Armed Conflicts in South Asia 2013 Transitions 9781138796065


301 79 2MB

English Pages [265] Year 2014

Report DMCA / Copyright

DOWNLOAD PDF FILE

Table of contents :
Cover
Half Title
Title
Copyright
Contents
Tables and Figures
Abbreviations
Preface
Part I
1. Introduction: Review of Armed Conflicts in South Asia in 2012
2. Afghanistan in Transition: Security and Political Developments in 2012
3. Northeast India: Politics of Conflict, Ethnic Contestations and Peace Processes
4. Myanmar 2012: The Bad Old Still Looms Over the New?
5. Naxal Conflict 2012: Naxal Violence in Hibernation
Part II: Peace Audit
6. Peace Audit of Nepal: 2012
7. Sri Lanka: Negative Peace Exists, at least
8. Jammu and Kashmir Peace Audit 2012: A Need to Focus on the Internal Dimension
9. Northeast India: A Peace Audit
10. The Naga Peace Process: An Audit
About the Editors
Notes on Contributors
Index
Recommend Papers

Armed Conflicts in South Asia 2013 Transitions
 9781138796065

  • 0 0 0
  • Like this paper and download? You can publish your own PDF file online for free in a few minutes! Sign Up
File loading please wait...
Citation preview

Armed Conflicts in South Asia 2013

This page intentionally left blank

Armed Conflicts in South Asia 2013 Transitions

Editors D. Suba Chandran P. R. Chari

LONDON NEW YORK NEW DElHI

First published 2014 in India by Routledge 912 Tolstoy House, 15–17 Tolstoy Marg, Connaught Place, New Delhi 110 001

Simultaneously published in the UK by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN

Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business

© 2014 Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies

Typeset by Solution Graphics A–14, Indira Puri, Loni Road Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh 201 102

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the publishers.

British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record of this book is available from the British Library

ISBN  978-1-138-79606-5

Contents Tables and Figures Abbreviations Preface

vii viii xiii

Part I 1. Introduction: Review of Armed Conflicts in South Asia in 2012 P. R. Chari

3

2. Afghanistan in Transition: Security and Political Developments in 2012 Mariam Safi

21

3. Northeast India: Politics of Conflict, Ethnic Contestations and Peace Processes Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman

48

4. Myanmar 2012: The Bad Old Still Looms Over the New? Bibhu Prasad Routray

69

5. Naxal Conflict 2012: Naxal Violence in Hibernation Deepak Kumar Nayak

99

Part II: Peace Audit 6. Peace Audit of Nepal: 2012 Nishchal N. Pandey

125

7. Sri Lanka: Negative Peace Exists, at least N. Manoharan

139

8. Jammu and Kashmir Peace Audit 2012: A Need to Focus on the Internal Dimension Ashok Bhan

159

vi  N  Contents

  9. Northeast India: A Peace Audit Wasbir Hussain

190

10. The Naga Peace Process: An Audit Madhumita Das

212

About the Editors Notes on Contributors Index

235 237 241

Tables and Figures Tables 4.1 Ceasefire Agreements between the Government and the Ethnic Insurgencies

90

5.1 State-wise Left Wing Extremist Violence 102 5.2 State-wise Statistics of Naxal Violence of various Indices 103 5.3 Incidents of Economic Targets by LWE all over the country 104 8.1 Some Indices of Reduction in Terrorist Violence in Jammu and Kashmir 8.2 Hartal Calls by Separatists, Border Firing Incidents by Pakistan, Infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir and Terrorists killed

161 163

Figures 2.1 Annual Report of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Afghanistan 9.1 Number of Fatalities in Insurgency-related Violence in Northeast India, 1992–2012

26 201

Abbreviations AANLA AASU ABSU ACMF AFSPA AGP AJYCP ALA ALP AMLA ANA ANP ANP ANSF ANVC APA APRC APRP ASDC ASEAN ASS ATTF BAC BCP BGF BJP BLT BNLF BNP BPF BSF BSS BTC CBMs CFA

All Adivasi National Liberation Army All Assam Students Union All Bodo Students Union Adivasi Cobra Militant Force Armed Forces Special Powers Act Asom Gana Parishad Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad Arakan Liberation Army Arakan Liberation Party Achik Matgrik Liberation Army Afghan National Army Afghan National Police Awami National Party Afghan National Security Forces Achik National Volunteer Council Adivasi People’s Army All Party Representative Committee Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme Autonomous State Demand Council Association of Southeast Asian Nations Asom Sahitya Sabha All Tripura Tiger Force Bodoland Autonomous Council Burmese Communist Party Border Guard Force Bharatiya Janata Party Bodo Liberation Tigers Bru National Liberation Front Bangladesh National Party Bodoland People’s Front Border Security Force Bodo Sahitya Sabha Bodoland Territorial Council Confidence building measures Ceasefire Agreement

Abbreviations N ix

CFMG CIA CNA CNF CPA CPB CPI-M CPN (UML) CSAS DHD DHD-J DHD-N DMO DKBA DAN DPC EU FATA FCR FNR FTA GIRoA GSU HALC HIG HNLC HPC HPC-D HTF ICRC IDP IMK INC IRIIS ISAF ISI ISPR

Ceasefire Monitoring Group Central Intelligence Agency Chin National Army Chin National Front Comprehensive Peace Agreement Communist Party of Burma Communist Party of India-Marxist Communist Party of Nepal (Unified MarxistLeninist) Centre for South Asian Studies Dima Halam Daogah Dima Halam Daogah-Jewel Dima Halam Daogah-Nunisa Directorate of Military Operations Democratic Karen Buddhist Army Democratic Alliance of Nagaland Difa-e-Pakistan Council European Union Federally Administered Tribal Areas Frontier Crimes Regulation Forum for Naga Reconciliation Free Trade Area Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Garo Students Union Hynniewtrep Achik Liberation Council Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council Hmar Peoples Convention Hmar Peoples Convention-Democracy Hill Tiger’s Force International Committee of the Red Cross Internally Displaced Person Ittehad-e-Mujahedeen-e-Khurasan Indian National Congress Institute for Research on India and International Studies International Security Assistance Force Inter Services Intelligence Inter Services Public Relations

x N Abbreviations

JI JPA JuD JUI JVP KAS KCP KIA KIO KLA KLNLF KLO KNA KNF KNLA KNLAPC KNO KNPP KNU KP KRA KSU KYKL LAEF LDCs LDU LeT LLRC LoC LTTE MEA MFN MHA MNDAA MNF MNFF MNLA MOD MPF MULTA

Jamaat-e-Islami Joint Action Plan for Assistance Jama’at-ud-Da’wah Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Janata Vimukti Preamuna Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Kangleipak Communist Party Kachin Independence Army Kachin Independence Organization Kuki Liberation Army Karbi Longri National Liberation Front Kamtapur Liberation Organization Kuki National Army Kuki National Front Karen National Liberation Army Karen National Liberation Army Peace Council Kachin National Organization Karenni National Progressive Party Karen National Union Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Kuki Revolutionary Army Khasi Students Union Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup Liberation of Achik Elite Force Least Developed Countries Lahu Democratic Union Lashkar-e-Taiba Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Line of Control Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam Ministry of External Affairs Most Favoured Nation Ministry of Home Affairs Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army Mizo National Front Mizo National Famine Front Mon National Liberation Army Ministry of Defence Mon People’s Front Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam

Abbreviations N xi

MZP NATO NCPJ NDAA NDFB NEFIN NGO NHPC NLD NLFT NMA NMSP NNC NSCN NSCN-IM NSCN-K NSCN-U NSF NSP NUPA NWFP NWPP OIC PDP PLA PLF-M PNLO PoK PPP PREPAK PSLF PSO PULF RCSS RPG RPP SAARC SAFTA

Mizo Zirlai Pawl North Atlantic Treaty Organization National Consultative Peace Jirga National Democratic Alliance Army National Democratic Front of Bodoland Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities Non-Governmental Organization National Hydroelectric Power Corporation National League for Democracy National Liberation Front of Tripura Naga Mothers Association New Mon State Party Naga National Council National Socialist Council of Nagaland National Socialist Council of Nagaland-IsakMuivah National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Unification Naga Student’s Forum Nepal Sadvawana Party National United Party of Arakan North West Frontier Province Nepal Workers and Peasants Party Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Peoples Democratic Party People’s Liberation Army Peoples Liberation Front of Meghalaya Pa-O National Liberation Organization Pakistan occupied Kashmir Pakistan People’s Party People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak Palaung State Liberation Front Public Security Ordinance People’s United Liberation Front Restoration Council of Shan State Rocket-propelled Grenade Rastriya Prajatantra Party South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation South Asian Free Trade Area

xii N Abbreviations

SKEWPY SoO SSA STF TNA TNV TTP UCPN UKDA ULFA UNC UNCM UNFC UNHCR UNICEF UNLF UNODC UNP UPA UPDS UPFA UWSA VDC WMD WNO YMA

Sher-e-Kashmir Employment and Welfare Programme for the Youth Suspension of Operations Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army Santhal Tiger Force Tamil National Alliance Tripura National Volunteers Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) United Kukigam Defence Army United Liberation Front of Asom United Naga Council United Naga Council, Manipur United Nationalities Federal Council United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees United Nations Children’s Fund United National Liberation Front United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime United National Party United Progressive Alliance United People’s Democratic Solidarity United People’s Freedom Alliance United Wa State Army Village Development Committee Weapons of Mass Destruction Wa National Organization Young Mizo Association

Preface This is the seventh volume of the annual publication Armed Conflicts

in South Asia, published by the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi. Each of the earlier volumes has had a special focus. The previous one was devoted to highlighting the causes of armed conflicts in the region, so as to enable peace processes to be pursued. Given the importance and implications for South Asia, Myanmar was added to the list of countries under discussion. In the interests of continuity, this edition follows the similar pattern set in earlier years. It provides a detailed review of the armed conflicts that emerged in South Asia during the year 2012. This year, for the purpose of an extensive debate on South Asia, additional chapters on the Naxal conflict and the Naga Peace Processes have been included. Radical changes and violence in the Naxal-affected areas have brought the issue within the region and the international system. The Naga Peace Process under the ‘Peace Audit’ section caters to review the successes, failures and lessons learnt from the peace processes. We are grateful for the efforts made by the authors who have contributed to this study, their unstinting cooperation was essential to bring out this volume within the stipulated time frame. We like to express our sincere gratitude to the SAARC Regional Office of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), New Delhi and especially to Mr  Tomislav Delinic for the gracious support and confidence that made this volume worthwhile.

This page intentionally left blank

Part I

This page intentionally left blank

1 Introduction: Review of Armed Conflicts in South Asia in 2012 P. R. Chari Prelude

M

ost year-end roundups by the Indian press of the year gone by — 2012 — have confirmed, with rare uniformity, that it was very depressing. No doubt, they were influenced by the horrible 16/12 crime when a 23-year old paramedical student was gang-raped and brutalized in a moving bus. Efforts to treat her failed and she died in a Singapore hospital. This traumatic event united a civil society response across the country, which now embodies a new sociological phenomenon in the international system. A synoptic overview of 2012 would confirm that it was also depressing for the international system and for South Asia. Briefly, the financial crisis showed no signs of abatement in either the United States (US) or Europe that provided the cornerstone for the global economic and monetary system after the Second World War. A fair consensus now exists that a rising China and emerging India are the harbingers of a shift in global power from the US and Europe to Asia, and from the industrialized to the developing world. But, the exposes of high level corruption and venality in China and India, emphasizing the need to balance development and wealth generation with just governance has cast a shadow over their bid for world leadership. Further, the promise of democracy following the Arab Spring has not yet been fulfilled in the Middle East and Gulf regions. In Fouad Ajami’s prose, [c]an he who does not know where to go find the way? Is driving the dictator out the end? [O]usting a tyrant doesn’t lead to freedom. Prisoners like trading one prison for another, for a change of scenery and the chance to gain a little something along the way. “The best day after a

4  N  P. R. Chari bad emperor is the first,” the Roman historian Tacitus once memorably observed.1

Further, claims by the US that the execution of Osama bin Laden in May 2011 had dealt a death blow to the al Qaeda, its surrogates and subsidiaries have proven premature. Indeed, right through 2012, the influence of the al Qaeda, along with its supporting organizations, continued in much of Asia; it has also established firm bases in the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa, notably Mali. The threat of nuclear proliferation continues undiminished, with North Korea, Pakistan and Iran being its nodal centres. The more generalized threat from weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) has also increased after a chemical weapons stockpile was discovered in Syria. Meanwhile, the angst regarding nuclear safety and nuclear security has gained traction after the disastrous Fukushima-Daiichi accident in Japan. Finally, the evolving US ‘pivot’ or ‘rebalance’ towards Asia, which envisages a redeployment of its naval and expeditionary forces to East and Southeast Asia is clearly designed to contain China, and forebodes a new Cold War. South Asia in 2012 was no less depressing. The Af-Pak region continued to be in deep turmoil. There are presentiments that the withdrawal of American and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops in 2014 may lead to chaos in Afghanistan that will not leave Pakistan, but also Central Asia and India, unaffected. The situation within Pakistan, especially the growing sectarian violence and terrorist attacks all over the country, showed no signs of abating in 2012, casting serious doubts on its stability, and heightening the angst about the safety and security of its nuclear arsenal. Nepal was unable to provide itself with either a constitution or a permanent government, but staggered on from one crisis to another in 2012. The Tamil problem in Sri Lanka remains unresolved with no sign of any viable political solution in sight. Maldives was traditionally perceived as peaceful — this is no longer true with domestic politics entering a turbulent stage, a rising crime rate, and both China and the US vying with each other to establish air–sea bases in its different atolls. Bangladesh continued to witness its unique brand of plebiscitary politics, assiduously practised by the Awami League and Fouad Ajami, ‘The Arab Spring at One: A Year of Living Dangerously’, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2012. 1

Introduction: Review of 2012  N  5

the Bangladesh National Party. The resulting lack of consensus made it difficult to form a caretaker government to oversee the upcoming elections. Islamization has strengthening in the country, increasing the potential for internal conflict, India had traditionally been anointed as an island of stability in a chaotic neighbourhood, but this belief was challenged in 2012, with large-scale civil society movements excoriating the Indian democracy and questioning its basic governance processes. No doubt, Washington did succeed during the closing hours of 2012 in averting the yawning financial cliff confronting it, but a consensus was yet to evolve between the Democrats and the Republicans on controlling the staggering budget deficit. The US Congress is basically conservative, irrespective of its party composition.2 However, President Obama plainly outlined the challenges he faced in his second term, which include ‘reducing our deficit; reforming our tax code; fixing our immigration system; freeing ourselves from foreign oil’.3 In this milieu, Tom Donilon, National Security Advisor, has noted that Obama’s decision to travel to Asia immediately after his reelection ‘speaks to the importance that he places on the region and its centrality to so many of our national security interests and priorities’. It was the President’s judgment that ‘we were overweighted in some areas and regions, such as our military commitments in the Middle East. At the same time, we were underweighted in other regions, such as the Asia Pacific’.4 The other silver lining in these dark clouds was the smooth election a few weeks earlier of a new-generation leadership in Beijing, which has promised to reform the system. Whether this reform process will be restricted only to economic issues, while avoiding the need for political reform, is of the essence? In his acceptance speech Obama promised that: We aspire to see a region where the rise of new powers occurs peacefully; where the freedom to access the sea, air, space, and cyberspace empowers ‘Gridlock?’, The Forum, 10 (3): Article 9, http://www.degruyter.com/ view/j/for (accessed on 10 January 2013). 3 ‘President Barack Obama’s Victory Speech’, SPAN, November/ December 2012, p. 3. 4 Ralph A. Cossa and Brad Glosserman, ‘Rebalance Redefined Regional Overview: 2012 Ends with Echoes of the Past’, Comparative Connections, PacNet  #3, 13  January 2012, http://csis.org/program/comparativeconnections (accessed on 18 January 2013). 2

6  N  P. R. Chari vibrant commerce; where multinational forums help promote shared interests; and where citizens increasingly have the ability to influence their governments and universal human rights are upheld.5

Only the purblind would fail to notice that these goals seek to ensure the containment of China, which has implications for the security of South Asia.

Redefining the Definitions The foregoing section highlights two basic issues that have remained in contention since this annual on the Armed Conflicts in South Asia were initiated in 2006, viz., how can ‘armed conflicts’ be delimited without the phrase losing its focus; and how could the geo-strategic reality of ‘South Asia’ be recognized. Clearly, ‘armed conflicts’ could occur between two states or between the state and a non-state actor or between two non-state actors. Further, ‘major armed conflicts’ are recognized as those occasioned with a significant loss of lives. However, the context is important. Thus, the loss of some 3,000 lives in 2001 during the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers informed the radical changes in US policy that led to a ‘major armed conflict’ in Afghanistan. But, the loss of 3,000 lives in a single day was no unusual event during trench warfare in World War I. Incidentally, initial annual reports on Armed Conflicts in South Asia (2006, 2008) had adopted the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) definition of ‘major armed conflicts’ that requires ‘at least 1000 battle-related deaths in a calendar year’ to qualify. The earlier UCDP requirement was 1000 deaths over the entire period of the conflict;6 hence the current definition of ‘major armed conflicts’ is more restrictive, and excludes all but the most destructive conflicts. However, the issue remains germane: which are the armed conflicts that qualify for this study. It is common ground that armed conflicts have external and internal aspects and their linkages reinforce each other, as between cross-border and domestic terrorism. Moreover, armed conflicts can also arise from non-traditional threats ‘President Barack Obama’s Victory Speech’. Sipri Yearbook 2005: Armament, Disarmament and International Security (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), p. 134. 5 6

Introduction: Review of 2012  N  7

to security, such as climate change, migration, pandemics, water and food security, and so on. Illustratively, the shutting of borders to immigration by desperate people seeking safety, employment or a better quality of life illustrates a present reality, and contains the seeds of armed conflict. These various sources of armed conflicts, major and minor, point to efforts to alleviate them by establishing peace processes, but also by international and regional cooperation. Newer approaches to peace, such as cooperative security, comprehensive security and human security, have relevance for mitigating armed conflicts in South Asia.7 Finally, it should be admitted that an element of discretion is unavoidable for deciding which armed conflicts should be included in a study of this genre, but the guiding principle must be that they have acquired a gravity and scale to merit attention. A second question must detain us here: how could the fuller geo-strategic entity of ‘South Asia’ be recognized? There are several approaches possible. Historically, South Asia has been conflated with the subcontinent south of the Himalayas, variously designated as Aryavarta or Hindustan. Broadly, South Asia outlines the contours of British India. South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established in the early 1980s as a regional cooperative organization by including the countries whose territories comprised British India, along with the sub-Himalayan kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan that had entered Treaty relations with British India. SAARC, thereafter, included two island nations (Sri Lanka and Maldives), two land-locked countries (Nepal and Bhutan) and, majorly, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In 2007, Afghanistan was admitted into SAARC, recognizing that it had been part of the ancient Hindu and medieval Mughal empires. The geo-strategic reality was also undeniable that Afghanistan and Pakistan are closely linked through ethnic, religious and political ties, and the term Af-Pak has now passed into the lexicon of international relations. The inclusion of Afghanistan into this study was, therefore, perfectly logical. Much the same could also be said of Myanmar; its security is inextricably linked with Northeast India and Bangladesh. Besides, Myanmar provides the interconnectivity to link South Asia with Southeast Asia; hence its inclusion into this study has an inner logic, which transcends the Cf. Nihar Nayak, Cooperative Security Framework for South Asia (New Delhi: Pentagon Press, 2013), pp. xv–xxiii. 7

8  N  P. R. Chari

objection that Myanmar should be treated as part of Southeast Asia, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It bears recollection that Burma was part of British India and separated only in 1936. In the coming years, Tibet and Xinkiang could find a place in this volume, since the popular movements here for greater autonomy could strengthen despite Beijing’s strenuous efforts to suppress them. Similarly, Iran and the wider entity of the Indian Ocean could also be included. The question really is whether geographical or strategic considerations should delineate the contours of South Asia; different answers are possible in this regard. An extreme view would suggest that South Asia’s strategic neighbourhood encompasses the entire area from the Red Sea to the Straits of Malacca, since developments in this area majorly impact South Asia. This region includes the epicentre of the Islamic world. Ideologies emanating here critically impact the external and internal dimensions of South Asian security. Hence, a prudential rule would suggest that defining South Asia requires its peripheries to be discerned that influence armed conflicts in the region, which is the leitmotif of this study.

2012: Generic Trends Impacting Armed Conflicts At least two such major trends may be distinguished in South Asia in 2012. First, civil society movements in the region began acquiring greater visibility and salience to influence national decisions. This was in sync with global events such as the Arab Spring that has rapidly unfolded leading to security crises, uncertainty and unpredictability. The turmoil manifested the deep social, economic and political discontent present in the Maghreb and Middle Eastern regions, especially in the weaker sections of their society. A new political discourse is sweeping the Arab world with democratic forces altering the basic contours of the Arab world. It is still unclear what final shape it will take, but indications are that the region might fall under the sway of religious fundamentalists or military dictatorships. In South Asia, the capacity of civil society movements to spearhead public resentments, remove unpopular regimes and displace governments was revealed in 2007 when the lawyer’s agitation in

Introduction: Review of 2012  N  9

Pakistan evicted the deeply entrenched General Musharraf. Later, in 2008, the Maoist movement in Nepal had displaced the unpopular Nepali monarch. More dramatically, the civil society movement that mushroomed in mid-December 2012 to protest the gang-rape of a young paramedical student shook New Delhi to its foundations, spurring long-postponed action on police and legal reforms. It also highlighted the corruption pervading the Indian legislative and administrative system identified, in part, as arising from, ‘A new feudal system is being created as the political process is captured by a narrow and self-perpetuating ruling class that is increasingly inbred, criminal and out of touch with the changing nation’.8 Another analysis shows that of the 545 Members of Parliament (MPs) in India, 156 had hereditary connections. Interestingly, 70 per cent of women MPs were in family seats. Every MP under 30, and 65 per cent of the 66 MPs in their 30s, had family connections. Of the Congress Party MPs in their 30s, 86 per cent inherited a family seat. Further, around one-fourth of the MPs face criminal charges. They can only be debarred on conviction; since court cases can drag on indefinitely, being implicated in serious crimes is no bar to being an MP. Powerful Congress Party politicians who incited the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in 1984 that killed over 3,000 persons are yet to be indicted by the courts. Until that occurs, the Sikhs will not reach emotional closure on those traumatic riots.9 In South Asia these dissatisfactions arise from its constituent nations possessing the trappings of democracy, but not its essence. For instance, the elections held are generally peaceful, and though complaints of electoral malpractices are made, they are usually dismissed as excuses from the losing candidates. But, the problem that arises subsequently is that the elected legislators have neither the time nor the inclination to serve their constituencies; regrettably, they are more greatly concerned with acquiring the loaves and fishes of office, and recompense themselves for the huge amounts invested in getting them elected plus ensuring their financial future. No right of recall being available to the local population, they are unable to make their rulers serve the public’s interests, nor drive them out of office for Ramesh Thakur, ‘Failures of Governance Spawned the Rape Crisis’, The Japan Times, 12 January 2013, http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/ eo20130112rt.html (accessed on 12 January 2013). 9 Ibid. 8

10  N  P. R. Chari

non-performance and malfeasance. Besides, the criminal prosecution and judicial systems have become quite dysfunctional. The role of technology, on the other hand, to undertake mass mobilization for promoting civil society movements hardly needs emphasis. The dissidents have inflamed the social media networks, print and electronic media, but also the internet and mobile phones. Whether these civil society movements in South Asia have influenced each other, or whether individual national movements are characterized by their own particularities is, of course, debatable. The Arab Spring, apropos, had extended its reach into the Gulf region harnessing a ‘common desire [of the people] to live a life of integrity and dignity — not to be treated like serfs by their own government, but rather to enjoy a basic set of human and citizen rights’.10 There is no reason to believe, therefore, that civil society movements in South Asia do not inspire activists in the region to emulate their counterparts. Significantly, civil society movements in South Asia have remained peaceful, and the use of force has been associated with the lawenforcing agencies of the State seeking to disrupt these movements. But, the ‘flash mob’ phenomenon is worth underling here, wherein an assembly gathered to protest their grievances becomes unmanageable. Large-scale violence, looting, damage to public property, and arson have suddenly erupted in the developing and developed world. What direction violence takes thereafter is unpredictable, and doubly dangerous for this reason. In time, they could inspire resistance and armed conflict against the state. There is no lack of prescriptions to reform India’s flawed system of democratic governance, but they have faltered at the implementation level. Why? Political parties have become family fiefdoms. Large numbers of legislators have charges of murder, rape and robbery pending against them in courts or are under investigation. Since the Indian judicial system can ensure that cases linger on forever, the exclusion of criminals from the electoral process has been nullified. Frustration with this parlous state of affairs has inspired civil society movements to retrieve political power from their venal representatives in the legislature. 10 Rami G. Khouri, ‘Arab World Lessons from 2012’, Agence Global, Beirut, http://www.agenceglobal.com/index.php?show=article&Tid=2942 (accessed on 2 January 2013).

Introduction: Review of 2012  N  11

Second, the state of democracy in South Asia revealed contrary trends in 2012. Indubitably, the zeitgeist favours a greater egalitarianism in the international system and greater democratization within nations. The symbols of democracy exist in South Asia. Elections are regularly held, they are reasonably free and fair and majority parties achieve power on their own or in coalition with other parties. The disillusionment with democratic governance in South Asia arises from the inability of its states to address seminal issues, such as eradication of corruption, ensuring public safety, maintaining civic services, and providing health and educational services. Hence, alternate models of governance that limit autonomy are attracting attention, as are obtaining in South Korea and Singapore. Even the Deng Hsiao-ping model of relentlessly raising living standards through the unbridled pursuit of economic growth while limiting political freedoms is gaining favourable attention. Whether South Asian populations would sacrifice their political rights to protest, the right to free expression and unrestricted movement and association, elect leaders of their choice and not those selected by Big Brother, is yet to be tested. But, it is also clear that democracy in South Asia is under stress. The many shortcomings in Indian democracy — the largest in the world in terms of population — have been noted earlier; these imperfections inspired the civil society movements that have rocked the state. Both in Pakistan and Bangladesh, the military remains the dominant force steering state policy in their foreign policy and national security spheres. Both countries have suffered extended periods of military rule. Bangladesh faced general elections this year, which generated controversy. Defying established conventions, the ruling National Awami Party has done away with the tradition of handing over power to a neutral caretaker government before the elections, leading to the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party taking to the streets. In Myanmar, the military has undertaken a tactical retreat to gain international assistance and respectability. A parallel with what is obtaining in Pakistan at present could merge in Naypyidaw after its elections in mid-2013, in that a civilian government would be the facade for the military to play the Praetorian Guard to sustain the civilian government in power. A different model of autocracy masquerading as a titular democracy is obtaining in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and the Maldives. Again, general elections have been held in all these countries with differing degrees of credibility. But, their rulers have little use for the constraints

12  N  P. R. Chari

of democratic governance and are ruling with the help of their armed forces and internal security apparatus. The latent potential for revolt and armed struggle lies just below the surface in these countries. In Sri Lanka, for instance, democratic traditions have been flaunted with President Mahinda Rajapakse using his parliamentary majority to dismiss the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who had struck down key legislation. Nepal continues to be mired in political instability, since its political parties have failed to evolve a new constitution despite four years of negotiations that have floundered on the decentralization issue. Nepal would hopefully go to the polls on 19 November 2013 to break this deadlock. Bhutan is the only country in South Asia that is pursuing a unique brand of democratic governance in pursuit of Gross National Happiness that has been conspicuously successful.

The Af-Pak Conundrum Attention might be drawn now to some unique strategic issues of relevance to the armed conflicts in South Asia during 2012. The question that invited the greatest attention, mixed with anticipation and angst, in 2012, was how Afghanistan would ensure its national security after the American and coalition forces withdrew by end-2014. The drawdown has begun and would accelerate over 2013 against the backdrop of President Karzai’s tenure ending shortly. The danger of Afghanistan reverting to its anarchic past, with warlords exercising power over their ethnic and tribal constituencies, and Kabul with limited authority over its immediate environs — in short, a reversion to the post-1990 period of Afghan history — seems very likely. The security of Afghanistan and Pakistan are inextricably linked — partly deriving from Rawalpindi’s fixation with acquiring ‘strategic depth’ in Afghanistan, and partly arising from the mingled ethnicities of the tribal population on both sides of the border. What happens in the Af-Pak region after 2014 has serious implications for Central Asia, the Gulf region and South Asia, apart from China and Russia. In our view, the US is unlikely to withdraw fully from Afghanistan; most likely a vestigial presence will continue, probably located at a large airbase such as Bagram, and will include military trainers plus relevant assets to conduct punitive drone attacks against militants operating on the Pak-Afghan border, especially the Federally

Introduction: Review of 2012  N  13

Administered Tribal Area (FATA). But, the likelihood of Afghanistan reverting to anarchy is very real, since the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) are quite unprepared to provide for Afghanistan’s security with any degree of credibility. They may have the numbers and the formal training, but have yet to develop the culture for functioning independently of the US and ISAF, especially in counter-insurgency operations. The equipment and weapons systems available to the Afghan forces are neither adequate nor useful for such operations.11 Hence, the support and direction of these seasoned forces becomes a military necessity. Further, it has to be recognized that Af-Pak and the wider South Asian region need to take ownership for evolving appropriate solutions to deal with the post-2014 situation. Remarkably, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India have currently been designated as the strategic partners of the US. Pakistan is the lynchpin of this effort; hence it must recognize that it is in its own interest to establish normalcy with its neighbors, for it cannot afford to continue on the path of military or economic competition . . . There are signs that Pakistan is prepared to let Afghanistan be Afghanistan. Much could be done to support that trend by helping open trade and power (gas and hydroelectricity) routes to central Asia.12

But this would be an over-optimistic assessment of Pakistan’s ability to initiate such policy initiatives, appreciating its own parlous political and economic situation.

Can Pakistan Redeem Itself? Apropos, the shooting of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani schoolgirl in the Swat Valley, by the Taliban for advocating female education has become a defining moment for Pakistan’s struggle against jihadi terrorism. This did not happen despite the incident gaining worldwide notoriety. The reason is an obvious lack of consensus on how 11 Brig. Gurmeet Kanwal, ‘Post-2014 Afghan Security: Hope is not a Strategy’, Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi, 28 December 2012. 12 Shuja Nawaz, ‘For Obama, a Second Chance in South Asia’, Foreign Policy, 7 November 2012.

14  N  P. R. Chari

religious extremism should be proceeded against in Pakistan. Violence against Shi’a shrines and religious processions continue. Around 459 persons were killed in 155 sectarian attacks in Pakistan this year, mostly against Shiites at the hand of Sunni Muslims by extremist organizations like the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Despite escalating violence and disquiet among religious groups, and the increasing use of the blasphemy laws to persecute Christians and other religious minorities, there is no national consensus or conversation on how to deal with terrorism.13

These extremists have allied with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to target Punjab and northern Sindh. The government is reluctant to act despite the grave dangers to its stability, lest this detracts attention from India, which is considered the real threat to Pakistan. Besides, outfits such as the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan are seen as bargaining chips to gain leverage over Afghanistan’s future direction; hence they are being accorded official benevolence. Equally mindlessly, health workers in Pakistan have been targeted by Islamic groups for undertaking polio vaccination, which has not unsettled Pakistan’s military and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency that is guiding its foreign and national security policies. Significantly, several thousand Pakistani soldiers and ISI operatives have lost their lives fighting religious extremists in the FATA region and elsewhere in Pakistan. Further, several thousand more soldiers are deployed in counter-insurgency and counter-militancy operations, while continuing to maintain close vigilance against India on its eastern borders. Pakistan’s friends and enemies might be forgiven, therefore, for being confused by these tortuous efforts to ensure the country’s security. India remains wary of Pakistan since Islamabad is unwilling to either prosecute or extradite the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks of 2008. Despite Pakistan finally conceding Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to India and agreeing to liberalize the visa regime, the follow-on steps have been slow and halting, and little substantive has been achieved on that ground. Meanwhile, the political crisis in Alicia Mollaun, ‘Extremism in Pakistan: The More Things Change . . .’, East Asia Forum, 12 December 2012, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/ 2012/12/12/extremism-in-pakistan-the-more-things-change/  (accessed  on 15 December 2012). 13

Introduction: Review of 2012  N  15

Pakistan remains unabated, involving the civil government and the military on one side, and the judiciary with both the government and the military on the other. The issue of sending a letter to the Swiss authorities allowing them to reopen bribery charges against President Asif Ali Zardari remained in high controversy. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was dismissed by the Supreme Court in 2012 for refusing to send this letter citing the immunity from prosecution available to the President. His successor, Raja Pervez Ashraf, continues under threat at this time. The economic picture in Pakistan remains grim. The growth rate has lowered to 3 per cent, inflation is running in double digits, fiscal deficits average 6–7  per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and external imbalances are increasing. 2012 witnessed severe energy shortages leading to the manufacturing sector operating at only 50–60 per cent of its capacity. Domestic and foreign investments have fallen. Undoubtedly, there are some bright spots such as growth in the size of the middle class and their spending on consumer durables like automobiles, motorcycles and mobile phones, a growing informal economy in Pakistan, workers’ remittances from abroad, and optimism regarding opening up trade links with India, which could be a game-changer.14 What can Pakistan do, therefore, to avoid its descent into chaos? Three actions are required. First, dampen religion as the sole foundation of its nation-state. Second, a separate religion from the affairs of the state. Pakistan’s claim to be an Islamic state highlights the problem of defining Islam. Different variants are offered by the Lashkar-e-Toiba, the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Third, seek a modicum of normalized relations with India to enable shifting resources from defense to infrastructure development and the social sector. In brief, look inwards to find the roots of its own salvation, and reverse the slide into state failure and anarchy. What is necessary may not be what is feasible. Hence, the atrophy of decision-making in Pakistan might continue over 2013. Mohsin Khan and Shuja Nawaz, ‘Pakistan’s Bleak Outlook Lightened by the Game-changer with India’, East Asia Forum, 30 December 2012, http:// www.eastasiaforum.org/2012/12/30/pakistan’s-bleak-outlook-lightenedby-the game-changer-with-india (accessed on 2 January 2013). 14

16  N  P. R. Chari

Is India–Pakistan Nuclear Conflict Thinkable? This provocative question derives from the declaration by Pakistan in 2012 that it would be deploying short-range Hatf missiles along the Indo-Pak border. According to Xinhua, the Pakistan Army has informed that ‘Nasr with a range of 60 kilometers and in-flight maneuver capability can carry nuclear warheads of appropriate yield, with high accuracy. The missile, also known as the Hatf 9, has been specially designed to defeat all known anti-tactical missile defense systems’.15 Ostensibly, this provocative deployment is designed to address the Cold Start doctrine enunciated by India. Obviously, New Delhi’s explanation that its Cold Start strategy only envisages deploying its forces along the Indo-Pak border to shorten the time for assembling them in a contingency is unconvincing for Rawalpindi. In truth, this redeployment lays the emphasis on offensive forces being located along the border interspersed with defensive forces to blunt any counter-attack. India would thus retain the initiative for launching cross-border operations at a time and place of its choosing. However, the Mumbai attacks of November 2008 did not evoke any military response from India. No doubt, it was deterred by Pakistan’s nuclear weaponry that has established nuclear deterrence vis-à-vis India. There is no reason to believe, therefore, that the Cold Start doctrine would be operationalized, except as the last resort. The arguments and counter-arguments regarding the true import of Cold Start strategy can be continued indefinitely. But Pakistan’s threat to deploy short-range nuclear missiles along the border immediately heightened bilateral tensions. Short-range missiles are, by their intrinsic nature, intended for early use in the battlefield, and are highly destabilizing. Moreover, these missiles are also in some danger of being overrun during conflict, enhancing the danger as recognized in the literature, of engendering a ‘use-or-lose’ mentality. In other words, the angst that short-range missiles might be captured or destroyed encourages their early use, despite their horrendous consequences. Escalation of the conflict raises the nightmare scenario of a general nuclear conflict. Are these fears over-stated and exaggerated? 15 ‘Pakistan Launches Nuke-Ready Missile in Trial’, Global Security Newswire, 11 February 2013.

Introduction: Review of 2012  N  17

Attention might be drawn to two assertions that were made in the ‘Overview’ chapter of the Armed Conflicts in South Asia volume in 2010. It was surmised that ‘armed conflicts between India and Pakistan on the pattern of their 1947–48, 1965, 1971 and 1999 wars are very improbable. Their conflict has now entered more insidious subterranean channels.’16 It was also held that ‘the real danger arises from the Pakistan state itself being taken over by Islamic fundamentalists [who are] unconcerned with the inhibitions of deterrence and self-preservation’.17 These a priori statements became questionable in 2012 after Pakistan’s threat to deploy short-range missiles on hair-trigger alert along the international border suggesting that the state itself presented the real and continuing danger. That New Delhi recognized this threat became evident with startling news in early January 2013 that people in Jammu and Kashmir were asked by their government to build bomb-proof basements and gather food and water for a possible nuclear war.18 Official clarifications that ‘[i]t was simply part of standard readiness activities’,19 by the state civil defense authorities partially defused the situation, but highlighted the existentialist danger of war over Kashmir that could acquire nuclear overtones.

