October 31, 2020 21:28 (IST)
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France stabbing incident: Third suspect held | James Bond actor Sean Connery dies at 90 | West Bengal govt writes to Railways seeking meeting to run special trains | PM Modi inaugurates development projects in Gujarat's Kevadia | Pakistan: Protesters attempt to storm French Embassy in Islamabad, police fire teargas

INDIA: J&K: Political Fiasco

On October 13, 218, elections for the third of the four-phase Municipal Elections 2018, were held in 96 wards spread across the State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). The average polling percentage in this phase worked out to a sorry 16.4 per cent. Elections for the second phase on October 10, 218, held across 263 wards, recorded an average of 31.3 per cent poling. On October 10, 218, elections for the first phase were held across 321 wards, with 56.6 per cent of voters participating. The State average after the completion of the third phase of polls stands at 41.9 per cent.

AFGHANISTAN: Looming Crises

On September 15, 2018, thousands of Grand National Coalition of Afghanistan (GNCA) supporters closed the provincial offices of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) in Herat, Balkh and Kandahar Provinces after the Government and the IEC failed to positively respond to their demands. On August 10, 2018, GNCA set a 10-day deadline for a response from Government to meet their demands, including the use of a biometric system for elections, a change in the election system and a transparent poll across the country. GNCA also warned that it would close the IEC offices in Nangarhar, Kunduz, Bamiyan, Panjsher, Faryab and Jawzjan Provinces, if their demands were not met.

FICNs: Supply Uninterrupted

On August 7, 2018, a team of National Investigation Agency (NIA), Mumbai Branch, seized Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICNs) worth INR 434,000 from the possession of three persons at Aluru in Bengaluru in Karnataka. The arrestees were in possession of 217 FICNs, all in denomination of INR 2,000, which were, according to an NIA release “similar to genuine Indian Rs 2,000/- [INR 2,000] notes and it is difficult for a common man to differentiate whether the notes are counterfeit or genuine. It is suspected that the counterfeit notes have been printed and smuggled from across the border.”

Gilgit Baltistan: Deception

On August 8, 2018, the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan restored the Gilgit Baltistan Order 2018, suspending the decision of the Supreme Appellate Court of Gilgit Baltistan. A three-member SC bench, headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar heard the appeal moved by the federation. CJP Nisar observed, “The government needs to ensure that the people of GB have the same respect and rights as all others.”

Battle for Supremacy

On July 23, 2018, over a dozen Islamic State (IS, also Daesh) and Afghan Taliban terrorists were killed internecine clashes in Kunar Province. According to reports, the clashes started from the Chapa Dara District and later spread to different parts of the Kunar Province.

Breastfeeding provides the strongest foundation for lifelong health and optimal nutrition

Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and continued breastfeeding up to the age of two years and beyond provides the strongest foundation for lifelong health. Breast milk contains all the nutrients infants need to grow healthy and strong and, when combined with appropriate complementary foods after six months of age, is a powerful means to set up a lifetime of optimal nutrition, including the prevention of undernutrition and obesity.   

Resurrecting TTP

Former Provincial Minister for Agriculture and livestock and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate for Province Khyber Paktunkhwa-99 (PK-99) Ikramullah Khan Gandapur was killed along with his driver and six persons, including two Police guards, seriously injured, in a suicide attack near his hometown Kulachi in Dera Ismail Khan District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on July 22, 2018. The head of the bomb disposal unit (BDU) in Dera Ismail Khan, Inayat Tiger, said that eight kilogrammes of explosives had been packed in the suicide vest when it was detonated. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) ‘spokesperson’, Muhammad Khurasani, claimed the responsibility and termed the attack “an act of vengeance for their fallen comrades.”

TPC: 'Troubleshooter' Crashes Out

On May 28, 2018, three cadres of the Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC), a splinter group of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), were killed in an encounter with the Security Forces (SFs) near Dundur Hillock under Chhaterpur Police Station in Palamu District. Commenting on the encounter, Superintendent of Police (SP) Indrajit Mahatha disclosed, “Three ultras have been gunned down. Two dead bodies, along with two AK-47 rifles, have so far been retrieved.” The identities of the slain cadres were yet to be ascertained.

