June 13, 2021 03:02 (IST)
Follow us:
facebook-white sharing button
twitter-white sharing button
instagram-white sharing button
youtube-white sharing button
Covid19: Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray meets Sarpanches | US FDA denies India’s Covaxin emergency use approval; seeks additional clinical trial data | Mamata welcomes back Mukul Roy to TMC, shuts door for pre-poll turncoats | Sedition case against filmmaker Aisha Sultana for calling Lakshadweep administrator Praful Patel 'bio-weapon' | Yogi Adityanath meets PM Modi amid speculations over change in UP face

Contentious Border

On October 14, 2018, Security Forces(SFs) of Pakistan and Afghanistan exchanged fire along the border in the Tandah Dara Sarochahan area of Qilla Abdullah District in Balochistan Province.Afghan media claimed three Pakistani soldiers were killed in the clashes that lasted for several hours, although the Pakistan military denied this claim.Pakistani officials, however, confirmed the incident and claimed Afghan troops opened fire on Pakistani personnel who were erecting a fence along the border in the area. After the incident, Pakistani border authorities closed the Friendship Gate near Chaman, leaving thousands of people stranded on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border.

Andhra Pradesh: Audacious Hit

In an audacious attack, on September 23, 2018, Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres gunned down Kidari Sarveswara Rao, a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Siveru Soma, a former MLA, also belonging to TDP, near Livitiput village in Dumbriguda mandal (administrative sub-division) in the agency area of Visakhapatnam District. More than 50 armed Maoists targeted the duo when they were travelling in two cars to the village to have a meeting with the girijans(the tribals of the Agency area) who were agitating to press their demand for the closure of mines at Araku, allegedly obtained by MLA Rao in the name of his brother-in-law B. Rajendra. The tribals claimed that the mines were contaminating water resources in the region. According to the Police, both Rao and Soma had received threats from the Maoists in the past. With a clear plan, Maoists surrounded the duo when they were going towards the village with little security and killed them.

Northeast: A Pale Islamist Shadow

During a span of 11 days, between September 13 and September 23, 2018, Security Forces (SFs) arrested nine Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) cadres, all residents of Assam. The first arrest took place on September 13, when a trained HM cadre, Qamar-uz-Zaman, was arrested from Shivnagar locality in Kanpur District of Uttar Pradesh. Zaman hails from Jamunamukh in Hojai District of Assam. The Uttar Pradesh Police and National Investigation Agency (NIA) subsequently alerted authorities in Assam about the arrest.

Cementing Reconciliation

On September 5, 2018, the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) handed its interim report to President Maithripala Sirisena at the Parliament. OMP Chairman Saliya Peiris handed over the report to the President recommending that the Government provide urgent and immediate relief to the families of the involuntarily disappeared, as their current socio-economic situation was dire; the implementation of a financial aid programme to provide a monthly allowance of SLR 6000 to the surviving spouse, children and parents of these missing persons, who have no permanent income; introduction of a scholarship scheme under the Ministry of Education for the children of missing persons in the form of a monthly allowance of SLR 2000 to cover essential education expenses required for the completion of their primary and secondary education; and the introduction of an employment quota of one percent within the state sector for family members of the missing.

Tribal Elders: The Curse of War

On July 31, 2018, two tribal elders, Malik Salam Khan and Malik Niaz Khan, were shot dead in an incident of targeted killing in Miramshah town, North Waziristan District, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) [the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) merged with KP on May 31, 2018]. Family sources said that Malik Salam Khan and Malik Niaz Khan were going from Tappi village to Miramshah when unidentified assailants targeted their vehicle.

Blind Optimism

According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Mid Year Report released on July 15, 2018, the number of civilians killed in Afghanistan hit a record high in the first half of 2018. 1,692 civilians were killed during the first six months of 2018 – the most recorded in the same time period in any year over the last decade since the agency began documenting civilian casualties in 2009. There were 1,672 civilian deaths in 2017, 1644 in 2016 and 1615 in 2015 in the same time period.

