May 27, 2022 04:45 (IST)
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IAS officer transferred to Ladakh, wife to Arunachal over Delhi stadium dog walking row | Gang-rape accused injured in police firing in Assam’s Kokrajhar | Bengal govt to amend law to make CM Mamata Banerjee chancellor of state-run universities | Link your personal goals with that of country: PM Modi tells Hyderabad B-school graduates | 10 held for stone-pelting outside Yasin Malik's residence

Chhattisgarh: Uncertain Rumblings

Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management The Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) abducted four auxiliary constables [former Salwa Judum cadres] of the Chhattisgarh Police near Sukanpali village under Kutru Police Station area in Bijapur District on July 13. Their dead bodies were found strewn on a road near Gudma village, close to the place of abduction, two days later. Maoists claimed responsibility for the killings, accusing them of participating in anti-Maoist operations. According to reports, Maoists stopped a passenger bus on the Kutru-Sukanpali road, in the evening of July 13 and abducted Mangal Sodi and Majji Rama who were travelling in it. A few minutes later, Raju Tela and Jayram Yadav, who were travelling on a motorcycle, were abducted from the same location. Three of them were posted in Kutru Police Station and one was posted in Bedre. They were returning to their base camps after collecting their salaries.

Darkening Shadows

Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management The Islamic State (IS) has started making significant territorial gains within war-torn Afghanistan. IS, according to the US Department of State's Country Reports on Terrorism 2014, has emerged as the most dreaded global terror outfit, and has captured large parts of Syria and Iraq. According to June 2015 reports, fighters loyal to IS have seized sizeable territories in Afghanistan as well. Reports citing witnesses, who have fled from Nangarhar Province due to fierce clashes between forces loyal to IS and those loyal to the Afghan Taliban, claim that IS has pushed the Taliban out from areas previously under Taliban control. Haji Abdul Jan, a tribal elder from Achin District (Nangarhar Province) stated,

Disturbing Trend

Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management On June 16, 2015, cadres of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) killed a 42-year old Christian pastor, Ramesh Majhi, of Puijhari village under the M. Rampur Police Station limits in Kalahandi District of Odisha, suspecting him of being a 'Police informer'. A Maoist poster recovered near the body stated that Majhi was punished at the Praja Court ('people's court') for working as a 'Police informer'.

Borders of Terror

Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management On June 4, 2015, 18 Army personnel were killed and another 11 were injured when militants ambushed a convoy of 46 troopers of the 6 Dogra Regiment of the Army, at Moltuk, near the India-Myanmar border, in the Paralong area of the Chandel District of Manipur. The militants first targeted the convoy, which was on a road opening patrol (ROP). Initiating the attack with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), the militants subsequently opened fire using Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG) and small arms. The Army also claimed to have killed a militant in the retaliatory firing.

Bihar and Jharkhand: Subdued Disturbances

Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management A top ranking woman Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadre, identified as Sarita aka Urmila Ganjoo, was killed and another cadre was injured in an encounter with Security Forces (SFs) in the Gaya District of Bihar on May 17, 2015. Sarita was a member of the erstwhile Bihar-Jharkhand 'special area committee', which was replaced by the East Bihar Eastern Jharkhand Special Area Committee (EBEJSAC), and carried a reward of INR 1.5 million on her head. Acting on a tip-off that some Maoists had gathered near the Tiletand locality to collect INR 20 million as 'levy' from a construction company on the night of May 16, four companies of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) reached the place. In the ensuing encounter, which continued throughout the night, Sarita was killed and another Maoist was injured, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Inspector General (IG), Bihar, Arun Kumar disclosed. A walkie talkie, an INSAS rifle and a haul of ammunition were recovered from the spot. The SFs also arrested 10 Maoists, including CPI-Maoist's Magadh Zone Secretary, Upendra Baitha alias Sanjeevan, and 'Treasurer' of the 'Magadh Zone', Gorelal Ramani. Ramani carried a reward of INR 300,000 on his head; while Baitha had a bounty of INR 25,000.

Freedom and Death

Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management On May 12, 2015, Ananta Bijoy Das (32), a progressive writer, blogger, editor of science fiction magazine Jukti, and an organizer of Gonojagoron Mancha (People's Resurgence Platform), was hacked to death, using machetes, by four assailants at Subidbazar Bankolapara residential area of Sylhet city, for writing against religious fundamentalism. Within hours of the murder, a Twitter username "Ansar Bangla 8", an apparent reference to Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT, Volunteer of Allah Bangla Team), a militant outfit, expressed their delight and claimed responsibility for killing the blogger. The same page, Ansar Bangla 8, later Tweeted: "Al-Qaeda in Indian Sub-Continent (AQIS) is taking responsibility of killing Ananta Bijoy." AQIS, in another message posted on justpaste.it declared: "We want to say to atheist bloggers! We don't forget and we will not forget others who insult our beloved Prophet Muhammad and Allah. Another file closed! Stay tuned for next target."

