Tuesday, August 30, 2005

India rebels 'making porn films'

BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | India rebels 'making porn films'

Came across this news

Rebels in India's north-eastern state of Tripura are making
pornographic films to raise money for their separatist campaign, officials say.


Googling led to some interesting links about the terrorist group NLFT
Hindu preacher killed by Tripura rebels

A tribal Hindu spiritual leader has been killed by separatist rebels in the northeastern Indian state of Tripura.

Police say about ten guerrillas belonging to the outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura ,the NLFT, broke into a temple near the town of Jirania on Sunday night and shot dead Shanti Tripura, a popular Hindu preacher popularly known as Shanti Kali.

The separatist group says it wants to convert all tribespeople in the state to Christianity.



'Church backing Tripura rebels'

The government in India's north-eastern state of Tripura says it has evidence that the state's Baptist Church is involved in backing separatist rebels.

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said state police had uncovered details of the alleged link after questioning a church leader.

Nagmanlal Halam, secretary of the Noapara Baptist Church in Tripura, was arrested late on Monday with a large quantity of explosives.

Mr Sarkar said that allegations about the close links between the state's Baptist Church and the rebel National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) have long been made by political parties and police.

Now for the first time, he said, hard evidence supporting the allegations had been found.



Wonder how these rebels reconcile their latest activities with their puritan Baptist faith.
The latest issue of SAIR claims that terrorism in Tripura is in its death throes despite "moral and diplomatic" support from Bangladesh.


Tripura: Counter-insurgency Success
Ajai Sahni
Editor, SAIR; Executive Director, Institute for Conflict Management
Bibhu Prasad Routray
Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management

Tripura is carving out a success story in the troubled setting of India’s Northeast, as its Police force reorganizes radically to evolve a counter-insurgency strategy that has left entrenched militant groups in disarray. Building on a model of a police-led response to terrorism, which saw the country’s most dramatic victory over this modern scourge in Punjab in the early 1990s, Tripura’s Police, under the leadership of its Chief, G.M. Srivastava, has reversed the trajectory of insurgent violence and, crucially, mobilisation, in his tenure of under two years, despite continued and vigorous support provided to the insurgent groups by Bangladesh, and the safe haven each of these outfits has been provided in that country.

This is more remarkable in view of the fact that Tripura is a narrow wedge, enveloped on three sides by Bangladesh. As much as 856 kilometres of its boundary of 1,018 kilometres (84.08 per cent of the total) lie along the porous international border with Bangladesh, and much of this is located in dense forest terrain that is nigh impossible to police within existing resource constraints (Tripura shares its remaining State boundary with Assam and Mizoram in India).

The numbers alone tell an extraordinary – though necessarily incomplete – story. The number of extremist incidents fell from 380 in 2003 to 210 in 2004. Civilian fatalities were down from 205 to 70 and Security Forces (SF) fatalities from 216 to 105. Terrorist fatalities rose marginally from 61 in 2003 to 63 in 2004. But year 2005 has witnessed a further consolidation of downward trends in violence. The January-July period of 2004 saw 31 civilian, 17 SF and 47 terrorist fatalities (total fatalities: 95); the same period in 2005 had 12 civilian, 6 SF personnel and 12 terrorist fatalities (total fatalities: 30). It is significant – as was the case in Punjab – that a coherent counter-terrorism response results in reduced fatalities in all categories, including terrorist fatalities.

More crucially, as many as 573 militants have surrendered to the authorities over the past two years (2003: 251; 2004: 322). 2004 saw the surrender of 72 cadres of the Montu Koloi and Kamini Debbarma faction of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), on May 6. 138 cadres of the NLFT’s Nayanbashi subsequently surrendered on December 25, 2004. The combined result of the losses inflicted on the insurgent groups as well as their failure to replenish these losses through recruitment, is that the cadre-strength of all groups is estimated to have declined significantly.