Maoists: No place to Hide

On July 19, 2018, at least eight cadres of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), including three women, were killed after an encounter that ensued between the Maoists and the Security Forces (SFs) near Timinar and Pusnar villages in Bijapur District of Chhattisgarh. Sundarraj P., Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police (anti-Naxal operations, ANO), disclosed that the gun battle between the Maoists and the SFs took place while a joint team of the District Reserve Guard and Special Task Force were out on an anti-Maoist operation. During search subsequent to the encounter, along with the bodies of the Maoists, at least two INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) assault rifles, two .303 rifles, one 12 bore gun and a few muzzle loading guns were recovered from the encounter site. The identities of the slain Maoists are yet to be ascertained.

Murdering Democracy

On July 13, 2018, at least 149 civilians were killed and 186 others injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up targeting a political rally of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) at Dringarh village in Mastung District of Balochistan. According to the bomb disposal squad (BDS), up to 15 kilograms of explosive material was used in the incident. The dead included Siraj Raisani, the BAP candidate from National Assembly seat Province Balochistan–35 (PB-35, Mastung). Siraj’s elder brother, Nawab Aslam Raisani, was the Chief Minister of Balochistan Province between 2008 and 2013. Most of the other victims were residents of Kanak and Dringarh areas, who had invited Raisani to announce their support for him. The Islamic State (IS) and the ‘Ghazi force Lal Masjid’ wing of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) separately claimed responsibility for the attack.  

Maoists: Extreme Measures

On July 6, 2018, cadres of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) killed a civilian, identified as Raiju Wadde, accusing him of being a ‘police informer’, at Tiralgarh village under the Bande Police Station area in the Kanker District of Chhattisgarh. Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Jaiprakash Badhai disclosed that CPI-Maoist cadres raided Wadde's house, dragged him out on to the streets and assaulted him. Subsequently, the Maoist conducted a ‘jan adalat’ (people’s/ praja/ kangaroo court) in the village and shot Wadde dead.

Border Headaches

On June 24, 2018, a Pakistan Army soldier, identified as Sepoy Niaz Ali, was killed in an exchange of fire across the Pak-Afghan border in the North Waziristan District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) [the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on May 31, 2018]. "We shall... complete the fencing undeterred," Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor vowed, as he tweeted news of the sepoy's death. He added that Afghanistan’s cooperation was required [for fencing of the border], and that this was in the mutual interest of both countries.

Will the Tail Wag the Dog?

For decades now, the Pakistan establishment, including both political parties and the military leadership in pursuit of their own agendas, have propped up and exploited Islamist extremist and terrorist formations. Increasingly, however, these radical groups are realizing their own power and capacity for mass mobilization and, instead of operating as proxies for others, seek a direct political role for themselves.

Chhattisgarh: Bijapur: 'Revolution' Interrupted

On April 27, 2018, eight Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres, including six female cadres, were killed in an encounter with Security Forces (SFs) in the deep forests under Ilmidi Police Station limits in Bijapur District, Chhattisgarh. The Police recovered one Self Loading Rifle (SLR), one .303 rifle, four 12-bore guns, four Single Barrel Breach Loading (SBBL) guns, one .315 bore rifle, one revolver, live cartridges, three hand grenades, six rocket launchers, four pairs of olive green dresses and Naxal [Left Wing Extremist (LWE)] literature from the encounter spot. According to Special Director General (anti-Naxal Operations), D. M. Awasthi, the killed CPI-Maoist cadres were active in the Usoor and Basaguda area of Bijapur District.

Assam: ULFA-I: Marginal Threat

Insurgency across India’s Northeast is currently at its lowest ebb. Most major insurgent groups have suffered severe losses over recent years and are now engaged in talks  with the Government. However, some splinter formations remain violently active. One of these latter groups is the Independent faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA-I).

Punjab: Deceptive Recovery

Ten persons, including six Policemen, were killed and another 35 were injured in a suicide attack near a Police check post outside the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz (centre) at Raiwind Town in Lahore, the provincial capital of Punjab, on March 14, 2018. A teenage suicide bomber blew himself up when a Policeman tried to stop him from entering the Markaz. At least 70,000 followers of Tablighi Jamaat were present at the annual congregation. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack and threatened more attacks on Police in retaliation for the killing of their “associates” in Punjab.

Nagaland: Democratic Consolidation

Nagaland Governor P.B. Acharya on March 6, 2018, stated that the Naga ‘political issue’ would be resolved within six months. He further asserted that if Nagaland and the Northeast were to progress, then the Naga issue should be brought to a conclusion and the welfare of the Nagas should be on the agenda.