dimaraji' for the Dimasa (‘sons of the great river’) tribe, comprising Dimasa dominated areas of the North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong Districts of Assam, and parts of the Dimapur District in Nagaland.

A Draft MoS was signed with DHD-J/BW  in 2011, and with DHD-N on June 12, 2012.The final MoS came after long-drawn negotiations that included several rounds of talks in which both the factions gave up their demand for a separate State. DHD-N’s demand for the inclusion of an additional 94 villages spread over adjoining Districts of Cachar, Karbi Anglong and Nagaon, was rejected. The DHD-N demand to rename the territorial council as Dimaraji was also not accepted by the Government. The demand for withdrawal of cases, particularly those involving heinous crimes, was also not accepted.

Though the accord incorporates both the major Dimasa militant factions, its implementation may not be smooth. The two factions have an intense rivalry; there are a multiplicity of pending cases against leaders of DHD-J/BW factions; and the Dimasa groups face significant opposition from the non-Dimasa tribal population in the District. According to a February 8, 2012 report, the two DHD factions had been regularly violating ceasefire rules in the State. As many as 462 militants from these groups had been arrested on charges of extortion, abduction and other crimes since their respective ceasefires – 2003 for DHD-N and 2009 for DHD-J / BW. 82 weapons were seized from their cadres. The DHD factions were also involved in Hmar-Dimasa, Dimasa-Karbi and Dimasa-Zeme Naga ethnic clashes in Dima Hasao in the years 2003, 2005 and 2009, respectively.

Significantly, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) have charged top leaders of the DHD-J / BW faction, including Garlosa and Niranjan Hojai, for various crimes. NIA started an investigation into DHD-J / BW siphoning off central funds from the NC Hills Autonomous Council to buy arms in 2009. ED has registered a case against Niranjan Hojai under the provisions of the Money Laundering Act. Further, according to a May 30, 2012, report, the Central Government has written to the Nepal Government requesting the latter to attach Hojai’s properties in that country. The Government of Nepal has identified properties worth over INR 50 million so far, including a plot of land and a three story building in Kathmandu.

Further, security agencies believe that the rivalry between the two factions, which has led to the killing of many cadres on either side, is unlikely to subside. On unnamed source observed, "The rivalry will not go away. The two factions will now be fighting each other to take control of the autonomous council." One such incident has already been reported since the signing of the MoS. On October 12, 2012, DHD-N lodged complaints with Dispur and Delhi, alleging that DHD-J / BW cadres had opened fire on one of their camps at Maibong on October 11.

The District had also witnessed violence by other militant formations, prior to the MoS signing ceremony. On October 7, 2012, militants from the Hills Tiger Force (HTF), a group fighting for the bifurcation of the Dima Hasao District, carried out two explosions in different parts of Haflong town. Before this, on October 5, 2012, suspected Naga militants sprayed bullets at the 15695 Down Agartala Express at a place between Bagetar and Lower Haflong Stations in Dima Hasao. However, there was no casualty. 

The accord has also been cold shouldered by non-Dimasa tribal bodies, which are seeking a bifurcation of the District. The president of the NC Hills Indigenous Students Forum (NCHISF), the student wing of the Indigenous People Forum (IPF), L. Hlima Keivom, on October 8, 2012, declared, “The Government of Assam has changed the neutral name of the District from North Cachar Hills into Dima Hasao on 30th March, 2010, amidst stiff opposition of the non-Dimasa communities. The literal meaning of ‘Dima Hasao’ is a land of Dimasa. But in reality the N.C. Hills is a land of many ethnic communities since time immemorial… before any peace pact for a Territorial Council or whatsoever is signed by the Government with the militant group of the DHD-J, the concerned Government should not make another big mistake as it had done in the past. The Government should rather first consider the demand of the IPF to bifurcate the District into two autonomous districts with separate autonomous Councils under the very constitutional framework of Art 244 (2) of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India.” Significantly, the earlier renaming of the District from N.C.Hills to Dima Hasao had led to major trouble.

Another non-Dimasa militant group active in the region purportedly represents the interests of the minority Naga population. Factions of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) have made repeated forays into the District and collaborate with small local groups . Parts of the District fall into the imagined ‘Greater Nagaland’ or Nagalim that the NSCN factions seek to establish.