The Significance of Myanmar Myanmar’s strategic location arises from its proximity to India’s northeastern states and the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh, and by its linking South and Southeast Asia. It had applied for full membership of SAARC in May 2008, which is yet to fructify; but its growing profile in the comity of nations after opening up its economy and polity suggest that its geo-strategic advantages are being recognized. President Obama visited Myanmar soon after his re-election in D. Suba Chandran and P.R. Chari (eds), Armed Conflicts in South Asia 2010: Growing Left-wing Extremism and Religious Violence (New Delhi: Routledge, 2011), p. 4. 17 Ibid., p. 9. 18 Richard Hartley-Parkinson, ‘Build a Bunker’: Indian Police Warn People in Kashmir to Prepare for Nuclear War’, Daily Mail (UK), 22 January 2013. 19 ‘Kashmir Nuclear Alert “Daft”, Official Says’, Global Security Newswire, 24 January 2013. 16

18  N  P. R. Chari

November 2012, which highlighted its desperate need for development assistance to rehabilitate its infrastructure, health, education, information technology, and communications sectors. Thereafter, President Thein Sein’s low-profile visit to India was also significant, in that the Indian industry proposed several areas of cooperation between the two countries, including the power and railroad sectors, strengthening banking arrangements and collaboration in areas such as tourism and software. A viable pattern of regional cooperation would ensure inclusive and integrated growth for Myanmar alongside regional growth in India’s northeastern states and the adjoining areas of Bangladesh. The security dimension to deepening South Asia’s relations with Myanmar involves addressing its several ethnic conflicts that have serious implications for both internal and cross-border armed conflicts in the region. They include communal violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine areas, between the Muslim Rohingyas and ethnic Buddhists, that has led to hundreds of casualties and migration of large numbers of Rohingyas to Bangladesh. Besides, the Kachin revolt in the north and east Myanmar has been on for a long duration with few signs of mitigation. The unresolved problems in Myanmar’s ethnic minority areas remain the most urgent issue before Naypyidaw. Equally, the Naga revolt in India has well-recognized links with Myanmar. The need for both governments to collaborate across the board on military and development measures to meet their linked ethnic problems can hardly be overemphasized.

Structure of the Volume The present annual report on the Armed Conflicts in South Asia follows the pattern set in earlier volumes, in that the chapters on country armed conflicts in 2012 are interspersed with perspectives on peace audit, early warning and conflict transformation in these armed conflicts. The latter perspectives are the sub-theme of this volume. The country chapters would address the armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar, Naxalite violence, and the conflict situation in Northeast India during 2012. Separate chapters have sought to assess the peace audits in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Jammu and Kashmir, and Northeast India, along with a focus on the Naga peace process. The contours of a ‘peace audit’ pertaining to armed conflicts require some discussion. An initial review seems necessary of the

Introduction: Review of 2012  N  19

different types of conflicts afflicting a country, including territorial and border disputes, and domestic conflicts with different geographical, socio-economic and political roots. Next, their causes must be isolated and categorized into those that are remote, underlying or immediate. The parties and personalities involved must also be recognized. Was mediation attempted by either local, national or international bodies? And, with what success? Overall, how have individual armed conflicts been either settled or ameliorated? Or, was there no progress during the year under review? The peace audit could also evaluate the ongoing peace processes from the perspective of whether their underlying grievances were resolved either partially or completely; but, also to notice whether new issues have arisen. Finally, the lessons learnt of relevance for other peace processes could be discerned. Peace audits of armed conflicts in South Asia tend to scrutinize only bilateral peace processes, either between countries, between the state and armed groups, or between the warring armed groups. It is arguable that regional and international efforts to usher peace in conflict zones should also be brought within the remit of peace audits.

Conclusions Could SAARC become the mediatory forum to spearhead the peace processes in South Asia to ameliorate external and internal armed conflicts? The belief that greater trade and economic cooperation can bring about peace is ingrained among strategic and foreign policy analysts. The case for economics shaping politics is strong. It bears mention that East Asia is much more integrated than South Asia. Intra-regional trade is over 50  per cent of its total trade and 30  per cent of regional GDP. But, in South Asia, intra-regional trade is 4 per cent of total trade and 2 per cent of regional GDP.20 It is generally believed, however, that SAARC is a weak vehicle to attempt conflict resolution. Its Charter (FN)21 is largely concerned with economic growth, social progress and cultural development. 20 Razeen Sally, ‘What can South Asia learn from East Asia?’, East Asia Forum, 23 January 2013, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2013/01/23/whatcan-south-asia-learn-from-east-asia/ (accessed on 26 January 2013). 21 For text of the Charter, see http://saarc-sdmc.nic.in/pdf/charter.pdf (accessed on 28 January 2013).

20  N  P. R. Chari

Though, it is also enjoined ‘to contribute to mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of one another’s problems’, but more significantly ‘to maintain peace in the region’. However the SAARC Charter [Article X] also mandates that ‘[d]ecisions at all levels shall be taken on the basis of unanimity’. Further, ‘[b]ilateral and contentious issues shall be excluded from the deliberations’. Nevertheless, the belief is ingrained that trade and economic cooperation can blunt the edges of security-led tensions and contentions. In our view, the problematique of armed conflicts in South Asia will have to be addressed more directly, and a military solution is only part of a package that includes mitigating the causes underlying these armed conflicts, which require internal political reforms. J

2 Afghanistan in Transition: Security and Political Developments in 2012 Mariam Safi

Withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan in 1989 was

accompanied by sudden withdrawal of support from the West, particularly that of the United States (US), leaving a power vacuum that became the very source of their return in 2001. The Soviet invasion (1979–89), followed by the Civil War (1992–96), and Taliban rule (1996–2001) had left Afghanistan’s infrastructure in utter shambles by 2001. The US-led allied military operations, launched in Afghanistan on 7 October 2001 to topple the Taliban for hosting the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, marked an end to the long international ennui with Afghanistan. Following the rapid removal of the Taliban regime, in an attempt to prevent the state from becoming a safe haven for terrorism again, the international community embarked on the most ambitious peace-building mission since the early 1990s. As such, the greatest dilemma that faced peacebuilders in 2001 was how to gather a peace-building consensus in such a fragmented and divided society. Consequently, in its hurried pursuit to build local consensus, a narrow coalition of local actors was co-opted and, under the pressure of United Nations (UN) and the US, an inter-group agreement was reached in 2001 in Bonn.1 Consequently, the objectives set out in Bonn, and the process and the strategies that have since followed, have predominantly reinforced the existing power relations instead of democratic reforms. Set against this backdrop, the current process of transition, which comprises a security and reconciliation process, is facing significant challenges. In 2012, while key international summits were held, commitments, ‘Agreement on Provisional Arrangements in Afghanistan Pending the Re-Establishment of Permanent Government Institutions’, Bonn, Germany, 22 December 2001. 1

22  N  Mariam Safi

pledges and agreements were made, and moreover, even a degree of success was witnessed in both security transition and peace processes, the year fundamentally did not redress any of the deep concerns or major questions that surrounded these processes. The 2012 Asia Foundation Report on Afghanistan revealed that 52 per cent of Afghans felt that the country was moving in the right direction compared to 46 per cent in 2011. This is representative of a positive increase in people’s overall perceptions about the political and economic environments and security. Interestingly, the slight improvement witnessed in the local attitudes towards the central government’s performance was also accompanied by a reduction in local sympathies towards the Taliban in 2012.2 Since 2007, the Asia Foundation has reported a gradual reduction in local sympathies for anti-government elements. In 2009, 56 per cent of the respondents were reported to have had some level of sympathy for the insurgency, in 2010, 40 per cent said they had sympathies, and in 2011 this reduced even further to 29 per cent.3 Alternatively, 81 per cent of those surveyed said that they supported the government’s national reconciliation efforts, and this support cut across all ethnic groups and regions in the country. In order to sustain this progress and improvement in local perceptions, the Afghan government and its international partners inked several key initiatives in 2012 — including the Strategic Partnership Agreement between the US and Afghanistan (bilateral commission set up to lay the groundwork for the Afghan–US Security Compact), the Chicago Summit Declaration on Afghanistan and the Tokyo Conference Declaration. Accompanying these building blocks have also emerged several barriers, some new and some old that have greatly influenced the security and political landscape in 2012. The most commonly cited reason, underlining both a sense of optimism and at the same time pessimism, has been the issue of security. While improvements in the security sector have been highlighted as a reason for optimism by those surveyed by The Asia Foundation, at the same time the dearth of security in many 2 Asia Foundation Annual Report, ‘Afghanistan in 2012: A Survey of the Afghan People’, The Asia Foundation, http://asiafoundation.org/ publications/pdf/1163 (accessed on 10 March 2014). 3 Asia Foundation Annual Report, ‘Afghanistan in 2011: A Survey of the Afghan People’, The Asia Foundation. http://asiafoundation.org/ publications/pdf/989 (accessed on 10 March 2014).

Afghanistan in Transition  N  23

regions has also been cited as a key reason for pessimism. This illustrates that security matters continues to remain a key concern and one of the ‘most significant factor in shaping Afghans’ assessment of progress in the country’.4 It seems that with every passing year the rhetoric used to define the international peace-building efforts in Afghanistan keeps changing in an attempt to portray a clearer and more inspiring direction, while in reality such efforts have become far vaguer and reports of their success have become further removed from ground realities. Both the security transition and the peace processes were introduced in 2010, scheduled to mark the end of the decade of transition while paving the road for the ‘decade of transformation’ (2014–24) to take its place. There still remain two more years (2012–14) till Afghanistan approaches a ‘critical juncture’5 in its history by regaining its sovereignty and assuming full ownership of its political, security and economic future. Until that time the Afghan government and its international partners will desperately attempt to produce success stories regardless of how realistic or sustainable they maybe in the long term. Though the year 2012 did witness its fair share of rhetoric, there were no significant breakthroughs in the security transition or peace process, but there were several new dilemmas are worth examining.

The Military Situation The last of the US troop surge of 30,000 soldiers left Afghanistan in September 2012, ahead of its scheduled deadline, bringing the total number of international troops to 100,000 with 68,000 US soldiers left. Following the drawdown of the troop surge, US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta, in a speech delivered in November of 2012, remarked that ‘the insurgency has been rolled back’, and that ‘in 2012, the process of transition took firm hold across the country’.6 Ibid. Vanda Felbab-Brown, ‘Afghanistan in 2012: Limited Progress and Threatening Future’, Asian Survey, 53(1), 2013, p. 22. 6 US Department of Defense, ‘The Fight Against Al Qaeda: Today and Tomorrow’, Centre for a New American Security, as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, Washington, DC, 20 November 2012, http://www.defense.gov/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=1737 (accessed on 12 November 2013). 4 5

24  N  Mariam Safi

He went further to assert that in light of this progress it would show that the US was on track in meeting two of its milestones  — one is that the Afghans will be in the lead throughout the country for security in mid-2013. And second, ‘Afghans will ultimately take full responsibility for security by the end of 2014’.7 Looking back at the level of violence, civilian and military casualties, the inability of the international community to address Afghanistan’s long-term security concerns, the capacity and equipment challenges faced by Afghan Security Forces and its implications on the security transition process, adoption of new destabilizing acts by the Taliban such as the use of Green-on-Blue (GOB) attacks — all represent a different image of ground reality than the one portrayed by Panetta.

Levels of Violence From 2007 onwards insecurity has been consistently identified as the ‘biggest problem facing Afghanistan as a whole’.8 Though compared to 2011, when over a third of the respondents (38 per cent) felt insecurity was the most challenging issue facing the country.9 In 2012 there was a slight decrease to 28 per cent.10 But as the idiom goes, the devil is in the details, compared to 2011, local perceptions indicate a decline in insecurity in some regions while others have remained quite constant. For instance, in 2012, the locals in the western, central (Hazarajat) and southeastern regions cited insecurity as a problem more than the respondents in other regions. And though the Asia Foundation Report illustrated this sense of insecurity, it predominantly came from experiences with ‘physical attacks or fighting occurring between neighbors or within families’.11 The number of respondents who identified insurgency-related attacks in 2012 was still the Asia Foundation’s highest record cited since 2007. This lead many analysts and observers to conclude that territories previously considered safe, such as Bamyan Province located in central Afghanistan, various parts of the North, and southern provinces such as Nimruz, were no longer safe.12 It has been suggested that Ibid. Asia Foundation Annual Report, ‘Afghanistan in 2012’, p. 29. 9 Asia Foundation Annual Report, ‘Afghanistan in 2011’. 10 Asia Foundation Annual Report, ‘Afghanistan in 2012’, p. 29. 11 Ibid., p. 13 12 Felbab-Brown, ‘Afghanistan in 2012’, p. 23. 7 8

Afghanistan in Transition  N  25

these provinces have either witnessed an increase in Taliban-related attacks or a stronger Taliban shadow government. Moreover, provinces that had enjoyed more stability in the past, such as Herat in the west, Balkh in the north and Nangarhar in the east, have steadily become more insecure in the last three years. Additionally, areas in the east have remained as the most intensely contested region for both NATO-led International Security Assistant Force (ISAF) and Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), where these forces are essentially finding themselves in a stalemate with the insurgency.13 Overall, the largest drop in violence has been in the southwest because of the consolidation of ISAF and ANSF control over Helmand while the situation in the west, south and east remains mixed. Other indicators that can help illustrate these levels of insecurity and represent their increase compared to previous years are the number of civilian and military casualties, figures for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and an assessment of opium cultivation in 2012.

Civilian and Military Casualties Levels of violence in Afghanistan increased between 2005 and 2010 while gradually decreasing in 2011 and 2012. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) annual report 2012 on ‘Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict’ shows that there was a 12 per cent reduction in civilian casualties compared to 2011.14 The report stressed that while there was a decrease in casualties, it still underscored the continuing high human costs of armed conflict in Afghanistan. In 2012 there were 7,559 civilian deaths with a slight increase in the number from the previous year at 4,805.15 Since 2007 there has been a total of 14,728 civilian casualties due to armed conflict in Afghanistan. This has been a great source of brewing resentment among the Afghan government and its international allies, as civilian casualties continue to hinder local support for international peace-building activities while further eroding the central government’s flagging legitimacy and credibility. Ibid. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Annual Report, ‘Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict’, 2012, p. 1. 15 Ibid. 13 14

26  N  Mariam Safi Figure 2.1: Annual Report of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Afghanistan16

4000 3000 2000

2118

2412

2790

3131

2754

1523

1000

0

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Of the 7,559 civilian causalities reported in 2012, 81  per cent have been attributed to the insurgency, marking a 9 per cent increase compared to the previous year. This provoked several statements from the Taliban leadership, which has also now adopted the hearts and minds campaign. In 2012, the Taliban released 53 public statements of which 25 focused on the protection of human rights and civilian casualties.17 Even in its 2012 spring offensive, titled Al Farooq, the insurgency articulated that ‘[t]he Taliban claimed that they will employ new and tested war tactics’, and that ‘top priority will be given to safeguarding the lives and wealth of civilians’.18 Fearing more anti-Taliban revolts, as was witnessed in Ghazni and in other areas in 2012, the Taliban has in the recent years been quick to deny any accusations that they have been responsible for civilian casualties. The UNAMA annual reports suggest that this apparent shift reflects a ‘heightened awareness by the Taliban leadership of a need to both show and address public concern for protection of Afghan civilians and support for a wider political objective related to the peace process and winning Afghan hearts and minds’.19 Nevertheless, instances of grisly killings, such as beheading of locals thought to be working Ibid., p. 2. UNAMA Annual Report 2012, p. 5. 18 Bill Roggio, ‘Taliban Announce start of Al Farooq Spring Offensive’, The Long War Journal, 2 May 2012, http://www.longwarjournal.org/ archives/2012/05/taliban_announce_beg_1.php (accessed on 12 November 2013). 19 UNAMA Annual Report 2012, p. 5. 16 17

Afghanistan in Transition  N  27

with the Afghan government or international community, show that the situation on the ground has not changed.20 Similar to previous years, in 2012 once again it became apparent that NATO was not winning the war with the insurgency and nor was the transition process producing effective results. In fact, the level of violence that should have reduced in the aftermath of the troop surge, meant to stabilize the country and push back the insurgency, has actually increased compared to pre-surge violence levels in 2009. The number of enemy-initiated attacks (EIAs), the chief metric used by NATO to measure violence, was higher in 2012 compared to 2009. The EIAs hit a peak in 2010, as expected because of the surge, and therefore in October 2012 violence was 26  per cent lower compared to 2010.21 But, when comparing the EIA figures of 2012 with that of 2009, the former remained extremely high; this not only provides a more realistic reflection of the security environment on the ground but also places doubt on the supposed achievements of the surge itself. In hindsight, civilian casualties in 2012 also showed a decline compared to previous years. But this was only representative of the first half of the year, which showed 1,145 civilian casualties, compared to 3,021 in 2011. However, the decline in civilian casualties in the first five months of 2012 picked up between July and December to levels that surpassed the same period in 2011 marking a 13 per cent increase.22 The report showed 1,590 casualties from September to December.23 Moreover, targeted killings of pro-government elements had also increased in 2012 to 53 per cent.24 20 Graham Bowley, ‘Beheadings Raise Doubts that Taliban have changed’, New York Times, 23 February 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/24/ world/asia/beheadings-in-afghanistan-are-grim-reminder-of-extremes-oftaliban-law.html (accessed on 26 November 2013). 21   Thomas Joscelyn, ‘ISAF Analysis shows Afghan Violence remains worse than before Surge’, The Long War Journal, 26 November 2012, http:// www.defenddemocracy.org/media-hit/isaf-analysis-shows-afghan-violenceremains-worse-than-before-surge/ (accessed on 26 November 2013). 22 UNAMA Annual Report 2012, p. 3. 23 ‘UN reports 28% increase in Afghan Civilian Casualties’, Khaama Press, 14 December 2012, http://www.khaama.com/un-reports-28-increase-inafghan-civilian-casualties-2058 (accessed on 20 November 2013). 24 Susan G. Chesser, ‘Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians’, Congressional Research Service, 6 December 2012.

28  N  Mariam Safi

The continued presence of insecurity has also been a key factor influencing migration patterns. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) armed conflict has been an instigator of mass displacement, with the total number of Afghans displaced by conflict rising annually since 2007. In 2012, there were an estimated 100,400 new IDPs, which according to IDMC was caused by ‘continuing armed conflict, high civilian casualties, increased abuses by non-state armed groups and pervasive conflictrelated violence’.25 IDMC has noted that the rise in IDPs includes the actions of all parties in the conflict including the Afghan government and international military forces. The US troop surge in particular led to large-scale displacements in southern Afghanistan. Moreover, night raids and air strikes have been cited as military tactics that have not only destroyed homes and agricultural land but have also fuelled displacement across the country.26 Abuses by the Afghan Local Police (ALP) are thought to have contributed to displacement levels in both the north and the south.27 On the other hand, nonstate armed groups including the insurgency, local militia groups and powerbrokers have also driven internal displacement. The insurgencies’ use of improvised explosive devices, targeted killings, attacks on schools and hospitals, and forced recruitment have increasingly contributed to IDP levels in 2012. Moreover, insecurity levels have also been a determining factor in the production of opium, which acts as both a cause and a source of insecurity. Production of opium in 2012 comprised 75 per cent of the global crop. Though, compared to previous years when it had reached 90 per cent, a deeper look would reveal that while production had dropped by a third in 2012, cultivation rose by 18 per cent nationwide between 2011 and 2012.28 The primary reason cited for the drop has been ‘plant blight’29 — the crop yields reduced while Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, ‘Afghanistan Comprehensive Response urgently required as Displacement Crises Worsens’, Norwegian Refugee Council, 25 March 2013. 26 Ibid., p. 5. 27 Ibid. 28 Alissa Rubin, ‘Opium Cultivation Rose this year in Afghanistan, UN Survey shows’, New York Times, 20 November 2012, http://www.nytimes. com/2012/11/21/world/asia/afghan-opium-cultivation-rose-in-2012-unsays.html?_r=0 (accessed on 26 November 2013). 29 Ibid. 25

Afghanistan in Transition  N  29

cultivation rose due to high prices. In 2012, the production of opium fell primarily in the south while increasing in the northern, western and eastern provinces with some previously poppy-free provinces becoming new zones for poppy cultivation and thus losing their poppy-free status.30 The fall in opium production in the south has been due to the high number of foreign troops in this region and the placement of the US troop surge that remained in Helmand and Kandahar provinces. This has led many analysts to predict higher opium cultivation levels for 2013 as both the US troop surge will come to end and NatO will begin withdrawing troops. The Afghan government and its international allies’ attempts at curbing opium cultivation continue to fail for a number of reasons, such as the growth of production in insecure areas that NATO and ANSF are unable to penetrate, corruption within the Afghan government and specifically its security sector, the re-emergence of patronage networks, and the Taliban’s reliance on opium productions which they tax in areas under their control. Zarar Ahmand Muqbil, the Afghan Counter Narcotic Minister believes that in 2012 the Taliban earned approximately US$ 155 million from poppy production.

The International Communities’ Reluctance in Addressing Afghanistan’s Long-term Security Challenges On 1 May 2012, US President Barack Obama announced that the country had signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) with Afghanistan. The agreement — which spelt out the relationship of US with Afghanistan beyond 2014 covering security, economics and governance issues  — had been signed after 18 months of negotiation between the two governments. However, the agreement still remained limited in scope. While much detail concerning political and economic support and cooperation were discussed, there were no substantive security commitments made by the US. Many observed that the agreement ‘[did] not commit the United States to any specific troop presence or spending’.31 Others suggested that the Obama 30 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, ‘Afghanistan Opium Survey 2012’, http://www.unodc.org/documents/crop-monitoring/Afghanistan/ Summary_Findings_FINAL.pdf (accessed on 10 March 2014). 31   Ben Feller, ‘Obama, Karzai Sing US–Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement’, Huffington Post, 1 May 2012, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

30  N  Mariam Safi

administration, itself in the midst of an election campaign, felt it would be more manageable to create two agreements, one outlining US political and economic support post-2014, and the other detailing security commitments post-2014. Thus the SPA did not address the role the US military would assume post-2014, or whether they would engage in counter-terrorism operations, carry out unilateral or joint attacks, what level presence would remain of the US troops, or what kind of military aid could Afghanistan expect post-2014. Particularly with relation to aid, the international community only gave ‘detailed plans for future levels of support to Afghan forces at the time of President Obama’s speech’32 that followed the signing of the SPA. This is despite the Afghan government’s efforts during the Bonn II Conference held in 2011 where it had made clear its requirements for US$120 billion in military and civil aid through 2020. In an announcement to the American public from Kabul, after the signing of the SPA, Obama asserted that US objectives in Afghanistan were as follows: over the last three years, the tide has turned. We broke the Taliban’s momentum. We’ve built strong Afghan security forces. We devastated al Qaeda’s leadership, taking out over 20 of their top 30 leaders. And one year ago, from a base here in Afghanistan, our troops launched the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. The goal that I set — to defeat al Qaeda and deny it a chance to rebuild — is now within our reach . . . tonight, I’d like to tell you how we will complete our mission and end the war in Afghanistan.33

The key initiative that Obama highlighted during his speech was the transition process and how it would facilitate the completion of the US mission in Afghanistan, ‘nearly half of the Afghan people live in places where Afghan security forces are moving into the lead’,34 he proclaimed. He followed this by explaining that the US would remove its remaining 23,000 troops, which would be accompanied 2012/05/01/obama-karzai-strategic-partnership-agreement_n_1468825. html (accessed on 20 November). 32 Anthony Cordesman and A. Arleigh Burke, ‘Afghanistan from 2012– 2014: Is a Successful Transition Possible?’, Center for Strategic and International Studies, p. 4, 19 June 2012. 33 Ibid., p. 3. 34 Ibid.

Afghanistan in Transition  N  31

by the gradual reduction of other NATO-allied forces, leading to a full transference of security responsibility to the Afghan government by 2014 while the international community assumes a more supportive role. In his speech Obama made it clear that a timeline was needed to ‘wind down the war’ as its priorities were not to ‘build a country in America’s image or to eradicate every vestige of the Taliban’ but to destroy al Qaeda, which the US believed it had accomplished to a certain extent with the death of Osama bin Laden. Obama’s vision marked a significant shift in American thinking that has gone from the ambitious nation-building priorities of the Bush era, that aimed at transforming Afghan polity to a liberal democracy, to now only focusing on achieving some basic pillars of good governance in the hope that it alone will be enough in preventing Afghanistan from being used as a haven for international terrorism. President Obama’s latest definition of transition was far more modest than the ambitious goals for transformation and regional stability the US and its allies initially set in 2002, and it still left many of the key aspects of transition undefined.35

The only significant clarification made by Obama was that the end of transition would not mean the termination of long-term US support, though debates on what shape or how deep that support would go were left unadressed. Exit strategies are an ongoing preoccupation of the international community in peace-building missions. This creates a dilemma peacebuilders often find themselves in, in post-conflict countries, where on the one hand they increasingly accept that a comprehensive and effective post-war reconstruction and state-building effort requires long-term security and financial commitments, on the other hand they also note that these efforts must almost never remain openended and thus require deadlines. Thus, the pervasiveness of looming withdrawal dates, combined with the short-term and project-based cultures of most donor countries and organizations, produces pressures for rapid achievement and concrete deliverables that cannot be met under such conditions. Therefore, the international community opts to measure success in post-war peace-building missions in quantitative terms instead of qualitative. Consequently, neither the 35

Ibid., p. 4.

32  N  Mariam Safi

SPA nor President Obama’s speech actually define the benchmarks for successful transitioning qualitative terms. Furthermore, the international community has started to increasingly refrain from setting benchmarks, such as the defeat of the Taliban and other insurgent groups or call for the total elimination of all forms of terrorist presence. It also left various other critical dimensions of the transition process unaddressed, such as the question of insurgent safe havens or the presence of al Qaeda in Pakistan, US–Pakistan relations and what direction the war on terror paradigm was going to taking vis‑à‑vis regional stability in the post-2014 environment. Similarly, the NATO Chicago Conference that followed shortly after also only provided vague guidelines and very little in terms of concrete commitments on future assistance for the ANSF or how the Afghan government would be able to finance its military after the decline in foreign aid. The Chicago Summit held on 21 May 2012, produced ‘general principles’ that reinforced the international communities’ commitments made in the Kabul Conference in 2010, the Istanbul Process in November 2011 and the Bonn Conference in December 2011. It also added to the pressure on the Afghan government to meet the international communities’ calls for firm action against corruption, adherence to good governance, more efforts in promoting human rights particularly that of women, and for a transparent and credible electoral process to be convened. The general principles stressed that ‘continued progress towards these goals would encourage ISAF nations to further provide their support up to and beyond 2014’.36 Reemphasis was placed on the Lisbon Summit declaration, which commenced the transition process in July 2011 pointing to President Karzai’s announcement to begin the third wave of transition on 13  May 2012. Recognizing this progress, the Chicago Summit declared that ISAF would gradually draw down forces to complete its mission by 31 December 2014. Additionally, regarding NATO’s role beyond 2014, the Chicago Summit declared that it would shift from combat to training, advising and assistance mission. Concerning the vital question of how to sustain the ANSF, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, ‘Chicago Summit Declaration on Afghanistan’, issued by the Heads of State and Government of Afghanistan and Nations contributing to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). 36

Afghanistan in Transition  N  33

the international community pledged an annual budget of US$ 4.1 billion. However, as the Afghan economy will grow it is assumed that a greater share of financing will be required for the ANSF. The international community deemed that Afghanistan’s financial contribution to the ANSF would increase from US$ 500 million in 2015 to assuming full financial responsibility by 2024.37 Furthermore, the size of ANSF forces will also be reduced from its peak of 352,000 in 2014 to 228,500 in the next three years. Overall, the Chicago conference fell short of providing ‘any credible plan for the development of such forces or for funding their development’38 and whether ‘adequate numbers of qualified trainers and partners would be provided over time’.39 While the international community was busy making commitments and pledges with post-2014 in mind, on the ground the transition process was facing real-time challenges. By 2012, the Afghan National Army (ANA) was still struggling to become self-sufficient, and with two years left until complete NATO withdrawal, many feel it was not a sufficient amount of time to build a local force, which under normal circumstances would take a decade to develop. In 2012, the ANSF was witnessing astounding attrition rate amounting to 63,000 recruits leaving each year.40 Such high rates would have dire consequences for NATO’s exit strategy and in return can discredit the commitments and pledges made earlier on as they may not be enough. Moreover, it would hinder the Afghan government’s ability to secure its own territory against terrorism and various other illicit networks that have emerged in the last 12 years. Yet, instead of addressing the causes for pushing recruits out of the ANSF, the Afghan government and its NATO partners are accelerating recruitment so as to keep transition on track and ahead of schedule. Colonel Stanikzai, a senior official at the Afghan Army’s National Recruiting Center, expressively sums up this process in The New York Times, Ibid. Cordesman and Burke, ‘Afghanistan from 2012–2014’, p. 4. 39 Ibid. 40 ‘NATO Alarm over Afghan Army Crisis: Loss of Recruits threatens Security as hand over looms, The Independent, 31 March 2013, http:// www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/nato-alarm-over-afghan-armycrisis-loss-of-recruits-threatens-security-as-handover-looms-8555238.html (accessed on 20 November 2013). 37 38

34  N  Mariam Safi

stating ‘[r]ecruitment, it’s like a machine’, he said, ‘[i]f you stopped, it would collapse’.41

ANSF Challenges and its Implications on the Security Transition Process The Afghan government introduced the third phase of its security transition process in May 2012, which saw the complete transition of 122 districts, all provincial capitals and some provinces including Parwan, Kapisa and Uruzgan from NATO-led ISAF to Afghan security forces. The third phase took six months to complete and as of October 2012, 75  per cent of the Afghan population was now under the control of the Afghan government. An interesting element of the third phase has been its inclusion of all provincial capitals, for instance 20 out of 34 provinces that had not previously witnessed any transition were now handed over. This step did give the process a truly national scope, though it has been supported by the expansion of the ANA and Afghan National Party (ANP), which exceeded their growth targets. As of May 2012, NATO reported that the ANA had reached its target of 195,000 six months ahead of time, while the ANP had reached 149,208 of its 157,000 target.42 Overall, the ANSF has grown from 276,000 in June 2011 to 340,000 in June 2012, which is remarkable. Although it cannot be refuted that the ANSF has achieved some real military gains in several areas, with more and more ANA units getting high performance ratings from NATO and the US Department of Defense (DOD). This means that more ANA units are operating ‘independently with advisors’ and that ‘a unit was capable of executing the full spectrum of its missions without assistance from coalition forces’.43 Similarly, the ANP and many of its branches, such as the Afghan Uniform Police 41 Rod Nordland, ‘Afghan Army’s Turnover Threatens U.S. Strategy’, The New York Times, 15 October 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/ 10/16/world/asia/afghan-armys-high-turnover-clouds-us-exit-plan. html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (accessed on 26 November 2013). 42 United States Government Accountability Office, ‘Afghanistan Security: Long-standing Challenges may affect Progress Sustainment of Afghan National Security Forces’, Testimony before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Armed Services, Committee, House of Representatives, 24 July 2012. 43 Ibid.

Afghanistan in Transition  N  35

(AUP), Afghan Border Police (ABP), and the Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP), have taken great strides and shown considerable effectiveness in paramilitary roles.44 However, serious concern about the long-term operational capabilities of the ANSF continues to alarm local and international NGOs, security analysts and civil society members. The long-term challenges facing the ANSF concern broader issues related to funding, ministry capabilities and factionalism within the ANSF. First, the Afghan government’s ability to deal with manning and cost of the ANSF remains unclear. In 2012, the Afghan government received over US$11 billion, which is expected to decrease to US$5.6 billion in 2013, and further planned aid, which was initially set at US$7–9 billion in 2011, was dropped to US$4.1 billion as of May 2012.45 Afghanistan will begin to face cuts in economic aid that presently amounts to almost seven times its domestic revenue. This has left many worried that Afghanistan may slip into a recession in 2014 and afterwards.46 The World Bank predicts that while the domestic revenues in Afghanistan will continue to rise it will be outbalanced by a much greater rise in operating costs.47 The Afghan Ministries of Defense (MoD) and of the Interior (MoI), that oversee both the ANA and ANP, continue to be dependent on NATO for support as it lacks expertise, is highly fractionalized, is faced with increasing attrition rates, corruption and inadequate equipment.48 The International Crisis Group reported ‘analyses of the defence and interior ministries indicate that neither meets the standard of independence or competence in any category and that in several key areas they have not progressed at all’.49 Ethnic and patronage fractionalization is another significant threat facing both the ANA and ANP. This has been a result of the majority of the upper echelons of MoD and MoI being occupied by individuals who are both close to their retirement age and have built their positions on the basis of patronage networks. Cordesman and Burke, ‘Afghanistan from 2012–2014’, p. 10. Ibid. 46 Ibid., p. 17. 47 Ibid. 48 United States Government Accountability Office, ‘Afghanistan Security’. 49 International Crisis Group, ‘Afghanistan: The Long, Hard Road to the 2014 Transition’, Asia Report, no. 236, 8 October 2012, p. 17. 44 45

36  N  Mariam Safi

The prevalence of patronage networks has prevented the development of an effective leadership among the younger officers. This has in turn impacted the rank-and-file morale among non-commissioned officers (NCOs) who are left to balance between poor leadership and resentments and rivalries from those under their command.50 It can be argued that this has in turn created the space for Taliban to infiltrate into the ANSF, which witnessed a sharp increase in 2012. The short-term challenges that face the ANSF concern the more practical issues related to attrition levels, impeding corruption, significant shortages in equipment and logistics capacity, drug use, and threats. In 2012, attrition rates in the army stood between 7 to 10 per cent according to Brigadier General Dawlat Waziri, the deputy spokesman for MoD. Interestingly, in spite of providing better salaries for soldiers, as was repeated cited as the best means to mitigate the desertion rate and entice soldiers to re-enlist, only 75  per cent of those who deserted actually took advantage of the pay hike and returned.51 Additionally, corruption within the ANSF, particularly within MoI and ANP ranks, has had critical implications both on the attrition rates and on the credibility and legitimacy of the ANP among the public. In discussion with a former soldier who left his battalion with the First Brigade in Kabul just six months after joining, The New York Times revealed that the lack of accountability, and corruption in the ANSF, are the key reasons pushing attrition rates. ‘If they had accountability, it wouldn’t be such a bad army. But after I joined, I saw the situation was all about corruption. The officers are too busy stealing the money to defeat the insurgents’,52 exclaimed the solider. Also, the shortage of equipment due to theft or the mere absence of modern equipment particularly in the Afghan Air Force has been repeatedly highlighted by the ANSF. The Chief of Army Staff General Sher Mohammad Karimi feels that more assistance from the international community is needed to strengthen military capabilities so to enable the ANSF to fight the insurgency and also defend its territory from regional threats. ‘The ANA should be further equipped to compete with armies in neighboring and regional countries, not Ibid. Nordland, ‘Afghan Army’s Turnover’. 52 Ibid. 50 51

Afghanistan in Transition  N  37

for the purpose of invasion, but for defending their soil’.53 Illiteracy levels among soldiers and police is another challenge that continues to be pervasive amongst the ANSF despite NATO’s Training Mission-Afghanistan’s efforts to provide literacy training for roughly 198,000 ANSF soldiers. Lastly, the use of drugs by the police has become widespread and is extremely disturbing. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) suggests that more than half of all Afghans have reported seeing police using drugs.54 This has greatly attributed to the ANP’s dwindling credibility. Some experts argue that the ANP not only lacks ‘significant anti-crime capacity’55 but it is even a ‘perpetrator of crime’56 itself. While the ANSF is perceived to be capable enough to prevent any Taliban takeover in the post-2014 period, it clearly does not have the capability to root it out. Therefore, Afghans may continue to witness a cycle of continuous conflict for years to come if these pervasive challenges are not addressed before the fourth and fifth phases of transition begin and Afghans approach 2014. Hence, whereas ANA and ANP are now participating in at least 90 per cent of all NATO operations, and leading some 40 per cent of operations themselves, these operations have been characterized as less challenging. The real fighting is set to take place in the last phases of transition in the volatile eastern border regions. The dilemmas faced by the ANSF highlights a ‘gap between the ability of outside peace-builders to establish new institutions and their ability to make these institutions both effective and legitimate’.57 This is argued to an outcome of external capacity-building initiatives that are insufficiently tailored to local needs and thus give rise to deep challenges in the processes ‘Afghan Air Force needs Modern Equipment: Karimi’, Pajhwok Afghan News, 31 May 2012, http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2012/05/31/afghan-airforce-needs-modern-equipment-karimi (accessed on 20 November 2013). 54 United Nations Development Programme Afghanistan, ‘Rehabilitating Police Officers in Afghanistan’, February 2011, http://www.undp.org.af/ undp/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=164:rehabil itating-police-officers-in-afghanistan&catid=38:crisis-prevention-andrecovery&Itemid=53 (accessed on 20 November 2013). 55 Felbab-Brown, ‘Afghanistan in 2012’, p. 25. 56 Ibid. 57 Timothy Donais, ‘Empowerment or Imposition? Dilemmas of Local Ownership in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding Processes’, Peace and Change, 34 (1), 1 January 2009, p. 16. 53

38  N  Mariam Safi

of reconstituting and reorienting domestic security forces.58 As such, it creates ‘rootless institutions’59 that are unable to integrate into the political culture of the post-war state as in the case of Afghanistan.

