India’s forest land which is rich in natural resources, like forest derivatives and minerals is undoubtedly the cauldron of various degrees of conflicts. From civil wars in Chhattisgarh to armed conflict in North East, it has created internal security more volatile than ever before in India. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has a special wing to neutralise this ‘internal security’ with strong policing. The growing number of incidents of conflicts in the forest area have threatened the forest resources as well the livelihood of inhabitants.
Contesting claims over territorial supremacy by rival insurgent groups have not only resulted in violent conflict between the insurgents’ themselves, but, it also has potential to generate misunderstanding between communities they claim to represent. This is exactly the present state of affairs in India’s northeastern state of Manipur where several such groups have turned this beautiful land into their fiefdom.
The Maoists (also known as Naxalites) in India are emboldened by the recent success of their Nepalese counterpart, who emerged as a legitimate power center after a decade of protracted people’s war. The effects are already visible in Bihar, the neighboring Indian State. Despite convoluted security arrangement by the Bihar Police, partial successful of the Bandh (general strike) on Oct. 30, 2006, by the Maoists indicated that they are capable enough to strike at their will.
Of late, the Balochi tribesmen of Makkaran have been in the news because of their resentment and armed conflict against the Pakistani government. In India, not much is remembered about these people any more, particularly by the post-partition generation. In view of the security implications in our neighbourhood, it might be of interest to many to learn a little about the Balochis.
Despite incessant combing operations against Maoists in the jungles of both affected and targeted districts since 24 March Ramgiri Udayagiri Jail attacks, the Maoist mobilisations continues unabated in Orissa. Undoubtedly, the operations had least impact on the Maoist movements in the Northern Orissa districts adjacent to the borders of neighbouring Jharkhand. They continue to camp freely in the inter-district borders and visit the villages at night to collect water, rations and organise village meetings.
The forests of India are now under a novel threat posed by the extremist outfits. Starting from the Hizbul Mujahideen to Naxals (the Left-wing extremists), all find the forest their safest hideouts to continue their anti-social and anti-national activities including planning and deployment. According to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), half a million crimes are reported from India’s forest areas every year and about 30% of it, is related to militancy in these areas.
After Thailand government’s rejection of civil rights groups demand to soften emergency decree in the three restive southern provinces, the security situation has been deteriorated further and tensions remain at all time high. The decree in question has become a source of growing fear and hostility between the populace in these violence hit provinces and government forces since a state of emergency was clamped in July last year.
After months of investigations, authorities in Bangladesh slapped a 40 year jail sentence to three militants of the outlawed Islamic outfit Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) blamed for series of bombings in the country in 2005. Two convicts— Mohammad Awal and Ataur Sunny— have confessed their involvement in the 17 August countrywide bombings that killed three people and left over 150 injured. They also confessed that two British nationals financed the August serial bombings.
The fragile truce, effective from February 23, 2002, between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE was finally shattered after the Tamil Tiger rebels blew up a Sri Lankan navy Dvora class gunboat outside Trincomalee harbour on January 5, 2006. The suicide attack was the work of an LTTE owned explosives-packed fishing boat that rammed into the naval vessel resulting in 13 sailors missing and presumed dead. Earlier, three sailors aboard a smaller naval patrol craft were killed more than two weeks ago in a sea battle with rebels off the northwestern town of Mannar.
Chhattisgarh played second fiddle to neighboring Andhra Pradesh in the lists of worst affected Maoist or Naxalite states in the year 2005. The state experienced an escalation of violence since the beginning of the euphemistically called Salva Zudoom (peace initiative) in June last year. Data on Maoist violence compiled by the State police revealed that during 2005, 130 villagers, 39 police personnel lost their lives and 70 more were injured in Maoist attacks.