Worse, a new armed Dimasa outfit, Dima Jadi Naiso Army (DJNA), has now come into existence and, on October 16, 2012, sent a note containing a 12-point charter of demands, aims and objectives, to local media persons. The Press Note, signed by Bhaipa Dimasa, Jering Dimasa and Rinjen Dimasa, the ‘chairman’, ‘commander-in-chief’ and ‘secretary’ of DJNA, respectively, declared that the group was fighting for the creation of Dimaraji ('Land of Dimasas'), including the Dimasa-inhabited areas of Assam and Nagaland.

The militant organisations active in the District include the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM), the Khaplang faction of NSCN (NSCN-K), HTF, Dimasa National Revolutionary Front (DNRF) and National Dimasa Protection Army (NDPA). Further, the Kuki Liberation Army (KLA), Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) and Hmar People's Convention-Democratic (HPC-D) are in ceasefire with Government, while the Dimasa National Democratic Front (DNDF) has surrendered.

Further, despite the MoS, DHD-N has not given up its demand for a separate ‘Dimaraji’ State. On October 12, 2012, DHD-N leader Nunisa reiterated the demand for Dimaraji, asserting that this objective would now be pursued democratically.

Notwithstanding the MoS, it is evident that the horizon remains unclear, and it remains uncertain whether the accord will bring lasting peace to the District. Only a positive outcome of the Naga peace process in neighbouring Nagaland, and the political accommodation of the non-Dimasa tribes within the Dima Hasao, can ensure and enduring peace in the region.


Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
October 15-21, 2012



Security Force Personnel







Jammu and Kashmir




Left-wing Extremism


Andhra Pradesh










Total (INDIA)








Khyber Pakhtunkhwa







Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


Three civilians killed as Pakistan violates CFA in J&K: Three civilians were killed as Pakistan violated November 25, 2003, ceasefire agreement (CFA) in Uri sector of Baramulla District in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) on October 16. At around 10:30am Pakistani troops from across the Line of Control (LoC) fired around 7-8 rounds of mortars that fell in Churanda village hardly 100 meters from the LoC. One of the shells fired by Pakistani troops fell on a residential house leading to the death of three civilians. Daily Excelsior, October 17, 2012.

900 plus Panchayat members have resigned informally so far, says J&K chief Minister Omar Abdullah: Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said that 900 plus Panchayat (village level local self Government institution) members have resigned informally so far. Asked about total number of informal resignations of Panchayat members, Omar said, "900 plus". The Chief Minister, however, added, "Only 52 elected representatives have actually submitted written resignations, in a formal manner, to the Block Development Officer. Everybody else has done it in a newspaper or standing up in a mosque. And let's face it. That doesn't count." Daily Excelsior, October 20, 2012.

Credible Intelligence inputs indicate Pakistan helping infiltrators, says Union Home Minister Sushil kumar Shinde: Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on October 21 said that there is credible intelligence of Pakistan trying to stir up trouble in India by helping terrorists to infiltrate into the country. "We have credible information that Pakistan is helping terrorists to enter our territory. We have intelligence inputs. But we are alert," he added. The Hindu, October 22, 2012.

ISI and SIMI helping Maoists, says West Bengal DGP: West Bengal Director General of Police (DGP) Naparajit Mukherjee warned that the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) have links with Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). Mukherjee said he had information that several pro-Maoist over-ground outfits have joined hands with some elements of banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which have close links with ISI. IBN Live, October 18, 2012.

CPI-Maoists plan to revive a new corridor between Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand this winter, warn Intelligence officials: Intelligence officials on October 20 sounded an alert that Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) were working on a strategy to open a new corridor between the states of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand in the coming winter by taking advantage of freezing cold and foggy situation in the forested border region. An unnamed official said, "We have received intelligence reports that the Maoists are planning to regain their ground in north Chhattisgarh regions bordering Jharkhand to open a new corridor between the two states. Security forces usually do not venture into the area in winter due to hostile climate". Deccan Chronicle, October 21, 2012.

Saudi Arabia emerges as safe destination for anti-India terror outfits: Indian Mujahideen (IM) has set up base in West Asia, with Saudi Arabia emerging as preferred destination to launch its operations in India. Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is arranging safe havens for the terror operatives in West Asian countries. India Today, October 15, 2012.


CA revival inevitable, says UCPN-M chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal: Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda on October 17 said that sooner or later major political parties will agree to reinstate the dissolved Constituent Assembly (CA). Although, both Nepali Congress (NC) and Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) are positive about the idea, they have not been able to openly come out and support it, he added. Nepal News, October 17, 2012.