Taliban Spring Offensive and the Rise in Green-onBlue Attacks The Taliban announced their spring offensive ‘Al Farooq’ in May 2012 following the beginning of the third phase of transition. In their offensive they identified foreign and Afghan security forces, local political and government officials, the High Peace Council (HPC), and anti-Taliban militias as their targets. The use of Green-on-Blue (GOB) attacks, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and targeted killings have predominantly defined Al Farooq’s operations. Attacks on coalition forces by Taliban infiltrators in the ranks of the ANSF have been increasing over the past two years (2011–12), with 13 per cent of coalition deaths attributed to GOB in 2012.60 Amongst coalition forces, GOB attacks have caused a total of 104 casualties and have left 86 wounded from 2007 till August 2012.61 Forty coalition personnel had been killed and 69 others wounded in these attacks till August 2012. Over the same period in 2011, 16 GOB attacks resulted in the deaths of 28 foreign troops, wounding 43 other.62 The rise in GOB attacks has had a considerable impact on NATO’s military strategy. In February 2012, Commander of NATOled ISAF, General John Allen announced the removal of all foreign advisers from Afghan ministries. Moreover, he called on all troops at the NATO headquarters in Kabul and bases across the country to carry loaded weapons at all times. Most importantly, GOB attacks Ibid., p. 15. Ibid. 60 Bill Roggio and Lisa Lundquist, ‘Green-on-Blue Attacks in Afghanistan: The Data’, Long War Journal, 23 August 2012, http://www.longwarjournal. org/archives/2012/08/green-on-blue_attack.php (accessed on 20 November 2013). 61 New America Foundation, ‘Attacks on U.S. and NATO Soldiers by Afghan Security Forces’, http://newamericafoundation.github.com/security/ maps/afghanistan.html (accessed on 26 November 2013). 62 Tyrone C. Marshall Jr, ‘Insider Attacks Mask Full Afghan Story, Little Says’, American Forces Press Service, 20 August 2012, http://www.defense. gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=117561 (accessed on 26 November 2013). 58 59

Afghanistan in Transition  N  39

have eroded the trust and morals between foreign forces and the ANSF. The increased use of IEDs, which have continued to be the preferred choice of operation by the Taliban, has accounted for majority of military and civilian casualties in Afghanistan. Targeted killings of local political and security figures have also remained a key tactic of foreign forces. In 2011, the Taliban killed the head of the HPC and former Afghan President Burhannudin Rabbani and the insurgency killed Arsala Rahmani, member of the HPC and former minister of higher education in the Taliban regime. Additionally, in December 2012, the insurgency also launched an attack on the head of the National Directorate of Security, Asadullah Khalid, who survived but was seriously injured. The insurgency have also led a series of highly coordinated attacks, at times with multiple targets covering a wider range of areas, showing that their determination and resilience has not been hampered. The attack on Camp Bastion in Helmand province was one such example, hailed as the deadliest enemy attack on NATO since 2001, having destroyed six US Harrier strike aircrafts while causing damage to others, killing two ISAF soldiers and wounding another eight. Despite the insurgencies’ persistent attempts at destabilizing security, whether through its summer offensive or other strategies, the ANSF has been able to end the attacks promptly. However, while the ANSF can fight and win the battles at the tactical level they still lack the capabilities to fight and win campaigns.63

The Peace and Reconciliation Process The peace and reconciliation strategy, launched by the Afghan government in 2010 was intended to facilitate the security transition process by adopting a political strategy to accompany military efforts. This process was initially introduced by US President Barack Obama in his ‘Afghanistan–Pakistan strategy’ in 2009 that identified reconciliation as a possible means to end a conflict the US was beginning to acknowledge it was losing. Thus the London Conference on Afghanistan held in January 2010 set in motion a peace process that encouraged Taliban fighters to accept the Afghan constitution, renounce violence and break ties with al Qaeda. In June 63

Felbab-Brown, ‘Afghanistan in 2012’, 2013, p. 25.

40  N  Mariam Safi

2010, the Afghan government held the National Consultative Peace Jirga (NCPJ) that brought together over 1,600 delegates to debate and discuss a plan of action for the Afghan government to end the conflict. The result was a plan that laid out the first steps in a formal peace process in Afghanistan. The peace process was to take place on two levels  — reconciliation and reintergation. Reconciliation was meant to represent high-level negotiations between the Taliban movement leaders, the government and the international community and be more strategic in its approach; while reintegration represented low-level disarmament efforts to entice foot soldiers with job programmes and other economic incentives and was more tactical in its approach. The entire process was to be led by the HPC, a body of 70 appointed members of whom nine being women. In addition to overseeing the whole process they were also responsible for the reconciliation efforts. In 2012 the peace and reconciliation initiative entered its second year and brought with it significant news, ranging from an agreement reached with the Taliban on the opening of a political office in Qatar to US–Taliban talks on possible transference of prisoners from Guantanamo to Qatar, and the commencement of official talks between the Taliban and Afghan government. Various reports and comments by Afghan officials and former Taliban members in Kabul affirmed that a delegation of five members of the insurgency had been sent to Qatar. However, their participation did not signify the commencement of negotiations but rather acted as a confidence-building measure that could lead to negotiations. The Taliban requested the release of five Taliban members kept in Guantanamo Bay by the US, which included Mulla Fazal Akhund, Noorullah Noori, Abdul Haq Waseeq, Khairullah Khairkhwa, and Mohammad Nabi. The transference of these prominent Taliban members would have signalled the most significant overture on the part of the US in its efforts to facilitate a political settlement with the insurgency. ‘Currently there are no peace talks going on’,64 exclaimed Maulavi Qalamuddin, the former Taliban minister of vice and virtue who is now a member of the HPC. He did, however, affirm that the Taliban were in Qatar Alissa Rubin, ‘Former Taliban Officials Say U.S. Talks Started’, The New York Times, 28 January 2012, http://mobygroup.com/moby-mediaupdate/mmu-archives-2012/220-mmu-former-taliban-officials-say-us-talksstarted-29-january-2012 (accessed on 20 November 2013). 64

Afghanistan in Transition  N  41

and were in fact looking to negotiate the release of prisoners with various stakeholders in Doha. But, this overture later faltered as the Taliban suggested that the US was unable to meet its requests. However, some observers argue that President Karzai felt removed from the peace process as some in the Afghan government believed the process was being hijacked by the US, with the clandestine support of Pakistan. Thus some local analysts suggested that in order to reassert his administration’s ownership over the peace process Karzai prevented the negotiation of prisoners from taking root. We must recall that in 2011 the Taliban rejected talking with the Afghan government and instead looked towards the West as a better stakeholder to negotiate its demands with. Thus, Karzai’s comments to the Wall Street Journal — ‘there have been contacts between the US government and the Taliban, there have been contacts between the Afghan government and the Taliban, and there have been some contacts that we have made, all of us together, including the Taliban’65 — were seen as the move that lead to the Taliban stepping out of preliminary talks. This, combined with the US government’s lagging will to release the Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo, ended what was a short-lived achievement in the reconciliation efforts. Despite this setback, the peace process continued to witness another track of talks such as the official participation of the Taliban in various international forums. Moreover, the Afghan government and its external partners continued holding trilateral and bilateral meetings just to get the peace process back on track. By the end of the year, Karzai was also able to reassert his control of the peace process with a new ‘Peace Process Roadmap for 2015’. Overall, talks with the insurgency continued behind closed doors throughout 2012, despite the reinstatement of official negotiations.

Taliban Participation in International Forums Debating Afghanistan’s Future For the first time in 12 years the Taliban insurgency officially took part in two conferences discussing Afghanistan’s future. While the Taliban denied any reports determining their participation to be a Yaroslav Trofimov and Matt Murray, ‘U.S., Afghans in Taliban Talks’, The Wall Street Journal, 16 February 2012, http://online.wsj.com/article/ SB10001424052970204792404577225593694847990.html (accessed on 20 November 2013). 65

42  N  Mariam Safi

sign of commencement of formal talks, many observers argued that these forums were the building blocks that led to the possible reinstatement of talks. The first conference was held in Kyoto, Japan in June 2012. Japan has remained both a significant donor of the peace process and also an ally of the Afghan government. The conference was organized by the Doshisha University and was attended by Qari Din Mohammad, a former minister of planning in the Taliban regime ousted in 2001 and a current member of the Taliban political office, and Masoom Stanikzai, head of the Joint Secretariat for the High Peace Council. During the conference Qari Din Mohammad and members of the Afghan government and the academic community discussed steps towards peace and reconciliation. Qari Mohammad used the Kyoto stage to clarify the insurgencies’ positions concerning the talks, stating that they would resume only when the US meets its promises of swapping prisoners and withdrawing all foreign troops from Afghanistan in 2014.66 The second was the Paris Conference held in France in December 2012, which included Taliban representatives Mawlawi Shahabuddin Dilawar and Dr Muhammad Naeem, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezbe-Islami, whose headquarters are in France, besides members of the Afghan parliament and civil society and figures representing the political opposition in Afghanistan. During the Conference the insurgency articulated its concerns and conditions for re-entering negotiations, which were more detailed than those discussed in Kyoto. The Taliban representatives explained their reluctance in accepting the Afghan constitution as it stands. Dilawar and Dr Naeem made it clear at the Paris Conference that they rejected Afghanistan’s constitution and the upcoming April 2014 elections because ‘these were being implemented while Afghanistan was still under invasion’.67 Although the experts call the Taliban participation in the forums as depicting a softer image of the insurgency and their willingness to eventually reach a settlement stakeholder. It can be recalled that the Taliban has been trying to consolidate a softer image since 2010. Exemplary of this are their Eid sermons that place more emphasis on the protection 66 Adam Westlake, ‘Taliban Representative joins Afghan Government Official in Japan’s Peace Forum’, The Japan Daily Press, 28 June 2012. 67 Saba Imtia, ‘The Outcomes of the Taliban/Paris Meeting on Afghanistan’, Al Jazeera Center for Studies, http://studies.aljazeera.net/en/reports/2013/ 01/2013124111354190395.htm (accessed on 20 November 2013).

Afghanistan in Transition  N  43

of civilians during combat; highlighting the importance of preserving education; committing to protecting women’s rights, though under Islamic principles; promoting national interests; focusing on development and reconstruction projects; and asserting their willingness to share power with all ethnic groups.68 However, the Taliban’s new narrative can also be simply regarded as a strategy to stretch out negotiations leading to the withdrawal of NATO forces by 2014.

Trilateral and Bilateral Meetings and Agreements The Afghan government and its international partners engaged in several bilateral, multilateral and international meetings where the importance of reconciliation and reintegration was reinforced as a ‘key to a peace and stable Afghanistan’.69At the Chicago Summit, President Karzai articulated his administrations’ continued efforts in pursing peace and reconciliation, stressing upon Pakistan’s importance to cooperate in bringing the Taliban leadership to the negotiation table, and asserting that irrespective of regional and international cooperation all countries must respect the process as being Afghan-owned and led. The conference was followed by the first of two trilateral meetings between UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Pakistani premier Raja Pervez Asharf and President Karzai. The first meeting which was held in Kabul on 19 July resulted in all three countries resuming meetings on the two-track Peace Commission, which was suspended in 2011 after the Chairman of the HPC Burhanuddin Rabbani was killed and it was suggested that the planning of the attack took place in Taliban’s safe havens in Pakistan. The second trilateral meeting was held two months later on 22 September at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, in which Karzai, Cameron and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari were present. Emanating from this meeting was a reaffirmation on the part of Pakistan to continue to work towards regional peace while promoting an intra-Afghan dialogue. Another key outcome of the trilateral meetings was the opening of dialogue between the HPC and Pakistan, Message of Felicitation of the Esteemed Amir-ul-Momineen on the Occasion of Eid-ul-fitre, 16 August 2012. 69 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, ‘Chicago Summit Declaration on Afghanistan’, issued by the Heads of State and Government of Afghanistan and nations contributing to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), 21 May 2012. 68

44  N  Mariam Safi

which had been in stalemate since September 2011. Thus, on 12 November 2012 the HPC, led by its newly appointed Chairman Salahuddin Rabbani, visited Islamabad, resulting in a joint statement that reinforced the principles drawn by the HPC and President Karzai’s administration in their new roadmap for 2015.

Taking Back Ownership of the Afghan Peace Process Thus far the reintegration component of the peace process has been relatively successful, having vetted over 5,000 insurgents causing a wedge in the hierarchical structure of the insurgency. The reconciliation component, on the other hand, has had fewer tangible results. However, in November 2012 the HPC roadmap to 2015, which had been leaked, illustrated a rigorous plan on part of Afghan officials to bring the Taliban to the negotiation table and taking back ownership of the process on their terms. Some observers even suggested that some of the principles in the roadmap have already been implemented without any disruptions. The roadmap, which outlined a five-step process to ‘achieving a peaceful resolution of the conflict involving the Taliban and other armed opposition groups’,70 is premised on a series of assumptions, objectives and timelines. There are three broad goals in the roadmap and include ensuring Pakistan’s collaboration in the peace process through a more comprehesive role for Pakistan which to its satisfaction is more extensive than ever before; designating the Afghan government and HPC as main stakeholders in launching formal direct negotiations with the Taliban and for creating the space necessary for the inclusion of the Taliban within the power structures of the state though both elected and non-elected positions; and, lastly a request to the Taliban to accept the invitation for entering formal talks, agree on a ceasefire, and transform their armed groups into political movements that would ensure support for existing Afghan government institutions. Efforts to implement the roadmap were quick to come, as Rabbani presented it to Pakistan during the HPC delegation meeting and Pakistan agreed to increasing cooperation, releasing Taliban prisoners and ensuring safe passage for those Taliban members willing to negotiate. These objectives rest on a High Peace Council, ‘Peace Process Roadmap to 2015’, November 2012. 70

Afghanistan in Transition  N  45

series of assumptions that retain that by 2015 the Taliban will give up armed opposition, NATO-led ISAF will have withdrawn leaving only the ANSF as the legitimate armed force in the country and that Pakistan will agree to fully cooperate. Additionally, the roadmap also diminishes the role of the US while giving Pakistan a more central one; though the influence of the US in shaping the terms for negotiations still remains, it is particularly limited to ensuring that human rights are not grossly violated. Some observers argue that this roadmap has already been implemented with its first steps being the establishment of the US–Pakistan Joint Commission on reconciliation, which was followed by the release of 18 Taliban prisoners by Pakistan. Furthermore, the Afghan government also released approximately 80 Taliban prisoners in an effort to demonstrate its sincerity towards negotiations. However, many observers continue to remain sceptical suggesting that ‘for a conflict in its twelfth year with no letup in violence, a roadmap to peace sounds too good to be true’.71 As 2012 approached its end, it was still too early to determine Taliban’s intentions concerning peace talks. Conversely, in view of the rise in attacks in the last quarter of the year it would lead some to argue that not much has changed in their position. This paradox has created much anxiety among non-Pashtun groups, such as the Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras, women’s groups, civil society members, and human rights activists. These groups fear that if the intentions to reach a political settlement slowly turn into aims for a powersharing arrangement it will see the Taliban assuming key positions within the Afghan government. Hence, in light of Taliban’s refusal to accept the constitution these groups argue that there is no guarantee that the Taliban will not reverse the achievements made in the last 12 years in reconstructing and strengthening democratic structures and institutions. The assumption underlining any power-sharing arrangement is that with appropriate political maneuvering a democratic political system can be constructed that is ‘capable of withstanding the ‘Afghanistan produces a roadmap for peace, but does it go anywhere?’, The Guardian, 17 December 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/julianborger-global-security-blog/2012/dec/17/afghanistan-pakistan-talibanpeace (accessed on 20 November 2013). 71

46  N  Mariam Safi

centrifugal tendencies that tear deeply divided societies apart’.72 Thus, providing incentives for groups, such as prominent seats in the government, can help incentivize them to renounce violence and commit to a shared destiny. The realization of a common density represents a necessary condition, which highlights the fact that all groups will have to eventually live together.73 Second, the existence of ‘pragmatic intergroup perceptions’74 is another necessary condition whereby all groups select negotiations as a process for jointly determining solutions and not subduing one another. Thus far, both conditions seem to be missing from the Afghan peace process context. Moreover, we must also bear in mind that transitions which result in unilateral victories tend to produce more stable outcomes than in scenarios where a negotiated outcome has to be reached where no single group is in a position of strength, like in the case of Afghanistan. Such environments will only produce ‘stability that is defined as the absence of renewed fighting’.75

Conclusion In July 2012, the outgoing US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker described the Taliban as a truly heterogeneous group, while asserting that because of the fractionalized characteristic of the insurgency a possible peace settlement was ‘not going to be a grand bargain’ and suggesting that a ‘piecemeal’ deal with certain members of the insurgency was more realistic. He also argued that it was unlikely that the top tier of the insurgency would join the political process, stating, ‘[y]ou’ll ever get the Haqqanis or the Mullah Omars and those closest to him’.76 Although divisions within the ranks of the insurgency have become more apparent with some members showing signs of leniency towards negotiations while others standing starkly against it. Generally, the Taliban’s willingness to enter peace talks remains ambiguous and at times conflicted. On the other hand, Timothy Sisk, Power Sharing and International Mediation in Ethnic Conflicts, Perspectives Series (Carnegie Corporation of New York: United States Institute of Peace, 1996), p. 77. 73 Ibid., p. 78. 74 Ibid. 75 Ibid., p. 82. 76 Alissa Rubin, 28 January 2012. 72

Afghanistan in Transition  N  47

it is also clear that no matter what is the number of international conferences or NATO planning committees, the reality remains that the security transition in Afghanistan will also be, at best, very difficult. Challenges within the security transition and peace process, coupled with existing economic and governance challenges, will require rigorous efforts on part of the international community and their Afghan counterparts to address those challenges before 2014 approaches. While there is a general sense that the international community will not completely abandon Afghanistan in 2014, there are also no concrete plans for how it will continue on the peace-building path it set on in 2001. According to Steve Coll, ‘NATO arrived in Afghanistan in 2001 in recognition that I had, during the dark period of the 1900s, ignored the linkages between Afghan security and Western security’.77 Thus, there remains little time to keep the efforts focused on making the withdrawal of international troops smooth and without significant repercussions as the security of Afghans and the international community will ‘remain linked, come what may’.78 J

Steve Coll, ‘Can NATO Rethink its Exit Strategy from Afghanistan?’, Centre for International Policy Studies, University of Ottawa, Policy Brief no. 16, March 2012, p. 1. 78 Ibid., p. 6. 77

3 Northeast India: Politics of Conflict, Ethnic Contestations and Peace Processes Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman

Northeast India has witnessed numerous insurgencies and remains

one of the most enduring contested spaces, not only in independent India, but in the South Asian region. The often raging and simmering insurgencies in Northeast India have been viewed in isolation and somewhat internal to India, but it sits in the centre of a truly trans-regional context, connecting the dynamics of irregular warfare spanning South Asia and Southeast Asia. Insurgent contestations in Northeast India dates back prior to India’s independence from British colonial rule, and subsequently have marked over six-and-ahalf decades in India’s post-Independence nation-building process, eluding lasting peace. It is important to note that insurgencies in Northeast India were set in the backdrop of the World War II, with the region being one of the active theatres of the war in Asia. The revolutionary Naga leader, Angami Zhapu Phizo, who founded the Naga National Council (NNC) as the forebearer of the Naga insurgency, had trained with the British forces fighting against the Japanese in the warfront in Burma, along with Mizo and Manipuri groups.1 Such an exposure and training in jungle warfare and guerilla tactics helped in sustaining initial insurgencies in Northeast India, which grew over the decades. The Naga insurgency started with the formation of the NNC under the leadership of Phizo in 1946, and the subsequent declaration of Naga independence from British colonial rule on 14 August 1947. This came after the rejection of a Nine Point Agreement, known as Namrata Goswami, ‘Enlisting Myanmar’s help in Tackling North East Guerillas’, IDSA Comment, 18 February 2009, http://www.idsa.in/ idsastrategiccomments/EnlistingMyanmarshelpintacklingNorthEast Guerrillas_NGoswami_180209 (accessed on 12 February 2010). 1

Northeast India  N  49

the Akbar Hydari Agreement, which was signed on 29 June 1947 between the moderates in the NNC and Sir Akbar Hydari, the then Governor of Assam. The following three decades leading to the Shillong Accord of 1975 were marked by violent armed conflict between the Naga rebels and the Indian Army, leading to innumerable deaths and human rights abuses. The Shillong Accord signed between the embattled leadership of NNC and the Government of India on 11 November 1975, was described as a sell-out by a section of the NNC. Prominent among the rebels of the NNC  — Thuingaleng Muivah, Isak Chisi Swu, and S. S. Khaplang — broke away to form the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) in 1980 at Myanmar. Subsequent rivalries within the NSCN led to another split in the year 1988, with Khaplang breaking away to form the NSCN-K, while Muivah and Swu formed the NSCN-IM. The armed violence continued unabated, both against the state and inter-factional, until the Government of India entered into ceasefire arrangements with NSCN-IM in 1997 and with NSCN-K in 2001. The NSCN-IM split on 23 November 2007, with the formation of National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Unification (NSCN-U), which resulted in violent factional clashes. NSCN-IM and NSCN-K have managed to strengthen themselves during the ceasefire period, in terms of arms and increased cadre base.2 The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) was founded by some Assamese youths, led by Paresh Baruah and Arabinda Rajkhowa at Sibsagar district of Assam on 7 April 1979. ULFA moved ahead with violence against the Indian state and the sovereignty of Assam was the main plank on which it conducted its armed rebellion. The Indian Army carried out operations against ULFA in quick succession between 1990 and 1992, which included Operation 2 For more on the Naga conflict, see Namrata Goswami, ‘The Naga Narrative of Conflict: Envisioning a Resolution Roadmap’, Strategic Analysis, 31 (2), March 2007, pp. 287–313; Namrata Goswami, ‘Unraveling Insurgent Groups’ Strategy: The Case of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim in India’, Strategic Analysis, 32 (3), May 2008, pp. 413–38; Prasenjit Biswas and Chandan Suklabaidya, Ethnic Life-Worlds in North-East India An Analysis (New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2008); Sanjoy Hazarika, Strangers in the Mist: Tales of War and Peace from India’s Northeast (New Delhi: Penguin, 1995).

50  N  Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman

Bajrang and Operation Rhino.3 Operation All Clear was launched in 2003 by the Indian Army along with the Royal Government of Bhutan against ULFA camps in Bhutan — it was termed as highly successful. The anti-talks faction4 of the ULFA continues to operate in Assam from bases in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Bhutan, although its modus operandi has changed considerably in the past decade. The Bodo insurgency started with the formation of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) under the leadership of Ranjan Daimary on 3 October 1986 in Assam. The 1990s saw a lot of violence in the Bodo heartland of Assam, as another group called the Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) under the leadership of Prem Singh Brahma was formed on 18 June 1996. The Bodo Accord of February 2003 constituted the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) and the BLT cadres led by its chief Hagrama Mohilary, surrendered arms before the Indian Army to join the council. However, the NDFB has been continuing with their armed rebellion, in spite of a split between the moderates and the hardliners in 2008. Assam has been witness to Karbi, Dimasa, Hmar, Muslim, and Adivasi insurgencies over the past two decades. Various insurgent groups claiming to represent these communities have been fighting against the security forces and numerous factions have emerged, which has resulted in a lot of insurgent activity and violence, including Maoist influence. Manipur has been one of the most troubled states in the region, with Naga, Meitei and Kuki insurgent groups operating from the state. The Manipur hills, which are dominated by various Naga tribes, had a sense of participation in the Naga insurgency. The first Meitei insurgent group, United National Liberation Front (UNLF) was formed on 24 November 1964, and was besotted with factionalism right from the beginning. This factionalism, accompanied by divergent ideological orientations and a support base, ensured a number of insurgent groups in Manipur, such as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) and the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP), all between 1977 and 1980. Another rebel group called the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup For more on the ULFA, see Sanjoy Hazarika, Strangers in the Mist. The ULFA had split between the pro-talks and the anti-talks factions with the surrender of the ‘A’ and ‘C’ companies of its powerful 28th Battalion on 24 June 2008. 3 4

Northeast India  N  51

(KYKL), formed in 1994 with a radical agenda of moral and social reform, contributed to the existing violence. Several Kuki groups were formed in the 1990s, primarily based on inter-ethnic rivalry in the Manipur hills with the Naga tribes. The Manipuri Muslims known as Pangal Meiteis formed the People’s United Liberation Front (PULF) in 1993, given overall ethnic clashes and violence in Manipur. The Mizo insurgency had its origins in the devastating famine, locally known as ‘Mautam’, of 1959, and the Mizo National Front (MNF), which was formed under Pu Laldenga who started the insurgent movement on 22 October 1961 against governmental apathy during the famine. It was one of the most intense and violent insurgency in Northeast India, lasting for over two decades and ending with the formation of the separate state of Mizoram in 1987, where the MNF came over ground to form the state government. However, Mizoram has witnessed insurgency by Reangs who formed the Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) in 1996 following ethnic clashes with the Mizos. The Hmar People’s Convention-Democracy (HPC-D), formed in 1995, have been active in Mizoram, apart from Manipur and Assam, fighting for the rights of the Hmar tribe. Tripura saw armed struggle by the tribal people soon after India’s independence, primarily against the Bengali settlers who came from East Pakistan following Partition of 1947, which led to a change in the demographic character of the erstwhile princely state. The 1960s saw the Sengkrak movement against the displacement and alienation of tribal lands in Tripura. The Tribal National Volunteers (TNV) was formed in 1978, which continued its insurgent activity until 1988, when it entered into an accord with the Indian government. The All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) was formed in 1990 under the leadership of Ranjit Debbarma, and consolidated the tribal base to become a powerful insurgent group in Tripura. The National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) was formed in 1989, under the leadership of Dhananjoy Reang, with similar objectives of armed struggle for protection of tribal rights as the ATTF. NLFT has been plagued by intense factionalism and leadership contestations, many splits occurring in the past decade between its leaders Nayanbasi Jamatiya, Biswamohan Debbarma and Joshua Debbarma. The State of Meghalaya saw the rise of insurgency with the formation of the Hynniewtrep Achik Liberation Council (HALC), which had the participation of all the three major tribes of the state — Khasis,

52  N  Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman

Jaintias and Garos — and their common goal of fighting the outsiders. However, ethnic differences resulted in a split in 1992, when the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) representing Khasis and Jaintias, and the Achik Matgrik Liberation Army (AMLA) representing Garos were formed out of the HALC. Armed struggle has continued for a separate Khasiland in close coordination with other insurgent groups of Northeast India with bases in Bangladesh. Several top leaders of the HNLC have surrendered, including its Chairman Julius Dorphang in July 2007, but the outfit still continues to be strong on the border areas linking Meghalaya with Bangladesh. The demand for a separate Garoland has intensified with two new insurgent groups formed in the Garo Hills of Meghalaya over the past five years — the People’s Liberation Front of Meghalaya (PLF-M) and the Liberation of Achik Elite Force (LAEF). The State of Arunachal Pradesh, although relatively calmer than the other six Northeastern states that have seen violent insurgencies in the past and are continuing to witness more, has been used as an operating base by various insurgent groups functioning in other parts of Northeast India. The easternmost districts of Tirap and Changlang of Arunachal Pradesh prove to be the hotbed of interfactional rivalry between the NSCN-IM and the NSCN-K, due to the large Naga population in the districts. The other insurgent groups such as ULFA and NDFB are believed to have bases in Arunachal Pradesh, particularly in Lohit, West and East Kameng districts adjoining Assam, given the dense forest cover in the state.

Principal Actors Insurgent Groups The principal insurgent groups in Northeast India are NSCN-IM, NSCN-K and NSCN-U (the three Naga factions spanning Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, and Assam); ULFA, NDFB, Karbi Longri National Liberation Front (KLNLF), Dima Halam DaogahJewel (DHD-J), United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS), All Adivasi National Liberation Army (AANLA), Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA), and Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO) (plains and hill tribal groups from Assam); UNLF, PLA, KCP, PREPAK, KYKL, PULF (Meitei groups from Manipur valley); Kuki National Front (KNF) and Kuki National Army (KNA)

Northeast India  N  53

(Kuki tribal groups from Manipur hills); ATTF and NLFT (Tripuri tribal groups from Tripura); BNLF (Reang tribal group in Mizoram); HNLC (Khasi tribal group in Meghalaya); PLF-M and LAEF (Garo tribal groups in Meghalaya); HPC-D (Hmar tribal group spanning Assam, Manipur and Mizoram). The NSCN-IM remains the strongest insurgent group in Northeast India, given the number of states it operates in as also the wide range of activities it is involved in. Its political objective of unification of all Naga-inhabited areas and self-determination based on the historical Naga narrative, along with a ‘Nagaland for Christ’ slogan since early 1990s, has contributed to its dominance over the decades. It has entered the 14th year of ceasefire and peace talks with the Union Government of India, and projects itself as the sole representative of the Naga peace process. The NSCN-K and NSCN-U, although with similar objectives, have been overshadowed by NSCN-IM, and their activities are confined to their pockets of influence in Northeast India and Myanmar. The ULFA in Assam has suffered a lot of setbacks with almost all of its top leadership being arrested in 2009, and had faced a split in 2008 when two companies of its 28th battalion had surrendered for peace talks. The outfit being in disarray has changed its modus operandi in the past few years, using mercenary tactics of sabotage. The NDFB also suffered a split in 2008, with the anti-talks faction led by Ranjan Daimary, continuing its activities from bases along the Assam–Arunachal Pradesh border and Bangladesh. The arrest of DHD-J chief Jewel Gorlosa in June 2009 from Bangalore and the killing of its foreign secretary in Guwahati dealt a severe blow to the outfit, which is also known as Black Widow. The group claiming to represent the Dimasa tribe in North Cachar hills district along with the UPDS participated in a mass surrender soon after, paving the way for peace talks. KLNLF, the Karbi insurgent outfit, also surrendered en masse in February 2010. The AANLA, MULTA and KLO however are operating in various parts of Assam, with sporadic violent activity, but with limited success. The valley groups in Manipur have been very active in the past few years, resulting in a lot of violence in the state. UNLF has been leading the charge against the security forces, with PREPAK, PLA, KYKL and KCP stepping up their activities in various parts of the valley, particularly targeting the Hindi-speaking people living in Manipur. The Meitei Pangal group PULF has been engaged in

54  N  Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman

sporadic incidents in its pockets of influence in the state. The Kuki insurgent groups have been under a Suspension of Operations (SoO) with the government, but they are active in the Manipur hills bordering Myanmar, often engaging in violent clashes with Meitei and Naga insurgent groups in the state. Most of the informal arms, ammunition and narcotics trade go through this region and are controlled among the Naga, Meitei and Kuki groups, thereby resulting in an intense turf war between the various ethnic insurgent groupings. NSCN-IM is particularly active in the Manipur hills dominated by Thangkhul Nagas, taking advantage of the fact that their ceasefire with the Government of India in Nagaland does not extend to Manipur. The NLFT and the ATTF in Tripura have continued their insurgent violence in the state, but with limited success and operational mobility. This is due to a huge number of cadres of both the insurgent outfits surrendering before the security forces in the state. This has been referred as a success of the State’s counter-insurgency strategy in Tripura, whereas most other parts of Northeast India had actually seen a rise in insurgent activities. The NLFT and the ATTF now have a hugely depleted cadre base, and many of them are in the jungles, attempting a regrouping in the face of strong counterinsurgency measures. Meghalaya and Mizoram have also seen insurgent groups operating from their territory, but these groups are relatively small in their cadre base and operational abilities. Khasi group HNLC of Meghalaya has seen most of their cadres laying down arms, along with its chairman, but still continues to operate along the Meghalaya– Bangladesh border, with sporadic attacks on security forces and government establishments. The Garo insurgent groups PLF-M and LAEF are relatively new to the insurgency scene, and have yet managed to make their presence felt in the Garo Hills region of Meghalaya, through their sporadic attacks. The Reang group BNLF has developed its operational base along the Mizoram–Tripura border, consolidating on the increasingly hostile ethnic relations between the Mizos and the Reangs in Mizoram, often leading to ethnic clashes. The Hmar group HPC-D has concentrated on a strategy of assimilating their tribal base spanning across Assam, Manipur and Mizoram, and fighting for the rights of their community. Arunachal Pradesh has been the scene of activity for some of the major insurgent groups of Northeast India, such as NSCN-IM, NSCN-K, NSCN-U, ULFA, and NDFB. The state which does not

Northeast India  N  55

have any insurgency of its own has seen these groups make their operational and training bases in its territory, given a dense forest cover and proximity to the international border with Myanmar, providing an exit route during army operations.

Government Actors The Government of India and the state governments of the respective states of Northeast India have been engaged in tackling the countless insurgencies that have taken place in the region ever since Independence. The Indian Army, central paramilitary forces, the state police forces, and intelligence and security agencies have been engaged in counter-insurgency operations in Northeast India, with varying degrees of operational success. The state governments in each of the states are important actors in the entire conflict scenario, as they have to coordinate with the Army in the operations against the insurgent groups, and the efficacy of such coordination holds the key towards success of any counter-insurgency measure. The individual state governments in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, and Tripura have an important role in providing the space and conditions for any peace process with insurgents to come about or to be a success in their respective states. The Border Security Force (BSF) is an important actor in Northeast India, as it plays a crucial role in monitoring and controlling the insurgent movements and activity across the large stretches of international boundary Northeast India shares, especially with Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan, given the presence of insurgent training facilities and camps in these countries and existing supply lines of arms, ammunition and narcotics. The Army has the use of the much controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) of 1958 in the conduct of its counter-insurgency operations in certain government designated ‘disturbed areas’ of Northeast India. The states of Assam, some parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Tripura have in place a Unified Command structure to fight insurgency, which is headed by the state chief ministers and consists of the army, paramilitary forces and the state police forces, to ensure better operational coordination.

Civil Society Actors A large number of civil society actors have played an important role in how conflict has progressed and peace processes are being shaped

56  N  Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman

in Northeast India. The Mizo National Famine Front (MNFF) was a civil society group which later became an insurgent outfit, and then moved on to become a prominent political party in the state. The BLT and NDFB are seen to have emerged out of a student organization spearheading the Bodo agitation in Assam, which is still active in promoting peace in the region, the All Bodo Students Union (ABSU). The All Assam Students Union (AASU) and the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) were forerunners in the anti-foreigners agitation in Assam, at a time when ULFA was formed, and still continue to play an important role in rallying public opinion. The Asom Sahitya Sabha (ASS) and the Bodo Sahitya Sabha (BSS) are important civil society actors in Assam. The Naga Hoho and other tribal hohos, Naga Mothers Association (NMA), Naga Student’s Forum (NSF), and United Naga Council (UNC) are important civil society actors in the ongoing peace process in Nagaland where the Indian government is in negotiations with the insurgent group NSCN-IM. Apunba Lup, a conglomerate of civil society organizations fighting against human rights violations and the use of AFSPA by the government, and Meira Paibis are key stakeholders in the State of Manipur. The Khasi Students Union (KSU) and Garo Students Union (GSU) in Meghalaya are important civil society actors. The Young Mizo Association (YMA) and Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) are key actors in Mizoram, and have a history of rallying public opinion on issues related to ethnic minorities living in the state. The various political parties in Northeast India are also important players in the conflict and peace processes in the region. Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), Autonomous State Demand Council (ASDC) in Assam, Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) in Nagaland, Mizo National Front in Mizoram, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in Tripura are all key political parties which have a stake in the conflict and peace processes in the region. The Church as an institution is another key actor in the conflict and peace processes in Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya.

Conflict in 2012: Major Trends The year 2012 saw a return of violence, and the gains achieved in the overall conflict scenario in Northeast India over the past couple of years, as a result, were marred. Manipur, Assam and Meghalaya were

Northeast India  N  57

the three states in Northeast India which saw considerable violence and high incidence of insurgent attacks and activity in 2012. There was a considerable decrease in insurgency-related attacks and fatalities in Nagaland, Tripura and Mizoram, as has been the trend over the past few years. The strategies used by the insurgent groups were mercenary in nature, and included hit-and-run attacks and other forms of sabotages. The year was marked by various incidents, which included bomb blasts, ethnic clashes, fratricidal killings, attacks on migrant communities, especially Bengali-speaking communities, attacks on public infrastructure and government symbols, such as railways, oil depots, government offices and security establishments, and kidnappings of officers, contractors and workers on government duty.

Insurgent Activity and Counter-insurgency Measures in 2012 The year 2012 began with the legislative assembly elections in Manipur, which saw many attacks on various ministers and political party candidates in the fray for the elections. There were many grenade attacks on various localities in Imphal in the run up to the elections. The Manipur Legislative Assembly Speaker’s residence was attacked with a low intensity IED blast on 22 January 2012, which resulted in the loss of two lives and injuring 15. Two separate IED blasts rocked Imphal on the eve of the Republic Day, as poll preparations and campaigning were coming to a close. These incidents of sabotage happened in the presence of a huge deployment of security personnel by the government in view of the assembly elections. Seven people were killed when suspected Naga militants opened fire at a polling station on 28 January 2012 at the troubled Naga-dominated district of Chandel in Manipur. Among the dead were four election officials, one CRPF jawan and one woman. One of the attackers was killed in the CRPF return fire. The spate of low intensity and sporadic blasts and grenade attacks continued all through the year in the State of Manipur, with blasts in Imphal and Moreh, targeting politicians, government officials and army personnel. Insurgent infighting continued in Manipur with various Meitei, Naga and Kuki groups engaged in a bitter turf war in the troubled state. The State of Meghalaya saw considerable insurgent activity in the year 2012 with the Garo insurgent groups engaged in attacks and sabotage activities on government officials’

58  N  Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman

installations and security forces. Several blockades were carried out, and the various insurgent groups went on an abduction and extortion spree in the Garo Hills. The former Deputy Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Deborah Marak and many other political leaders were attacked in the state. Assam saw considerable ethnic violence between the Bodo community and the immigrant Bengali-speaking Muslim community in the later part of the year, which was in turn taken advantage of by various insurgent elements, which contributed to killings and supply of sophisticated weapons to many of the riot-affected villages of Bodoland.5 The anti-talks faction of the ULFA engaged in several bomb blasts and attacks on government and security personnel and carried out a lot of abductions and extortion demands across the state during the year 2012. This was seen as a return of the ULFA, after the arrest and surrender of almost its entire top leadership had made it suffer a huge setback in the past two years. It however remains weak and has lost its earlier firepower. The counter-insurgency operations in the year 2012 were a mixed bag, as violence remained unabated in Manipur and increased substantially in Meghalaya. Several arrests were made of insurgent leaders of Manipur and Assam in various parts of the country, and the trend of surrenders and ceasefires with insurgent groups continued. The growing trend of Maoist influence was a major challenge for the security forces, particularly in Assam and Manipur, and some success was achieved when four Maoist functionaries were killed in an encounter in Upper Assam, and its top leader was arrested.6 The counter-insurgency infrastructure in Northeast India was considerably strengthened by New Delhi, given increased Maoist activities and networks in Assam.