Northeast: Negotiated Successes

The Union Government and seven Naga militant groups are, according to an April 25, 2018, news report, said to have finalized the substantive portions of the peace accord, which is likely to be signed before the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament scheduled to begin in July 2018. Unnamed official sources stated that the accord does not change the boundary of States; provides autonomous Naga territorial councils for Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur; a common cultural body for Nagas across States; specific institutions for Nagaland’s development, integration and rehabilitation of Naga militants; and the removal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act-1958 (AFSPA). The Government of India's interlocutor on Naga talks, Joint Intelligence Committee Chairman, R.N. Ravi, was quoted as stating, “Yes, we are pretty close to finalising the (Naga Peace) Accord”.

Jharkhand: Latehar: Fragmenting Threat

Five cadres of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), including two ‘sub-zonal commanders’, were killed in an encounter with Security Forces (SFs) during a search operation in an area between the Sikid and Kedu Forests under Herhanj Police Station limits in the Latehar District of Jharkhand State on April 4, 2018. The two ‘sub-zonal commanders’, carrying rewards of INR 500,000 each on their heads, were identified as Shivlal Yadav and Shravan Yadav. The identities of the remaining three slain Maoists are yet to be ascertained. SFs recovered the bodies of the five Maoists, along with two Self Loading Rifles (SLRs), two Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) assault rifles, a .315 bore rifle, and a large number of live bullets from the encounter spot.

Northeast: Dying Fires

On April 13, 2018, at least 102 cadres and 12 leaders, including ‘chairman’ H. Zosangbera, of the H. Zosangbera faction of the Hmar Peoples Convention-Democrat (HPC-D-Zosangbera) surrendered in Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram. The militants deposited 44 weapons, including four sniper rifles, nine AK assault rifles, one M-16 carbine, 13 double-barrel guns and 2,892 rounds of ammunition, grenade launcher shells and five radio sets. On April 14, the surrendered militants headed for Sakawrda village in Aizawl District, the proposed headquarters of the Sinlung Hills Council (SHC), after which they departed for their respective villages.

Maharashtra: Unrelenting Reverses

On February 22, 2018, cadres belonging to the Kasansur Local Organizational Squad (LOS) of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) in South Gadchiroli, killed Police Warden (patil) Katiya Peka Pungati (Kumoti) (55), branding him to be a ‘Police Informer’, outside Lanji village in Etapalli Taluka (revenue unit) in Gadchiroli District. Pungati was abducted on February 21 and his body was found with his throat slit, and the face and head smashed with a stone, outside Lanji village. The Kasansur Dalam (armed squad), led by ‘commander’ Mahesh Gota, claimed that they held Pungati responsible for the information of their presence in Tadapalli Forest in Etapalli on January 10, 2018.

Telangana: Maoist Collapse

At least 10 cadres of the ‘Telangana State Committee (TSC)’ of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) were killed in an encounter near the Pujari Kanker Forest under the Pamed Police Station limits in the Bijapur District of Chhattisgarh, along the Telangana-Chhattisgarh border, on March 1, 2018. According to reports, acting on tip-off about a ‘big meeting’ of CPI-Maoists in the area, personnel from the Greyhounds[the elite anti-Maoist force of the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Police] and Chhattisgarh Police started a combing operation. The combing team came across an estimated 50 to 100 CPI-Maoist cadres and asked them to surrender, but the Maoists opened fire. In the retaliatory fire, Security Forces (SFs) killed 10 Maoists, while the remaining rebel force managed to escape.  B. Susheel Kumar, a Greyhounds commando, also lost his life in the encounter.

Jharkhand: Waning Maoist Influence

Four cadres of the ‘Madhya Zone’ (Central Zone) of the Bihar-Jharkhand Special Area Committee (BJSAC) of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), including ‘sub zonal commander’ Rakesh Bhuiyan, were killed in an encounter with the Security Forces (SFs) at Malanga Pahad (hill) under Chhatarpur Police Station in Palamu District, on February 26, 2018. The SFs, who had launched an operation on a tip off that Rakesh Bhuiyan was hiding in the area along with 20 others, were attacked by the Maoists. The encounter started at 8.50am and lasted for just 20 minutes, leaving four Maoists dead. The slain Maoists were identified as Bhuiyan, Lalloo Yadav, Ruby Kumari and Rinki Kumari. SFs also recovered two SLRs (Self Loading Rifles), five magazines, 219 bullets, eight cell phones, back packs, uniforms, Naxal [Left Wing Extremism (LWE)]- literature and eatables.