ULFA, Bangladesh’s DGFI join hands to wreak havoc

1 11 2008

Sat, Nov 01, 2008 at 17:16

Source: IBNLIVE

Video: IBNLIVE

New Delhi: The serial bomb blasts in four cities of Assam on Thursday point to a new chapter of terror by the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).

The investigating agencies say that ULFA is being backed by Bangaldesh’s military intelligence wing, the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) which has been modelled on Pakistan’s ISI.

Chief of Bangladesh’s Army General Moeen Uddin Ahmed has been at the centre of India’s diplomatic efforts in Bangladesh in the last eight months.

Indian agencies say DGFI’s head till early this month Major General ATM Amin has always been close to ISI. Major General ATM Amin was also instrumental in giving advanced training in bomb making to a new batch of ULFA cadres in Maximhat near Chittagong in from April to June this year.

The camp also trained new boys of other tribal insurgent groups from North-East and West Bengal like the All Tripura Tiger Force and Kamtapur Liberation Organisation.

“The ISI and the DGFI are behind these things. Their new strategy is to use the local outfits. They design and plan the entire thing,” GM Srivastav, former ADG (Ops), Assam Police, says.

Indian investigators allege that several separatist militant groups from North-East are flexing their muscle from hideouts in Dhaka.

According to a list given by India to Bangladesh, nearly 100 insurgent camps, hideouts and safe houses of militant groups operating in the North-East are based in Bangladesh.

The document clearly shows that the ULFA leads the pack of separatist groups that operate from Bangladesh. The group also maintains seven active training camps in Bangladesh and its chief Paresh Barua is also hiding there.

“If you look at the history of violence in Assam perpetrated by ULFA from 80s, there have been a number of blasts people have died in large numbers,” Srivastav says.

ULFA’s character is also changing. The group’s armed wings do not recruit only Assamese men anymore. They hire anyone who will carry out their agenda, for a price and their commander-in-chief Paresh Barua insists that the new band of boys don’t discuss political ideology in the training camp.

While insurgency has degenerated into urban terrorism, now the ULFA has gained the eyeballs and attention they have craved for several years.

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Assam blasts and More blasts: Chronology

30 10 2008

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Source: Reuters

A chronology of some of the major attacks in India in the past five years:

March 13, 2003 – A bomb attack on a commuter train in Mumbai kills 11 people.

Aug 25, 2003 – Two car bombs kill about 60 in Mumbai.

Aug 15, 2004 – A bomb explodes in the northeastern state of Assam, killing 16 people, mostly schoolchildren, and wounding dozens.

Oct 29, 2005 – Sixty-six people are killed when three blasts rip through markets in New Delhi.

March 7, 2006 – At least 15 people are killed and 60 wounded in three blasts in the Hindu pilgrimage city of Varanasi.

July 11, 2006 – More than 180 people are killed in seven bomb explosions at railway stations and on trains in Mumbai that are blamed on Islamist militants.

Sept 8, 2006 – At least 35 people are killed in a series of explosions, including one near a mosque, in Malegaon town, 260 km (160 miles) northeast of Mumbai.

Feb 19, 2007 – Two bombs explode aboard a train heading from India to Pakistan; at least 66 passengers, most of them Pakistanis, burn to death.

May 18, 2007 – A bomb explodes during Friday prayers at a historic mosque in the southern city of Hyderabad, killing 11 worshippers. Police later shoot dead five people in clashes with hundreds of enraged Muslims who protest against the attack.

Aug 25, 2007 – Three coordinated explosions at an amusement park and a street stall in Hyderabad kill at least 40 people.

May 13, 2008 – Seven bombs rip through the crowded streets of the western city of Jaipur, killing at least 63 people in markets and outside Hindu temples.

July 25 – Eight small bombs hit the IT city of Bangalore, killing at least one woman and wounding at least 15.

July 26 – At least 16 small bombs explode in Ahmedabad in the state of Gujarat, killing 45 people and wounding 161. A little-known group called the “Indian Mujahideen” claims responsibility for the attack and the May 13 attack in Jaipur.