Conflict Management Northeast India has seen protracted conflict between the various insurgent groups of the region and the government actors over the past three decades, and particularly in the past decade nothing much ‘Too many to Count, Illegal arms still Assam’s headache’, The Indian Express, 19 November 2012. 6 ‘Four Maoists killed in Encounter in Assam’, The Indian Express, 9 May 2012. 5

Northeast India  N  59

has drastically changed in the overall conflict scenario. It has been a continuing scene of insurgent conflict versus counter-insurgency measures adopted by the government, year after year in the past decade, interspersed with some peace processes, which have seen no positive direction. Apart from protracted conflicts in various states of Northeast India, there are some protracted (or prolonged) peace processes in some of the key insurgency-affected states of the region, which are a result of a mix of reasons, ranging from governmental policy design to insurgent groups’ strategies and the role of the civil society actors amidst the dynamics of the overall peace negotiation process. The protracted conflict we witness in Northeast India has social, political, economic, and strategic tones, which is also true of the protracted peace processes that make for a vicious cycle. The protracted character and dynamics of the conflict feed into those of the peace processes, and vice versa, making peace and stability in the region difficult to achieve. The sense of stagnancy that we see in the conflict management scenario in Northeast India is the inability of the stakeholders to break away from this vicious cycle — this has been a concern for many in India and around the world, but there has been little analysis of the underlying reasons. The return of large-scale violence in Assam between the Bodo community and the immigrant Bengali-speaking Muslim community is a signal that all is not well with government policies, be it the state of the central government towards addressing the aspirations of ethnic communities in the larger region on a sustainable basis. The violence and rioting that was seen in Kokrajhar was not new, such clashes between communities have occurred in the past, and there remains a veritable simmering pot for such ethnic flare-ups to happen again. It happened in Udalguri four year earlier, and now in Kokrajhar, and in the late 1990s the Bodo–Adivasi clashes disrupted life in this town. The use of sophisticated weapons and the involvement of Bodo insurgent organizations, some of who were under peace talks with the government, in the riots in Kokrajhar points to the failure of the government to understand the conflict and peace process dynamics in the region, which cannot be merely encapsulated in ‘peace accords’ without any sustainable plan of addressing the core concerns and aspirations of the ethnic people. It has been well documented that Islamist militant groups and networks have had links with insurgent groups in many states of

60  N  Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman

Northeast India, especially in Manipur, Assam and Nagaland, and this had been oscillating between tactical support in arms dealing, narcotics and illegal and fake currency networks, and anti-government sabotage activities over the past few decades. This trend, however, by itself does not indicate a threat of the rise of Islamist militancy in Northeast India. While many commentators have described this threat as unfounded and being alarmist, the ground conditions in the larger region cannot be ignored. The People’s United Liberation Front (PULF), operating in parts of Manipur, Assam and Nagaland for the past two decades, is one of the major Islamist militant organizations already active. As has been the trend with many other insurgent organizations in Northeast India, it has been splintered into many smaller factions over time. Apart from this, the role and support of Pakistan’s InterServices Intelligence (ISI) and Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) to many insurgent organizations and networks in Northeast India has unabatedly continued. There is a sort of ideological vacuum in many of the ‘homegrown’ insurgent organizations in Northeast India and they have suffered huge losses in tactical and public legitimacy accounts in the past decade or so; hence they are not in a position to prevent the growth of Islamist militancy in Northeast India as to guard their own turf. The entry points for Islamist militancy in Northeast India are not hard to comprehend. The presence of a large ‘illegal’ Muslim immigrant community in Assam, which has been a source of much political activism in the past and continuing, and was one of the motivations for the formation of the ULFA, gives a fertile ground as an entry point for the Islamist militant groups. The political uncertainty that has engulfed this migrant community over more than four decades now has made them vulnerable to such militant influence, as a way to survive the political threat. Further enhancing the political aspect of an ever-looming ‘threat to their survival’ versus their responses to ‘surviving the threat’ over the past decades, the instance of large-scale riots and inter-community clashes in the past, such as the Nellie riots and the recent instances in Udalguri in 2008 and Kokrajhar in 2012, have made the case for militant responses a usable instrument in the evolving politics of the ethnic strife-torn region. The recent riots in Kokrajhar saw the use of sophisticated weapons by the anti-talk Bodo militant groups who took advantage of the situation; also a result of the flawed surrender policy of the Indian

Northeast India  N  61

counter-insurgency establishment, there is the possibility of such weapons coming to the hands of the Muslim groups by jihadi groups across the border. The threat of the rise of militancy among the Muslims affected by the Kokrajhar violence was raised by the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) in its report to the Assam government, after a field visit to the violence-affected areas of Bodoland Territorial Autonomous District (BTAD) in August 2012.7 The overall political, economic and living conditions of the Muslim community in BTAD areas has been described as a fertile ground for jihadi influence, and this can have serious implications. This brings into context the rise in militant activities among the Rohingiya Muslims in the larger region of Arakan state of Myanmar, south Bangladesh, and parts of Tripura and Mizoram, where they are trying to push in the face of deportation by Border Guards Force along the Bangladesh border and political and ethnic clashes in Myanmar. The links of Rohingiya militant organizations with al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba have been substantiated in the past. There have been reports of Rohingiya Muslims trying to make way to Northeast India, and this does not seem to be a distant possibility given the state of our borders and the manner we treat the borders of our sensitive and ‘peaceful states’, especially in Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura. The Government of India needs to brace itself up to counter the threat of Islamist militancy in the larger region through proactive diplomacy and understanding of larger issues and linkages, and not be content with ‘managing’ the home situation. The trends that are emerging cannot be ignored, for the lack of actual ground instances, but the government and the security establishment must prepare and remedy the conditions for such entry points for Islamist militancy. The democratic typology that operates in India and particularly in Northeast India is also largely an attempt to co-opt or assimilate ethnic movements and aspirations into the larger mainstream. In an especially complex region such as Northeast India, this is still bound to create further problems. Moreover, Autonomous Councils only imitate this logic and replicate a bureaucratic system that mirrors the larger provincial or national bureaucracy and all its attendant ills. Autonomy and choice for members of the particular ethnic group 7 ‘Bodoland Muslims might turn “Militant”, warns Minorities Panel’, The Hindu, 16 August 2012.

62  N  Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman

get negated despite the existence of Autonomous Councils, just the same as they did before the Councils came into being  — the only difference being that they are now at the mercy of members of their own ethnic group instead of those from outside. If any Autonomous Council does not conform to the prevalent larger political typology, then it is summarily dismissed, and fresh elections are called to ensure co-option at all levels. There is a need to stop this co-option and create a new democratic representation attuned to the complexities of Northeast India and to the aspirations of ordinary people rather than elites within ethnic communities. This has implications for many parts of the region. The government actors must be ready to think innovatively to find solutions for sustainable peace to be created in Northeast India. A critical element here is to elicit policy inputs from within the region, thereby filling the ‘trust deficit’ that is often seen in New Delhi–Northeast India interactions. Imposed solutions are neither acceptable to the people nor effective in their outcome. The civil society actors in the region must be harnessed to create a platform for purposive dialogue to occur for tackling the insurgencies, conflict situations and other concerns facing the society, instead of pursuing the largely formalized processes of peace negotiations between the state and insurgent groups. This formalized approach lacks transparency in the protracted peace process negotiations between the state and insurgent groups, but also undermines civil society efforts to bring about peace. This lack of transparency leads to social and ethnic discord and mistrust, which further fuels new insurgencies in various parts of the region. There appears to be a premium set by the government actors on conflict rather than peace in Northeast India. A peaceful ethnic community is not considered important and is subject to governmental neglect. But, once it picks up arms it becomes important and an interlocutor is sent by New Delhi to broach peace with the insurgent group representing the ethnic community. There should, instead, be a concerted effort to build platforms for dialogue across Northeast India, and peaceful communities should be heard, without them being driven to violence and insurgency. A necessary shift from peace negotiations to creation of sustained dialogue in Northeast India must be urgently initiated by New Delhi. The Central Government must devote more energy towards an understanding of the complex problems that affect Northeast India; bring about an

Northeast India  N  63

equitable and just policy framework and action, which is based on community responses and interaction. The Central Government and state governments in Northeast India must demonstrate a sincere political will to resolve the various insurgencies that affect Northeast India through dialogue, instead of delaying the peace processes with ad hoc measures, which has been the norm in the past. The government cannot continue to be complacent. The government will have to walk a tightrope between the contesting goals and aspirations of various ethnic communities in Northeast India, be it insurgent or peaceful. The present policy of delaying the peace processes, ad hoc measures and lack of transparency in peace negotiations has resulted in further exacerbating the intercommunity divisions, which has the potential to create communal discord and violence. The strategy to manage the insurgencies has to be replaced with one to solve the insurgencies politically, and create a cohesive inter-community platform of dialogue, which is required to achieve sustainable peace. The play of politics in such a scenario will result in a vicious cycle of ethnic contestations and conflict, which could be impossible to manage by the government in the coming times. Many parts of Northeast India, irrespective of state boundaries, are prone to such ethnic pressures and contestations, which require attention of the government as well as the civil society, to prevent conflict. Assam had witnessed the almost decimation of ULFA as an insurgent group, with the surrender of its top leadership excluding Commander-in-Chief Paresh Baruah, the mass surrenders of DHD-J and UPDS in 2009 and KLNLF in February 2010, but the anti-talk faction of the ULFA has now made its designs clear to mobilize support and resources through renewed insurgent activity combined with abductions and extortion drives in the state. The anti-talk faction of the ULFA has been able to conduct many bomb blasts all across Assam in the past year, and is a signal towards revival of the group. The various insurgent groups are now finding safe refuge in Myanmar and near the Chinese border. The past decade has seen various insurgent groups in Assam divided along lines of ideology, pro- and anti-ceasefire, pro- and anti-peace talks, important pro-talks groups and non-important protalks groups, which have made the atmosphere of peace talks murky. Pro-talks groups of the ULFA, NDFB, DHD (Dilip Nunisa faction), Birsa Commando Force (BCF), Adivasi Cobra Militant Force

64  N  Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman

(ACMF) are living in designated camps in Kokrajhar, Karbi Anglong, North Cachar Hills, and Tinsukia for periods varying from one to six years. The Assam government categorizes most of these groups as being non-important, and that explains the uncertain future of peace talks. These pro-talks groups stay in designated camps for years on end, living on government expenses and amidst a prevailing sense of frustration at the non-initiation of peace talks or any roadmap for their rehabilitation; often engaging in illicit activities, moving out of their designated camps to extort money, conduct kidnappings and issuing threats. Most of the top surrendered leaders living in designated camps manage to move out and live in civilian areas with arms, creating an atmosphere of fear and insecurity in such places. The peace talks with the recently surrendered leadership of the ULFA, DHD-J, UPDS and KLNLF, as also the SoO with a number of Kuki groups recently in Manipur, can in all likelihood fall in the same trap of unending cycles of negotiations, without resulting in any lasting political solution for the insurgency-affected states. This reflects a lack of commitment and will on the part of the government actors to provide a long-term solution to the various insurgencies in the region. The existing surrender policy, and the consequent lack of tangible progress in peace talks in Northeast India, has made the insurgents potentially willing to enter talks desist from coming forward to surrender. Another facet of the surrender policy is that the precedent of such protracted peace talks has made insurgent groups who come forward to surrender opting to keep arms and ammunition in reserve, thereby ensuring an option open for themselves to go back to the jungles, if they are unable to achieve tangible gains out of the peace process. Insurgent surrenders in recent times have shown that the number of arms and ammunition deposited with security forces at the time of their surrenders are minimal compared to their estimated levels of insurgent operations earlier. The various insurgent groups in Northeast India are adopting a strategy to withhold some arms and ammunition at the time of surrendering, by hiding or by creating proxy splinter groups, in order to protect their interests from other factions or insurgent groups during the period of ceasefire. The central government’s surrender and ceasefire policy in Northeast India has certain flaws and, to make things more complicated, it has employed different yardsticks in terms of peacetime operational

Northeast India  N  65

conduct of the security forces towards different insurgent organizations, depending on the varying status of peace talks with them. The highest number of surrenders over the past few years has come from Assam and Manipur, leading to a mushrooming of designated camps, occupying much of the government’s energies and resources over protracted peace talks. Moreover, there have been token surrenders by various insurgent groups in Northeast India, either to dispose some of the mercenary elements in their organizations, or to avail of the benefits of the surrender policy in the form of monetary compensation and lucrative government contracts. There have been reports of some insurgent organizations in Manipur that were formed and then summarily surrendered to benefit from such governmental largesse. The increased factionalism in most of the insurgent groups in Northeast India is a serious concern and the conscious policy of the government to ‘split and rule’ and avoid any sincere attempt to solve any insurgency politically, hoping that they will weaken and fade away with time, has been instrumental in promoting this trend. Northeast India has been fast turning into a maze of insurgent factions; this is neither a positive sign for the future, nor are the government actors fully aware of the implications it may hold for Northeast India and in mainland India as an extension. These factions provide the fertile ground for radical jihadi outfits, sponsored by elements from Bangladesh and Pakistan, to wage war on India, as they become easy to infiltrate given their divisions and want of resources to run the outfit. These insurgent factions, ‘ceasefire’ or anti-ceasefire, are easily corruptible, and they are thriving on the illicit arms and ammunition, narcotics and fake currency networks in the region. Some factions have been ideologically and operationally hijacked by jihadi elements. The presence of a large illegal Bangladeshi migrant population in Assam has provided the jihadi groups a fertile recruiting ground internally. The government has painfully delayed the settlement of the illegal Bangladeshi migrants issue in Assam, and these migrants, faced with an uncertain political future in the state, are easily tempted to join these jihadi groups, which they feel will secure their interests against other ethnic communities in the state in the future. The states of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Meghalaya are considered to be ‘peaceful’ in Northeast India; Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, and Tripura have been the focus of conflict analysis and

66  N  Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman

counter-insurgency attention. However, these relatively ‘peaceful’ states, if overlooked, cannot explain the conflict dynamics of the region in totality. Every state in the Northeast is connected in terms of the overall conflict dynamics and insurgent activity, and Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Meghalaya has seen insurgent activity in the recent past, with insurgent groups operating across borders. In fact, it becomes easier for insurgent groups in Assam and Nagaland to have bases in Arunachal Pradesh or to conduct their activity across Meghalaya and Mizoram to connect to critical logistical supply networks in Bangladesh and Myanmar. Also, after insurgency has ended in Mizoram and has been controlled in Meghalaya, new groups such as BNLF, HPC-D, PLF-M, and LAEF are emerging which can grow big with time and consolidation of their respective ethnic bases. The rise in insurgent activity in the past two years in the Garo Hills is a reflection of the complacency of the security establishment and the political class in tackling issues in the so-called ‘peaceful states’. It is also known that bigger insurgent organizations, such as NSCN-IM, NSCN-K, ULFA, and NDFB are supporting smaller outfits in other states, to help maintain their logistics and increase their operating base. Some ethnic groups have reportedly been targeted by bigger insurgent groups in these ‘peaceful’ states, for purposes of recruitment in their own organizations, as in the case of NSCN factions in Arunachal Pradesh, as it does not require watertight ethnic affinity in cadre composition to operate illicit arms and ammunition, narcotics and fake currency networks. The counter-insurgency establishment cannot ignore such spaces, in the face of an already complex conflict scenario and illicit trade network in Northeast India, which can affect the rest of India. The overarching focus on security and counter-insurgency operations has made Northeast India the policy prerogative of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Ministry of Defence (MOD). However, in view of India’s Look East Policy and the possibility of connecting Northeast India with the economies of Southeast Asia, along with providing overall development and capacitybuilding in the region, has opened new strategies to tackle conflict in the region. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Ministry of Commerce have taken considerable interest in the region, in opening up the borders which have for long been used by the insurgents to carry out their activities against the state.

Northeast India  N  67

There needs to be some alternative for the people of the region to engage in purposive activity and defeat one of the sources of insurgency in the region — the fight against neglect by New Delhi. However, this should not be done in a manner that is seen as externally imposed, and development policy inputs must be sought from communities in order to be sustainable and participatory. The border areas must be studied well and prepared before opening them, as there are extremely complex networks and dynamics along the proposed border to be opened for trade, especially the Moreh border, which if overlooked can create huge problems for both communities living in the border areas and the security forces engaged in monitoring these borders. The same goes for the proposed border openings in Zokhawthar and the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project, which will connect Mizoram with Sittwe port in Myanmar. It must be kept in mind that these are the major routes of illegal narcotics and arms smuggling and human trafficking.

Conclusions A sustainable peace in Northeast India can only be created by building institutions, which facilitate dialogue between communities and build trust among the various stakeholders. The Naga peace talks is a classic case in point, as the Government of India has been conducting its negotiations with the NSCN-IM and are about to announce a ‘special federal arrangement’ on the much vexed issue, though it has failed to involve the stakeholders in Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and ensure transparency in the entire process. This could be the flashpoint of future conflict in the region, which could drag back Northeast India from the development momentum it has gained over the past years. When civil society organizations and other aid agencies rush to conflict-stricken areas such as Kokrajhar, it must be noted that there have been in recent memory a number of such conflict-affected areas in various parts of Northeast India. We must learn lessons from our past mistakes and have the necessary support structures in place, and work towards rehabilitation of victims of such conflict, especially women and children. The increasing influence of Maoist networks in the region is of utmost concern, but there seems to be no coordinated strategy to tackle the networks being established across Northeast India,

68  N  Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman

particularly in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur. The onus is on the respective state governments to be able to stem this influence, by having an inclusive and sustainable development programme across communities, and also resist from branding any activist organization as being Maoist, which in turn only gives an entry point for Maoists. The increasing influence of jihadi organizations in Assam is a major cause of concern, as it could give a new turn to future conflicts, given a huge population of immigrant Bengali-speaking Muslim population in Assam is being tapped into by such groups, as the political uncertainty of their status of being Indian citizens remains. If the politics being played out on the question of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants is not settled once and for all by the state and the central government on an urgent basis, it will lead to future conflict. J

4 Myanmar 2012: The Bad Old Still Looms Over the New? Bibhu Prasad Routray

Myanmar in 2012 witnessed continuation of a range of political

and economic reforms, with wide ramifications on the country’s ethno-political landscape. The process of peace with the ethnic insurgencies, under the quasi-civilian regime of President Thein Sein, continued. The process, reminiscent of a peace project mostly pushed from other countries, especially the West, resulted in several ceasefire agreements with most of the ethnic armed groups in 2011 and early parts of 2012. These agreements formed the basis of Naypyidaw’s claim to long-term peace with its ethnic minorities. Notwithstanding the excitement in the West and the Southeast Asian region about Myanmar’s new avatar, several experts continued to link the future of these peace agreements with the strength and influence of the hardliners vis-à-vis the reformists within the administration. Accordingly, assessments were made whether the hardline faction within the military could sabotage or decelerate the achievements. The year 2013 provides answers to some of these questions woven around contemporaneous optimist as well as pessimist assessments.

I Principal Actors Armed Groups Ethnic Burmans (Bamars), Myanmar’s traditional rulers, make up about two-thirds of its estimated population of 48 million.1 A major issue since the country gained independence from Britain in 1948 has 1 2011 Population Estimate, World Bank, http://data.worldbank.org/ indicator/SP.POP.TOTL (accessed on 9 March 2013).

70  N  Bibhu Prasad Routray

been the demand from ethnic minority groups for self-determination or autonomy under a federal system of governance. Armed insurgencies representing the ethnicities and challenging the supremacy of the central authorities have sprung up. While identity issues and domination by the Bamars were their main grievances, a wish to benefit from the lucrative border trade was another factor that sustained insurgencies. The government in Naypyidaw2 has spent the last six decades trying to pacify these rebellions with varying degrees of success. At least 16 armed groups are currently active in Myanmar. Twelve of these groupings are members of the umbrella organization  — the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) alliance. The UNFC was formed in February 2011 with the purported objective of establishing a ‘Genuine Federal Union, which guarantees full rights of National Equality and Self-determination within the States’.3 The UNFC has two levels of membership — Full and Associate — depending on the strength of the political wing, the armed wing, the control area, and the number of supporters. While six groups have been given full membership, the other six are associate member groups. The groups who have full membership are — Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), Karen National Union (KNU), New Mon State Party (NMSP), Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), Chin National Front (CNF), and the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSA). The associate members are the Kachin National Organization (KNO), Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF), Lahu Democratic Union (LDU), National United Party of Arakan (NUPA), Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO), and Wa National Organization (WNO). The UNFC is headed by the KNU, with General Mutu as its Chairman, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the outfit’s military wing, Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA). It has two posts for vice-president, headed by Kachin Independence Army Myanmar’s capital shifted from Yangon to Naypyidaw in November 2005. In rest of the chapter, Naypyidaw refers to the national capital and the central seat of power. 3 ‘Reply to the Open Letter’, United Nationalities Federal Council (Union of Burma), 5 August 2011, http://www.burmanationalnews.org/ burma/images/Documents/unfcreplytoasskeng20110805.pdf (accessed on 20 January 2013). 2

Myanmar  N  71

(KIA) Commander Lt Gen. Gauri Zau Seng and KNPP’s Khun Abel Tweed. NMSP’s Nai Hongsa functions as the General Secretary. Following are the profiles of some of the UNFC members. The section also contains profiles of other active outfits that are not a part of the UNFC. The United Wa State Army (UWSA) is Myanmar’s largest as well as best-equipped ethnic insurgent group. It was formed in May 1989 after the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) disintegrated, leading to the creation of several armed ethnic groups in far north of the country. The group seeks the establishment of an autonomous Wa State within Myanmar’s national borders. Following its split from the CPB, UWSA went on to sign a ceasefire agreement with the central government that recognized the group’s territory in northern Shan state and its headquarters in Panghsang and Mongpawk.4 This tactical arrangement with the military regime allowed UWSA commanders to profit from involvement in the narcotics trade while running an essentially autonomous state in its area of control with little interference from the junta. In return, the UWSA acts as a proxy force against other ethnic rebel groups who remain militarily opposed to the junta, such as the Shan State Army-South.5

UWSA’s cadre strength is estimated to be anywhere between 20,000 to 30,000. Divided into five fighting divisions, the outfit has a vast array of weapons, acquired through a wide network including those from China. Writings have indicated that China might be supplying QBZ-03/Type 03 assault rifles  — a weapon that externally resembles the AK rifles — to the UWSA.6 In the middle of 2012, UWSA reportedly received its first supply of Chinese-made PTL02 Wheeled Tank Destroyers. 4 Nang Mya Nadi ‘United Wa State Army mark Anniversary’, Democratic Voice of Burma, 17 April 2012, http://www.dvb.no/news/united-wa-statearmy-mark-anniversary/21541 (accessed on 26 May 2012). 5 ‘United Wa State Army (UWSA) (Myanmar)’, Janes, http://articles. janes.com/articles/Janes-World-Insurgency-and-Terrorism/United-WaState-Army-UWSA-Myanmar.html (accessed on 25 May 2012). 6 ‘China Supplies QBZ-03 Rifle to United Wa State Army’, The Firearm Blog, 7 May 2012, http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2012/05/07/chinasupplies-qbz-03-rifle-to-united-wa-state-army/ (accessed on 12 May 2012).

72  N  Bibhu Prasad Routray

UWSA’s vast financial empire is built on an extensive network of drug and weapons smuggling. The outfit reportedly acts as the middleman between Chinese arms’ manufacturers and insurgent groups in India’s Northeast, with most weapons routed through China’s Yunnan province. The UWSA has also been accused of investing its vast resources in a private airlines company in Myanmar. In 2009, after 20 years of tentative peace, skirmishes broke out between the outfit and the military government over a disagreement regarding the creation of the Border Guard Force (BGF). The resultant fighting caused thousands of refugees to flood into China. However, after prolonged negotiations, the UWSA signed a ceasefire agreement with the government on 26 December 2011. The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) is the armed wing of the KIO operating in Myanmar’s northern part, along the border with China. It was formed in 1961 asking for independence following a military coup by General Ne Win. Ne Win’s regime attempted to consolidate Burmese control over regions on the periphery of the state that were home to various ethnic groups. KIA fought a guerrilla war against the government forces till 1994, when a ceasefire agreement was signed by both sides. The Army has since renounced its goal of independence and seeks ‘autonomy within a federal union of Burma’.7 The KIA has been described as ‘one of the best equipped and trained forces among the armed rebel groups’.8 It is better trained and better disciplined than other groups, although in terms of arms and heavy weapons, the UWSA, which receives steady supplies from China, is a far superior fighting force. The KIA does not get any weapons from China. The cadre strength of the outfit, as described by its commanders, is in the range of 10,000 regular troops and 10,000 reservists.9 Though, it is impossible to verify the number. Patrick Bodenham, ‘Burma keeps lid on Kachin Abuses and Humanitarian Crisis’, The Guardian (London), 27 June 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/ global-development/poverty-matters/2012/jun/27/burma-kachin-abusescrisis-conflict (accessed on 23 August 2012). 8 ‘Video shows Burma Military “Targeting Kachin Rebels’”, BBC, 2 January 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20886377 (accessed on 3 January 2013). 9 Alastair Leithead, ‘Burma’s Kachin Army prepares for Civil War’, BBC, 22 February 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8528985.stm (accessed on 11 February 2012). 7

Myanmar  N  73

Other estimates, however, put the number of total soldiers barely at 4,000.10 Although well equipped for jungle warfare, the KIA has a modest weaponry collection of AK-47s, artillery and at least one high calibre anti-aircraft gun.11 The ceasefire with the government troops allowed the organization to control a large swathe in northern Myanmar, making them the de facto rulers in that part of the country. The KIA and the KIO ‘provide power, roads and schools funded by taxes on the brisk trade from China as well as the jade and gold mines and teak’.12 KIA’s headquarters are outside the town of Laiza, near the Chinese border. The Karen National Union (KNU) is the oldest of the armed groups in Myanmar. It describes itself as ‘a democratic organisation representing the Karen people of Burma’ and its goal as ‘peace and prosperity in a democratic federal Burma’.13 This predominantly Christian insurgency has been fighting the central government since the very early days of the country’s independence from Britain six decades ago. Incidentally, the Karens grew in strength as a result of support from the colonial British against the repressive treatment by the Burmese nationalist military. The KNU have been one of the strongest of the ethnic insurgencies in Myanmar. At one time they boasted an army of 14,000 men and controlled much territory along the eastern border.14 However, in recent years their operations have been reduced to relatively small-scale guerrilla attacks on army troops. Large numbers of Karen villagers have fled their homes — in one of the world’s least reported refugee crises — and about 100,000 still live in rudimentary camps on the Thai side of the border. Thomas Fuller, ‘Ethnic Groups in Myanmar Hope for Peace, but Gird for Fight’, New York Times, 10 May 2009, http://www.nytimes. com/2009/05/11/world/asia/11iht-myanmar.html (accessed on 11 February 2012). 11 Leithead, ‘Burma’s Kachin Army prepares for Civil War’. 12 Ibid. 13 Website of the Karen National Union, http://www.karennationalunion. net (accessed on 9 February 2012). 14 Charles Scanlon, ‘Who are Burma’s Karen Rebels?’, BBC, 12 January 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-16528737  (accessed on 9 February 2012). 10

74  N  Bibhu Prasad Routray

The New Mon State Party (NMSP) was formed in July 1958 under the leadership of Nai Shwe Kyin alias Nai Ba Lwin, after the Mon People’s Front (MPF) surrendered to the central government. The MPF launched an armed rebellion in 1948 and surrendered after the government promised an autonomous Mon state. Few MPF dissidents were not convinced and went on to form the NMSP, which carried on with its armed rebellion.15 The Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA), NMSP’s military wing, was formally founded as its armed wing on 29 August 1971. The MNLA is one of the smaller armed ethnic minority groups in the country with about 1,000 cadres based in the hills of southeast Myanmar. The objective of the NMSP/MNLA is to establish autonomy for the Mon-inhabited areas of southeastern Myanmar. According to the NMSP’s website, the group’s aim is ‘to reclaim the traditional and historical homeland of the Mon people which was conquered by the Burmese in 1757 and which did not receive its own rights after independence from Great Britain in 1948’. More specifically, the group claims that it is fighting to ‘establish an independent sovereign state unless the Burmese government is willing to permit a confederation of free nationalities exercising full right of self-determination inclusive of the right of secession’.16 The Shan State Army (SSA) was formed in 1964. However, in no time, the organization split into two factions — SSA-North and SSA-South. The former aligned itself with the central government till 2011, when fighting broke out between the SSA-North cadres and the Myanmarese troops, following the former’s refusal to become a BGF. However, in late January 2012, the outfit agreed for a truce with the government. The SSA-South too signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in December 2011. The SSA-South is a member of a parallel ethnic alliance called National Democratic Front, which was formed in 1976. This was cited as the reason when the SSA-South did not opt to join the UNFC. SSA-South has a strength of 10,000 cadres and a wide repository of arms. Website of the New Mon State Party (NMSP), http://www.nmsp.info/ nmsphis.php (accessed on 23 February 2012). 16 ‘Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA) (Myanmar)’, Janes Intelligence, http://articles.janes.com/articles/Janes-World-Insurgency-and-Terrorism/ Mon-National-Liberation-Army-MNLA-Myanmar.html  (accessed  on  23 February 2012). 15

Myanmar  N  75

The Chin National Front (CNF) was formed on 20 March 1988. Its military wing, the Chin National Army (CNA) was constituted on 14 November 1988. It seeks autonomy for Chin state within Myanmar. According to a CNF statement, the group was founded out of a desire to defend the rights of the Chin people from the Burmese military dictatorship that seeks to annihilate the Chin cultural, religious and ethnic identities, and to build a federated Union of Burma based on respect for human rights, democracy and equality for all ethnic nationalities.17

In recent years, the group has broken up into several factions, leaving the mainstream CNF with about 200 cadres. Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) pursues a demand for autonomy in the Myanmar–Thailand border area. The DKBA had split from its mother organization, KNLA’s political wing, the KNU, in 1995. In 2010, the DKBA itself split into two factions after its Brigade 5, with an estimated 1,500 troops, walked away from the mother group of 6,000 cadres and restarted armed conflict with government troops. The move followed after DKBA was forced by the government to join the BGF and observe a ceasefire agreement with them in 1995. On 7 November 2010, DKBA Brigade 5 temporarily took control of several government buildings in the town of Myawaddy on the Thai border and the fighting that followed forced over 20,000 people to flee to Thailand.18 The Arakan Liberation Army (ALA) is the military wing of the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), which was established in 1967 demanding the independence of the western Rakhine state from the then Burma. The ALA was formed in the early 1970s with assistance from the KNU through an ‘agreement of assistance’.19 The ALA had a long history of skirmishes with the troops till the first week of 17 ‘Chin National Army (CNA) (Myanmar)’, Janes Intelligence, http:// articles.janes.com/articles/Janes-World-Insurgency-and-Terrorism/ChinNational-Army-CNA-Myanmar.html (accessed on 23 May 2012). 18 Saw Yan Naing, ‘DKBA Brigade 5 Reaches Ceasefire with Naypyidaw’, Irrawaddy, 4 November 2011, http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_ id=22390 (accessed on 22 February 2012). 19 ‘The Summary of Arakan Liberation Party (ALP)’, 30 October 2008, http://arakaneagle.blogspot.sg/2008/10/summary-of-arakan-liberationpartyalp.html (accessed on 23 August 2012).

76  N  Bibhu Prasad Routray

April 2012, when it signed a ceasefire agreement with the government. According to an estimate, nine clashes between the ALA cadres and the troops took place in 2009 and seven clashes in 2008.20 On 3 January 2012, the ALA attacked an army base in Paletwa in Chin state killing four soldiers. Again on 14 March, another clash resulted in the death of a soldier at a village in Rakhine state. The ALA’s cadre’s strength, however, has been estimated at only 100 fighting men.

Tatmadaw (Myanmarese Armed Forces) The Myanmarese armed forces’ strength could be in the range of 400,000 active soldiers. For the military, fighting internal threats has been a key reason for its oversized presence — and a justification for its rule, which stretched from 1962 to the advent of Thein Sein’s government in 2011. However, authors such as Mary P. Callaham have indicated that most of these forces have little combat experience. She suggests that the country’s military may not be as effective a fighting force as it was once believed to be. ‘Officers as high-ranking as majors and in some cases lieutenant colonels today probably have less experience fighting wars than trying to build roads’.21 The army’s growth over the course of more than a decade has been effected by the introduction of new units, such as light infantry divisions, expanded armour divisions and artillery forces, and engineering battalions. It is also alleged that the army employs a large number of children as soldiers, often using them as shields in the asymmetrical fighting with the insurgents. In January 2013, London-based advocacy group Child Soldiers International, after a three-month research mission in both Myanmar and Thailand, reported the continuation of recruitment of children into the army. In June 2012, Myanmar’s government agreed to a United Nations plan to end the use of child soldiers. The army has since freed 42 children and more could be released. However, the report stated that the army, border troops and rebel groups still used Nyein Chan, ‘One killed in clash between ALA and Burmese Army’, Mizzima News, 15 February 2010, http://www.mizzima.com/news/insideburma/3535-one-killed-in-clash-between-ala-and-burmese-army-.html (accessed on 24 May 2012). 21 Mary P. Callaham, ‘Making Enemies, War and State-Building in Burma’, (Cornell: Cornell University Press, 2004), p. 220. 20

Myanmar  N  77

children, with the army facing internal pressure to increase its ranks and successful recruiters receiving bonuses or early leave. ‘Military officers and informal recruiting agents continue to use intimidation, coercion and physical violence to obtain new recruits, including under-18s’, the report said.22 With the expansion in its numbers, the army’s presence has increased throughout the country, especially in the ethnic regions. The ceasefire agreements brokered during former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt’s tenure facilitated a much larger presence for the military in the country’s ethnic regions. In Shan state alone, the number of battalions has increased from 40 to 200 in the last 18 years; while in Kachin state, new artillery battalions have been deployed to neutralize local insurgent groups. Myanmar has acquired new weapons systems from India, Singapore, Pakistan, North Korea, Ukraine, and Israel. The country’s principal supplier, however, has been China.23 Moreover, the political power exercised by the Tatmadaw remains paramount and undisturbed. It controls 25 per cent of the seats in both houses of the Union Parliament and the regional assemblies, which means that effectively it has a veto over constitutional amendments, which requires the support of more than 75 per cent of the Parliament. Final decisions on all government policies are believed to be made by the 11-member National Defence and Security Council — a seemingly paramount body that includes the commanderin-chief of the armed forces, the defence minister and three other senior military officials.24 The military also garners a major chunk of Myanmar’s resources. For the financial year 2013–14, the Defence Ministry was allocated 20.86 per cent of the proposed national budget,25 marginally less than the previous year. ‘Myanmar still using Child Soldiers’, International Herald Tribune, 25 January 2013. 23 Aung Zaw, ‘A Growing Tatmadaw’, Irrawaddy, 14 (3), March 2006, http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=5537&page=6 (accessed on 23 February 2012). 24 Ba Kaung, ‘Burmese Army Chief Defends Political Role’, Irrawaddy, 27  March  2012,  http://www2.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=23290 (accessed on 22 May 2012). 25 ‘Burma Military to Receive 20.8% of Budget’, Irrawaddy, 20 February 2013, http://www.irrawaddy.org/archives/27244 (accessed on 21 February 2013). 22

78  N  Bibhu Prasad Routray

External Powers China: An Equal Opportunity Trader Strategy and economics govern China’s interest in Myanmar, with which it shares a 2,204-kilometre-long international boundary. Over the years, China has pumped in billions of dollars into the Myanmarese economy. Myanmar remains critical for China’s soaring energy requirements. The US$ 30 billion-worth Shwe dual pipeline project, which passes through the insurgency-ridden central Myanmar territories before entering the Yunnan province, recently became operational in October 2013. Moreover, outpouring of migrants from Myanmar, fallout of the army operations against the insurgents has remained a critical issue for China. To that extent, China over the years has pursued a policy of engaging with and pressurizing Naypyidaw. It has also strategically courted some of the insurgents, especially the UWSA as a pressure tactic on the Myanmarese central government. During the Cold War, China not only supported the Burmese Communist Party, but also aided the armed groups, especially the Kachins. The BCP subsequently broke up into the UWSA, MNDAA, New Democratic Army-Kachin, and NDAA. Some leaders of these armed groups originate from China, which means that they have closer political and economic relations with the country. Many leaders have invested and have their own residence in China. Some local officials in the Yunnan border areas have closer ties with the armed groups because they share the same ancestor. Moreover, even though China does not like the insurgents’ drug business, it views their territories as a useful buffer. There is a lingering fear in the Myanmar government that China could make use of such linkages to undermine the authority of the government should relations between the two countries deteriorate. Some of these fears appeared to take concrete shape as China, according to a media report, started supplying arms to the UWSA. On 21 January 2013, the Democratic Voice of Burma reported the supply of armoured vehicles by the Chinese to the UWSA. Quoting the Janes Intelligence Review, the report said that the ‘transfer of Chinese-made PTL02 Wheeled Tank Destroyers is believed to have taken place in the middle of 2012’, thus marking ‘a significant escalation in the equipment supply to the UWSA’ from

Myanmar  N  79

China.26 The report surmised that this could be Beijing’s attempt to use the UWSA as leverage as Myanmar develops its relations with the United States. The report termed the supply as unprecedented both in the quantity of munitions and the type of systems delivered, and concluded that the delivery is highly likely to have stemmed from a high-level decision made in Beijing. Myanmar’s ungoverned areas also reportedly provide refuge to criminals and anti-state elements from China. Liu Yuejin, the director of China’s Ministry of Public Security’s anti-drug bureau told the media in February 2013 that in 2012, Beijing had planned to use a drone strike targeting Naw Kham, the leader of a drug gang who was thought to be in hiding in the mountains of northeastern Myanmar.27 The plan, however, was abandoned. Thailand: The Spill-over State Myanmar shares a 2,107-kilometre-long border with Thailand. In the past, ethnic insurgents operating in the southern part of Myanmar, such as the KNU and its military wing the KNLA, found it convenient to escape into the safety of Thailand, thus, making the army operations ineffective. Myanmar on several occasions tried putting pressure on Bangkok by linking border trade between the two countries with its southern neighbour’s cooperation to clear out its border towns of Myanmarese rebels. Myanmarese refugees also often sneaked into Thailand to avoid being caught in the crossfire between the Tatmadaw troops and the rebels. Myanmar alleged that the rebels too find refuge in the refugee camps. The KNU, on the other hand, denied the charge and maintains that ‘[w]e are based and operating in our own territory [in Burma]’.28 26 Francis Wade, ‘China ups Weapons Transfers to Wa Army’, Democratic Voice of Burma, 21 January 2013, http://www.dvb.no/news/china-upsweapons%E2%80%99-tranfers-to-wa-army/25895 (accessed on 21 January 2013). 27 Naw Kham reportedly led one of the biggest armed gangs in the ‘Golden Triangle’ region near the Mekong River and was responsible for killing 13 sailors in October 2011. Ananth Krishnan, ‘China planned Drone Strike in Myanmar’, The Hindu, 19 February 2013. 28 Naw Noreen, ‘Burma tells Thailand to “clear out” rebels’, Democratic Voice of Burma, 27 July 2011, http://www.dvb.no/news/burma-tellsthailand-to-%E2%80%98clear-out%E2%80%99-rebels/16751  (accessed on 23 February 2012).

