Bhutan’s King is to hand over power to the elected government in 2008. First ever new Constitution, drafted in March 2005, aims to set up a two party democracy after a century of absolute monarchy put in place with British help in 1907. Leaders of Bhutan’s political parties set up in exile (in neighboring India and Nepal) have welcomed King Jigme Singye Wangchuk’s announcement to abdicate the throne in 2008.
The recent announcements by Madhav Kumar Nepal, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal – United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), that Maoists are willing to give up arms and join the mainstream necessitates neighbouring India to have a fresh look at the crisis. According to him the Maoists are ready to lay down their arms under UN supervision if there is a consensus for the election to a constituent assembly.
Wasting no time after the ban was imposed in Andhra Pradesh, Naxals launched an attack in Chhattishgarh early this month by triggering a landmine, which left at least 23 security personnel dead. This blast which took place near Padeda village in Dantewada district was powerful enough to awake the State government from deep slumber and complacency. A ban on the Communist Party of India –Maoist (CPI-Maoist), the perpetrator, and its front organizations followed after an emergency meeting of the Cabinet in the State capital Raipur.
It took not less than thirteen months for the Andhra Pradesh government to realize that its much-publicized honeymoon with the Naxal groups was a damp squib. Instead, the Naxals used the period as an opportunity to regroup, rearm and consolidate in new areas.
“Today we are all Hibakusha,” UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said using the Japanese term for victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings on the occasion of Sixtieth anniversary of the events. Annan urged international leaders to take action against the spread of nuclear weapons.
Of late, Sambalpur district of Orissa becomes a hot bed for Naxal activities. After a period of silence the rebels have again managed to strike terror and this time they have struck hard killing civilians. Late last month, on May 27, the Maoists went on rampage and killed three villagers and injured several others in the Burda village under Jujumura police station. Prior to this the Maoist activities were only confined to abductions followed by ransom. The incident came as a shock as the Maoists generally target the police, forest officials, contractors and other businessmen.
During mid-1990s the Naxal Movement (Left Wing Extremism) spilled over to Orissa from neighboring Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand region. Now, the Naxal activities have enlarged to nine predominantly tribal districts i.e. Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangapur, Rayagada, Gajapati and Ganjam abutting the Andhra Pradesh and Sundargarh, Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts adjacent to Jharkhand. While the above nine districts remains the Naxal stronghold, the movement have also grown stronger in different parts of Sambalpur, Kalahandi, Bolangir, Phulbani, Deogarh, Jharsuguda and Anugul.
“Let's take an oath [...] no food, no job, no shelter to Bangladeshis". These are frantic calls to the people of Assam to throw out illegal Bangladeshis from the state. The result, thousands of illegal Bangladeshi migrants have left Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Golaghat and a few other areas in Upper Assam during the last couple of weeks. What triggered this exodus was the deadline imposed by an obscure student body, the Chiring Chapori Yuva Morcha (CCYM), formed on April 12 this year.
The growing influence of the newly formed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-M), the Naxal outfit, along the Uttar Pradesh's (UP) eastern borders and the rapidity with which they are expanding their organisation in the State is undoubtedly alarming. Naxals are looking to the State for fresh bases where they can build a formidable organization. The inaccessible hilly terrain and dense forests of the state provide perfect cover for the Naxalites, who use their own maps to move around.
Terrorism and nuclear weapons proliferation have by and large dominated the security debate in South Asia. However, the overarching influence of these two issues has led to the neglect of other issues that are equally if not more important for security in the region. One of such issue is of refugees and migration. The presence of more than 110,000 Bhutanese refugees in Nepal and the condition in which they live in different refugee camps is threatening to develop into a major humanitarian crisis in the absence of concrete effort by the parties involved.