Maoist splinters becoming cause for concern for India too

26 02 2009

By Anand Gurung
The breakaway Maoist groups including the latest one led by fiery Maoist leader Matrika Yadav is not only a cause for concern for the ruling Unified CPN (Maoist) party and the country, but increasingly India too which is reeling under its own version of red terror.
Until recently, the Indian media was abuzz with speculation about breakaway Maoist group in Nepal collaborating with Indian Naxalites (Maoists). However, this serious issue concerning India’s internal security has now started to find its way into the floors of the Indian parliament – the Rajya Sabha.
This became clear after a senior Indian minister Wednesday denied rumors about Maoist splinters in Nepal collaborating with Indian Naxalites as baseless, saying that there is no valid evidence to suggest the same.
“There is no firm evidence of any breakaway Maoist group in Nepal collaborating with Naxalites here,” Indian Home Minister P Chidamabram was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India (PTI).
Replying to a query on the issue during the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, Chidamabram also denied any Naxalite activities in the Indo-Nepal border. He, however, said the government is vigilant and “would take firm action against Naxals”.
The Minister further said the government would welcome and rehabilitate any Naxalite if he/she wants to return to the mainstream.
Chidamabram also said that the aim of Naxalites “is to overthrow an established government through armed struggle”, and they are not for development. “Naxalites are the worst enemy of development as they are targeting schools, telephone towers and other infrastructure,” he said, adding that they are motivated by “misguided” philosophy.
According to PTI, a BJP lawmaker also wanted to know how the government would fight “Left-wing extremism” when it took support of the Left, drawing protests from the Left parties in the Rajya Sabha.
Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has described the rise of Maoists – also called Indian Naxals – as one of the “gravest threats” to India’s internal security
It is worth mentioning here that India had played a major role in engineering the Delhi agreement back in 2006, bringing the underground CPN (Maoist) closer to the agitating seven political parties in Nepal. The alliance led to the overthrow of former king Gyanendra led royal regime and ultimately culminated in the country becoming a republic with the first elected Maoist government in South Asia at the helms.
Political observers say the Maoist insurgency in India is also shaping up as an issue ahead of the Indian general election due by May. The Maoist rebellion is spreading like wild-fire in India, with reports claiming that 22 of the country’s 29 states are affected by it.
The rebels claim to be fighting for the rights of the farmers and the poor who make up the majority in a country with the world’s second largest population. Thousands of people have been killed since the uprising began in a village called Naxalbari in India’s West Bengal state in the late 1960s .
nepalnews.com Feb 26 09





Pakistan evasive on ‘army link’ to Mumbai attacks

26 02 2009

NEW DELHI: The 11,000 page chargesheet into the 26/11 Mumbai attacks which was presented in a Mumbai court on Wednesday has thrown up some interesting findings.
Investigations have revealed that the VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) calls made by the 26/11 terrorists to their handlers have been traced to a serving colonel of the Pakistani army.
However, the Pakistan army downplayed its link to the Mumbai terror carnage and said that the chargesheet filed on Wednesday is very vague on the link.
Speaking to TIMES NOW, Brigadier Azmat Ali, Pak army spokesperson said, “Chargesheet does not accurately identify armyman allegedly linked to 26/11. There are many Colonel Sadatullahs in the Pakistan army. We are trying to find out if this is true or it is all a media speculation.”
Though the chargesheet filed does not spell out the Pakistan army link explicitly, it does name the officer as Colonel R Sadatullah from the SCO.
The SCO, army sources say, stands for Special Communications Organization, a telecommunications agency of the Pakistani government which is run by officers from the army’s signals corps.
Another name mentioned in the chargesheet is that of `Major General sahab’ whose name crops up repeatedly in the taped conversation between the terrorists and their handlers.





Bangladesh Rifles: border guardians with a grievance

26 02 2009

Bangladesh Rifles: border guardians with a grievance
1 hour ago
DHAKA (AFP) — The Bangladesh Rifles, whose troops have mutinied in the capital Dhaka and elsewhere, is a well-armed paramilitary unit tagged as the country’s first line of defence.
With a total force of nearly 70,000 troops, the BDR’s primary task is to patrol and secure Bangladesh’s 4,000-kilometre (2,500-mile) border with both India and Myanmar.
As a border unit, it is highly involved in anti-smuggling operations, and its mandate further requires that it lend support to the military and civilian government in the event of war.
It has also been called in to assist police during times of national unrest.
The average BDR trooper earns about 70 dollars a month — the equivalent to a very low government clerk and a salary that has long been a source of simmering discontent within the ranks.
The revolt, which began at the BDR headquarters in Dhaka early Wednesday, was reportedly triggered by the refusal of senior officers to consider appeals for more pay, subsidised food and holidays.
Most of the officers are seconded to the Rifles from the army for a tenure of two to four years, and the BDR troopers have complained that this makes them less than receptive to their particular grievances.
Some have accused the officers of skimming off their salaries and appropriating food supplies meant for distribution to the poor.
Colonel Mujibul Haq, the third highest ranked BDR officer with a special responsibility for food distribution, was killed during Wednesday’s revolt and his body was found dumped in a drain outside the guards’ barracks.
Some of the mutineers who aired their grievances to television crews they invited into their HQ, directly accused the head of the BDR, Major General Shakil Ahmed, of making millions of dollars by stealing money from food funds.
M. Shahiduzzaman, a Dhaka university professor and security expert, said the complaints of corruption were widespread.
“I have heard stories from some honest officers about their colleagues who have become extremely rich,” Shahiduzzaman said.
“In contrast, an ordinary guard doesn’t get decent pay or food and spends a lot of time living in harsh, remote areas,” he said.
The BDR can trace its roots back to the late 18th century when the colonial British rulers recruited locals for a border force, which in time became known as the Eastern Frontier Rifles.
After independence from Britain and the partition of the sub-continent, it was renamed the East Pakistan Rifles.
During the struggle for independence from Pakistan, most of the troops revolted against their Pakistani overseers, and the current BDR was formed in 1972 following the creation of Bangladesh.
While the BDR is officially under the control of the Home Ministry, the regular army exerts a powerful influence through its role in training and running the force.