80  N  Bibhu Prasad Routray

Besides armed conflict, refugees as well as drugs from Myanmar have regularly spilled over into Thailand. Thailand launched its official war against drugs in February 2003 and killed 2,275 people including many drug lords in the first three months.29 The campaign reduced the volume of illicit drug flow. But owing to the continuing demand that still exists in Thailand, the flow of drugs continues. The longevity of the conflict situation appears to have created a band of stakeholders within the Thai military who benefit from such cross-border problems. On 20 January 2013, Thai news media reported that a police investigation had found that army officers, some as senior as major and colonel were involved in smuggling of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar into Malaysia via Thailand, and that the trafficking had been going on for several years.30 On 21 January, the Thai Army chief called for an investigation into the episode. India: The Impact State With regard to the armed conflict situation in Myanmar, India is more of an ‘impact’ state rather than a ‘cause’ state, unlike China and, to some extent, Thailand. India shares a 1,338-kilometre-long international border with Myanmar, most of which has been porous and unguarded. Moreover, India’s Northeast abutting on the international border has been insurgency-ridden for past several decades. While none of the Myanmarese insurgent groups benefit from their alliance with their Indian counterparts, Indian insurgents, especially those operating in states such as Nagaland and Manipur, have not only set up camps inside Myanmar, but have also benefited from their nexus with the Myanmarese insurgencies as well as the army. The trade in drugs and small arms in Myanmar have been a constant source of turbulence in India’s Northeast. India also faces the problem of refugees, especially the Chins from Myanmar disturbing the demographic profile of states such as Mizoram. ‘Not Enough Graves: The War on Drugs, HIV/AIDS, and Violations of Human Rights’, Human Rights Watch, 16 (8C), June 2004, http:// www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/thailand0704.pdf  ( accessed  o n 21 February 2013). 30 ‘Army Officers linked to Rohingya Smuggling’, Bangkok Post, 20 January  2013,  http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/331655/armyofficers-linked-to-rohingya-smuggling (accessed on 22 January 2013). 29

Myanmar  N  81

Cooperation from Myanmar remains a critical factor for India’s counter-insurgency campaign in its northeastern region. To achieve that, India has been providing assistance for capacity-building among the Myanmar Army, as well as for building border roads to facilitate Myanmarese action against the Indian insurgent camps. In 2012, however, India’s military assistance to the Myanmar military came under close scrutiny after there were reports of use of Swedish anti-tank 84mm Carl Gustaf rocket launchers against the Kachins. Veteran Myanmar expert Bertil Lintner reported that the weapons, which can also be effectively used against the bunkers, were not exported directly from Sweden but obtained through a third country, violating the existing EU arms embargo on Myanmar. The report led to an investigation to find out how these weapons ended up in the hands of the Myanmar Army.31 Shortly thereafter, Sweden took up the issue with India, asking whether New Delhi was responsible for the transfer of arms to the Myanmar Army.

II Armed Conflict in 2012 Major Trends War with the Kachins On 18 January 2013, the Myanmar Parliament approved a motion calling for a ceasefire to end fighting between Kachin insurgents and the military in the far north of the country. The motion, proposed by a Kachin member of the parliament Daw Dwebu, called for the fighting between the KIA and government troops to be brought to an immediate halt and peace talks be resumed between the two parties.32 The house approved the motion without discussions. On the same day, President Thein Sein ordered a unilateral ceasefire Bertil Lintner, ‘Svenska Vapen’, Svenska Dagbladet, 11 December 2012, http://media1.dougmorton.com/apms/SVD_A_NYHETER_2012-spread. pdf (accessed on 11 December 2012). 32 Aung Hla Tun, ‘Myanmar Parliament calls for Ceasefire with Kachin Rebels’, Reuters, 8 January 2013, http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/01/18/ uk-myanmar-kachin-idUKBRE90H0L920130118 (accessed on 21 January 2013). 31

82  N  Bibhu Prasad Routray

to troops operating in the La Ja Yang area of Kachin state near the border with China, where fighting has been fiercest. Although the order was to take effect since the morning of 19 January, the KIA sources indicated that the Army had continued to attack the Kachin positions, both in La Ja Yang and elsewhere in the state.33 International reporters, however, indicated that the air strikes had stopped and there was only ‘minimal ground fighting’, although ‘shelling continued all day’.34 Notwithstanding the initiatives by China, which resulted in peace talks between both sides in the first week of February 2013, Kachins continued to report military action eliciting armed response from the rebels till the first week of March.35 The developments underlined the apparent disconnect between the orders of the president, who is not the commander-in-chief under the country’s new constitution, and the actions of the military. Thein Sein’s caveat that the army can defend itself from the rebel onslaught, appeared to have provided the military with a wide latitude to carry on what it likes the most — to fight. On 19 January, the government spokesperson blamed the insurgents for the fighting and said that the forces were only acting in self-defence. War between both sides had continued since June 2011. This single conflict  — big and ugly  — cast a lengthening shadow over the rest of Myanmar’s progress. Even as government’s ceasefire with the rest of the insurgencies held, Kachins remained in a fighting mode. While breakdown of a 17-year old ceasefire in June 2011 had led to the resumption of armed hostilities between the KIA and the Army, till mid-December 2012 both sides had reportedly engaged each other 2,000 times.36 This amounted to more than three Aung Hla Tun, ‘Myanmar Rebels say Army ignoring President’s Ceasefire’, Reuters, 20 January 2012, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/20/ us-myanmar-kachin-idUSBRE90J03820130120 (accessed on 21 January 2013). 34 Thomas Fuller, ‘A Cease-Fire with Rebels in Myanmar doesn’t hold’, New York Times, 19 January 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/20/ world/asia/cease-fire-in-myanmar-with-kachin-rebels-fails-to-take-hold. html?_r=1& (accessed on 21 January 2013). 35 ‘Kachin Group says Violence Continues while President claims Peace’, Irrawaddy,  8  March  2013,  http://www.irrawaddy.org/archives/28802 (accessed on 10 March 2013). 36 Zin Linn, ‘Burma breaks Reform Promise, opens new Offensive in Kachin State’, Asian Correspondent, 16 December 2012, http://asiancorrespondent. 33

Myanmar  N  83

encounters per day, underlining the intensity of hostilities between the two sides. A new phase of offensive against the Kachin’s, termed by the media as a ‘decisive military operation’37 started in December 2012. A video-shot by Chiangmai-based humanitarian group ‘Free Burma Rangers’ showed military attack helicopters firing on the ground and jets flying close to the KIA trenches.38 Although the president’s office denied that attack helicopters have been used in the offensive, a statement by the military on 2 January 2013 acknowledged the air strikes. The military claimed such strikes facilitated the capture of ‘a hilltop post from where the insurgents had attacked government supply convoys’.39 Apparently, the military had delivered an ultimatum to the KIA to clear a road by Christmas Day so it could supply its base close to Laiza, the KIA headquarters. The outfit had rejected this for fear of a government attack on their own outpost. The KIA suffered heavy casualties. According to the rebels account, the military too suffered the death of thousands of its soldiers. This intense and protracted military campaign also produced a large number of internally as well as externally displaced populations. The hostility split the Kachin state into two parts — one under the control of the government and the other under the insurgents. The protracted conflict produced 90,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) — 30,000 in government-controlled areas and 60,000 taking refuge in KIO-controlled areas. Despite appeals from the international aid community, the government continued to restrict the number of convoys to deliver supplies to those sheltering in the KIOheld areas, such action influenced by the perception that humanitarian aid could be used to bolster rebel strength. On 1 March 2013, the United Nations issued a statement that it has been able to deliver shelter, blankets, mosquito nets, cooking sets, clothes, and sanitary com/93734/burma-breaks-reform-promise-by-opening-new-offensive-inkachin-frontline/ (accessed on 17 December 2012). 37 Zin Linn, ‘Burma breaks Reform Promise’. 38   ‘Video shows Burma Military “Targeting Kachin Rebels’”, BBC, 2 January 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20886377 (accessed on 3 January 2013). 39   ‘Burma Military admits Airstrikes against Kachin’, Time, 2 January 2012, http://world.time.com/2013/01/02/burma-military-admits-airstrikesagainst-kachin/ (accessed on 3 January 2013).

84  N  Bibhu Prasad Routray

items to more than 2,000 refugees in the Hpakant area between 17 and 21 February.40 The war situation pushed thousands of the refugees into China, who crossed over into the border towns such as Nabang in the Yunnan province.

Trouble in the Rakhine State In Rakhine state, antagonism between the Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya communities burst into deadly violence, killing around 200 people on both sides and displacing about 110,000 people, the vast majority of them Muslims. Since 1982, the government has classified an estimated 750,000 Rohingyas living in its western Rakhine state as stateless Bengali Muslims from neighbouring Bangladesh, leaving them vulnerable to persecution, discrimination and abuse. In the riot that was triggered by the rape of a Buddhist girl allegedly by the Rohingyas, the government was required to play the critical role of reconciliation between the communities. However, it appeared to be taking the sides of the Buddhists and sanctioning the persecution of the Rohingyas. President Thein Sein in June 2012 suggested that the Rohingyas should be deported to a foreign country as a solution to the conflict. However, under international pressure, he blamed the ‘nationalist and religious extremists’ in Rakhine state for the clashes. Two days before the US President Barack Obama’s visit of Myanmar on 19 November, the first ever by an American President, Thein Sein sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary General hinting at reforms to Myanmar’s restrictive nationality laws. He said in the letter that the government was prepared to ‘address contentious political dimensions, ranging from re-settlement of displaced populations to the granting of citizenship’.41 However, till   ‘UN aid gets to Kachin’, Irrawaddy, 2 March 2013, http://www. mizzima.com/special/kachin-battle-report/8987-un-aid-gets-to-kachin.html (accessed on 5 March 2013). 41   David Eimer, ‘Burma’s President Thein Sein pledges to address violence between Muslims and Buddhists ahead of Obama visit’, Telegraph, 17  November  2012,  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/ burmamyanmar/9685075/Burmas-President-Thein-Sein-pledges-toaddress-violence-between-Muslims-and-Buddhists-ahead-of-Obama-visit. html (accessed on 8 February 2013). 40

Myanmar  N  85

February 2013, thousands of these displaced populations remained confined to camps in muddy rice fields or narrow strips of land without access to health care, clean water or sanitation. Even attempts by the international medical groups to reach aid to them were blocked by the government.42 The government was not alone in its aloofness to the sufferings of the Rohingyas. Even the opposition leader Suu Kyi maintained a degree of ambivalence while commenting on the conflict in international forums.43 The conflict predictably found its way into the Jihadi forums, with al Qaeda and Islamist groups in Pakistan soliciting attention of the Muslims around the world to the plight of their brethren in Myanmar. Several Muslim countries wanted to channel aid to Rohingyas through the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Saudi Arabia pledged US$50  million for the Rohingyas. However, Thein Sein ruled that opening an OIC office would not be ‘in accordance with the people’s desires’.44

42 In February 2013, the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) alleged that security forces restrict MSF visits and limit the movement of Muslim patients, even if they are critically ill. MSF was allowed to visit camps just once a week and its staff could not stay overnight. As a result, common ailments like skin infections, diarrhoea, coughing, and worms went untreated, severely impacting the villagers’ health, especially children. Lawi Weng, ‘Medical Aid to Arakan State Rohingya Blocked, MSF Says’, Irrawaddy, 7 February 2013, http://www.irrawaddy.org/archives/26319#.URRMIeto4jw.facebook (accessed on 8 February 2013). 43 During her trip to New Delhi in November 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi described the violence as a ‘huge international tragedy’. She said she had not spoken on behalf of Rohingya Muslims because she wanted to promote reconciliation between the Buddhist and Muslim communities. ‘But don’t forget that violence has been committed by both sides. This is why I prefer not to take sides. And, also I want to work toward reconciliation between these two communities. I am not going to be able to do that if I take sides’, she said. See ‘Aung San Suu Kyi Explains Silence on Rohingyas’, Voice of America, 15 November 2012, http://www.voanews.com/content/ aung-san-suu-kyi-explains-silence-on-rohingyas/1546809.html (accessed on 11 December 2012). 44 ‘No help, please, we’re Buddhists’, Economist, 20 October 2012, http:// www.economist.com/news/asia/21564909-when-offending-muslim-worldseems-small-price-pay (accessed on 11 December 2012).

86  N  Bibhu Prasad Routray

War on Drugs Myanmar is world’s second largest opium poppy-growing country after Afghanistan. It currently accounts for 25 per cent of global illicit poppy cultivation, and  — together with Lao PDR  — a full 10  per cent of global opium production. The country’s ‘illicit narcotics reportedly generate between US$1 billion and US$2 billion annually in exports’.45 In October 2012, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported that opium poppy cultivation in Myanmar rose for the sixth consecutive year, despite a significant increase in government eradication efforts. In 2012, Myanmar’s total opium production reached 690 metric tonnes (mt), a 13 per cent increase from 2011, and the highest level of production since 2003. The UNODC report estimates that Myanmar opium poppy cultivation jumped 17 per cent in 2012 to 51,000 ha (up from 43,000 ha in 2011).46 High prices for opium in the Lao PDR, with which Myanmar shares a 238-kilometre long border, and Thailand, as well as steep price increases in Myanmar, have been cited as reasons why farmers are taking to poppy cultivation. The shortage of alternative livelihoods for poor communities and the linkage between poppy cultivation and the lack of peace and security in the growing areas in Myanmar were cited as other reasons. Opium, however, is only part of the larger problem facing Myanmar and Southeast Asia. Myanmar also produces methamphetamine, known as yaba (‘crazy drug’ in Thai). According to an estimate, in 2009 and 2010 the amount of methamphetamine flowing into Thailand from Myanmar increased from 800 million tablets to one billion, annually.47 A Thai government report in 2012 indicated 45 Liana Sun Wyler, ‘Burma and Transnational Crime’, Congressional Research  Service,  21  January  2010,  http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/ RL34225_20100121.pdf (accessed on 20 February 2012). 46 ‘South-East Asia Opium Survey 2012  — Lao PDR, Myanmar’, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), http://www.unodc.org/documents/ crop-monitoring/sea/SouthEastAsia_Report_2012_low.pdf (accessed on 23 January 2013). 47   ‘Myanmar’s Rising Drug Trade’, Bangkok Post, 12 February 2012, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/investigation/279434/myanmarreforms-mask-meteoric-rise-in-drug-trade (accessed on 22 February 2012).

Myanmar  N  87

that the Thai authorities seized 31.3 million methamphetamine pills from October 2011 through March 2012, representing a 45 per cent increase from a year earlier.48 The drugs are mostly produced in Myanmar’s north and northeast, in regions controlled by the UWSA, considered to be the dominant narco-trafficking organization in the region. According to the UNODC, the Shan state accounts for 90 per cent of opium poppy cultivation in the country, with the remaining 10 per cent located mainly in Kachin state. The Myanmar military units are also believed to be closely involved in the shipping of the drugs out of the country and into Thailand and Laos. Myanmar has been implementing the 15-year drug eradication plan since 1999 in three five-year phases to fight drug supply from various aspects and improve the living standard of the citizens. The three-pronged tactics  — supply reduction, demand reduction and law enforcement — has since been extended for another five years. The new objective is to end all production and trafficking of illegal drugs by 2019. In 2011, the Myanmar government had appealed to foreign donors for US$500 million to finance a programme that, it says, will wean 256,000 households off poppy-growing over the next three years. In 2012, police, soldiers and villagers armed with sticks and weed-whackers had destroyed 23,717 ha of opium poppy, more than three times the 7,058 ha it eradicated in 2011.49 However, the belief that the success of reforms and spread of democracy would also be able to address the problem of drugs may have been misplaced. Unless the control of the state expands to include the border territories, the drug producers’ ability to grow poppy and process them into the illegal substance would always flourish. There are reports that ceasefire-induced peace in the rebel strongholds is making the ‘rebels on a peace mode’ available exclusively for drug production. The weak bargaining position of the Thomas Fuller, ‘Drug Surge Clouds Myanmar Reform Effort’, New York Times, 14 May 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/14/world/ asia/drug-surge-clouds-myanmar-reform-effort.html?pagewanted=all (accessed on 25 May 2012). 49 ‘Myanmar Opium Cultivation up Despite Rise in Poppy Eradication, UNODC says’, UNODC, 31 October 2012, http://www.unodc.org/ eastasiaandpacific/en/myanmar/2012/10/ops-2012/storym.html  (accessed on 25 January 2013). 48

88  N  Bibhu Prasad Routray

government vis‑à‑vis the ethnic insurgencies, such as the SSA-South and the UWSA, failed to keep a tab on the drug trade in Myanmar. Incidentally, in May 2012, the SSA-South’s political wing, the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), had submitted a ‘drugeradication plan’ to government negotiators to wipe out drugs in Shan state, where much of the country’s opium and amphetamines are produced. Head of a Thai police investigative unit told the media that the ethnic groups ‘don’t need to fight anymore, so they’ve deployed their soldiers into drug production’.50 Opium and heroin production as well as that of methamphetamine or yaba continued and they were smuggled out via Thailand. Yaba-making laboratories appeared to run without any difficulty, for these are easier to conceal than the sprawling poppy fields.

Reformists and Hardliners Divide The intractability of the Kachin war has been ascribed to an internal power struggle between the reformists with the government and the hardliners who still control factions within the military. These demonstrated that not everybody among the ruling elites is on board in the end game in the Kachin state. The failure of the negotiations with the KIA was initially blamed on the head of the government delegation, Vice-President Tin Aung Myint Oo, a known hardliner. However, even after his resignation in July 2012, reportedly for health reasons, the peace process has not progressed well. Since, according to the 2008 constitution, the president is not the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The army has its own military tribunals independent of civilian jurisdiction. Thus, the orders of the president have no legal status and have been ignored by the military commanders. Although the president’s Chief Political Advisor Ko Ko Hlaing has repeatedly made public statements about the loyalty of the military leaders towards the government,51 there is little doubt that success of the reforms process is largely dependent upon active cooperation from the military. Fuller, ‘Drug Surge Clouds Myanmar Reform Effort’.   ‘Reform in Burma is Irreversible: Aide’, The Nation, 29 February 2012,  http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Reform-in-Burma-isirreversible-aide-30176943.html (accessed on 22 May 2012). 50 51

Myanmar  N  89

III Conflict Management The official conflict management strategy in 2012 appeared to be two-pronged: (a) holding on to the ceasefire agreements signed with the insurgent groups and trying to convert these into political dialogues; and (b) trying to bring the lone fighting group, the KIA, to the negotiation table. Efforts not to let the ceasefire agreements disintegrate largely succeeded, although none of these agreements progressed into a political dialogue-phase. However, as explained earlier, the second objective — peace with the Kachins — remained unfulfilled.

Maintaining the Ceasefire Agreements On 4 January 2013, the SSA-South accused the Myanmar Army of invading its territory in violation of a December 2011 ceasefire deal. The Army, on the other hand, explained that it was merely providing security for a road-building project. Again on 1 March, SSA-South accused the Army of coercing it to abandon two frontline posts. The outfit’s spokesperson said that at least 50 clashes had occurred between both sides since the initial ceasefire agreement on 2 December 2011.52 Such odd aberrations notwithstanding, the ceasefire agreements signed with 13 ethnic armies, except the KIA, held throughout 2012. The outfits included the Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K), which is mostly active in the Indian State of Nagaland, with a purported objective of carving out an independent homeland for the Naga tribes inhabiting India and Myanmar. On 3 May 2012, the Government of Myanmar established the National Peace-making Committee headed by President U Thein Sein and a 52-member Peace-making Working Committee headed by Vice-President Dr Sai Mauk Hkam (an ethnic Shan). Both Minister U Aung Min and Deputy Commander-in-Chief Gen Soe Win were appointed as vice-Chairs of the working committee. Again, on 26 October 2012, the president established the Myanmar Peace 52 Kyaw Kha, ‘Tensions Grow between Govt and SSA-South’, 2 March 2013, Irrawaddy, http://www.irrawaddy.org/archives/28217 (accessed on 5 March 2013).

90  N  Bibhu Prasad Routray Table 4.1: Ceasefire Agreements between the Government and the Ethnic Insurgencies Outfit DKBA SSA-S UWSA NDAA CNF KNU SSA-N NMSP KNPP ALP NSCN-K PNLO CNF

Date 11 December 2011 11 December 2011 4 January 2012 4 January 2012 6 January 2012 28 January 2012 28 January 2012 1 March 2012 7 March 2012 5 April 2012 9 April 2012 27 June 2012 9 December 2012

Official Negotiators Aung Thaung & Thein Zaw Aung Min Aung Thaung & Thein Zaw Aung Thaung & Thein Zaw Aung Min Aung Min Aung Thaung & Thein Zaw Aung Min Aung Min Aung Thaung & Thein Zaw Aung Thaung & Thein Zaw Aung Min Aung Min

Status Continuing Continuing Continuing Continuing Continuing Continuing Continuing Continuing Continuing Continuing Continuing Continuing Continuing

Source: Prepared by the Author.

Centre (MPC) under the chief negotiator Aung Min. Since then the MPC has evolved as the single window service centre supported by independent experts and analysts to assist in the peace process. Ceasefires contributed to the overall decline in violence between the government troops and the ethnic armies. However, ensued peace remained tenuous. Similar to all ceasefire agreements signed in the previous years by the military junta, the recent ceasefires too allowed the insurgents to carry on with their activities as long as they did not target the government forces. The agreements carved out designated areas for movement for both the outfits and the military and required both parties to provide prior information ‘when and if one side goes into the other’s territory’.53 This arrangement allowed the insurgents, at least the major ones, to maintain area dominance. Both the SSASouth and the UWSA were reportedly allowed to carry on with their drug trade, thereby generating sufficient resources to buy weapons and ammunitions.

Ending the Kachin War Myanmar hopes to reduce the prevailing poverty rate from 26 to 16 per cent by 2015. This ambitious plan is linked, in the words 53

Kha, ‘Tensions Grow between Govt and SSA-South’.

Myanmar  N  91

of the president, to ‘political stability, cessation of armed conflicts and socio-economic development of the 60  million people in the country’.54 The official conflict management techniques were successful in signing and then holding on to the ceasefire agreements signed with several armed outfits. However, the technique appeared to have failed in the context of the Kachins. The president’s growing popularity appeared to have caused concerns among the army’s senior generals. While the president appeared committed to a ceasefire agreement-led peace process with the KIA, the army pursued a purely militaristic approach. The president’s repeated instructions that the army should open fire on the rebels only in self-defence were ignored. The president’s office remained in dark about the nature of warfare pursued by the army. For example, in response to the military’s use of attack helicopters and jets against the rebels, the president’s spokesperson said, ‘[t]he aircraft being used are K8 training aircraft not fighter jets — that is the information I got from the military. I have no information on the use of helicopters. There is a very difficult situation in Kachin state.’55 He maintained that the aircraft were being used mainly to supply government units whose access to supplies by road had been cut off by the Kachin guerrillas. The subsequent admission by the military that it had indeed used airpower to clear off the rebels, pointed at a seeming disconnect between the government and the military, which retains much power behind the scenes. On the other hand, the stubborn stance of the Kachins, rooted in distrust of the central authorities, made Thein Sein’s project of finding peace difficult. The regime’s effort to put in place a ceasefire agreement with the KIO was rebuffed repeatedly by the outfit, which insisted on substantive negotiations to precede any agreement. The KIO, which heads the UNFC alliance, insisted that it would   ‘Political Stability, Cessation of Armed Conflicts, Socio-economic Development a must: President’, New Light of Myanmar, 17 December 2012, http://www.myanmar.com/newspaper/nlm/index.html (accessed on 17 December 2012). 55   ‘Video shows Burma Military “Targeting Kachin Rebels’”, BBC, 2 January 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20886377 (accessed on 3 January 2013). 54

92  N  Bibhu Prasad Routray

accept political talks with the government only through the alliance, and reiterated that any agreement without substantive dialogue is a mere attempt by the government to control the outfit. As a result, war and negotiations continued almost simultaneously. Two rounds of dialogue took place  — on 30 June and on 2–3 August  — between both sides at the behest of the Kachin Nationals Consultative Assembly (KNCA). However, after the talks the KIO spokesperson insisted, ‘[b]oth sides have agreed to make a ceasefire agreement but more time and more negotiations are needed. We haven’t made a ceasefire with the Burmese army yet. We are currently negotiating.’56 Nonetheless, the unilateral ceasefire declaration by the government in January 2013 appeared to unveil some positive developments. On 23 January 2013, the UNFC announced that it had agreed to hold talks with the government to try to end the Kachin conflict.57 On 31 January, Presidential Spokesman Ye Htut confirmed that a new round of peace talks with Kachin rebels will be hosted by the UWSA group at Panghsang, the headquarters of the outfit.58 However, under Chinese supervision both the KIA and the government negotiators met in the Chinese township of Ruii on 4 February. Luo Zhaohui, China’s Director General of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian Affairs Department, met with the representatives of both sides ahead of the talks and participated in the talks as a witness.59 56 ‘No Agreement on Ceasefire between Burmese Government and KIO’, 12 August 2012, Kachin News, http://www.kachinnews.com/news/2014no-agreement-on-ceasefire-between-burmese-government-and-kio.html (accessed on 17 December 2012). 57   ‘Ethnic Federation to Hold Talks with Govt over Kachin Conflict’, Democratic Voice of Burma, 23 January 2013, http://www.dvb.no/news/ ethnic-federation-to-hold-talks-with-govt-over-kachin-conflict/25956 (accessed on 24 January 2013). 58   Daniel Schearf , ‘Burma Confirms Peace Talks with Kachin Rebels’, Voice of America, 31 January 2013, http://www.voanews.com/content/ burma-confirms-china-linked-insurgents-to-host-peace-talks-with-kachinrebels/1594321.html (accessed on 10 March 2013). 59   ‘China Takes Active Role in Talks Between Burma and Kachin Rebels’, Voice of America, 5 February 2013, http://www.voanews.com/ content/china-burma-kachin-talks/1597682.html (accessed on 10 March 2013).

Myanmar  N  93

Conflict Management Role Played by Different Agencies/Actors International Organizations The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Myanmarese authorities ‘to desist from any action that could endanger the lives of civilians living in the area or further intensify the conflict in the region’, UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky said. Ban called on the government and rebels to work toward political reconciliation.60 However, neither advices nor actual involvement of the international negotiators helped brokering peace between the KIA and the government. A Peace Support Initiative sponsored by the Norwegian government and another initiative by the Switzerland-based Center for Humanitarian Dialog were criticized as promoting what is essentially an official position, i.e., ‘avoiding discussions of political issues and only emphasizing ceasefires, disarmament and economic development’.61 United States The United States State Department on 2 January 2013 termed the use of air power in Kachin state as ‘extremely troubling’. The spokesperson urged the Myanmar government and the KIA to cease their conflict and begin a real dialogue for peace.62 On 14 January, the State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the US has ‘been working both with the government of Burma and with the Kachin Independence Organization to encourage both sides to halt the violence, to get into dialogue with each other’.63 ‘Burma Military admits Airstrikes against Kachin’, Time, 2 January 2012, http://world.time.com/2013/01/02/burma-military-admits-airstrikesagainst-kachin/ (accessed on 3 January 2013). 61 Bertil Lintner, ‘More War than Peace in Myanmar’, Asian Times Online, 18 December 2012, http://atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/NL18Ae01. html (accessed on 18 December 2012). 62 ‘Burma Military admits Airstrikes against Kachin’, Time, 2 January 2012, http://world.time.com/2013/01/02/burma-military-admits-airstrikesagainst-kachin/ (accessed on 3 January 2013). 63 ‘China Takes Active Role in Talks Between Burma and Kachin Rebels’, Voice of America, 5 February 2013, http://www.voanews.com/content/chinaburma-kachin-talks/1597682.html (accessed on 10 March 2013). 60

94  N  Bibhu Prasad Routray

China China’s concerns regarding the continuation of the intra-Myanmar conflicts, especially the war with the Kachins spilling over into its territory, pushed it to play an indirect role in the conflict management mechanism. One particular concern for Chinese authorities has been the potential influx of thousands of Kachin refugees, which could occur if the army captures Laiza town. Prior to the 4 February talks, Beijing’s special envoy Fu Ying set up several meetings with Myanmar’s senior military leaders and President Thein Sein. Beijing appeared to have played an important role in the announcement of ceasefire with the Kachins on 18 January 2013. A day before the announcement, China rebuked Myanmar over the fighting and called for a ceasefire in response to an artillery shell that flew over its border on 15 January, the second such incident since the first on 30 December 2012. Although the shells caused no damage, Chinese security forces were sent to increase their patrols and surveillance along the Sino-Myanmar border. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman told a media conference, ‘China made immediate emergency representations to Burma, expressed strong concern and dissatisfaction with the situation, and demanded that Burma earnestly investigate and adopt a series of measures to prevent further similar occurrences’.64 On 22 January, China issued another statement, calling for negotiations between the government and the rebels. The Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said, ‘[w]e believe that talks are the only correct solution to the north Myanmar conflict and expect all related parties to seek a ceasefire’.65 The response suggested growing impatience in Beijing with the Myanmar government’s campaign against ethnic Kachins. 64 Tania Branigan, ‘Suu Kyi calls for Kachin Ceasefire as Tensions Rise on Border’, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 January 2013, http://www.smh.com.au/ world/suu-kyi-calls-for-kachin-ceasefire-as-tensions-rise-on-border20130118-2cyof.html (accessed on 21 January 2013). 65 ‘China Says its Border near Kachin Conflict is Stable’, Irrawaddy, 23  J anuary  2 013,  h ttp://www.irrawaddy.org/archives/24915  ( accessed on 23 January 2013).

Myanmar  N  95

Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi Aung San Suu Kyi appeared to finally assert herself by calling for an immediate halt to the military offensives against the Kachins. In a media interview on 18 January she said, I don’t like any kind of war or violence. I have always said that we should negotiate among ourselves so that there is no need to fight like this. We will only be able to avoid such conflicts if we begin to practice a culture of negotiation.66

Her previous silence in carving out a role for peace in both the Kachin conflict as well as the clashes between the Buddhists and the Rohingyas had come under intense criticisms. Civil Society In January 2013, President Thein Sein called upon the civil society organizations to play a greater role in working towards peace and stability in the country. He indicated that the government is trying to create a role for the civil society organizations in the peace process.67 A significant decline in violence in many parts of Myanmar’s geographical expanse has gradually allowed such organizations to consolidate inter- as well as intra-ethnic peace, although their actual role in terms of contribution to the peace process remained too sketchy to be defined. A media report in January 2013 described a joint effort in the Shan state by a coalition of Shan political parties, militias and civil society groups to try to find common ground on issues that still divide the various Shan rebel factions.68 In November 2012, the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) organized a Tania Branigan, “Suu Kyi calls for Kachin Ceasefire as Tensions Rise on Border’, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 January 2013, http://www.smh. com.au/world/suu-kyi-calls-for-kachin-ceasefire-as-tensions-rise-on-border20130118-2cyof.html (accessed on 21 January 2013). 67 ‘Civil Society to have Bigger Role in Myanmar’, IANS, 21 January 2013, http://in.news.yahoo.com/civil-society-bigger-role-myanmar-062002146. html (accessed on 21 January 2013). 68 Bill O’Toole, ‘Myanmar’s war-torn Shan look towards Compromise’, The Myanmar Times, 21 January 2013, http://www.mmtimes.com/index. php/national-news/3824-shan-groups-try-to-find-middle-ground.html (accessed on 21 January 2013). 66

96  N  Bibhu Prasad Routray

conference in Yangon that included the north and south factions of the SSA, the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) and the Chiang Mai-based Shan Women’s Action Network. Similarly, on 21 January 2013 a group of 50 peace activists with blue flags tied around their necks started a two-month long 800-mile trek from Yangon to Laiza in the Kachin state to protest the government’s ongoing conflict with the KIA. Among others, representatives of the Yangon-based civil society organization Myanmar Egress were present during the Chinese-mediated peace talks between the KIO and the government in February.

IV Conclusions and the Way Forward On 21 January 2013, President Thein Sein indicated that his ‘administration will avoid using piecemeal measures when dealing with ethnic problems but the means that will lead to lasting peace’.69 Under the circumstances, however, the administration appeared to be doing just that  — taking isolated steps to ensure peace and stability. Whereas the goal of signing ceasefire agreements with the insurgents was achieved in quick time, the subsequent objectives of starting a political dialogue with the outfits looked a comparatively more difficult process. The intractability of the Kachin conflict added more complexities. Since the time Myanmar has embarked on a path of reforms, analysts have pointed out that the changes are mostly responses to outside pressures and directed at garnering external investment for an economically impoverished Myanmar. Several developments in the past year have confirmed such a conclusion. The January 2013 announcement of ceasefire with the KIA came a day before representatives from at least two dozen countries and international organizations, including the World Bank, gathered in Naypyidaw for a conference on offering assistance to Myanmar. This led observers to point out that the government’s unilateral ceasefire offer coincided with the meeting, since national reconciliation with   ‘Civil Society to have Bigger Role in Myanmar’, Indo-Asian News Service,  21  January  2013,  http://in.news.yahoo.com/civil-society-biggerrole-myanmar-062002146.html (accessed on 24 January 2013). 69

Myanmar  N  97

Myanmar’s many ethnic groups is seen as a measure of the success of Thein Sein’s ambitious democratic reforms. However, even this externally pushed peace and stability continues to face serious internal resistance. The administration’s conservative faction appears to have a different end game compared to the one led by President Thein Sein. Especially, in the context of the Kachin war, experts believe that the motive of the military appeared to be weakening the rebels, rather than vanquishing it altogether. Although under the constitution the military retains a dominant role in politics and the army chief is possibly the most powerful figure in the new political system, it still needs internal conflicts to justify its crucial role as a defender of the nation. At another level, the stability project in Myanmar would also depend on China’s role. The war in the Kachin state, along China’s southwestern border, where the latter has several large hydropower projects, continues to put its economic interests at risk. An important gas and oil pipeline also runs from Myanmar’s western coast to China, passing just south of the war zone. Further, the unrest presents a challenge to China’s foreign policy and Chinese authorities still seem to be in the process of formulating a coherent response. A media report in Chinese daily Global Times highlighted the challenge for China. ‘How our government should react is a question worth considering, this is also a new kind of test of what role China should play in the world’.70 The US inroads into Myanmar are paving way for intensification of Chinese role in the country  — both in terms of engagement as well as pressure tactics. Chinese weariness about a pro-US Myanmar is bound to be reflected in its future policies towards Myanmar. An opinion survey on the Global Times’ website on 19 January 2013 indicated that 53 per cent of its readers think that ‘China should become involved in the ethnic conflict in northern Burma’. Another 63 per cent said they believed that the conflict was affecting bilateral relations between Burma and China. The survey was subsequently removed from the site. Peace — ending the war with the Kachins and consolidating the ceasefire agreements with the rest of the ethnic armies — would also 70 Quoted in Patrick Boehler, ‘Kachin Conflict a Conundrum for China’, Irrawaddy,  21  January  2013,  http://www.irrawaddy.org/archives/24742 (accessed on 23 January 2013).

98  N  Bibhu Prasad Routray

depend on the responsibilities assumed by the opposition and the civil society groups. An early initiation of the constitutional reforms process would go a long way in assuaging the ethnic armies regarding the government’s sincerity in embarking on a process of change. J

5 Naxal Conflict 2012: Naxal Violence in Hibernation Deepak Kumar Nayak

The Communist Party of India (CPI) (Maoist) has surely been the

primary Left Wing Extremist Organization, since its formation through the merger of Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) People’s War (People’s War Group) and the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI) on 21 September 2004. The CPI (Maoist), of course, has been around for much longer, and is presently thriving, perhaps as never before due to the lackadaisical approach of the policymakers. (True, there is the general notion that Naxal-related violence are on the decline, according to which Government of India, on the one hand, and CPI [Maoist] on the other, are inversely related: as the former waxes, the latter wanes. Recent resurgences of Naxal-related violence in some parts of the CPI [Maoist]-affected areas, however, cast considerable doubt on this notion.) The relation between these two actors in the Naxal theatre has been tumultuous, many-faceted and confusing.1 This chapter will concentrate on the assessment of both the actors of the Naxal theatre and their performances in 2012. While doing so, this chapter will also take a look at the state-wise statistics of Naxal-related violence of various indices for 2012 vis-à-vis 2011. Further, it will analyze the shift and continuity of programmes, objectives and strategies of the CPI (Maoist) in the current changing scenario. Perhaps the most salient question is whether the Government of India will yield the desired results against the CPI (Maoist) in the foreseeable future. This question will be the central focus of what follows. 1 This chapter uses the terms ‘Left Wing Extremism’ ‘Naxal’, ‘Naxalite’ and ‘Maoist’ synonymously. Also, it uses the terms ‘insurgency’, ‘movement’ and ‘revolution’ synonymously in relation to Naxalites.