In the early 2000s, Tripura had emerged as the ‘abduction centre’ of the Northeast, accounting for nearly half of all abductions for ransom in the region. A dramatic decline, from 542 abductions in 2000, through 177 in 2001, 159 in 2002, 216 in 2003, to 105 in 2004, signals the diminishing sway of the insurgent groups, and their inability to exploit what constituted the major source of revenues in the past. Year 2005 promises a continuation of this trend, with just 29 abductions between January and April. Police sources indicate that militant capacities to secure revenues by extortion have also declined radically, and the NLFT’s collection in 2004 is estimated to have fallen short of targets by about 50 per cent, while the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) collections were even lower, at 60 per cent of targeted revenues. The failure to extort monies is among the most significant indices of the success of counter-insurgency strategy.

The most dramatic impact of these developments was visible in the elections for the Tripura Tribal Area Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) held on March 5, 2005. Traditionally, the TTAADC elections have been the playground of terrorist groups that have terrorized tribal voters, kidnapped and killed candidates, political workers and their relatives, and undermined the polling process. During the three months preceding the last TTAADC elections in 2000, there were 176 extremist incidents, with 100 persons killed, another 86 injured and 172 persons abducted – including 12 relatives of candidates abducted in the month prior to the elections. This had allowed the militant backed Indigenous National Party of Tripura to dominate the elections.

This time around, however, TTAADC elections were nearly completely peaceful, with just one significant incident, an ambush on troops of the Central Reserve Police Force escorting ballot papers after the polls, on March 6, 2005 in the Dhalai District, in which one policeman was killed.

These conditions have been secured despite the extraordinary challenges of counter-insurgency in a State marked by hilly and densely forested terrain that lends itself perfectly to the terrorist enterprise, and the generous provision of logistical support and safe haven by Bangladesh – in a cooperative arrangement with Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). In early 2005, intelligence sources indicated that there were at least 47 camps hosting militants from Tripura in Bangladesh.

Tripura’s main towns, and the State’s connections with its neighbours, rely almost exclusively on a single tenuous link – National Highway (NH) 44 – that snakes its way through dense tropical jungles across the three mountain ranges that cut across the entire length of the State. Keeping this road link open and safe has long been an enormous challenge, with the militants choosing the most favourable locations for ambush on security force transports, as well as on the escorted convoys of private transport on which the entire State depended for its supplies and markets. The forested interior areas were poorly manned, allowing their domination by the extremists. With all four of the State’s districts sharing borders with Bangladesh, periodic counter-insurgency operations had limited impact, as the militants simply crossed the international border into safety, to return the moment the troops had pulled back.

The core of the police strategy of response over the past two years is to dominate the most remote areas in the State, and to minimize the reaction time for counter-insurgent operations. As many as 386 camps of police and security force personnel are now being maintained in the interior areas, providing immediate access to the people in the event of militant movement, and reducing operational and reaction time to a minimum. In addition, 2,600 Special Police Officers (SPOs) in another 105 ‘Special Police Pickets’ (SPPs) have also been located in the strategic interior. This network of camps and pickets is backed by the existing network of 37 police outposts and 55 police stations in the 20 police sub-divisions that control the States four districts. Each of these police stations, posts and camps has been upgraded in terms of arms, communications, and where possible, vehicles and bullet-proofing, improving response capacities and reducing response time to a minimum, and placing a very substantial, dispersed but coordinated force at the command of each District’s Superintendent of Police.

There has also been a dramatic augmentation of the Police intelligence network. The improved geographical dominance of the Forces has resulted in increasing flows of information from the general public, who have long borne the brunt of militant excesses, but had been too terrorized to extend cooperation to the Police in the past. Significantly, the network of SPPs has also generated large volumes of local intelligence and improved the interface between security forces and the general public. These advantages have combined with spotter operations, which use surrendered militants to identify active terrorist cadres and their overground collaborators, as well as a range of social, developmental and psychological operations that have enormously eroded militant capacities, and enhanced the presence and legitimacy of state Forces and institutions in the most remote and isolated areas of the State.

Simultaneously, the militant intelligence and support network has been systematically dismantled. A wide complex of overground collaborators have traditionally supplied intelligence and logistic support to the militants, and this system of collaborators and collusive organisations has been targeted, with 1,863 arrests between 2001 and April 2005. The disruption of these networks of local support has made militant operations in the State increasingly difficult.