Sept 13 – At least five bombs explode in crowded markets and streets in the heart of New Delhi, killing at least 23 people and injuring more than 100. The Indian Mujahideen again claim responsibility.

Oct 30 – Eleven bomb blasts in quick succession rip through the main city of India’s troubled northeastern Assam state and three other towns, killing at least 39 people and wounding 210.





Baghdad in Guwahati, 50 killed, 300 injured by Krishna Das from Guwahati |

30 10 2008

Recent blasts that rocked Assam: (Source: NDTV)

  • On September 30, two powerful bomb blasts rocked Tinsukia killing 5 and injuring 52; a third blast damaged a natural gas pipeline.
  • On September 24 in Darrang, one person was seriously injured when a bomb exploded at a local theatre in Udalguri district.
  • On August 15, three bombs tagetted Independence Day parade grounds at lower Assam’s Dhubri and Chirang district, injuring one person.
  • Thursday, 30 October , 2008, 17:27

    Source: Sify.com

    Baghdad in Guwahati, 50 killed, 300 injured

    For pictures of the blast site: BBC NEWS

    Guwahati: It is Baghdad in Guwahati. Three back to back major car bombs followed up by two booby- trapped bombs and if that was not enough seven more bombs in other parts of Assam saw at least 50 dead and 300 injured.

    Images of Guwahati serial blast

    This was the worst Assam had seen in its 20-year insurgency and contrary to government claims, the ordinary people believe it as an HuJI attack and Congress government was protecting them by bringing ULFA’s name into picture.

    With the intensity, timing and ground position of the ULFA coupled together, the needle of suspicion points at the militants of the Islamic organizations that have been taking wings under a blind government of Assam that is keen to defend itself than tackling terrorists.

    Major terror strikes in India

    “Let them protect the Islamic militants. Congress is not interested in national security. They are more interested in their vote bank and see the results today,” said the AASU Adviser Dr Samujjal Bhattacharya.

    Rhetoric apart, Assam was ripped apart by the most devastating terrorist attack of its history when 12 synchronised blasts took place in lower Assam – five in Guwahati including Ganeshguri, Panbazar and Fancy Bazar, three at Kokrajhar, and two at Barpeta Road and Bongaigaon – leaving at least 50 dead and injuring more than 200.

    18 serial blast shook Assam

    Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi confirmed that 48 people dead so far but the toll should go up as at least 50 others were struggling for life in very critical position. He appealed the political parties to stay calm.

    “According to information received here, there have been 12 bomb blasts at Guwahaun gogoi, ti, Kokrajhar, Barpeta Road and Bongaigaon in which 48 persons lost their lives and more than 300 sustained injuries,” he said.

    In fact militant’s booby trapped Ganeshguri by blastinbg three back to back bombs. With 19 bomb blasts over a period of last six years the Ganeshguri point of the Guwahati city is arguably one of the most bombed place of country.

    But today’s blast was the worst. “I have seen almost all of these blasts but this was the worst. Today, the cars caught fire and at least 10 persons were charred to death instantly. The previous blasts were of low intensity and did not cause such damage,” said Rabiram Nath, the fruit vendor who escaped because he had gone inside of his shop.

    Everybody in the busy Ganeshguri point have become numbed to this fear. “With so many bombs going off everywhere, the fear factor has actually gone. It has become part of our life but today’s blast was horrible. I had never seen something like that. One of the injured man’s severed leg flew almost 20 feet and came near our shop,” said Joynal Abedin, employed at a biscuit shop in the area.

    Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today reviewed the law and order situation of the state following the serial blasts and expressed dismay over the police’s utter failure to stop the bombings.

    He summoned the top brass of the Assam police as well as senior of the state officers and gave them a dressing down. The Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is arriving tomorrow for an on the spot assessment of the situation. According to the Chief Minster’s office, more para-military forces were being dispatched form neighbouring states to help the state police.