100  N  Deepak Kumar Nayak

Principal Actors The main actors of the Naxal theatre are the CPI (Maoist) and the Government of India (the Central Government and the state governments of the various states affected by the Naxal movement).

Non-State Actors The CPI (Maoist) The armed peasant resistance in March 1967 against the landlords in Naxalbari,2 a village in the State of West Bengal, has metamorphosed into CPI (Maoist)’s vision for it’s so-called ‘protracted people’s war’ against the Government of India. In a historic development in the year 2004, then operating in Bihar and adjoining areas, amalgamated to form the CPI (Maoist). The paper titled ‘Strategy and Tactics of the Indian Revolution’ of the CPI (Maoist) contains a comprehensive plan of action to capture political power and usher in a so-called ‘New Democratic Revolution’ in India. The stratagem for ‘New Democratic Revolution’ is an amalgamation of military and political tactics involving the creation of ‘base areas’ (liberated areas) in the countryside and gradual encirclement and capture of the urban areas. This objective is sought to be achieved through armed warfare by the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) cadres of the CPI (Maoist), political mobilization through its ‘front organizations’ and alliances with other insurgent outfits active in different parts of India, which in CPI (Maoist) jargon is called the ‘Strategic United Front’. The CPI (Maoist) seeks to organize a ‘joint front’ against the Indian State, and in pursuance of this objective it ideologically supports the secessionist movements in Jammu & Kashmir and the Northeast. It has also developed close organizational ties with certain insurgent groups in the Northeast for procurement of arms and ammunition. Table 5.1 depicts the state-wise break-up of Naxal-related violence. During the year 2012, there had been 1,412 incidents of Naxalbari is a village in Darjeeling district, in the State of West Bengal, India. The incident that precipitated the armed peasant struggle took place in Naxalbari in March 1967 when three share-croppers, with support from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI (M), seized the entire stock of 300 mds of paddy from the landlord’s granary. 2

Naxal Conflict  N  101

Naxal-related violence, as against 1,760 during the year 2011, indicating a decline of 19.77 per cent. Resultant fatal-ities during the year 2012 were 414 (civilians-300, security forces-114), as against 611 fatalities (civilians-469, security forces-142) during the year 2011. Clearly, Table 5.1 illustrates that Jharkhand has overtaken Chhattisgarh in Maoist killings in 2012. Out of 414 killings last year, Jharkhand accounted for 162 deaths, followed by Chhattisgarh (109), Odisha (45), Bihar (44), Maharashtra (41), and Andhra Pradesh (13). Giving the impression that the overall Naxal-related violence is on a declining trend, it is amusing to note that Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra recorded an increase in incidents of Naxalrelated violence in 2012 as compared to 2011, while there was a significant decrease in Naxal-related violence in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal, in terms of both incidents and casualties, as shown in Table 5.2.3 However, if one will look in terms of geographical spread, Left Wing Extremism (LWE) violence was witnessed in 87 districts in 11 states in 2012, as against 85 districts in 12 states in 2011.4 It is also amazing to note that incidents of economic targets by the LWE in the affected states in the country have declined. According to data released by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), during the past four years, following the declining trend, there were substantially less number of LWE-attacks on railways, telephone exchange/tower, mining, panchayat buildings and school buildings, as depicted in Table 5.3.5 While the confusion prevails, it is fascinating to note the CPI (Maoist) trying to expand its activities in various states of the country. Despite the indications that Naxal-related violence is declining, the states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, and Odisha are considered badly affected by LWE. While the states of West Bengal and Maharashtra are seen as partially affected, the states of Andhra Ibid. Written reply by Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs (Shri R. P. N. Singh) to Question No. 988, answered on 6 March 2013 in Rajya Sabha. 5 ‘Statistics of Naxal Violence’, Naxal Management Division, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, http://mha.nic.in/pdfs/SWENV2008-12.pdf. 3 4

14

Others

721

4

26

0

101

22

0

207

242

73

46

66

2258

5

255

8

266

154

1

742

529

232

908

0

158

2

67

93

0

208

290

72

18

Deaths

2009

Incidents

2213

5

350

6

218

94

7

501

625

307

100

1005

0

258

1

79

45

1

157

343

97

24

Deaths

2010 Incidents

Source: Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India.

1591

35

West Bengal

Total

4

Uttar Pradesh

103

68

Maharashtra

Odisha

07

484

Jharkhand

Madhya Pradesh

620

Chhattisgarh

92

164

Deaths

2008

Incidents

Bihar

Andhra Pradesh

State

Table 5.1: State-wise Left Wing Extremist Violence, 2008–12

54

1760

6

92

1

192

109

8

517

465

316

611

1

45

0

53

54

0

182

204

63

9

Deaths

2011 Incidents

67

1412

8

6

1

171

134

11

479

369

166

414

0

0

0

45

41

0

162

109

44

13

Deaths

2012 Incidents

A

12 (9) 34 (60) 63 (124) 133 (149) 27 (44) 0 (0) 31 (39) 0 (0) 0 (43) 0 (1) 300 (469)

B

10 (6) 13 (12) 35 (91) 32 (35) 21 (37) 0 (0) 23 (25) 0 (0) 0 (11) 0 (1) 134 (218)

1 (0) 10 (3) 46 (80) 29 (33) 14 (10) 0 (0) 14 (14) 0 (0) 0 (2) 0 (0) 114 (142)

C

4 (6) 12 (17) 88 (99) 43 (42) 42 (20) 2 (0) 15 (21) 1 (0) 3 (18) 7 (0) 217 (223)

D

E

2 (1) 7 (13) 76 (75) 21 (23) 8 (7) 0 (0) 19 (9) 0 (0) 1 (2) 0 (1) 134 (131)

Source: Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India.

67 (54) Bihar 166 (316) Chhattisgarh 369 (465) Jharkhand 479 (517) Maharashtra 134 (109) Madhya Pradesh 11 (8) Odisha 171 (192) Uttar Pradesh 1 (1) West Bengal 6 (92) Others 8 (6) Total 1412 (1760)

Andhra Pradesh

State

3 (4) 5 (14) 38 (34) 7 (16) 4 (3) 1 (0) 10 (23) 0 (0) 1 (5) 5 (0) 74 (99)

F

312 (158) 422 (428) 397 (509) 377 (380) 78 (94) 2 (6) 186 (171) 6 (13) 76 (238) 26 (33) 1882 (2030)

G

296 (242) 42 (26) 26 (20) 6 (17) 10 (15) 0 (0) 34 (49) 0 (9) 26 (15) 0 (1) 440 (394)

H

2 (0) 2 (4) 17 (29) 30 (17) 1 (1) 0 (1) 3 (10) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (5) 55 (67)

I

42 (24) 151 (171) 91 (108) 162 (165) 16 (12) 3 (12) 59 (68) 2 (2) 51 (74) 12 (0) 589 (636)

J

0 (0) 5 (12) 24 (24) 12 (24) 2 (7) 0 (0) 8 (7) 0 (0) 0 (10) 0 (0) 51 (84)

K

1 (8) 10 (17) 16 (13) 23 (54) 2 (1) 0 (0) 10 (3) 0 (0) 0 (1) 0 (0) 62 (97)

L

No. of No. of ‘Police No of Arms Total Attacks on Naxalites No. of Informers’ Total no. no. of Training Jan No. of No. of killed Police No. of No. of killed (Out of Security Arms Camps Adalats No. of Civilians total Civilians Forces encounters (including (encounters Naxalites Naxalites of Arms held killed with Police landmines) & Attacks ) arrested surrendered snatched Recovered held killed) Incidents killed

Table 5.2: State-wise Statistics of Naxal Violence of various Indices for 2012 vis-à-vis 2011

   

Economic Targets

Jharkhand

Bihar

Maharashtra Madhya Pradesh

Odisha

Chhattisgarh

Andhra Pradesh

Uranium Mines Essar steel Gramin Sadak Nirman Yojana NMDC Essar pipe lines BRO Gramin Sadak Nirman Yojana Essar pipe lines Gramin Sadak Nirman Yojana BRO Gramin Sadak Nirman Yojana Cement Plant Solar Plate Gramin Sadak Nirman Yojana Gramin Sadak Nirman Yojana Essar pipe lines 5

0 0

0

1

0 0

0 2

0

0 0 0

0

2

0

0

5

4

1 0

2 1 0

0

0 0 3 0

0 0

0 1

17

Total

2009

0

1

1

0 0

1

1

4

1

3

11 1 0

0

0 0

24

Total

2010

1

3

2

0 0

0

1

3

2

4

2 0 0

0

0 0

18

Total

2011

0

1

1

0 0

1

0

2

1

1

3 0 0

1

0 0

11

Total

2012



Total

2008

Table 5.3: Incidents of Economic Targets by LWE all over the country (2008–12)  

Mining

Power plant

Telephone exchange/ tower

Railways

Andhra Pradesh Bihar Chhattisgarh Jharkhand Maharashtra Odisha West Bengal Uttar Pradesh Andhra Pradesh Bihar Maharashtra Chhattisgarh Jharkhand Odisha West Bengal Madhya Pradesh Andhra Pradesh Chhattisgarh West Bengal Maharashtra Odisha Jharkhand Chhattisgarh Andhra Pradesh Maharashtra West Bengal

2 11 6 7 0 0 1 0 1 14 2 15 10 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 2 0 0 0 6

1

46

27

0 8 5 17 0 10 6 0 0 24 1 10 14 18 0 0 0 0 2 1 2 0 0 0 0 3

2

67

46

1 16 8 13 0 7 7 2 4 14 1 2 6 17 1 1 0 1 1 1 6 0 0 1 1 9

3

45

54

0 3 11 10 0 7 0 0 2 25 2 3 8 11 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 3 0 0 0 1

24

12

  Table 5.3 (Continued)

6

0

51

31

0 1 9 2 0 0 0 0 2 10 1 0 3 7 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0



182

182

41

25

7

24

Total

Source: Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India.

Total

41

23 1 0 2 0 0 5 0 0 0 19 0 4 0 2 0

2008

362

126

7 0 0 0 7 0 8 3 3 2 7 0 37 21 1 5

362

126

71

23

7

Total

2009

365

158

1 0 1 3 4 0 6 0 11 7 13 1 7 10 0 8

365

158

39

31

2

Total

2010

293

146

4 0 0 0 0 0 6 1 1 2 2 0 6 18 0 1

293

146

27

10

4

Total

2011

219

163

0 0 0 2 1 0 1 0 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 0

219

163

3

5

0

Total

2012



Pole/ Chhattisgarh Transmission Odisha Jharkhand Panchayat Chhattisgarh Bhawan Jharkhand Andhra Pradesh Maharashtra Bihar Odisha West Bengal School Chhattisgarh Building Andhra Pradesh Jharkhand Bihar Maharashtra Odisha Forest road, culverts, etc.

Table 5.3 (Continued)



Naxal Conflict  N  107

Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are considered slightly affected. However, Minister of State in MHA Jitendra Singh is of the opinion that there is substantial improvement in the situation in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, whereas LWE violence has remained low-key in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. It is further clarified that around 26 districts in India account for nearly 80 per cent of LWE violence. The total number of ‘violence-affected’ districts has to be viewed in this overall context.

State Actors The Government of India The Central Government and the State Government, troubled by the Maoist-insurgency, has time and again renewed the ban imposed on 22 June 2009 on the CPI (Maoist) in the schedule of terrorist organizations, along with all its formations and front organizations, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, by the Government of India. The state governments of Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have also in particular banned the CPI (Maoist). The state governments of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Odisha have also banned the CPI (Maoist) along with its front organizations active in these states. The Central Government in its commitment to effectively combat the Maoist-insurgency has developed an approach, a combination of calibrated police action, focused development efforts, and improvement in civil governance. It enhances the efforts of the respective state governments in these areas of concern through security- and development-related measures. In security-related measures, apart from directly deploying Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), the Government of India provides assistance for capacity-building of the states through schemes such as Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme, the Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS), the Construction/Strengthening of Fortified Police Stations Scheme, etc. Other security-related interventions include providing helicopters to states for anti-Naxal operations, setting up of Counter Insurgency and Anti-Terrorism (CIAT) schools, assistance to raise India Reserve Battalions (IRBs), modernization and upgradation of the State Police and their Intelligence apparatus under the Scheme for Modernization of State Police Forces (MPF scheme), and so on.

108  N  Deepak Kumar Nayak

On the development front, the Central Government implements special schemes for Naxal-affected areas, such as the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) scheme and the Road Requirement Plan-I. In addition, emphasis is also laid on ensuring entitlement of Adivasis under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, and improvement in governance in Naxal-affected areas. The IAP has been under implementation since November 2010 towards accelerated development of Naxal-affected districts. Initially, the implementation of the IAP was started in 60 selected tribal and backward districts with a block grant of INR 250 million and INR 300 million per district during 2010–11 and 2011–12, respectively, for which the funds were placed at the disposal of a committee headed by the District Collector (DC) and consisting of the Superintendent of Police (SP) of the district and the District Forest Officer (DFO). The coverage of the scheme was later extended by the Planning Commission to 82 districts based on the requests received from the state governments. It has been decided to continue the implementation of the IAP in its present form in the financial year 2012–13 with a block grant INR 300 million per district. The performance of the IAP scheme is reviewed regularly, and it has been shown that the scheme in its current format is performing extremely well. The state governments are also highly appreciative of it and want more districts covered under its ambit. Under this scheme, a total number of 80,633 projects relating to public infrastructure and services have been taken up and 61,447 projects have been completed (at the time of writing this chapter). The Union Government in February 2009 approved a special programme for development of roads in LWE-affected areas, including Tribal Sub-Plan in the country spread over 34 districts in eight states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh. The programme envisages development of 5,477 km roads (1,126 km National Highways and 4,351 km state Rroads) to two-lane standards at an estimated cost of INR 73 billion. An outlay of INR 15 billion has been proposed for this programme for the year 2012–13. Improvement of 600 km of state roads in Odisha under Vijayawada Ranchi corridor at a cost of INR 12 billion was approved by the government in November 2010. The stretch had been divided into seven packages. An outlay

Naxal Conflict  N  109

of INR 2 billion has been proposed for development of this corridor during 2012–13.

Naxal-affected State Governments Law and Order being a state subject, such matters are dealt with directly by the state governments concerned. However, the Government of India provides all possible assistance as and when requested by the state governments. However, the Central Government closely monitors the situation and supplements the efforts of the State Governments with various development- and security-related measures, including inter-alia reimbursement of the expenditure incurred by the state governments to deal with LWE under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme. Andhra Pradesh The declining trend in Naxal-related violence, established since 2006 and continued through 2011. However, the state, which was once the epicentre of Maoist violence, has not reported any major incident (involving more than three fatalities) or ‘swarming attacks’ (involving more than 50 cadres and militia). Incidents of encounters with police have also declined from six in 2011 to four in 2012. The Maoists could muster some courage and attacked the police with landmines on two occasions in 2012, as against one in 2011. In addition, the Maoists in their style of delivering justice organized a ‘Jan Adalat’ (Kangaroo court) at Mukkunur village in the Mahadevpur forest area in Karimnagar district on 10 May 2012, where they roughly assaulted two local leaders of the ruling party, and opened fire on one of them when they attempted to run away. An analysis conducted by Institute for Conflict Management,6 a security think tank in New Delhi, stated that Maoists exchanged fire with security force personnel four times in Khammam and once in Visakhapatnam district. They also triggered three blasts in Visakhapatnam and one in Khammam. One of the explosions in Visakhapatnam was purportedly triggered to protest against bauxite mining in the region. Interestingly, all five arson incidents reported in the year were from Visakhapatnam district. In one of these, a BSNL 6   ‘Maoist Insurgency Assessments’, Maoist Insurgency, South Asia Terrorism Portal, http://www.satp.org (accessed on 10 May 2014).

110  N  Deepak Kumar Nayak

tower was torched in protest against the killing of a Maoist cadre in the Koraput district of Odisha. Maoist cadres also abducted two youth from Khammam district; however, they returned home safely the next day. Further, Maoists disrupted railway services on the border of Visakhapatnam district, creating a significant challenge for authorities to maintain railway freight traffic, particularly in the Kottavalasa and Kirandul (KK) sector, the single line between Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. The security forces in their successful effort were able to arrest 312 Naxalites in 2012, as against 158 Naxalites in 2011. The prize catch included Tupakula Ramanjaneyamma aka Santhi, a leader of the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC), carrying a bounty of INR 500,000; CPI-Marxist Leninist-Janashakti ‘state secretary’ Subhash aka Narayanalingam Tyagaraju aka Prakash; and Punem Saraiah, a CPI (Maoist) ‘militia commander-in-chief’ of Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. Further, the number of Naxalite surrenders also increased visibly. The surrender of Bandarapu Mallaiah aka Chandranna, the ‘chief’ of Maoists’ Southern Division in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra state, and his wife Gadhagoni Balavva aka Vijaya. Chandranna, a prime accused in the killing of 15 policemen in an ambush in Lahiri (Gadchiroli, Maharashtra) in 2009, the price the CPI (Maoist) had to pay in 2012. The revelation of the Maoist network of ‘sleeper cells’, with the surrender of Kursinge Divya aka Bharatakka, in Adilabad district on 9 February 2012, is a cause of concern. However, acknowledging the presence of Naxalites in the state, Director General & Inspector General of Police (DG & IGP), Andhra Pradesh, V. Dinesh Reddy, on 24 December 2012, said that there are over 300 underground cadres from Andhra Pradesh, of which around 200 migrated to other states, while the rest of the underground cadres stay in bordering Districts of other States and occasionally cross over into Andhra Pradesh. However, the Andhra Pradesh Police has been driving them back. In addition to check the Naxalite activities, the Andhra Pradesh Government renewed the ban by another year on the CPI (Maoist) and six of its front organizations along with the Revolutionary Democratic Front to the list of ‘unlawful associations’. Moreover, in order to encourage the Naxalites to shun the path of violence, the state government had announced cash rewards ranging from INR 100,000–2.5 million in December 2012, so far the highest amounts being offered by any other state.

Naxal Conflict  N  111

Bihar In conformity with the declining trend, Bihar too witnessed significantly low Naxal-related violence in 2012 as compared to 2011. One of the disturbing elements that came to light was the number of fatalities in security forces increased while the same for Maoists decreased in 2012; further, the number of encounters with police also came down to 12 from 17 in 2011, which gives a negative impression of the efforts of the security forces to contain the Maoist menace. Despite cumulative and continuing setbacks, the Maoists persisted in their efforts to regain a foothold in the state and were able to set ablaze and blow up 10 telephone exchange towers, attack the railways on at least one occasion and disrupt the effort of development, attack the Gramin Sadak Nirmal Yojana on at least one incident of violence, while the data provided by SATP indicated that the Maoists had carried out 10 incidents of setting ablaze vehicles of private companies involved in road construction. The MHA data, on the number of Maoists arrested, also suggests a kind of operational paralysis. Even the number of Maoists’ surrender is not impressive with just 42 in 2012 as against 26 in 2011. However, the government in order to instil confidence has given arms licenses to 61 tribals for self-defence against Maoists in Rohtas district. More than 500 tribal people had left their villages in Rohtas, Nauhatta and Chenari blocks and took shelter at a base camp at Chenari after a series of attacks in July last year in Kaimur forest range. Union Rural Development (URD) Minister Jairam Ramesh during his visit to the state expressed concern over the deficiency of police force and the low number of police stations in Bihar. For example, in Sitamarhi district alone, he said, for the 3.5  million people across 17 blocks, there are only 18 ill-equipped police stations. He said, ‘[t]his number should be doubled’, adding that ‘whether it is terrorism or Naxalism, the Police have to fight the menace just as it was achieved by Punjab Police’.7 Clearly, not much has changed in the state in terms of Maoist violence in comparison to the preceding year, and fighting capabilities and political will to fight the menace remains obscure. The state still records the lowest number of policemen (64 per 100,000 population) among all states in the country, 7

‘Maoist Insurgency Assessments’, South Asia Terrorism Portal.

112  N  Deepak Kumar Nayak

less than half the national average of 133 (which itself is far from satisfactory according to international standard). Chhattisgarh Following the tune of the overall decline in Naxal-related violence in 2012 in India, Chhattisgarh also witnessed a dramatic decline in fatalities. According to MHA data, a total of 147 persons, including 63 civilians, 46 security forces and 38 Maoists, were killed in 2012, as against a total of 238, including 124 civilians, 80 security forces and 34 Maoists in 2011.8 According to an MHA release, damage to economic infrastructure, 19 incidents of Maoists targeting economic assets were reported in Chhattisgarh in 2012, as against 29 in 2011, 42 in 2010, 36 in 2009, and 71 in 2008.9 In order to give good governance, and to speed up the pace of development, Chief Minister Raman Singh carved out new districts on 1 January 2012 — Sukma, Kondagaon, Balod, Bemetara, Baloda Bazar, Gariaband, Mungeli, Surajpur, and Balrampur — taking the total number of districts in the state to 27. However, the trick failed to bring the desired result, i.e., curbing the rebels. Taking the state by surprise, the Maoists of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC), on the other hand abducted Alex Paul Menon, the DC of the newly formed Sukma district in Chhattisgarh, after killing two policemen guarding him on 21 April 2012; he was later released on 3 May 2012, after much negotiation with the state. Meanwhile, during 5–20 March 2012, an anti-Naxal operation, codenamed ‘Maad’, ‘Kilam’ and ‘Podku’, was carried on in the Abhujmaad forests, considered to be the CPI (Maoist) headquarters. IG (Operations) of the state Pankaj Singh said that 33 Maoist cadres were arrested during the operation. However, the decline in violence in Chhattisgarh cannot be credited to excellent security force and intelligence operations, rather the tactical consolidation by the Maoists. At the time of writing, the force deployment in Chhattisgarh stood with 105 companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), 36 companies of Border Security Force (BSF), 15 companies of Indo-Tibetan Border Force (ITBP), and 50 teams of Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA). 8 9

‘Statistics of Naxal Violence’, Ministry of Home Affairs. Ibid.

Naxal Conflict  N  113

Maharashtra The state witnessed a total of 45 fatalities. The number of civilian fatality came down in 2012 as compared to 2011. On the contrary, the overall level of violence perpetrated by the Maoists has increased in the state, with 134 incidents of LWE-related violence in 2012, as against 109 incidents of LWE-related violence in 2011. MHA data indicates that there were at least 42 incidents of exchange of fire between security forces and Maoists in 2012, as against 20 in 2011. The encounters resulted in the killing of at least four Maoists. The total number of arms recovered was 16, during search and combing operations carried by the security forces in the state. However, the arrest of Asim Kumar Bhattacharya, Dinesh Wankhede, Suman Gawde, and Paru Patel from Dombivali in Maharashtra, and simultaneous raids on workshops near Mumbai, exposed the clandestine manufacture of weapons by the Maoists. The police seized several castings, believed to be intended for making hand grenades, rockets and other materials, and for fabricating Rocket Launchers (RLs). Further, in this connection the police also recovered over INR 2.3  million in cash, laptops, pen drives, and books on manufacturing weapons. The Maoists in order to derail the district administration issued a diktat in April 2012 and forced at least 355 local body representatives in Gadchiroli district to resign. Meanwhile, the government’s attempt to conduct by-polls on 24 June 2012, for 435 posts in 139 Gram Panchayats (GPs) vacated by members under Maoist pressure, was thwarted by the Maoists. Candidates dared to contest the elections in only five wards in four GPs in the entire district. Further, disrupting the government in its civil administration, the Maoists with an estimated 2,000 armed cadres in Gadchiroli, initiated an assault against the tanta-mukhti committees — committees set up in every village with the aim of resolving petty issues amicably without legal recourse at the police station or the courts. The Maoists shot dead Gajanan Madavi, president of the tanta-mukhti committee of Jarawandi village in Etapalli on 31 May 2012, for ignoring their instructions to vacate his post, and again, on 12 June 2012, the Maoists killed another tanta-mukhti committee member Rama Korke Madavi at Pattigaon in the Aheri taluka of the district. Despite the Union Ministry of Home Affairs showing rising concerns about the deteriorating situation and asking for action, the state government has failed to respond adequately.

114  N  Deepak Kumar Nayak

Jharkhand In 2012, Jharkhand had overtaken Chhattisgarh in Maoist-related violence. Following the general declining trend, Jharkhand too witnessed a total of 169 fatalities in Maoist-related violence in 2012. However, comparing most of the parameters it seemed that there was a considerable drop in Maoists arms, training camps and the organization of ‘Jan Adalats’/‘People’s Courts’/kangaroo courts in the last two years, signifying that the Maoist networks were under some pressure, which resulted in the decline in political mobilization and recruitment. Meanwhile, the state government formally launched a special security operation on 8 October 2012 against People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI), a splinter group of the CPI (Maoist) in Khunti, Simdega and Gumla districts, in its determination to curb Naxalism. During the operation 12 active members of the PLFI were arrested from the three districts, while PLFI ‘zonal commanders’ Jidan Gudiya and Jetha Kashyap, and ‘area commander’ Tilkeshwar Gope, managed to escape. However, by the end of 2012, the security forces managed to arrest 377 Naxalites. The year also witnessed Maoist violence (both over- and underground) in Bokaro, Chatra, Dhanbad, Garhwa, Giridih, Gumla, Hazaribagh, Khunti, Latehar, Pakur, Palamu, Ranchi, Simdega, and West Singhbhum districts, which were highly affected; while Dhanbad, Lohardaga and Ramgarh were moderately affected. Apart from the state police force, the central security forces that were stationed in the state comprised 96 companies of CRPF and 36 teams of CoBRA commandoes for the anti-Naxal operations. Odisha Odisha drew national attention in 2012 with the infamous abduction of two Italian nationals, Bosusco Paola and Claudio Colangelo, on 14 March 2012, and that of the Odisha Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Jhina Hikaka on 24 March 2012. This was the time when the fissures in the Maoist organization came to light with Sabyasachi Panda, the then Secretary of the Maoist Odisha State Organizing Committee (OSOC), leaving the Maoist organization and forming a separate Odisha Maobadi Party (OMP). Despite reverses in the state, the declining trend was witnessed in 2012. Odisha recorded a total of 55 fatalities in Maoist-related violence in 2012 — 31 civilians, 14 security forces and 10 Maoists — as

Naxal Conflict  N  115

against 76 fatalities in 2011 — 39 civilians, 14 security forces and 23 Maoists. The security forces arrested 186 cadres in 2012 as compared to 171 in 2011. The Maoist influence also penetrated in the civil administration resulting in the winning of several candidates in the Narayanpatna block of Koraput district. Further, the Maoists have been successful in opening up new fronts in the state. The unaffected or marginally affected districts of Bolangir, Bargarh, Kalahandi, Nuapada, and Nabarangpur came under the influence of the Maoists, creating a near uninterrupted Maoist ‘corridor’ from Abhujmaad in Chhattisgarh to the Saranda forest in Jharkhand. To boost the state with development, URD Minister Jairam Ramesh proposed INR 3 billion for a special area development plan for contiguous districts of Malkangiri in the state, which was on the lines of a similar scheme taken up in Saranda and Latehar areas of Jharkhand. In addition, the Central Government in its support in the developmental activities, allocated INR 805.5  million for the Modernization Scheme for Prisons from 2002–09, for construction of new jails, barracks, staff quarters, water and sanitation works for the state. As the Scheme closed on 31 March 2009, no fund allocation was made under it during the last three years. However, a sum of INR 1 billion was allocated by the Thirteenth Finance Commission to the State of Odisha for upgradation of security of jails, additional fortifications, better amenities to prisoners, improvement in sanitation, water supply, and medical care. The status of central force deployment stood at 84 CAPFs and 15 teams of CoBRA battalions. Also, 7 officers of the rank of secondin-command/deputy commandant/assistant commandant have been provided to the Government of Odisha on deputation since 2009. West Bengal The killing of Maoist politburo member Kishanji, on 24 November 2011, forced the Maoists to step back in West Bengal in 2012. Maoist violence in the state came to a complete full stop, with just three incidents of police encounters in which only one Maoist was killed. The security forces were successful in arresting 76 cadres in 2012 as against 238 in 2011. However, to compensate the less number of arrests, the security forces had quality catch, which included Arnab

116  N  Deepak Kumar Nayak

Dam aka Bikram, a Maoist State Committee member and Secretary of the Bihar–Jharkhand–Odisha Border Regional Committee (BJOBRC); Sadanala Ramakrishna aka RK aka Techie Anna, a member of the Maoist Central Technical Committee; Abhishek Mukherjee, Secretary of the Maoists’ Kolkata City Committee; Tota Hembram, a top Maoist squad leader; Ranjan Tudu, a trusted Kishanji aide; and Mohan Vishwakarma, a senior member of the Technical Research and Arms Manufacturing (TRAM) unit. The arrest of Sadanala Ramakrishna led to the startling revelation of an ambitious Maoist arms manufacturing project in the state. Also, the simultaneous raids — carried out in Kolkata and Mumbai that led to the arrest of nine Maoists (five in Kolkata and four in Mumbai), and further with some arrests in Guwahati (Assam), New Delhi, Kolkata, and Siliguri in West Bengal, and the Ganjam district in Odisha — unravel the PLA–Maoist network, including its manifestations in West Bengal. In spite of the loss to CPI (Maoist)’s strength in the state, around 50 CPI (Maoist) sympathizers gathered at a community hall in Kolkata to observe the first death anniversary of Kishanji on 24 November 2012; further reports suggested that a similar programme was also held in Jungalmahal where several CPI (Maoist) leaders participated. In an upsetting revelation, the DGP Naparajit Mukerjee shared the information with the MHA that there was a clear and growing link between the CPI (Maoist) and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Agency, which was strong in four districts bordering Bangladesh, including Murshidabad.

The Conflict in 2012 The CPI (Maoist) in its endeavour to revive its lost ground is trying to get hold in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu under the supervision of its South West Regional Bureau, and is planning to link the Western Ghats to the Eastern Ghats through these states. The Maoists’ idea is to create a base on the border of Kerala and Karnataka and establish a forest route from Wayanad district in Kerala to Mysore district in Karnataka. Despite major reverses, decline in the level of violence, losing of their traditional operational areas, and a severe setback at top leadership levels, the Maoist threat across India remains grave. This is

Naxal Conflict  N  117

precisely the reason why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speaking at the chief minister’s conference said that the problem of Naxalism is the single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country.10 Indication of Maoists having links with the Northeast rebels is very real and disturbing. According to the data made available to Institute for Conflict management under the RTI query to the MHA indicates that Maoist-affected districts in Assam have risen from just four in 2008 to 10 in 2011. Significantly, MHA data indicates that even the national capital, Delhi, has seen an increase in Maoist presence, with the number of affected districts increasing from three in 2008 to seven in 2011. The killing of four Maoists, including top ‘commander’ Siddhartha Buragohain, in Assam on 9 May 2012 further substantiated the fact of Maoist presence in the state. The CPI (Maoist) is also learnt to have tacitly allowed large-scale poppy/ganja farming in their strongholds in some areas of Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Bihar in order to collect money from such illegal cultivation. The Maoist arms procurement and manufacturing weapons came to light with the arrest of Sadanala Ramakrishna alias RK, a Maoist ‘central technical committee’ member, and four other Maoists, during a raid in Kolkata on 29 February 2012. Further, Ramakrishna also disclosed that the Maoists had added ‘Improvised Rocket Assisted Mortars’ (IRAM) to their arsenal. IRAM 107mm was first used by the Iraqi insurgents with elevated vehicles to launch the rockets, while the Maoists developed a shoulder-firing mechanism by reducing the bore of the launch tube and the length of the device. The opening of ‘the northeast arms supply route’ to LWEs in the country also came to light with the Jharkhand Police’ seizure of a consignment of arms and ammunition on 29 August 2012 in the Silodar forest, on the border of the Barachatti police station of Gaya district of Bihar and the Chouparan police station in Jharkhand. The seizure included a US-made M-16 rifle and 14 cartridges of 5.56 mm, one 9-mm pistol of Italian make, and one light-weight bullet-proof jacket worth INR 400,000, manufactured in the PM’s speech at the Chief Minister’s meet on Naxalism, 13 April 2006, New Delhi, http://pmindia.gov.in/speech-details.php?nodeid=302 (accessed on 20 December 2013). 10

118  N  Deepak Kumar Nayak

United Kingdom. The Jharkhand arms seizure case has also been referred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Deception has been an elemental tactic of the Maoists. The decline in the intensity of Maoist violence should not be misjudged as an index of Maoist capacities. Addressing the annual meet of DGs and Inspectors General of Police (IGPs) from state and central police forces at New Delhi on 6 September 2012, Union Minister for Home Affairs Sushil Kumar Shinde warned that Naxalism continues to pose a significant challenge.

Major Visible Trends in Conflict, 2012 The course of any movement or conflict has never been smooth. It has to pass through many ups and down before achieving the final desired goal. Likewise, Maoist revolution is no exception. Since the inception of its uprising, the Naxal movement has been violent, and it continued to be so till the end of 2010; however, post-2010, a kind of lull was witnessed in the nature of Naxal violence. The decline in the intensity of Maoist violence can be attributed to many visible trends in the conflict. The violent course of the Naxal movement lost its intensity with the elimination of politburo member of the CPI (Maoist) Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad on 1 July 2010. The escalation of violence that took place prior to the killing of Azad de-escalated. A visible decline in Maoist activities prevailed through 2011, and, with the elimination of Mallojula Koteswara Rao alias Kishenji on 24 November 2011, further forced the Naxal violence to a screeching halt. The Naxal conflict in 2012 somewhat was forced to enter into a phase of hibernation. The Maoist movement is facing a leadership crisis due to the loss of its politburo members. According to available information, out of the 16 politburo members, two of them being killed and seven of them in custody have limited the number to seven. Further, out of 39 central committee members, including the politburo members, 18 have been neutralized (five killed and 13 in custody). Apart from this as per available MHA data, 1882 Maoists have been arrested in 2012, in addition to 2030 arrests of 2011, 2916 of 2010, 1981 of 2009 and 1743 of 2008. Similarly, 440 Maoists had surrendered in 2012, as against 394 in 2011, 266 in 2010, 150 in 2009 and 400 in 2008.11 11

‘Statistics of Naxal Violence’, Ministry of Home Affairs.

Naxal Conflict  N  119

The other visible trend in 2012 was that of the growing dissent within the CPI (Maoist) organization resulting in the creation of splinter groups. As per available data, Jharkhand alone has 10 splinter groups, which include the Swatantra Jan Sangharsh India Morcha (SJSIM), the Sangharsh Jan Mukti Morcha (SJMM), Jharkhand Sangharsh Janmukti Morcha (JSJM), PLFI, Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC), Jharkhand Prastuti Committee (JPC), Jharkhand Janmukti Parishad (JJP), Jharkhand Liberation Tigers (JLT), Chhattisgarh–Jharkhand Simant Committee (CJSC), and Bal-Dasta (Children’s Strike Force).12 The creation of Odisha Maobadi Party by former Odisha State Organising Committee (OSOC) Secretary of the CPI (Maoist) Sabyasachi Panda, who was expelled from the party declaring him a renegade, also testifies this trend that has crept into the organization. It opened up a whole lot of dichotomies that were prevailing within the Maoist organization. Meanwhile, some other trends like the Maoist expansion programme (especially to the Northeast), Maoist and the corporate nexus and possibility of an alliance with the Islamist terrorism (especially the ISI and Lashkar-e-Toiba [LeT]) has also shown some signs which are at a nascent stage. Further, the CPI (Maoist) working with its international agenda (reactivation of the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia [CCOMPOSA]) could be a great advantage for the Maoists organization to take the conflict to the next higher level. However, all these disturbing trends are a wakeup call for the Indian government to seriously ponder upon in order to curtail the movement before they materialize into a dark reality.

Conflict Management The Union Government has adopted a holistic strategy to curb the menace of Naxalism as it still continues to pose a significant challenge. The nine Naxal-affected states are experiencing different levels of intensity of this problem. However, it is noted that nearly 80 per cent of Naxal violence is taking place in less than 30 districts and many of these which are close to the inter-state boundaries. On its 12 Deepak Kumar Nayak, The Colour of Fratricide, http://geopolitics.in/ may2011.aspx (accessed on 20 December 2013).

120  N  Deepak Kumar Nayak

part, the Union Government being committed to provide every support required by the state, has been providing every support to the state police forces and that is being done in a liberal way. As a part of security-related interventions, besides the points discussed earlier in the chapter, the Government of India is providing assistance in training of State Police through Ministry of Defence, Central Police Organisations and Bureau of Police Research and Development; sharing of intelligence; facilitating inter-state coordination; assisting special intra-state and inter-state coordinated joint operations, providing assistance in community policing and civic actions and assistance in development works through a range of schemes of different central ministries. The Government of India has deployed 81 battalions of CAPFs to assist the state government in fighting the LWE. In the development-related interventions, the Government of India has implemented the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) in 82 districts of India. Also, it has launched the Road Requirement Plan-I to develop a total road length of 5,477 km in 34 most LWE-affected districts, which is under progress. To implement the plan the Union Government has allotted INR 73 billion. However, the success will largely depend on the states giving priority to effective implementation of developmental schemes leading to all-round development of the LWE-affected areas, for a permanent solution to this problem. The Central Government has decided to tactically induct 10,000 more central paramilitary troops into the counter-Naxal grid during the first quarter of 2013 with the larger aim of limiting Naxal domination to the forests of Bastar in Chhattisgarh, Odisha and parts of Jharkhand. The majority of these additional security forces, duly trained in jungle warfare, will be inducted in Bihar and Jharkhand. The idea is to constrict the arc of Naxal influence to the tri-junction of south Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand, thus ending the CPI (Maoist)’s long-cherished dream of a Red corridor from Pashupati to Tirupati.