18 civilians and 12 militants among 33 persons killed during the week in Sindh: At least nine persons, including one Ahmadi, three Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jama'at (ASWJ) and two Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H) cadres, were shot dead in Karachi on October 19.

At least five persons, including a Policeman, were killed in separate incidents of violence in Karachi on October 17.

The Anti Violent Crime Cell (AVCC) in collaboration with Citizens Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) on October 16 claimed to have killed three alleged abductors and found a businessman, identified as Malik Zainul Abdeen (76), from their custody after an encounter at a house in Javed Bahria Housing Society in Maripur area of Karachi.

At least nine persons, including five cadres of ASWJ, were killed in Karachi on October 15. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, October 16-22, 2012.

17 civilians and four SFs among 23 persons killed during the week in Balochistan: At least three personnel of Frontier Corps (FC) were killed and ten others, including five security men and a woman, were wounded in a remote-controlled blast at the Badini intersection area in Quetta on October 19.

Four members of the Hazara community were shot dead in a sectarian attack in the Kabari Market scrap market of Quetta on October 16.

A guard of Balochistan Food Minister Asfandyar Khan Kakar and two militants were killed in an exchange of fire at the residence of the Minister in the Chaman Housing Scheme in Quetta on October 15. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, October 16-22, 2012.

20 militants and one civilian killed during the week in FATA: At least eight militants were killed and six others injured during an operation by Security Forces (SFs) in Mamoonzai and Khadezai areas of Orakzai Agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on October 21.

Two militants and a trooper were killed and two passers-by were injured in an exchange of fire at a checkpost in Civil Colony of Miranshah, Headquarter of North Waziristan Agency on October 19.

At least eight militants were killed and seven others injured when Security Forces backed by fighter planes bombed suspected militants' positions in different parts of Bara in Khyber Agency in Khyber Agency on October 18. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; Central Asia Online; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, October 16-22, 2012.

TTP planning to target media for Malala Yousufzai coverage: Angered by the coverage of its attempt to assassinate Malala Yousufzai, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has drawn up plans to target Pakistani and international media organisations across the country. TTP 'chief' Hakimullah Mehsud has issued "special directions" to his subordinates in different cities of Pakistan to target media groups. Daily Times, October 14, 2012.

Media should desist from glorifying terrorists, says Supreme Court: The Supreme Court on October 13 restrained media outlets from covering terrorism related incidents in such a manner which would glorify the terrorists. In its order on the Balochistan security case, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry justified the decision, writing that material supplied by Senator SM Zafar suggested that whenever there was an incident involving murder of innocent people, civilians or otherwise, newspapers blamed different 'organisations'. Tribune, October 13, 2012.

Supreme Court orders Government to take legal action against former Army Chief General Mirza Aslam Beg and former ISI Chief Asad Durrani for distributing money among politicians to rig 1990 general polls: On October 19, 2012, the Supreme Court in response to a petition filed in 1996 by former Air Force Chief Asghar Khan against the distribution of funds by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) among politicians to prevent the Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) victory in the 1990 polls, ordered the Government to take legal action against former Army Chief General Mirza Aslam Beg and former ISI Chief Asad Durrani for distributing millions of rupees among politicians to rig the 1990 general polls. The Supreme Court also said that any "political cell" operating in the Presidency, ISI, Military Intelligence (MI) or Intelligence Bureau (IB) should be shut down immediately as such an institution is unconstitutional. Indian Express, October 20, 2012.


Government to hold dialogue with Tamil Diaspora, says Minister of Mass Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella: Minister of Mass Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella said on October 19 that the Sri Lankan Government is planning to hold discussions with the Tamil Diaspora soon. The Minister said the planned dialogue will be held shortly under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Colombo Page, October 20, 2012.

Administration of 12 new divisional secretariats in Sri Lanka will be bilingual: The Sri Lankan Government has identified 12 new divisional secretariats in nine Districts that are required to use both Sinhala and Tamil as their languages in administration. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has declared that Dehiwala - Mount Lavinia, Ganga Ihala Korale and the Kandy Four Gravets and Gangawata Korale, Matale, Lankapura and Welikanda in Polonnaruwa, Ratnapura, Balangoda, Mawanella, Kekirawa, Vavuniya South and Dehiattakandiya divisional secretariats should use both languages in their administrations. Colombo Page, October 15, 2012.

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

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