Maoists: False Starts, Critical Losses

Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management As Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a public gathering in Dantewada in the heart of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) insurgency-affected Bastar Division in Chhattisgarh on May 9, 2015, the Maoists registered their symbolic opposition. A call for a Bastar bandh (general shutdown strike) was issued and, in the Munga Forest of Sukma District (earlier a part of Dantewada), just 80 kilometres from the Prime Minister's meet, the Maoists 'abducted' over 200 villagers to hold a praja court ('people's court', an euphemism for Kangaroo court) at Gaadem and killed a villager, identified as Sadaram Nag of Marenga village.

Balochistan: Shooting the Messenger

Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management One more messenger of peace fell prey to Pakistan's Mullah-military nexus in the night of April 24, 2015, when unidentified assailants shot dead Sabeen Mahmud, a prominent Pakistani women's rights activist, in the Phase-II area of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. According to reports, Sabeen, accompanied by her mother, was just returning home after organizing a discussion on 'Unsilencing Balochistan' at 'The Second Floor' (T2F), a café that had been developed as a forum for open debates, of which she was Director. The event, "Un-Silencing Balochistan (Take 2)" was organized after the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) cancelled the talk due to security threats allegedly from Pakistan's intelligence agencies. The panelists in the discussion included 'Mama' Abdul Qadeer Baloch, the President of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), who had led a 'long march' to protest forcible disappearances in Balochistan; Baloch activists Farzana Baloch and Mir Muhammad Ali Talpur; and journalists Malik Siraj Akbar and Wusut Ullah Khan.

Another Killer Dies

Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management On April 11, 2015, Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) Senior Assistant Secretary General Mohammed Kamaruzzaman (63), the third most senior figure in the JeI, was hanged at10:30pm at Dhaka Central Jail, for crimes against humanity during the Liberation War of 1971. Kamaruzzaman had been arrested on July 13, 2010, and indicted on June 4, 2012, on seven charges.

Balochistan: Enduring Tragedy

Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management On April 10, 2015, Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) militants shot dead at least 20 Punjabi and Sindhi construction labourers at point blank range at their camp in the Gagdan area of Turbat District. Out of the 20 deceased labourers, 16 were Punjabis, and four were Sindhis from the Hyderabad District in Sindh. A senior administration official Akbar Hussain Durrani disclosed that the militants had lined the labourers up and shot them at point blank range after confirming their identity.

J&K: Steady Escalation

Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management On March 21, 2015, two terrorists dressed in Indian Army fatigue were killed during an attack at an Army camp on the Jammu-Pathankote National Highway in the Samba District of Jammu Division. Three persons, including a civilian, an Army Major and an Army jawan (trooper), were injured during the attack.

Kerala: The Maoists Gather

Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management The Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) has owned responsibility for a series of violent actions in Kerala towards the end of 2014 and beginning 2015, for which authorities had earlier 'suspected' Maoist involvement. In the latest issue ofPeople's March (Vol.13, No 3, Jan-March 2015), the Maoists claim,

FATA: Exercises in Futility

Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management At least 48 'terrorists' were killed [with media access severely restricted, no independent confirmation is available, and the categorization of those killed cannot be verified] on March 13, 2015, as Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets pounded alleged terrorist hideouts in the Kukikhel area of the Tirah Valley in the Khyber Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Military sources claimed that another 15 terrorists were also injured in the jet bombing. The attack comes after exactly a month of silence in the ongoing Operation Khyber-I in the Khyber Agency. On February 12, 2015, seven suspected terrorists were killed and another 15 were injured in PAF air strikes on terrorist hideouts in the Dwa Thoe, Sarrai, Sheikh Kot, Tor Darra, Nangrosa and Speen Drand areas of Tirah Valley in the Khyber Agency. The air strikes were part of Operation Khyber-I in the Khyber Agency launched on October 16, 2014, alongside the full-fledged Operation Zarb-e-Azb (Sword of the Prophet) going on in the North Waziristan Agency (NWA).

Assam: Lost Opportunities

Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management Unidentified militants hurled a grenade at the house of a businessman, identified as Biren Agarwal, located in the market area of Sepon village in Sivasagar District, killing his younger brother, Situ Agarwal, and their driver, Dimbeswar Bhuyan, on February 13, 2015. The locals claimed that the Independent faction of United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA-I), which remains active in the area, had recently demanded extortion money from the businessman's family. The family had refused to make the payment.

Bihar: Self-Goals

Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management Two troopers of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) - Constable Gulab Yadav and Constable Narottam Das - were killed and another 12 were injured when Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres blew up a mini-bus carrying personnel near Nandai on the Imamganj - Dumaria route in Gaya District on February 24, 2015. The unit also came under fire from the Maoists after the improvised explosive device (IED) blast. According to Police sources, there was 'heavy force mobilization' in the area in the wake of an encounter in the vicinity a day earlier. The site of the explosion was part of an area believed to be safe, with regular traffic flows, and was not, prima facie in the 'vulnerable' category, which is why the COBRA unit took the liberty of travelling in a mini bus. A measure of complacency may also have crept in because of the decline in Maoist violence in the State in 2014.