Conclusion The remnants of the Maoist-insurgency in the country have the potential of erupting into violence, which is palpable from the incidents in 2012. The MHA can defeat the challenges posed by the Maoists by weakening its lethal capacities and at the same time checking the

Naxal Conflict  N  121

supply routes to acquire weapons from across borders. Further, while formulating a counter-insurgency strategy, the Union Government along with the state government has to focus on the strengthening of civil governance, through improved and effective implementation of development schemes and programmes, with better monitoring system in all the Naxal-affected states to make them more inclusive to meet the basic requirements of the backward areas. Also, the state must ensure that in protecting its people from the Naxal-related violence, it does not compromise the fundamental principles of democracy  — the absence of which creates a favourable condition to sustain Maoist insurgency. The need of the hour is a coherent approach and stratagem of the policymakers to root out the Maoist menace completely from the Indian soil. J

This page intentionally left blank

Part II: Peace Audit

This page intentionally left blank

6 Peace Audit of Nepal: 2012 Nishchal N. Pandey

The year 2012 turned hope into despair for every Nepalese. Unable

to draft a full-fledged democratic constitution, the first ever constituent assembly (CA) was dissolved just before midnight on 28  May 2012. Subsequently, the opposition parties relentlessly called for Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai’s resignation and even requested the President to sack him. In the absence of a parliament and deficiency of clearly outlined constitutional checks and balances, the ruling coalition threatened the head of state of overreaching his ceremonial credentials by asking the parties to name a consensus prime ministerial candidate. In a way, the months of November– December even saw a direct confrontation between the head of state and the cabinet in which the former refused to sign ordinances passed by the council of ministers, while the latter rebuffed repeated calls by the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) to step down and pave the way for new elections. After continuous failures of the parties to name a consensus prime minister, and seeing the futility of giving deadlines after deadlines, President Dr Ram Baran Yadav stopped giving time limits in January 2013. A paralyzed nation waiting for critical decision on many simultaneous fronts finally heaved a sigh of relief when Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi emerged as an all-acceptable candidate to head a caretaker administration to conduct elections for a new CA in 2013. Nepal conducted fresh elections on Nov. 2013 but there are numerous challenges to surmount, because it has also resulted in a hung assembly in which no single party commands a majority. This necessitates that consensus and consultations can be the only basis for drafting of the new statute by bringing the rightist and the leftist parties together. The onus obviously lies in the Nepali Congress party. There are also disgruntled groups, mainly the Comrade Kiran-led Maoists who tried to disrupt the elections and

126  N  Nishchal N. Pandey

need to be assuaged, without which there is danger of them being left out from the democratic process. Before a projection can be done on the course of national politics for the year 2013, let us analyze the costly misjudgments that led to the dissolution of the first-ever CA. The parameters of irrationality in Nepali politics are in fact limitless. It is the same variety of oneupmanship and petty bickering that had led to the collapse of democratic system of governance twice earlier. On May 28, 2012 — the last day of the CA, the PM Dr. Bhattarai met the President and informed him that the constitution and his resignation would be simultaneously handed over to him that evening. The technical team worked on the constitution whereas, top leaders were in negotiation which was concentrated on federalism with identity and constitution with federalism. Even on the last day, the opposition was in a mood to register a vote of no-confidence against the PM. Dr. Bhattarai asked all the conflicting parties to come with solutions on the ways to save the CA. The choice was either to extend the CA or to declare a state of emergency but both was rejected. The PM was compelled to accept one of the options laid by the Supreme Court on the next CA election according to article 63 of the interim constitution. Finally, the CA term expired without promulgating the constitution.1

Due to inter-party wrangling, relentless contest for the post of prime ministership and lack of democratic political culture, the historic change of 2006 was reduced to a failed first CA as people voiced their anger on the huge 601-member assembly failing to fulfil its primary mandate. They had heaved a sigh of relief with the cessation of murder, loot and abduction in 2006 and the decision of the Maoist party to participate in competitive multi-party elections. But six years down the road — mainly because of mal-governance, nearly 16 hours of power outage during winter, mismanaged road expansion affecting the health and wellbeing of the residents, growing culture of impunity, lack of accountability and vacuum in almost all constitutional bodies — people are frustrated again. The economy has hardly picked up. The GDP growth was 4.4, 4.6 and 3.56 per cent for 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively. With over 40 per cent unemployment rate, rising inflation and constitutional abyss, this 1 Khimlal Devkota, A Perspective on the Maoist Movement in Nepal (Kathmandu: Apollo Press, 2012), p. 71.

Peace Audit of Nepal  N  127

sluggish GDP growth can hardly meet the rising expectations of the people. No wonder more than two  million Nepalese are working abroad. And the young population of the country is standing in a never-ending queue for foreign employment. The current fiscal year (2013) has seen the lowest economic growth in the six years, due to poor agricultural output and industrial growth and the delayed budget. Unveiling the National Account Estimate on 5 April 2013, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) projected the country’s economic growth at 3.56 per cent, the lowest since the fiscal year 2006–07 when the growth was 2.75 per cent. The growth rate is far below what the government had initially targeted. According to the CBS, the agriculture sector is estimated to grow by a mere 1.26 per cent, down from 4.98 per cent, while the nonagriculture sector is estimated to grow by 4.98 per cent, slightly up from the 4.15 per cent last year. The CBS projection is similar to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s conclusion that Nepal’s economy would grow by less than 3.8 per cent the year 2013. In its halfyearly review of the budget for this fiscal year, the government has projected a growth of 4.1 per cent. Heavy decline in cereal production this year affected the growth of the agriculture sector, according to the CBS. The overall cereal production declined by 4.29 per cent, with two main cereal products — paddy and maize — witnessing a heavy downfall of 11.19 and 8.27 per cent respectively.2 There has been a downward spiral in economic activity especially with regards to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow into the country, because of the practice of forming trade unions affiliated with every political party, labour disputes and power outage. Industries cannot run if there is 16 hours of power cut. In addition, strikes and bandhs have also contributed a great deal to the rising frustration among the people. Despite massive international support and aid, reconstruction of the infrastructure ravaged during the insurgency period has not taken place. Post-conflict situations demand careful analysis of the quality, level and trend of international support. Careful planning needs to be done Prithvi Man Shrestha, ‘Economic Growth to dip to 6-yr low’, ekantipur. com, Kathmandu, 6 April 2013, http://www.ekantipur.com/2013/04/06/ editors-pick/economic-growth-to-dip-to-6-yr-low/369551.html (accessed on 7 April 2013). 2

128  N  Nishchal N. Pandey to make sure that a balance is achieved in the traditional behavior of the international community, which should not embrace high levels of international aid for humanitarian assistance by giving less importance to aid for development purposes. Liberia, Haiti, Sudan and Somalia have benefitted from the World Bank’s US$ 25  million trust fund for lowincome countries under stress. Nepal should be vigilant about exploring such resources and careful about agreeing to conditional loan beyond the capacity of the state machinery to service the debt.3

None of these factors were taken into account in post-2006 politics of the country. Of course, the real need of the day was drafting of a constitution, but even that went into disarray as the parties could not come to an agreed conclusion basically on the issue of identity-based federalism.

Successes and Failures The year 2012 began with a renewed pledge to complete the constitution-drafting process by resolving the differences over issues of political system, army integration and federalism. There was considerable progress on the first two. The Nepalese Army (NA) took final control over People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the armed wing of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M), on 10 April 2012. On the same day, Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai, who also headed the Army Integration Special Committee (AISC), told the Committee that the NA was going to move into all 15 PLA cantonments, take full control and seize more than 3,000 weapons locked in the containers lying there. He added that the process would be completed by the evening of 12 April.4 However, following reports of clashes in the cantonments, the prime minister met the then NA Chief, General Chhattra Man Singh Gurung, on the evening of 10 April, and directed him to implement the decisions of the AISC. The NA troops took charge of the cantonments and the weapons’ containers the same day. Consequently, the process was also halted that day at the request of the Maoist leadership. It was, however, restarted on Bishwambher Pyakuryal and Rabi Shankar Sainju, ‘Nepal’s Conflict: A Micro Impact Analysis on Economy’, 2007. p. 39. 4 ‘N.A. to take full control of Cantonements’, http://www.nepalnews.com (accessed on 6 May 2013). 3

Peace Audit of Nepal  N  129

13 April, and, as of 19 April 2012, when it was finally concluded, there were 3,129 former PLA combatants left for integration into the NA. A total of 6,576 combatants chose the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) that promises cheques in the range of NPR 500,000 to 800,000, depending on their ranks. In the first phase of regrouping (18 November to 1 December 2011), 9,705 former combatants had chosen integration into the NA. In a landmark achievement, the AISC had initiated the process of integration following a 1 November 2011 seven-point deal signed by three major political parties — UCPN-M, Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) and Nepali Congress (NC)  — and the umbrella formation of several Madheshi groups, the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF). The deal provided three options to former PLA combatants — integration, voluntary retirement and rehabilitation. Besides the 9,705 who opted for integration, 7,286 chose voluntary discharge and six combatants registered their names for rehabilitation packages. The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) had registered 19,602 combatants in the second verification conducted on 26 May 2007. On 14 April 2012, AISC decision laid down that the ranks of the integrated combatants would be determined according to the NA’s, and not the PLA’s, standards. A selection committee would be headed by the chairman of Nepal’s Public Service Commission (PSC) or by a member appointed by him, and a general directorate would be created under the NA, headed by a lieutenant general, to absorb the integrated combatants. The combatants will have to undergo three to nine months of training, depending on their ranks. The directorate would only be deployed for disaster relief, industrial security, development, and forest and environment conservation. On 17 April, the NA stated that it could not start the recruitment process of former Maoist combatants until the structure  — leadership and size — of the general directorate had been finalized at the political level. On 19 April 2012, the three major political parties agreed to merge two separately proposed commissions, on Truth and Reconciliation and on Disappearances, into one. Almost after a year on 12 April 2013, the major political parties marked the conclusion of the integration process. It was agreed that 47 former Maoists combatants were to quit the NA training, and it was recommended that the government should give a cash package of NPR 255,000 to each of them. This would reduce the number of former combatants attending

130  N  Nishchal N. Pandey

the training to join the Army to 1,395.5 Talking about successes, despite the political upheaval, Nepal also made progress towards the attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), by reducing the proportion of people below the national poverty line, increasing the enrolment in primary education and being on track towards achieving maternal health and child mortality rate.6 Especially, a significant leap was seen in reduction of poverty since 2006. Of the 20 countries examined by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHDI), Nepal is one the exemplary countries that made a rapid reduction in absolute poverty. In fact the annual poverty decline in the country is noted to be 4.1 per cent, compared to 3.1 per cent in Rwanda and 3.2 per cent in Bangladesh, making the country the best performer. The multidimensional poverty index of Nepal, which was 64.7 per cent in 2006, has lowered to 44.2 per cent according to a report by OPHDI.7 So everything is not gloomy, yet there is a long way to go. Another major issue of this year was the findings of the Census. It went on to reveal a lot of amazing facts — the percentage of Hindus actually increased since 2001; half of the total Nepali population has mobile phones; two million Nepalese live abroad; and Hindi is spoken by an insignificant proportion of people, contrary to the assertion by certain Madhesi leaders that it is a link language of the Terai. Bhojpuri and Maithili are popular languages spoken in the Terai. However, by the end of the year, the question of who should rule until the next elections was resolved, but the opposition, especially the Kiran-led Maoist party, started hitting the streets demanding an immediate resignation of the chairman of the council of ministers from the post of chief justice. There was also a popular support from the civil society as well as from the Nepal Bar Association that under 5 Phanindra Dahal, ‘PLA Integration Process Concludes’, Kathmandu Post, 12 April 2013, http://www.ekantipur.com/the-kathmandu-post/2013/ 04/12/top-story/pla-integration-process-concludes/247508.html  (accessed on 24 December 2013). 6 ‘The Clock is Ticking’, ekantipur.com, 21 April 2013, http://www. ekantipur.com/2013/04/21/oped/the-clock-is-ticking/370329.html (accessed on 23 December 2013). 7 Ram S. Mahat, ‘Life’s getting better’, Kathmandu Post, 1 April 2013, http://www.ekantipur.com/the-kathmandu-post/2013/04/01/oped/lifesgetting-better/247113.html (accessed on 23 December 2013).

Peace Audit of Nepal  N  131

the principle of separation of powers, the Prime Minister must not remain the Chief Justice, at least, not go back to the Supreme Court after leaving the executive. But Regmi remains adamant and inclined to go back to being the chief justice. By the end of April 2013, Kiran-led Maoist party cadres had begun to smash laptops belonging to the Election Commission, whose representatives were in the districts to update the voter list. But by the time of the elections on 19 November 2013, the party could not muster enough strength to decisively disrupt the polls. When the results came out, the voters had clearly voted against the UCPN (Maoists) led by Prachanda and Dr Baburam Bhattarai. The Nepali Congress emerged as the largest party and the centre left CPN-UML as the second largest. One of the surprises of these polls was the strong showing by the pro-Hindu and pro-monarchy Rastriya Prajatantra Party (Nepal) led by Kamal Thapa. It emerged as the fourth largest party. Another hallmark of 2012 and beginning of 2013 was that Prime Minister Bhattarai had also begun withdrawing cases of murders committed during the insurgency, which had sent a very negative signal to the international community. The formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), despite six years of attempt, remains elusive. In fact, the donor community has refused to fund the Commission unless it complies with international standards. These issues are still unresolved and it is doubtful whether they will be settled soon. The arrest of Col. Kumar Lama, a serving NA soldier, by the British police in London, under the charge of human rights violation committed during the time when the army was mobilized against the Maoists, has also hit Nepal’s international image very hard. Col. Lama, according to some, was obeying the orders of his superiors; besides, the Maoists were at the time declared terrorists not only by the Nepali state but also by the Western powers such as the US. On the other hand, there are also those rights campaigners that opine that impunity in Nepal needs to be stopped and discouraged, and this is the first step to show that nobody is above the law. A jittery state response to the arrest was only to hire a lawyer of a British firm to contest the case in court, but the longer term implication of the arrest could also be a likely apprehension of the political leadership of the time, which included the Maoists, the NC and the UML too. Seeing the imminent danger, some senior government officials including the incumbent attorney general even cancelled their visit to Europe as a consequence of the arrest of Col. Lama.

132  N  Nishchal N. Pandey

In the present muddles, highly polarized and volatile situation, the scenario can be summed up with the following prognosis: (a) Nepal at present is limping without a constitution, without a parliament and without local elected bodies. Although the second constituent assembly has been elected, as of January 2014, a coalition government has not yet been formed. It is yet to be seen whether the Assembly takes ownership of the decisions reached by the previous assembly. There is still a vacuum in constitutional posts. Whether or not the parties immediately start debating on contentious issues such as federalism, try and agree on issues of constitutionalism, political system and form of local bodies need to be seen. The main hurdle for Nepali democracy post-2008 has been that forming and dismantling of government has taken precedence over constitution drafting. The parties get busy in an eternal contest of one-upmanship vying for power and privilege. People are frustrated with daily power shortage, scarcity of petroleum products and demand immediate relief. Good governance is out of question when governments survice only for an average of one year. The arrest of a serving NA Colonel by the British Government on charges of human rights abuse is a pointer of where the situation is heading if the Maoists, continue to evade the formation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and prolong the current stalemate. (b) The present interim constitution cannot be activated without violating it. In fact, it shows the short-sightedness of its drafters. They never envisaged a situation that the CA would cease to exist without promulgating a new constitution. Nowhere did it imagine fresh CA elections. Therefore, 25 articles were amended by the president with recommendations of the four major parties. Even after several amendments, there was a problem on who (the PM or the President) should convene the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly? Such trivial matters should not have obstructed or hinder the larger interest, i.e., to see a democratic and inclusive constitution at the earliest. (c) The independence of judiciary should never be compromised otherwise justice will be impaired. The writ against the appointment of the chief justice as head of the council of

Peace Audit of Nepal  N  133

ministers was not put into hearing at the Supreme Court till January 2014, showing a lack of concern towards the legal fraternity of the country. It sets a very wrong precedence for the future. (d) The present constitutional, legal, political, and administrative vacuum must not be allowed to remain for long. More than 18 Nepali embassies abroad are head-less without ambassadors. Similar is the case with universities and other government offices that have become victims of political distribution of positions to ‘near and dear ones’. If one is to strengthen democracy in Nepal, it has to begin with creating credible, democratic institutions with qualified people. Strife and friction among major political parties that has now moved on from Dailekh to Bhaktapur districts, and from the negotiating table to the streets, will eventually destroy the fragile peace and terminate whatever has been achieved in the last six years in Nepal. India has been calling for fresh elections, but merely pronouncing it is not enough. It has to make sure that all major actors of the fragmented Nepali polity are together in the same boat for a durable political system to emerge.

Present Constitutional Vacuum and Rule of Law It was ancient philosophers such as Aristotle who first wrote that ‘law should govern’. Since then, the rule of law has been considered as one of the key dimensions that determines the quality and good governance of a country. Research, like the Worldwide Governance Indicators, defines the rule of law as: ‘the extent to which agents have confidence and abide by the rules of society, and in particular the quality of contract enforcement, the police and the courts, as well as the likelihood of crime or violence’. The UN General Assembly also has considered rule of law as an agenda item since 1992, with renewed interest since 2006 and has adopted resolutions at its last three sessions. The Security Council has held a number of thematic debates and adopted resolutions emphasizing the importance of these issues in the context of women, peace and security, children in armed conflict, and the protection of civilians in armed conflict. United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, 1820, 2068 are exemplary resolutions.

134  N  Nishchal N. Pandey

The Peace-building Commission has also regularly addressed rule of law issues with respect to countries on its agenda.8 Talking about Germany, basic rights are fundamental to the Basic Law, and Article 1 of the Basic Law establishes a principle that ‘human dignity is inviolable’, as well as the general principles of the state — that guarantee democracy, republicanism, social responsibility, federalism, and the right of resistance should anybody undertake to abolish this order  — remain under the guarantee of perpetuity, i.e., these cannot be changed even if the normal amendment process is followed. Other than these unamendable tenets of the German Basic Law, the other aspect that I find very interesting is the provision of a constructive vote of no confidence. The new procedure was intended to provide more stability than under the Weimar Constitution, when extremists on the left and right would vote to remove a chancellor, without agreeing on a new one, creating a leadership vacuum. And we in Nepal have witnessed this many times in our experiment with multi-party system from 1990 onwards and also after 2008 when we could not agree on a new prime minister for weeks and months leading to gross political instability. What consists of national interest, or what is the true meaning of national interest, has been mystifying thinkers for decades. Terms such as survival, vital, critical, major, serious, extremely important, less important, humanitarian, and peripheral have been used to categorize the contours of national interest. I personally like the following definition and use it in most of my writings: In a very generic sense, national interest is that which is deemed by a state to be a desirable goal. But the attainment of this goal is something that the identifying state will have to determine by itself. Realization of the interest could enhance the political, economic, security, environmental, and/ or moral wellbeing of a populace and the state (actor) or national enterprise to which they belong. The purpose of this study is not to define Nepal’s national interest but to review the conceptualization and debates within Nepal on its inherent interests and the perceived threats to these interests. Divided into three broad themes: first, on secularism within the Available at http://www.un.org/en/ruleoflaw/ (accessed on 25 March 2014). 8

Peace Audit of Nepal  N  135

Nepalese political and academic discourse; second, on free and responsible media; and third, on the equally important subject of foreign employment. All this, we hope, will help to better understand the motivations and constraints that Nepal may face in formulating its policies — both domestic and foreign.

Issues on Federalism It was evident that the most contentious issue for the first CA not being able to promulgate the constitution was the failure to arrive at a consensus on the basis of state formation and number of states. The CA Committee on State Restructuring and High Level Commission proposed to create special structures including autonomous regions, protected regions and special region. In the drafts, the Committee proposed 22 special autonomous structures for a category of adibasi/ janjaati groups. While the majority of parties had agreed on 11 states on a mixed system, it was evident that some parties were opposed to it. By the third week of May, some ethnic groups had also started agitating and coming to the streets making the situation extremely volatile. In some places of Kathmandu, janjaati groups had started attacking other indigenous minorities, disturbing the ethnic and linguistic harmony so happily subsisting in the country for centuries. Nepal cannot afford to create federal states for each of the 118 ethnic groups in the country. Other marginalized groups such as women, Dalits, Muslims and smaller minorities may feel further alienated and marginalized, as their concerns cannot be addressed through federalism alone. Such marginalization might create losers and those seeking to assert their identity fuelling the demands for creation of more ethnic states in a ‘domino effect’ until the demands of all groups are satisfied.9

There were also concerns among Madhesi parties that the attempt of some parties to split the Madhes would erode their influence in the Terai, hence all of them clamoured for the creation of a single autonomous Madhesi state. Ultimately, none could satisfy the other on the issue of federalism dashing the hope of the promulgation of 9 Madhu Raman Acharya, ‘Federalism, Foreign Policy and National Security in Nepal: Lessons from Neighbourhood’, in V. R. Raghavan (ed.), Nepal as a Federal State: Lessons from the Indian Experience (New Delhi: Vij Books, 2013), p. 45.

136  N  Nishchal N. Pandey

the constitution through the CA before its term expired. Hence, with this bitter experience in mind, the new CA which has been elected in November 2013 must make sure not to repeat past mistakes. The Madhesi parties have been cut down to size by the voters and they are not as influential as in the first CA but if one is to tally the total votes received by the numerous Madhesi parties, it still come to the same votes received by them in 2008. Hence, it is necessary that the issue of Madhes is adequately addressed. There are some experts who opine that the already completed works of the past CAs can be ‘owned’ by the new CA and hence the burden on the shoulders of the new CA members will be considerably lessened. But there is a problem with this argument as the new CA will also be a sovereign body which cannot be dictated by anything of the past. A wholesale review, on the other hand, could be done on the thematic areas of the previous sub-committees taking the process into months if not years. This will further erode the confidence of the people on the CA to ever deliver a constitution to the country. Therefore, it is urgent that the major political parties come to a broad understanding on the pressing issues of federalism, without trying to bulldoze through a majority vote. Nepal’s political history is replete with examples of violence and conflict emanating from the lack of outlet of grievances and genuine concerns of minority groups. This cannot be repeated in the context of the second CA.

Secularism Though Nepal has been declared secular, the state has not taken any steps to ensure a smooth transition of a predominantly Hindu country to secularism. This could give rise to a fundamentalist movement. The growing links of Rastriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) of India through the establishment of Hindu Swayam Sevak Sangh (HSS) in Nepal and its ongoing activities in Nepal to restore Hinduism is something to factor into. If not checked, it could emerge as a force to be reckoned with.10 Furthermore, the latest census of 2011 has revealed that the total number of Hindus has actually grown from 80 10 Amish Raj Mulmi, ‘The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindutva in Nepal’, in Nishchal N. Pandey and Tomislav Delinic (eds), Nepal’s National Interests-II, Kathmandu, 2013.

Peace Audit of Nepal  N  137

to 81 per cent.11 Thus, immediate steps need to be taken and policies formulated to address the concerns of the Hindus to fully reap the benefits of secularism, as secularism is not turning its back to religion, rather addressing the concerns of every religion in the state. The Muslim and Christian populations have also grown but the Sikh and Buddhist populations have witnessed a decrease. The state must be serious about the growing schism and animosity between various religious groups as this could create unnecessary problems in the future. The need for free and responsible media is indispensable to ensure transparency and a long-lasting democracy. The journalists and the media have come a long way with the changing political context in Nepal. Journalists had faced a lot of brutalities during the People’s War. Hence the signing of Comprehensive Peace Accord in 2006 was hailed by the media fraternity as it could be a turning point to create a conducive environment for the journalists and the growth of media. However, almost seven years down the road journalists are still not safe and the media still restricted. Only the forms of violence have changed. A report titled ‘Protecting a Fledgling Democracy’ published in Freedom in Solidarity: Media working for Peace in South Asia (2010) states ‘[a]larmingly almost as many media workers were killed after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2006, as at the height of the conflict’.12 While the changed political context could be used as an opportunity to establish free and responsible media and bring actual public concerns to the forefront rather than just being a platform to advocate political agendas, this has not been the case. Also, the rights of the journalists and the media are still curtailed. Hence it needs to be addressed by the upcoming elected government to ensure smooth and transparent democracy. In a country where skilled and unskilled young people are migrating abroad for better opportunities, foreign employment is a matter of grave concern. If the trend continues at a similar pace, very soon Nepal would be completely void of young manpower and intellectuals to work towards her own growth and development. Also, the rise of ‘Arab Spring’ — escalating political tensions in the Arab 11 National Census of Nepal, 2011, http://www.cbs.gov.np (accessed on 10 May 2014). 12 Sanjaya Dhakal, ‘From Conflict to Peace: Changing Face of Danger for Nepalese Journalists’, in Nishchal N. Pandey and Tomislav Delinic (eds), Nepal’s National Interests-II, Kathmandu, 2013, p. 66.

138  N  Nishchal N. Pandey

countries — could have an adverse effect on the Nepalese migrants there. The question that arises is what would happen if more than two million migrant workers abroad have to return to Nepal due to instability in the Arab world. Already Saudi Arabia is adopting stringent measures and recently 1,000 Nepalese illegally working in the Arab country were deported. Nepal’s economy, which is mostly remittance-driven, will be in jeopardy if all the migrant workers were to return home. Also, the government does not have any back-up plan and policy in place to support its own people if they return. Hence, this situation needs to be immediately rectified and foreign investments directed accordingly, not just for material gains but also creation of long-term opportunities.

Conclusion Although the first CA could not draft a constitution, all hopes are not lost for Nepal. The country definitely suffered a major setback but successful holding of fresh polls for the second CA, generated a renewed feeling of optimism.. Getting a new constitution itself is not enough; providing good governance, ensuring security and creating an atmosphere whereby all people, regardless of their creed, case, religion, and language feel accommodated in the new democratic setup, must also be ensured. People are fed-up with nepotism and corruption and this must be corrected at the earliest. Qualified persons must be given jobs at the correct places. Moreover, relations with India and China must be viewed in a new paradigm in which both the neighbours are aiming at a US$100 billion trade by 2015. Nepal must try to reap the benefits of rising India and rising China and the two countries need to coordinate their respective Nepal policies so that there is no strategic rivalry rather a convergence of interest in Nepal. J

7 Sri Lanka: Negative Peace Exists, at least N. Manoharan

Ghosts of conflict continue to haunt Sri Lanka, even after five years

since the end of Eelam War IV. The conflict that ended in May 2009 claimed the lives of over 20,000 civilians, about 6,500 government troops and nearly 15,000 rebels. Several were injured in all the three categories. The conflict also resulted in displacement of thousands of civilians. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 300,000 were internally displaced and thousands fled as refugees to other countries, especially to India. The emigration of Tamils from Sri Lanka still continues, both legally and illegally, especially to the West. The Government of Sri Lanka officially winded up internally displaced person (IDP) camps to come clean on the resettlement process. Yet, one cannot assert that every displaced has got a house. Ironically, progress on the reconciliation front is being criticized as lackadaisical by the international community. The most worrying aspect is the long-term political settlement of the ethnic issue, which is on the reverse gear. The defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is certainly a big relief not only to Sri Lankans, but also to the whole of the region. Yet, the big question is how far has the demise of the LTTE translated into peace on the island state, especially for the minority communities. This is where the purpose of peace audit lies. While doing a peace audit in Sri Lanka certain crucial questions come to the fore: What is the status of peace since the end of Eelam War IV about half a decade ago? Does it prevail in the absolute sense or in parts? What are the various hurdles in establishing positive peace on the island state? What should be done about it?

Auditing Peace: Concept and Methodology Peace is commonly understood in a negative sense: the absence of hostility. There is nothing wrong in such understanding, except

140  N  N. Manoharan

that it ignores the residual feelings of mistrust and suspicion that the winners and losers of a war harbour toward each other, especially in the post-conflict situation. Hence, it is important to also take into account the positive aspect so as to have a holistic understanding of peace. Looked at in a comprehensive sense, peace (apart from absence of conflict) also includes sincere attempts at reconciliation, the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the establishment of equality, and a working political order that serves the true interests of all. In addition to this comprehensive understanding of peace, the audit exercise here takes into consideration pertinent indicators used in three indices: Global Peace Index (GPI), Positive Peace Index (PPI) and Failed State Index (FSI). They are chosen to respectively reflect the negative (GPI) and positive (PPI) aspects of peace and also institutions that are responsible for maintaining them (FSI). The GPI lists 22 qualitative and quantitative indicators in three broad themes: (a) the level of safety and security in society; (b) the extent of domestic or international conflict; and (c) the degree of militarization.1 The PPI identifies eight key categories known as the ‘Pillars of Peace’. They include: well-functioning government; sound business environment; equitable distribution of resources; acceptance of the rights of others; good relations with neighbours; free flow of information; high levels of human capital; and low levels of corruption.2 The FSI goes by 12 indicators under three broad categories: social, economic and politico-military. Under Social Indicators, four are identified: mounting demographic pressures, massive movement of refugees or IDPs, legacy of vengeance-seeking group grievance or group paranoia, and chronic and sustained human flight. Economic Indicators include uneven economic development along group lines and sharp and/or severe economic decline. Politico-military Indicators comprise  criminalization and/or delegitimization of the state, progressive deterioration of public services, suspension or arbitrary application of the rule of law and widespread human rights abuse, Global Peace Index, 2013, http://economicsandpeace.org/research/iepindices-data/global-peace-index (accessed on 13 December 2013). 2   Positive Peace Index, 2013, http://www.visionofhumanity.org/pdf/gpi/ 2013_Global_Peace_Index_Report.pdf (accessed on 13 December 2013). 1

Sri Lanka: Negative Peace  N  141

security apparatus operates as a ‘state within a state’, rise of factionalized elites and intervention of other states or external political actors.3

The Sri Lankan Case An attempt is made to audit peace in Sri Lanka by means of indicators used by the three indices identified earlier, but in three broad categories: Security, Development and Political.

Security Security has been the topmost priority for the Government of Sri  Lanka after the end of Eelam War. Hence, a ‘demilitarization’ strategy has been put in place that is aimed at preventing regrouping of the LTTE in any form, in the near or distant future and internally or externally.4 In this regard, the ‘strategy’ took care of two things on the ground: maintain large military presence in the Tamil-dominated northeast of Sri Lanka, and make sure that the surrendered LTTE remnants do not pick up arms once again against the State. Military presence in the Tamil-dominated northeast of Sri Lanka exists in the form of creation of several ‘high security zones’ (HSZs) despite recommendations from the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation (LLRC), and despite calls from the international community to scale them down. In its report submitted in January 2013, the Army Board on Implementation of the Recommendations of the LLRC insisted that ‘there is an absolute need to locate our armed forces at strategically important locations’5 to protect military camps, strategic installations and the lifelines of the security forces. The presence of armed forces is also justified in the name of ‘development work’ in the conflict-affected areas. Failed State Index, 2013, http://library.fundforpeace.org/fsi13 (accessed on 14 December 2013). 4 A broad outline of Sri Lanka’s ‘National Security Strategy’ was articulated by the island state’s Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, during a lecture at Kotelawala Defence University on 13 June 2013. Full text of the speech is available at http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=Sri_Lanka_National_ Security_Concerns_20130613_08 (accessed on 14 December 2013). 5 See paragraph 15, Chapter 3 of the Report, at http://www.army.lk/ docimages/image/LLRC_2013.pdf (accessed on 1 January 2014). 3

142  N  N. Manoharan

The HSZs comprise large chunks of territory in the Jaffna Peninsula, districts of Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi and Trincomalee. Since it involves occupying large tracts of residential and agricultural lands, the HSZs have resulted in displacing thousands of residents apart from depriving many farmers of their livelihood. They restrict freedom of movement to surrounding areas, but also remain as a symbol of domination, at least in the perception of Tamils. In terms of numbers, 16 of 19 divisions of the Sri Lankan Army remained in the northeast of the Island. This does not include the presence of Navy and Air Force personnel.6 Although the government claimed that it has reduced the area of occupation by 40 per cent and the number of troops in the Jaffna Peninsula by 20,000 in 2012–13, it looks like they will remain as a permanent feature of the region.7 Yet another ‘demilitarization’ component that has been followed is in the form of rehabilitation of former LTTE cadres. Appreciably, and thanks partly to international pressure, within months of the formal end of violent ethnic conflict, the ‘National Action Plan for the Reintegration of Ex-combatants’ was put in place by the Government of Sri Lanka. Called by President Rajapaksa as ‘Humanitarian Mission — 02’, the framework of reintegration covered five aspects: disarmament and demobilization, rehabilitation, reinsertion, social reintegration, and economic reintegration.8 The Tigers in custody were broadly divided into three categories: those who were forcefully recruited (mostly children), non-combatant members and hardcore combatants. Separate ‘welfare centres’ were set up for each category  — 24 in all  — in the districts of Jaffna, Batticaloa and Vavuniya to rehabilitate them.9 The first category  — 556 child Nirupama Subramanian, ‘Sri Lanka Army still has Large Presence in North & East’, The Hindu, Chennai, 19 September 2012. 7 P. K. Balachandran, ‘High Security Zones cut by 40 percent, claims Lanka’, The New Indian Express, Chennai, 24 June 2012. 8 Interestingly, the work of drafting of framework commenced in March 2009 itself, over two months before the formal end of war. Full text of the document is available at http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/--ed_emp/---emp_ent/---ifp_crisis/documents/publication/wcms_116478. pdf (accessed on 10 January 2013). 9 Bureau of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation. ‘Rehabilitation, Resettlement of ex-LTTEers, a Success’, 2011, http://www.bcgr.gov.lk/ news.php?id=108 (accessed on 12 December 2012). 6

Sri Lanka: Negative Peace  N  143

combatants  — was said to be provided with catch-up education classes and allowed family visits and reunion. Nevertheless, free access to specialized independent international agencies, such as Save the Child, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), could have made the rehabilitation more successful. Instead of just limiting to secondary education, the programme should go beyond in turning the former child–soldiers into useful citizens. Also, their psycho-social problems require a bit more attention.10 Those identified as ‘hardcore’ cadres were separated out to extract maximum information on LTTE remnants, their ‘sleeper cells’, existing network, future plans of revival, and hidden weapons/mines. In the initial stages, there were human rights abuses in the rehabilitation process, but it mellowed down later. No distinction was made between leaders and ordinary cadres in this regard. Some of the former LTTE heavyweights are now working with the Sri Lankan Military Intelligence in neutralizing the internal and external networks of the LTTE.11 They are expected to undergo legal proceedings after the rehabilitation process, which, in turn, may depend on the ‘level of cooperation’ they render to the government.12 On noncombatant category, the government has been a bit easy. Releases of those who successfully complete rehabilitation programme are made from time-to-time. On 9 September 2013, 107 ex-cadres were released from Maradamadu and Poonthottam rehabilitation centres in Vavuniya. As per government statistics, only 232 cadres remain in the welfare centres.13 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, ‘Sri Lanka: Former Child Soldiers Struggle for a Normal Life’, 10 November 2010, http://www. unhcr.org/refworld/country,,IRIN,,LKA,,4cdd263f14,0.html (accessed on 14 December 2012). 11 The Sri Lanka Guardian, ‘Ex LTTE cadres Despatched Overseas to spy for MoD’, The Sri Lanka Guardian, Colombo, 4 December 2011. 12 The level of cooperation included identification of former cadres and their hideouts, and information on weapons, funds and other networks. K. Godage, ‘Rehabilitation and release of former LTTE Cadres and Suspects’, Daily Mirror, Colombo, 16 October 2010. 13 Policy Research & Information Unit of the Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka, ‘Another Batch of Rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres to be Integrated’, 9 September 2013, http://www.priu.gov.lk/news_update/Current_ 10

144  N  N. Manoharan

However, despite rehabilitation and reintegration, the stigma as former Tigers remains. The Sri Lankan Government has not done much in easing this stain. On the other hand, the government’s strategy of releasing the rehabilitated with much media hype has in fact increased the stigma factor, owing to the wide publicity and dissemination of their identities. Also, due to their past activities, the physical security of many of the former Tigers is in jeopardy. They should be secured. There is also apprehension among the rehabilitated cadres being under the watchful eyes of the security forces, and the chances of them getting detained anytime are high.14 It is the duty of the government to mellow down such trepidation. The government should also consider periodic orientation of those reintegrated ex-militants just to make sure that they do not slip away from the right path in the long run. The government has ruled out absorbing them into the armed forces, but about 2,000 ex-cadres have joined the Civil Defence Force.15 Sadly, the Plan of Action also completely ignores the empowering of disabled former Tigers otherwise. It is not too late to address the lacuna. Overall, proper reintegration of former militants into the mainstream society is one of the vital components of rebuilding post-conflict societies. If the reintegration programme of the Sri Lankan Government is attractive, the dispersed Tigers may surface to join the mainstream. Although the LTTE has been decimated, and most of its leaders and cadres killed or surrendered, its external network remains by-and-large intact, though factionalized. There is a fear in the security establishment of Sri Lanka that using this network the Tiger remnants may try to regroup. The priority for Colombo, therefore, is to apprehend LTTE leadership living abroad and smash its international wing completely.16 To achieve this objective, Sri Lanka Affairs/ca201309/20130909another_batch_rehabilitated_ex_ltte_cadres_ integrated.htm (accessed on 1 January 2014). 14   Charles Haviland, ‘Sri Lanka: Former Tamil Tigers Complain of Harassment’, BBC News, 29 July 2011. 15 Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms, ‘Rehabilitated LTTE Cadres join the Civil Defence Force’, 1 October 2012, http://www.reprimin. gov.lk/index.php/en/news/175-rehabilitated-ltte-cadres-join-the-civildefence-force (accessed on 16 December 2013). 16 Rohan Gunaratne, ‘A Post-war Challenge for Sri Lanka: Dismantling the LTTE Overseas and Rebuilding a Sri Lankan Identity’, lecture delivered

Sri Lanka: Negative Peace  N  145

appointed military and intelligence officials in key Sri Lankan embassies, especially in Europe, as diplomats to: personally oversee the operation and lobby local governments to prevail on LTTE activities; direct appeal for deportation to states where LTTE leaders are holed up and; highlight to the international community that the international Tiger network could be used by other terror groups and mafia. Colombo is also mindful of a million-strong Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, spread across the world, as a crucial factor for any form of revival of the LTTE. Although the diaspora is divided on core issues, such as the end goal of Tamil Eelam and the means to achieve it, it is believed that it may throw a lifeline to militants when in need. Of course, the diaspora continues to lobby for accountability on human rights abuses committed by Sri Lankan armed forces during Eelam War IV, but not beyond that.17 However, the demilitarization strategy of the government has been one-sided; it did not apply to state forces. Colombo, in fact, did not demobilize the armed forces once the war was over, making Sri Lanka as one of the most militarized society in the world, roughly at a ratio of one security personnel per 525 subjects. The government also did not bother much about the effects, such as human rights abuses, prowling of ‘white van gangs’, media stifling and impact of HSZs. It is this securitization, over-centralization and insensitivity towards pluralism that pose dangers for future nation-building and sustainable peace in Sri Lanka.