Improved geographical dominance has also cut the lifelines of militant survival in terms of finance. Traditional targets of extortion and abduction particularly included traders, the tea gardens, railway and road construction organisations and workers, in addition to the hapless civilians in the countryside. Virtually every significant developmental and construction project, as well as major commercial organisations and companies, have specifically been allocated an enhanced security cover, choking off avenues of extortion.

The cumulative impact of these initiatives and operations has drastically affected militant morale. Indeed, in June 2005, with the dramatic improvement in the law and order situation, the State police discontinued the practice of providing escorts to vehicles on NH 44.

Nevertheless, the days of militancy in Tripura are not yet over. The Police domination has come at a high price. While civil and terrorist fatalities have declined, SF fatalities rose from 39 in 2003 to 48 in 2004, reflecting higher operational activity and wider deployment in highly affected areas. Further, all the three major insurgent groups, NLFT’s Biswamohan Debbarma and Joshua factions and the Ranjit Debbarma-led ATTF, continue to operate from their bases in Bangladesh, and there is a strong conviction in strategic circles that militancy cannot be completely ended as long as safe havens continue to exist across the border. On June 28, 2005, the Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar told the Press Trust of India at New Delhi: “The terrorist camps operating in Bangladesh should be smashed and terrorists should be handed over to India.” Such an eventuality, however, remains remote, given the troubled relations with Bangladesh.

Within Tripura too, areas like Ampi, Udaipur, Taidu, Takarjala, Bishalgarh, Srinagar and Jirania in West and South Tripura Districts continue to witness militant movements and sporadic activities, if not large scale attacks. On June 15, Tripura police and para-military forces launched a six-day ‘Operation Washout’ to clean up these areas. The outcome of these operations is not yet known. However, the ATTF, on its ‘foundation day’ – July 10 – did manage to force villagers in a few remote hamlets in the hilly areas under the Sidhai, Jirania and Takarjala Police Stations to hoist the group’s flag and paste posters on trees and houses. On July 9, a group of NLFT-Biswamohan militants assaulted 14 villagers at Karnakishorepara in Gandacherra subdivision for delay in the payment of ‘annual tax’. The villagers, mostly tribal shifting cultivators, had reportedly cleared their ‘annual tax’ in May instead of the first week of April – the deadline set by the rebels for payment. Earlier, on May 10, NLFT cadres raided two villages, Madanjoypara and Jogendra Karbaripara in Dhalai district and killed five villagers belonging to the Chakma tribe – migrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.

Despite their marginalisation in the State, the militants have not entirely lost their operational capacities and spheres of influence. Bangladeshi support remains – and will remain – a critical factor in the persistence of these movements, albeit at a significantly lower level. The tardy pace of border fencing (the process is expected only to be completed in 2007), and the muddle-headedness of the national policy on Bangladesh, have made the task of the Tripura police the more difficult. Given these enormous obstacles and limitations, the State’s achievements in counter-insurgency have, indeed, been exemplary.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Cartoons in "People's war"

Here are some some cartoons from "People's War" ( the mouthpiece of the undivided Communist Party of India ) from the 1940's. The source of the cartoons is Arun Shourie's classic book, "The only fatherland". Click on the images to view higher resolution versions.





Sunday, August 28, 2005

Introduction

This blog will review current events related to India from the Nationalist perspective. What you might ask is 'the Nationalist perspective' ? Its the perspective that puts the interest of our country first, pure and simple.
But this is not nationalism in the narrow jingoistic sense. We believe in Sri Aurobindo's prophecy that India ' does not rise as other countries do, for self or when she is strong, to trample on the weak. She is rising to shed the eternal light entrusted to her over the world. India has always existed for humanity and not for herself, and it is for humanity and not for herself that she must be great (Uttarpara Speech, 30 May, 1909).'
Some forces aid in that rise. Others, unfortunately, dont. It is from this angle that we will discuss current events across the entire spectrum of human activity. We will also post and discuss historic events or writings if they shed light on the present and help guide us.

We welcome comments. This is a vAda, a discussion between equals and we do not profess to know the truth. But please be civil and avoid hateful language. Otherwise, we will delete your comments.
Happy Blogging and Jai Hind!
The vAda team.

First post