    The attack had left the state administration shattered and the security apparatus collapsed as angry mob attacked police and journalists while setting at least half a dozen government vehicle on fire, forcing authorities to open fire and finally clamp indefinite curfew in the Guwahati city.

    The blasts have brought Guwahati to a halt with all telephone lines jammed and traffic to a standstill. Business and offices were closed down immediately and thousands of people were left stranded on the roads as public transport was cancelled.

    Authorities clamped curfew to stop spreading panic in the state and to check violent angry mobs from attacking government properties. With wailing ambulances and fire brigades rushing from one point to another, the town of Guwahati wore a ghastly war zone look – a sight that is sure to haunt the town folks for days to come.

    Additionals from Express India

    ULFA denies hand in blasts, offers solace to aggrieved

    Guwahati, October 30: The banned ULFA denied its involvement in the serial blasts that rocked Assam killing 56 people and injuring over 350 people. “The ULFA is in no way involved in the blasts in Guwahati, Bongaigaon, Barpeta and Kokrajhar and we condemn the incidents,” an e-mail statement signed by Aanjan Borthakur of the group’s central publicity unit said.

    The group also offered its deep condolences to the family members of those killed in the blasts and wished for the speedy recovery of the injured.

    The ULFA urged the authorities to ensure proper treatment of the injured. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and government spokesman Subhas Das had earlier claimed the hand of “anti-national extremist elements” in the blasts while Kamrup (Metro) Deputy Commissioner Prateek Hajela claimed the HuJI was involved in the serial blasts.





    Collateral Damage

    31 07 2008
    July 30, 2008

    Terror continues to stalk the nation. In five days, 55 bombs were planted (of which, mercifully, 25 did not explode) in the three cities of Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Surat, leaving at least 53 dead. Even for a country that has brazened such terrorist attacks in the past 60 years, this has come as a shock. The country lost a Mahatma to terrorist bullets, a Prime Minister to those unleashed by Sikh terrorists; and a former Prime Minister assassinated by a suicide bomber. Innumerable lives are lost in attacks mounted by various outfits in the North-east, apart from those lost to Maoist insurgencies in various parts of the country. This splurge of blood and mayhem is not just utterly condemnable but it is simply unacceptable.

    Amidst the various speculations doing the rounds — including that these attacks were a retaliatory response or a ‘dry-run’ for something more horrendous in store — it was also suggested that the modus operandi was inspired by a Bollywood film. The bewildered script-writer, in turn, informed us that he was inspired by an Israeli army attack on a helpless Palestinian hospital in Nablus in January 2004, to ‘track down’ a bomber. The script-writer stated that he had merely “replaced the Israeli army with terrorists”.

    Clearly, terrorism is the means to an end. It can, thus, never be fought by ignoring or obfuscating the end. September 11, 2001, we are told, was an individual terrorist response to the State terrorism unleashed by US imperialism globally. The US military occupation of Iraq, we are told, is to contain such ‘individual terrorism’. Over a million Iraqis have lost their lives and over 6 million are refugees in their own country. In order to quell the natural resistance to such occupation, the US army has moved into Afghanistan pursuing the Taliban and is now knocking at the borders of Pakistan. However abhorrent and inhuman terrorism as a methodology is, it can never be combated or eliminated by ignoring the fundamental causes that have led to the invention of the ‘human bomb’.

    For us in India, such terrorism needs to be combated and eliminated by intensifying all efforts, both at the administrative level by urgently beefing up our intelligence and security apparatus, and the political level by seeking a solution to real or perceived ‘injustice’ done to some sections.

    At the administrative level, in the wake of the Kargil war, the then NDA government had set up a committee headed by former R&AW chief Girish Saxena that included the present National Security Advisor, M.K. Narayanan. This proposed a Multi-Agency Centre (Mac), the heart of India’s counter-terrorism efforts, and a Joint Task Force on Intelligence. These proposals were accepted without any modification in 2003 by the NDA Group of Ministers. Unfortunately, with L.K. Advani as Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, this was not taken seriously.

    Five years down the line, as against the recommended additional 3,000 Intelligence Bureau personnel, only 1,400 posts have been sanctioned — mind you, not filled. As against the UN’s minimum norm of 222 policemen for every 100,000 people, the all-India average is 126. In many states, it’s even lower.

    Clearly, all these have to be rectified on a war footing. However, the advance towards a political solution becomes well-nigh impossible if terrorism becomes an important input to advance the electoral ambitions of political parties. Advani’s strident calls for the resurrection of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (Pota) is a case in point. Selective amnesia seems to prevent Mr Advani from recollecting that when he was at the helm of affairs — when Pota adorned the statute books — terrorists attacked Parliament, the Red Fort, the Akshardham temple and the Raghunath temple twice. Clearly, it is not the inadequacy of law that is encouraging terrorism. Sushma Swaraj’s outrageous remarks that the latest attacks in BJP-led states is a conspiracy against the party is also part of such an effort. No one had even remotely suggested that the attack on Parliament was a ‘distraction’ from the coffin scam that dogged the NDA government of that time. At the other end, ‘off the record’ leaks by the Establishment draw a parallel with ‘international terror attacks’ influencing national electoral results in some countries.

    The terrorist attack in Spain in March 2004 cost George Bush’s staunch ally, José María Aznar, dearly in the Spanish elections. Similarly, the terrorist attacks in April 2006 in Italy led to the defeat of the incumbent government. It is also widely believed that the sudden spurt of activities by Muslim extremists in the run-up to the French presidential elections had influenced the outcome in 2007. All this is to suggest that such terror attacks in the BJP-ruled states are aimed at influencing the outcome of the forthcoming general elections.

    The country can ill afford such cynical use of terror attacks to further political agendas. A combination of administrative and political approaches must be urgently undertaken by this government if it seeks to live up to the basis of its formation — strengthening secularism and protecting the social harmony of our country. The failure to do so will be judged by the people in the forthcoming general elections.

    While there can be no compromise in combating terrorism and the unity and integrity of the country is non-negotiable, the proclivity to jump to conclusions in the absence of a thorough inquiry and investigation must be abandoned in the interests of the security of our people. In this context, recollect the film Fiza, which chillingly shows how terrorists are nurtured by prejudiced persecution.

    Finally, while doing the utmost to combat and banish such terror and its perpetrators, the refusal to fall prey to the terrorists’ provocation is the surest way to defeat them. Terrorism fails when it is unable to provoke a backlash and foster anarchy.

    Sitaram Yechury is CPI(M) Politburo member and a Rajya Sabha MP





    Chinese arms reaching insurgent in Northeast: India

    11 06 2008

    Courtesy: Khabarein.com
    NEW DELHI, May 22 (KUNA) — India Thursday expresssed concern over the possession of Chinese origin arms by the insurgent groups in India’s Northeast and stated that such weapons were entering into the country through Myanmar and Bangladesh.

    Chinese made weapons were increasingly being seized from insurgent groups in India’s Northeast and such arms have also reached the illegal arms market in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, a source in the Indian Defence Ministry told KUNA here Thursday. “Most of these arms are entering India through the Myanmar and Bangladesh route” it is clear from the design that they are of Chinese origin,” the source said. “We are concerned over growing Chinese influence in the region. The cost of the Chinese made weapons in the black market in the Northeast region is within the affordable range and this is a cause of concern,” the source pointed out. “While the trend had been growing over the last coupe of years, the seizure of a massive arms consignment in 2004 in Chittagong in Southeast Bangladesh brought things out in the open for the first time. It was one of the biggest-ever arms seizures in Bangladesh and raised alarm bells throughout the region, including us, after it was known that the Chinese-origin weapons were meant for Northeast insurgent groups,” the source said.

    Over 1,700 assault rifles, 400 Uzi submachine guns, 150 rocket propelled grenade launchers and a large quantity of ammunition originating from Hong Kong were seized by Bangladesh authorities in 2004 at the port city of Chittagong.

    India’s concerns were also echoed by leading global defence think-tank Jane’s Intelligence Review (JIR). In a report published this month, JIR said that China has replaced Cambodia and Thailand as the main supplier of weapons to insurgent groups in India’s Northeast and Myanmar as well as LTTE in Sri Lanka.

    “Rebel group — United Wa State Army (UWSA) — in Myanmar acts as the middleman between Chinese arms manufacturers and insurgent groups in the Northeast, with most weapons routed through China’s Yunnan province, “India’s leading English daily “The Indian Express” reported Thursday, quoting JIR. UWSA is a 20,000-member group operating in eastern Myanmar. “China’s illicit arms trade with rebel groups — LTTE and the Kachin Independence Army in Myanmar — is also on the upswing,” the JIR said. “LTTE websites display photographs of a range of new Chinese weaponry, including the modern 5.56 mm QBZ-95 bull pup-design assault rifles that the rebels cannot claim to have captured from the Sri Lankan Armed forces,” the daily said.

    “Taliban militia in Afghanistan have also been gaining access to Chinese arms. So are African conflict zones of Zimbabwe and Sudan,” The Indian Express reported, quoting JIR.





    Northeast India is poised to tap economic potential

    11 06 2008

    The eight-state area plans multiple projects to increase its trade with Southeast Asia.
    By Shankhadeep Choudhury, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer May 29, 2008
    NEW DELHI — India’s remote northeast region has been both blessed and cursed by its geography. The region is rich in natural resources but is landlocked and surrounded by China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan, leaving it impoverished.The eight-state region may finally get a chance to start living up to its economic potential with several projects to enhance connections with Southeast Asia and to increase outlets for such commodities as organic foods, orchids, tea, coal and oil.


    Map

    Now, the only way to move major quantities of goods between northeast India and Southeast Asia is through Bangladesh.But authorities in Myanmar and India are nearing final approval of a $100-million river project giving northeast India direct access to the Indian Ocean through Myanmar, said Abhijit Barooah, chairman of the northeastern chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industry, India’s premier business association.The project envisages facilitating movement of cargo from India’s Mizoram state to Myanmar’s port at Sittwe, via the Kaladan River.In addition, talks have begun between companies in northeast India and Thailand after a trade-promotion conference in Bangkok in October, said Lemli Loyi, assistant general manager at the state-run North Eastern Development Finance Corp.
    Loyi expressed hope that the talks would result in increased business and possible joint ventures.India first enunciated a “look east” policy, an economic and strategic orientation toward Southeast Asia, in 1992. It had its genesis at the end of the Cold War, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Having lost the Soviet economic and political support on which it had relied, the Indian government embarked on a program of free-market restructuring at home and sought new markets and economic partners abroad.Officials envisaged that the eight northeast states — Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Mizoram — would emerge as a trading hub for two dynamic regions connected by a network of highways, railways, pipelines and transmission lines. The region is home to about 40 million people.But progress has been slow.
    The region’s isolation dates to the 1800s.”Nineteenth-century British colonial decisions to draw lines between the hills and the plains, to put barriers on trade between Bhutan and Assam, and to treat Burma as a buffer against French Indochina and China severed the region from its traditional trade routes — the southern trails of the Silk Road,” said Sanjib Baruah, a professor of political science at Bard College in New York and an expert on northeast India.The British built railways and roads mostly to take tea, coal, oil and other resources out of Assam and into the rest of India and also to Europe.The problems increased with the partitioning of India and Pakistan in 1947. Bangladesh broke away from Pakistan in the 1970s.
    Barooah said trade would be boosted by an expected move by the Indian and Myanmar governments to expand the list of mostly agricultural commodities allowed to be traded by land between northeast India and Myanmar, from 27 to 42 items.”The northeast is the closest land mass connecting the dynamic economies of south and Southeast Asia,” said Pradyut Bordoloi, Assam’s minister for power and industries. “Besides deep-rooted cultural linkages, we can reap multidimensional benefits in this era of regional economic cooperation.”Bordoloi is closely associated with a campaign to reopen the World War II-era Stillwell Road, connecting Assam’s town of Ledo to southwest China.”If reopened, this would be the shortest surface route to Yunnan province of China and other Southeast Asian countries hooking onto the trans-Asian highways,” he said.The road served as the supply line into China during Japan’s wartime occupation, but it was shut after India’s independence from Britain in 1947.
    Bordoloi said his campaign to reopen the road, initiated after he became a state legislator in 1998, scored a victory when India upgraded the road to a full-fledged national highway, developing it up to the Indo-Myanmar border.Officials say infrastructure development, power, bamboo-based industries, orchids and organic foods are prospective areas of cooperation with Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand.But significant hurdles remain, including concerns that booming trade relations may fuel rises in insurgency, narco-terrorism and AIDS, all of which plague the northeast. Security in the region is tight, with the army out in force to combat armed groups battling for greater autonomy or independence from India.”The official restrictions that prevail in northeast India — in terms of travel, land and labor markets — are hardly conducive to intensive cross-border economic relations,” said Baruah, the political science professor.”Both the reality of insurgencies in the region and the security anxiety of the government of India . . . are major obstacles to dynamic cross-border economic ties,” he added, calling current efforts hardly more than “a bare beginning.”Also, Baruah said, it was difficult to imagine a big increase in trade given the political situation in military-led Myanmar.
    India’s relations with China, a country it has long regarded with distrust since a 1962 border war, would also have to become much more relaxed, Baruah said.




    Editorial: Defiance of Terror (arab news)

    18 05 2008

    Editorial: Defiance of Terror
    17 May 2008
    Source: arabnews

    It is still unclear who was behind the horrific series of bomb attacks in the Indian city of Jaipur on Tuesday which killed 63 people and left some 200 injured. Suspicions, however, are being pointed at a Jihadist group, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (Huji) which is thought to be based in Bangladesh. Its leader in India, Mohammed Jalaluddin, who claimed to have been behind the 2006 Mumbai train bombings which killed 187 people, was arrested in Lucknow last year and reportedly told police at the time that Jaipur was one of his organization’s top targets.

    If this is true, then sadly once again deviants have been responsible for what is a crime against humanity. Given that possibility, we state again the most important fact here: What twisted minds did in Jaipur is at variance with everything Islam stands for. They and their actions stand utterly condemned by the overwhelming majority of Muslims here, in India, in Bangladesh, everywhere.

    If the intention was to divide Jaipur, the majority of whose inhabitants are Hindus, although there is a substantial Muslim community, it has gratifyingly done the exact opposite. The shock has resulted in both communities getting together and talking together. That is no surprise. The inhabitants of Jaipur, whatever their faith, have a strong sense of identity as Jaipuris. In the aftermath, they did not ask if a victim was Muslim or Hindu or Christian, they mourned them all regardless. In fact, at least 12 who died in the blasts were Muslim and 30 Muslims were injured — another indication that Muslims are as much in danger from the fanatics as anyone else. Already, Jaipur is shaking off the dust and getting back to work now that the curfew is lifted. There is a resilience there, a determination not to be intimidated. It is not a particularly Jaipuri thing. It is the same resilience that has been seen after in New York, London, Madrid, Sri Lanka, Bali and anywhere else where terrorists have struck in the belief that they can effect political change. It is a human refusal not to bow to terror — which is why the terrorists have never succeeded in changing anything and never will.

    That refusal to be cowed is linked to another factor that the terrorist fails to comprehend. India has faced violence from a various sources — Jihadists, Maoists and Naxalites, Sikh militants, militants in the northeast wanting independence. Two of its prime ministers were assassinated; intercommunal violence is a beast that remains unvanquished. But, horrific though they are, bombs in Jaipur are of no long-term significance, other than to the victims and their families. That is because the overwhelming majority of Indians have confidence in their political system — just as the overwhelming majority of Spaniards, Britons or Americans have confidence in theirs. That is the reason why terrorism and violence in India will not succeed. Indian democracy will not be undermined; the drive to Indian prosperity will not be halted. Nor even will the Rajasthan tourist industry will be destroyed — because the world has confidence in India.