Development Development is an important component in establishing sustainable peace in any post-conflict society. Linking the two variables — ‘peace’ and ‘development’ — Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa observed: ‘Without peace you cannot have development, and without development you cannot have peace. But the biggest achievement at the Auditorium of the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute on the invitation of the Nandadasa Kodagoda Memorial Trust, 2 August 2010, http:// www.srilankaguardian.org/2010/08/post-war-challenge-for-sri-lanka.html (accessed on 13 December 2013). 17 International Crisis Group, ‘The Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora after the LTTE’, Report no. 186, 23 February 2010.

146  N  N. Manoharan

of all is the peace itself’.18 Not long ago Rajapaksa wished to make Sri  Lanka ‘a model for by itself  . . . a hub for education, aviation, shipping, communications and tourism’.19 The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) regime strongly believes that the existing issue is not an ethnic question, but only a problem of development. The belief, therefore, is that the ethnic issue would ‘wither away’ if development is taken care off. Even after five years of termination of armed component of the ethnic conflict, the Sri Lankan economy is still reeling under the after-effects of the three decade-old war. The island is suffering from expensive short-term foreign debt, declining foreign exchange reserves and a high deficit. The global economic crisis has added to the woes by hitting key export sectors such as tea and garments and foreign direct investments. Though Sri Lanka pushes ahead in the transition to a middle-income economy, it has to face ‘additional pressure on already stretched resources and economic opportunities, from greater urbanization, environmental degradation, changes in aspirations on the type of employment sought by young people, and changes to the country’s epidemiological profile’.20 Appreciably, inflation has come down, but is still a cause of concern to the common man whose real income has not kept pace with it. As per Asian Development Bank, the GDP grew at 6.8 per cent in 2013, up from 6.2 in 2012, but down from 8 per cent in 2011.21 The government is counting on aid flows meant for post-war reconstruction to bail itself out of the crisis. The flow of external aid, however, depends on two factors: how well the global economy revives itself from the current slowdown, and how well the Sri Lankan government reconciles with the international community in addressing the latter’s concerns on accountability issues. At the same time, one cannot discount the fact that durable peace can bring a turnaround to the ailing economy. Greg Sheridan, ‘Sri Lanka: A Nation at Peace’, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s interview to The Australian, 31 August 2013. 19 Ravi Velloor, ‘A Man who Loves his Country’, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s interview to The Strait Times, 18 March 2010. 20 Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka: State of the Economy 2013, October 2013. 21   Asian Development Bank, ‘Sri Lanka Economy’, 2013, http://www. adb.org/countries/sri-lanka/economy (accessed on 16 December 2013). 18

Sri Lanka: Negative Peace  N  147

The northeast of Sri Lanka is presently the most underdeveloped region on the island. After the ‘liberation of the East’, in July 2007 the government ventured on its development in the name of Nagenahira Navodaya (‘Eastern Awakening’). Development programme in the north, after the formal end of conflict in May 2009, has been undertaken in the name of Uthuru Wasanthaya (‘Northern Spring’) that involves reconstruction of the war-ravaged areas, resettlement of the conflict-displaced and security. Since development programme in the east commenced much early, the situation is comparatively better, if not up to the mark.22 Under the ‘Presidential Task Force for the Development of the Northern Province’ the process of development in the north has been proceeding on some logic, such as demining of areas meant for resettlement and reconstruction, building of basic infrastructure like houses, roads, schools, energy grid, telecommunication, etc. Providing livelihood opportunities to all the resettled IDPs is yet another mammoth task before the government.23 The government finds lack of sufficient resources as the major challenge confronting its reconstruction plans. Initial estimates suggest requirement of over US$2 billion for the purpose. Local funds are in short, but external sources of finances are reasonable. But Sri Lanka wants them without any strings attached, especially of human rights enquiries, monitoring and accountability. As a result, Sri Lanka has not been able to tap external funds effectively. The government has also not utilized aid and development agencies fearing their help in LTTE’s revival, which is an unwanted apprehension. In addition to the Government of Sri Lanka, three broad categories of actors are involved in the postwar reconstruction: inter-governmental organizations, state actors and local non-governmental organizations. Principal state actors involved in Sri Lanka include India, China, Japan, Libya, Pakistan, Iran, the United States, and the European Union. Interestingly, the predominance of Asian countries is more than the West in such tasks. 22 Sumith Chaaminda, ‘Uthuru Wasanthaya And Negenahira Navodaya: Analyzing The Development Discourse’, Colombo Telegraph, 24 March 2012. 23 The Task Force in consultation with the United Nations, national and international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and International Organizations (IOs) developed Joint Action Plan for Assistance (JPA) for the Northern Province. See http://www.hpsl.lk/docs/2012_JPA_21_ February_2012-FINAL.pdf (accessed on 26 December 2013).

148  N  N. Manoharan

However, there seems to be no proper cohesion in the functioning of these actors in achieving the common objective.

Political There are two aspects under this component: ‘democratization’ and finding long-term political settlement to the ethnic issue. Democratization Although democratization strategy in the post-conflict phase was justified by President Rajapaksa to give ‘voice to the people’, it was basically to consolidate the power of the ruling coalition — United People’s Freedom Alliance — at every level: national, provincial and local. Mahinda Rajapakse, soon after his re-election as the Executive President in January 2010, dissolved the parliament and announced elections scheduled for April 2010. For the first time in two decades there was no diktat for the Tamil voters from the LTTE. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) underwent split between hardline and moderate leaders. Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), which surprised everyone by emerging as the third largest party in the previous parliamentary polls, also witnessed splits. The main Opposition United National Party (UNP) was also at its lowest point in the political history of Sri Lanka. All these factors, apart from Rajapaksa’s charisma, helped the ruling UPFA to secure a landslide victory (144 out of 225 seats). This was the first time in the history of Sri Lanka that a party or coalition got a comfortable majority under proportional representation system. Within months after the war, the government conducted elections to local bodies of Jaffna and Vavuniya. In the polls that took place on 8 August 2009, the ruling UPFA won Jaffna Urban Council and the TNA, considered as LTTE proxy, won Vavuniya Municipal Council. These were the first elections held in the Tamil-dominated areas after the formal end of ethnic war on the island. In the Provincial Council elections held in September 2012, the UPFA secured a majority along with Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and formed the government.24 The elections, however, signified that Tamils still nurture grievances and look forward to a responsible leadership. 24 R. K. Radhakrishnan, ‘UPFA leader becomes CM’, The Hindu, 18 September 2012.

Sri Lanka: Negative Peace  N  149

Significantly, polls for the entire Northern Province were also conducted in September 2013, for the first time in 25 years. The TNA won 30 out of 38 seats (that included two bonus seats) and formed the government in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Interestingly, the UPFA that won the other two provinces (North Western and Central) got seven seats and the SLMC got one seat.25 The fact that the TNA participated in the provincial polls is itself a positive development because it boycotted the eastern provincial council elections in 2008. In the electoral exercises held thus far, the use of state resources and power by the ruling coalition was very much evident to the disadvantage of the opposition parties. Then, there are undemocratic actions such as perpetuating stifling media, silencing the civil society and splitting and intimidating opposition parties. Those sections of the media that dared to take an independent and objective line are suppressed by various means. Informally, tactics such as killings, beatings, kidnappings, intimidations, and threats were used to deter media personnel from writing on ‘sensitive issues’. The aim was to put them on ‘self-censorship mode’. Those who fail to fall in line were threatened with ‘dire consequences’ and international media personnel were expelled from the country.26 Crucially, Rajapaksa regime is not interested in empowering the local and provincial councils enough to take care of the governance at their levels. But, the most worrying action was when the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa signed an order removing the island state’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake on 13 January 2013. Judiciary usually toed the government line. Even Shirani Bandaranayake, as the Chief Justice, gave several pro-government judgements, notable among them being validating the 18th Amendment and abolition of independent commissions. She remained in the good books of the government until then. However, when she disagreed with the government on Divi Neguma Bill (that overlooked provinces on managing development funds), trouble started. She was accused of 14 charges in November 2012. An 11-member Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) found her guilty of three Charles Haviland, ‘Sri Lanka’s main Tamil Party Wins Key Vote in the North’, BBC News, 22 September 2013. 26 United States Embassy in Sri Lanka, ‘U.S. Concerned Over Moves to Stifle Free Expression’, 29 November 2012. 25

150  N  N. Manoharan

charges that included failing to declare her earnings, of hearing a case in which she had an interest, and of continuing to hold the position of Chief Justice while a case against her husband was pending. Ironically, the PSC became exclusively of ruling members when the Opposition parties pulled out. Shirani Bandaranayake herself boycotted the hearings doubting a fair hearing. Despite Court of Appeal’s restraint, and despite Supreme Court’s ruling that the PSC had ‘no legal authority’ to declare guilty or pronounce a decision affecting the rights of the judge, Parliament went ahead in impeaching the Chief Justice. The voting count was 155 to 49, with 20 abstentions. The entire impeachment and removal process just took four months that is unimaginable in India. This was the first time that a serving Chief Justice of Supreme Court, with over 11 years of service remaining, got removed.27 By appointing his Cabinet’s legal advisor, Mohan Peiris, as the new Chief Justice, Rajapaksa has now consolidated all powers in the Presidency. ‘Separation of powers’, a Montesquieun model for governance of a democratic state, is no more. Media, considered as the ‘Fourth Pillar’ of democracy, was already under stifled mode. A ‘Constitutional Dictatorship’ has set in. What is more concerning, in the case of judiciary, is the way in which the Chief Justice was removed. Due process was not followed. President Rajapaksa, however, defended his decision by holding that he had acted in line with the Constitution. But, the President himself has admitted that the Constitution is ‘imperfect’.28 Then, is it not about time to correct those ‘imperfections’? Who else is in a better position with requisite majority than Rajapaksa to do it?

Ethnic Question Finding a lasting political settlement by taking into account the root causes and grievances of the aggrieved communities are vital in establishing sustainable peace. However, in the Sri Lankan case, efforts in finding a long-term political settlement to the ethnic issue is nowhere in sight. Devolution of powers to the minorities seems the last priority. R. K. Radhakrishnan, ‘Rajapaksa dismisses Chief Justice’, The Hindu, 13 January 2013. 28   ‘Our Constitution may not be Perfect  — MR’, Colombo Gazette, 14 January 2013. 27

Sri Lanka: Negative Peace  N  151

The Rajapaksa government has been talking of finding a ‘home grown solution’ to the ethnic issue.29 In this regard, President Rajapaksa did indeed appoint an ‘All Party Representative Committee’ (APRC) in 2006 to ‘fashion creative options that satisfy minimum expectations as well as provide a comprehensive approach to the resolution of the national question’. However, instead of exploring ‘creative options’, the APRC, in its interim report submitted in January 2008, advised the President to implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which outlined devolution to the provinces in the aftermath of the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord of 1987.30 Even after 25 years, ideas for seeking a solution were back to square one. At last, the APRC reportedly submitted its final report to the President in August 2009. The President, however, chose not to make it public. It is more or less dead now. At a later date, in an interview, President Mahinda Rajapaksa succinctly outlined his thoughts on devolution when he said, ‘[w]e are keen on a sustainable political settlement. But it must have wide acceptance, especially in the context of the post-conflict situation’.31 With this pronouncement, the writing on the wall was clear: Colombo would deal with the ethnic issue from the position of strength. Federalism that was once on cards had been ruled out once and for all. Other options, such as devolution based on ‘2000 proposals’, the APRC or even based on some features of the LLRC, are not under consideration. At the maximum, what is on cards is some arrangement revolving around the existing 13th Amendment. Through the 13th Amendment, Sri Lanka was divided into nine provinces each governed by a council headed by an elected chief minister. It also merged north and east as one province called Northeast Province, and made Tamil an ‘Rajapakse calls for Home-grown Solution to Tamil Issue’, The Hindu, 21 December 2013. 30 B. Muralidhar Reddy, ‘Sri Lanka: Full Implementation of 13th Amendment Recommended’, The Hindu, 24 January 2008. 31 Policy Research & Information Unit of the Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka, ‘Equality of Opportunity would be a Better Approach’, 29 December  2011,  http://www.priu.gov.lk/news_update/Current_Affairs/ ca201112/20111229equality_opportunity_better_approach.htm  (accessed on 1 January 2014). 29

152  N  N. Manoharan

official language along with Sinhala, and powers were divided under three lists (Provincial, Reserved and Concurrent). Police and land powers were never devolved. The provinces, especially the northeast, struggled without adequate financial powers. Then came the de-merger of the north and the east in January 2007, thanks to the Sri Lankan Supreme Court ruling. Amendments to the Constitution, like the 18th, centralized even more powers in the Executive President, thus eroding the autonomy and integrity of all other institutions, including the Provincial ones. Since Colombo never implemented all the provisions of the 13th Amendment, there have never been ‘13’, but only ‘13-minus’. Rajapaksa, who initially committed to go ‘beyond 13th Amendment’, changed track later by holding that ‘there is no ethnic issue, but only development issue’.32 Now the latest move is appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to review the whole 13th Amendment arrangement.33 The PSC, however, remains a nonstarter because of non-participation of Opposition parties like the UNP and the TNA and even coalition partners like SLMC. Hardline parties like JVP, National Freedom Front (NFF) and Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) have of late started arguing that Provincial Council system is a divisive mechanism and ‘does not suit’ a country like Sri  Lanka.34 The system, to them, was not indigenous, but was ‘forced on Sri Lanka’ by external forces like India and hence the 13th Amendment should go. Unfortunately, a section of the government, led by the President’s brother and Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, subscribes to this viewpoint. On the other hand, a dominant section of the present UPFA government including President Mahinda Rajapaksa support dilution of Provincial Council System, termed as the ‘13th Amendment Minus’ framework. The argument is, since whatever limited police and land powers that are vested with the provinces were not practically implemented, the move now is to devolve only those implementable portions. 32 President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s address to Asia Society (New York) on ‘Development and Peacemaking: Challenges in Sri Lanka’, 20 September 2006. 33 K. T. Rajasingham, ‘Sri Lanka: Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional Changes Appointed’, Asian Tribune, 21 June 2013. 34 Ishara Mudugamuwa, ‘Scrap the PCs now!  — NFF’, Daily News, Colombo, 8 November 2012.

Sri Lanka: Negative Peace  N  153

On reconciliation, to pre-empt United Nations’ move to appoint an experts panel on ‘war crimes’ during the last stages of war, Sri Lankan President appointed an eight-member Commission on ‘LLRC’ in May 2010. The LLRC is a good step, but its mandate is very limited and ethnic reconciliation in the real sense has not been looked into seriously. As per the notification, the Commission was mandated to inquire and report on the facts and circumstances that led to the failure of the ceasefire agreement (CFA) operationalized on 21 February 2002 and the sequence of events that followed thereafter up to 19 May 2009 when the war ended; whether any person, group or institutions directly or indirectly bear responsibility; lessons to learn from those events and their attendant concerns in order to ensure that there will be no recurrence; and methodology whereby restitution to any person affected by those events or their dependents or their heirs, can be effected. The assumption was that the CFA was a failure, which is not the case. Although, it is claimed that the LLRC is on the model of Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, there is no mechanism for reconciliation in the real sense. When the LLRC submitted its report in December 2011, things became clear. Although it was not 100 per cent objective, it was not disappointing either. It tried to do a balancing act containing both positive and negative aspects. On positives it talked about the need for demilitarization, investigation of disappearances, apart from acknowledging the existence of ethnic grievances; surprisingly, it supported devolution of powers to minorities, although did not spell them out. At the same time, it did not fix accountability for human rights abuses during Eelam War IV. For the collateral damage the report reasoned out as a result of LTTE action and military reaction. Most importantly, the LLRC did not give any action plan on the way forward either on reconciliation or devolution. Yet the major concern is that the report of this Commission is not taken seriously and acted upon by the Rajapaksa government. It was with this concern that a US-sponsored resolution was passed in UNHRC in March 2012 and once again in March 2013. Also supported by India, the objective behind the move was not to condemn Sri Lanka but to ‘sow the seeds of lasting peace’.35 It was Opening Remarks by Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe at Informal Consultations on a Draft Resolution on Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council, United 35

154  N  N. Manoharan

pointed out that the ‘real reconciliation must be based on accountability, not impunity’.36 The Court of Inquiry appointed by the Army was considered ‘too late and too little’.37 Since it was not independent, its findings might not be impartial. However, to Colombo, any UN action ‘would only lead to derailing the ongoing reconciliation process that has been put in place by the government’.38 Some in the regime went to the extent of arguing that ‘[i]f we submit to this resolution, Tiger terrorists will raise their head again’.39 Instead of getting sensitive, Sri Lanka should seriously implement all the recommendations of the LLRC. Thanks to the international pressure, there is some progress in the implementation within a framework of ‘National Plan of Action’. The pace, however, is not encouraging.

Recommendations: For a Real and Sustainable Peace On the basis of audit, it is discerned that post-LTTE Sri Lanka is indeed a far more peaceful country. On the surface, peace prevails in Sri Lanka in the negative sense, in other words, absence of conflict than peace in real sense. A sustainable peace can only be achieved when Sri Lanka reconciles with its minority communities, reaches out to the opposition that is presently weak and polarized, practises democracy in the real sense, desecuritizes its functions, and makes up with the international community. Perceptions of what constitutes real and sustainable peace in Sri Lanka differ for the two dominant actors of the island: the Nations Office, Geneva, 8 March 2012, full text of the speech is available at https://geneva.usmission.gov/2012/03/09/action-by-hrc-can-help-promotereconciliation-and-lasting-peace-in-sri-lanka  (accessed  on  19  December 2013). 36 Statement by Secretary Clinton on the UN Human Rights Council Vote on Sri Lanka Reconciliation, US Department of State, 22 March 2012. 37 UN Human Rights Council, ‘Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka’, Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 25th Session, 24 February 2014. 38 ‘Internationalizing a Domestic Issue would only lead to Derailing the Ongoing Reconciliation Process  — Prof. Peiris’, New Line, 28 February 2012. 39 Bharatha Mallawarachi, ‘Sri Lanka Gov’t Minister urges Boycott of US goods’, The Huffington Post, 13 March 2012.

Sri Lanka: Negative Peace  N  155

Government of Sri Lanka under Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan Tamil community presently represented by-and-large by the TNA. To President Rajapaksa, peace has prevailed in Sri Lanka since May 2009 after the ‘defeat of terrorism’.40 To TNA, however, absence of war does not mean that real peace has been achieved. Instead, what prevails is only a ‘negative peace’. Peace in real sense will be realized only when all displaced persons are resettled, when all the interned Tigers are rehabilitated, when the security apparatus of the state is wound up, and when the ethnic issue is settled to the satisfaction of the Tamil community. It is this perceptional difference that remains as the major stumbling block for establishing real and perpetual peace on the island. This should be bridged. Dubbed as the ‘greatest terrorist rehabilitation in the world history’,41 the rehabilitation and reintegration of former child and adult LTTE cadres, is yet another issue that requires serious attention of the Sri Lankan government. Child soldiers were looked after well. The government has recently been releasing ‘innocent’ cadres, but the exact nature of their rehabilitation post-release should be transparent. The government is also ambiguous about the reintegration of the remaining ‘hardcore’ adult cadres, as there is a concern of rearrests. There is an urgent need to find a credible and sustainable political solution to the ethnic issue. So long as the grievances that gave rise to militant groups like the LTTE remain, violent resistance will continue. No ethnic strife can be settled without addressing its root causes. President Rajapaksa has to acknowledge this and work in a serious manner. In the present situation, devolution of powers to provinces through the ‘13th Amendment Plus Plus’ is a realistic option. There will be stiff opposition from the Sinhalese hardliners. However, riding on popular support, the President should be in a position to withstand these nationalistic pressures and forge an island-wide consensus for a lasting solution to the ethnic question. Formation of local councils in Jaffna and Vavuniya and conduct of Northern Provincial Council elections are appreciable, but they should be entrusted with sufficient resources and autonomy. ‘Defeat of Terrorism Spurred Economic Growth in SL — President’ , Daily News (Colombo), 5 March 2014. 41 Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, ‘Sri Lanka’s Success Story on Rehabilitation’, 6 April 2012. 40

156  N  N. Manoharan

Trust deficit that exists between various communities of the island must be bridged on a priority basis. Talks with TNA were a good move, but they did not take things any further. Any confidencebuilding measure will go a long way in even convincing the Tamil diaspora that is presently keeping the hopes of Tamil Eelam alive. It is important for the Sri Lankan government to engage the diaspora to make them positively contribute to the development of the country. For a credible and sustainable political solution, it is vital to acknowledge that more than the military victory against the Tigers, winning the hearts and minds of minority Tamils is more significant. Most importantly, a suitable reconciliation mechanism should be adopted to construct bridges among all the communities in the island. The Rajapaksa government also has to go beyond the constitutional tinkering in reaching out to minorities by showing magnanimity. Resettlement of the displaced, reconstruction of the war-ravaged northeast and rehabilitation of the LTTE cadres should be done in a more serious and fair manner. Since the LTTE is now gone, the present moderate Tamil political leadership is unconstrained. But the main issue is the fragmentation of the Tamil polity. There are three different viewpoints among the Sri Lankan Tamils: pro-government, anti-government and the one in-between. However, to gain a viable political settlement, it is important that these three groups unite and negotiate as a single entity keeping in mind the larger interests of the Tamil community. Reconstructing the war-battered economy should be high on the agenda of the President. The war directly affected the Tamils, but its ill-effects impinged on all the other communities. Economically, the island is still recovering. The ongoing global economic crisis has added to their woes by affecting key export sectors like tea and garments. It is, therefore, important for Colombo to construct bridges with the international community, which has only been asking for an enquiry on human rights abuses during the war. It is important to come clean on the issue in the long-term interests of the country. It is vital to have them as ‘partners in development’ rather than overly depending on countries such as China. A small state as Sri Lanka cannot push its development programme with a dented image. The onus now lies on the President to reach out to the international community, which should also not push Colombo too far. It should

Sri Lanka: Negative Peace  N  157

convince Sri Lanka that there is ‘no torch carrying’42 for the LTTE and whatever concerns are raised from time-to-time are in the interest of the island state and its people. The Sri Lankan government also should make efforts to win back the international media and organizations, which it antagonized during war. Such an exercise is crucial in informing the international community of the ground realities on the island. Some of the progresses made so far should be highlighted: local elections in Jaffna and Vavuniya, provincial council elections to the Northern Province, participation of TNA in these elections, rehabilitation of ex-child soldiers of the LTTE, and the ongoing resettlement process especially demining. Instead of being defensive, the government can frankly accept the shortfalls and try rectifying them in due course. It should be acknowledged that most of the concerns of the international community are genuine and if given heed will go a long way in benefitting the island state. What is also imperative is dismantling of the security state and winning the peace. Sweeping reforms are required in the way Emergency Regulations are invoked and implemented. The onus of this lies with the three pillars of Sri Lankan government: executive, legislature and judiciary. Although Emergency has been lifted, the PSO should be amended to have inbuilt safeguards against any possible misuse. They range from communication to the relatives on the arrest of a person, production of those arrested before the courts within 24 hours, non-admission of confession made under duress as evidence, institution of checks and balances on the use of special laws such as empowering bodies like Human Rights Commission, incorporating judicial and parliamentary scrutiny, and mandatory periodic review of the Regulations, say once in five or 10 years. Basically, they have to conform to the international standards and commitments made by the island state on the human rights front. As long as the ‘state of exception’ continues, the ‘state of peace’ will be an elusive commodity. In the same vein, the Sri Lankan government must count in the Opposition’s contribution to nation-building. Without bi-partisan consensus, any political settlement to the ethnic question would be unsustainable. Political history of Sri Lanka since independence is ‘UN Under-Secretary tells Minister Bogollagama: No “Torch Carrying” for LTTE in UN System’, Sunday Observer, 20 September 2009. 42

158  N  N. Manoharan

witness to this. Colombo should also reconcile diplomatically with the West that is upset with former’s stand on human rights issues. Western and UN concerns are genuine and there is no ‘Church conspiracy’ in this.43 It is vital to have them as ‘partners in development’ rather than overly depending on countries like China. This is a historic opportunity available to the present Sri Lankan regime to resolve the ethnic issue once and for all, but also to take the island state to new heights by establishing real and sustainable peace. J

43 Sunil C. Perera, ‘Sri Lanka: A Mass Demo against the Catholic Church in Wattala’, Asian Tribune, 11 September 2007.

8 Jammu and Kashmir Peace Audit 2012: A Need to Focus on the Internal Dimension Ashok Bhan

The relative calm of the years 2011 and 2012 provided a window

of opportunity in Jammu and Kashmir to move forward and address the external and internal dimensions of the conflict that have been plaguing the subcontinent. The Government of India once again extended a hand of friendship in February 2011 and gave unilateral concessions to Pakistan, despite continued cross-border terrorism and inaction in bringing the perpetrators of 26/11 to justice. India had hoped that such concessions will reduce the trust deficit and help make headway in resolving bilateral issues. Unfortunately, the relations between the two neighbours again soured towards the end of 2012 and early 2013. On the internal dimension front it was naïve to believe that the pumping in of funds and economic development alone could bring positive peace to the State. The period after September 2010, when three years of street violence ended, should have been utilized imaginatively to address alienation of Kashmiris, regional aspirations and, more importantly, the issue of future relationship between Jammu and Kashmir and the Union of India based on various reports including recommendations of the Interlocutors. Of course, any movement forward, given the past history, must have security considerations integral to it as any complacency on that front can only lead to a serious relapse. Unfortunately, more infiltration in 2012, more terrorist activities and more disturbed conditions in early 2013 have prevented positive peace from securing a firm foothold in the State. If the events of late 2012 and early 2013 are an indication, the government’s wait-and-watch policy in dealing with political issues, with a bearing on addressing the internal dimension, is proving counterproductive. It has been well recognized that the Kashmir problem needs a political solution. It needs winning of hearts and minds.

160  N  Ashok Bhan

Nothing remarkable happened in this regard during the peaceful years of 2011 and 2012. Commenting on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, noted Security Analyst Ajai Shukla writes, [t]he populace was sick of violence; tourist arrivals, burgeoning year on year, gave them a glimpse what peace offered; a separatist leadership, worried by the glimpse of new and more radical leaders, was amenable to a settlement; the Army, led by a visionary Corps Commander, was trying to establish a new relationship with Kashmiris; concessions on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in concert with the Army presented an easy way to strengthen the nationalist leaders, particularly the chief minister, Omar Abdullah; and a trio of interlocutors produced a report that could have been the basis for a sustained dialogue with a spectrum of Kashmiri opinion. Finally, the Pakistan army, preoccupied with insurgency in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, had little appetite for problems on the India border. As a result, Kashmir also enjoyed an unprecedented lull in militancy.1

While the level of optimism in achieving permanent peace, expressed by Shukla, can be debated, he is right in saying that it has been a year of missed opportunity, and he hits the nail in the head by identifying some of the important elements of a way forward, addressing the internal dimension in particular.

Situation on Ground in 2012 and Early 2013 The year 2012 saw a continuing trend in reduction of violent incidents (124 as against 195 in 2011 and 368 in 2010; see Table 8.1) and witnessed a peaceful summer generating record tourism, developmental activities and trade and commerce. Tourists in Kashmir valley increased to over 12.20 lakh (excluding over 1 crore pilgrims to Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine and 6.20 lakh Amarnath pilgrims) as compared to 8.98 lakh in 2011 and 5.73 lakh in 2010. However, following trends need to be taken note of for a more comprehensive peace audit: (a) Though the killings showed a downward trend, 111 (24 civilians, 15 security personnel and 72 terrorists) as against 173 1   Ajai Shukla, ‘Missing the Moment in Kashmir’, Business Standard, 19 March 2013.

4118 3594 3023 2330 1791 1438 897 534 385 368 195 124

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

1098 1050 836 733 556 410 170 147 83 164 40 24

  Civilians 613 539 384 330 244 182 122 85 79 69 33 15

SF Personnel

Deaths

2020 1707 1494 976 917 591 472 339 239 232 100 72

Terrorist

Source: Jammu and Kashmir State Criminal Investigation Department.

  Violent Incidents

  Year 3731 3296 2714 2039 1717 1183 764 571 401 465 173 111

  Total 76 101 55 62 40 17 9 4 4 4 4 5

  Political Activists Killed

Table 8.1: Some Indices of Reduction in Terrorist Violence in Jammu and Kashmir (2001–12)

28 10 11 10 8 2 2 – – – – 0

  Suicidal Attacks

– 2 4 1 13 5 2 – 1 – 1 0

  Car Bombs

162  N  Ashok Bhan

in 2011, a new trend of targeted killings has added a serious dimension. Four panchayat members were killed in 2012 and one each in January and February 2013. This has created a sense of insecurity and panic amongst the newly elected panchayat members leading to a spate of resignations. Targeted killings by terrorists suddenly increased in March 2013, with two constables of Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police (India Reserve Battalion) shot dead at point blank range in Handwara town in North Kashmir on 2 March, a militant turned counter-insurgent killed in Tangmarg area of Baramulla district on 8 March, a suicide attack by two terrorists identified as Pakistani nationals on CRPF personnel in the outskirts of Srinagar on 13  March leaving five soldiers dead, killing of a youth inside a mosque in Sopore on 19 March allegedly for organizing an army-sponsored cricket match, and an attack on a Border Security Force convoy near Srinagar on 21 March killing a soldier. (b) Infiltration of terrorists from all over increased to 121 in 2012 as against 52 in 2011 and 95 in 2010 (see Table 8.2). The ratio between terrorists infiltrated and terrorists killed has shown an interesting reverse trend. In 2010, the number of terrorists infiltrated was 95 and those killed was 232. Similarly in 2011, the number of terrorists killed (100) far exceeded the number infiltrated (52) during that year. It was for the first time that in 2012 net infiltration of terrorists (121) exceeded those killed (72), thereby adding to the number of terrorists on ground. The effect of this has already been noticed with an increase in target killings as well as the first fidayeen attack after 2007 in March 2013 (see Table 8.2). (c) Incidents of ceasefire violation have increased to 93, the highest since ceasefire came into force in 2003. There were only three incidents of violation from 2004 to 2007, 26 incidents in 2008 (largely after General Musharraf quit as President), 18 in 2009, 44 in 2010, and 51 in 2011. Towards the end of 2012 there began a series of ceasefire violations to provide cover to infiltrators. The most serious one, leading to heightened tension, was brutal beheading of an Indian soldier and mutilating the body of another on 8 January 2013 in Mendhar sector of Jammu and Kashmir. (d) The hanging of Mohammed Afzal Guru, an accused in the case related to the attack on Indian Parliament, on 9 February

Jammu and Kashmir Peace Audit  N  163 Table 8.2: Hartal Calls by Separatists, Border Firing Incidents by Pakistan, Infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir and Terrorists killed (2006–12) Year

Hartal Calls

Border Firing Incidents

Attempted Infiltration

Net Infiltration

Terrorists killed

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

26 13 33 35 132 22 19

– – 26 18 44 51 93

573 535 342 485 489 247 262

317 311 57 113 95 52 121

591 472 339 239 232 100 72

Source: Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Investigation Department, MAC and Border firing incidents 2010–12, based on a reply to a question in Indian Parliament.

2013, and his burial in the jail premises had once again vitiated the atmosphere in the Valley, bringing back ugly memories of three years of street fights and has led to disruption of normal life due to hartal2 calls by separatists. Terrorists have stepped up violence taking advantage of the situation created by overstretching of J&K Police and paramilitary forces in maintaining law and order. An umbrella organization of separatists called Mutahida Majlis Mashawarat (MMM) has been constituted, which issues weekly calendar of protests and hartals. (e) The frequency of hartal calls by separatists saw a surge in 2013, following hanging of Afzal Guru. In the first quarter of 2013 there were 18 hartal calls as against three during the same period in 2012 and 19 during the entire year 2012. (f ) The stand taken by various shades of political opinion in the State on handling of Afzal Guru’s hanging has seriously disrupted the business in the state assembly that has been in session since 28 February 2013. The proceedings have been marred by walkouts, boycotts and suspensions. The main opposition party People’s Democratic Party boycotted most part of the session. The incidents of attack on CRPF detachment and BSF convoy has resulted in opposition legislators from Jammu province accusing the government of demoralizing the forces, 2

Hartal refers to a general strike that disrupts normal life.

164  N  Ashok Bhan

by demanding the withdrawal of AFSPA and making them fight terrorists with batons. A clear division is evident along regional and communal lines with representatives from Kashmir and separatists criticizing the Union Government for the hanging and demanding the return of mortal remains of Afzal Guru, and opposition members from Jammu describing Afzal Guru as a terrorist. This has led to heated arguments and toughening of postures, adding an unsavoury dimension to the political atmosphere in the State. It is interesting to note that Congress party, a coalition partner, which has more seats from Jammu, finds itself in a dilemma. It cannot find fault with the action taken by the Centre in implementing the death sentence and yet cannot openly side with Jammu sentiment for fear of not only hurting the coalition but also their electoral prospects in the Valley. The party has been maintaining a studied silence with occasional murmurs in line with regional sentiments, which are being ascribed by the leadership as personal views of individual member. Such ups and downs in security situation are not new to the State. The response to separatist’s calls may appear lukewarm but given the emotive issue involved and mainstream parties from the Valley, for obvious reasons, involved in competitive politicking, the situation will need a close watch. The increase in incidents of terror attacks adds to the seriousness of the situation. There is no reason to panic. The security apparatus is capable of countering fresh efforts from across to step up terrorist violence and civil strife. These measures sometimes further alienate the people in the event of collateral damage inherent to such situations. The State Government itself being in a damage control mode will find it difficult to defend the security forces beyond a point. In essence, the process of consolidating the gains of peace witnessed in the years 2011 and 2012 has got derailed, albeit temporarily.

Addressing the External Dimension It would be relevant to assess what progress, if any, has been made in reducing trust deficit between India and Pakistan. Unless the two neighbours trust each other, there can be no forward movement on resolving outstanding issues including that of Jammu and Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir Peace Audit  N  165

Since January 2004, India and Pakistan have initiated a cautious peace process with the beginning of Composite Dialogue, after the then Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf met on the sidelines of the 12th SAARC Summit in Islamabad.3 This was preceded by the 2003 Ceasefire Agreement between India and Pakistan and beginning of Line of Control (LoC) fencing by the Indian Army. With reiteration and support for the peace process from the newly elected Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the year witnessed substantial improvement in establishing contact between the two societies, including unprecedented visits of media persons to Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the LoC. The number of violent incidents, killings by terrorists and level of infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir began showing a downward trend. Incidents of border firing came down to almost zero from the year 2004 to 2007. Important confidencebuilding measures (CBMs) in the shape of Srinagar–Muzaffarabad Bus Service (April 2005) and Trans-LoC trade (October 2008) added substance to composite dialogue and peace-building. The relations between India and Pakistan soured after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, allegedly by a group of Pakistani nationals. The entire operation was believed to have been planned on the Pakistani soil and carried out by Pakistani terrorists. Indian efforts to bring Pakistan-based perpetrators of the crime to justice came to a naught with non-cooperation of the Pakistani authorities. The exit of President Musharraf earlier that year saw a sudden increase in ceasefire violations towards the latter part of 2008. Financial aid and moral support to the Hurriyat Conference had already been resumed in March 2008. The composite dialogue had to be consigned to the back-burner. Despite apprehensions in responsible diplomatic circles whether we were ready to break out of the predictable pattern of ‘dialogue– disruption–dialogue’, which had characterized India–Pakistan relations for the past two decades and more,4 India and Pakistan agreed to resume a comprehensive bilateral dialogue at a meeting of their foreign secretaries in Thimpu, Bhutan, on 6 February 2011. Sundeep Waslekar, ‘The Final Settlement: Restructuring India-Pakistan Relations’, Business World, 16 May 2005. 4   Shyam Saran, ‘A Different Dialogue this Time Round?’, Business Standard, 16 February 2011. 3

166  N  Ashok Bhan

There was much talk of a Thimpu Spirit emerging from behind the dark clouds hanging over India–Pakistan relations since the terrorist outrage in Mumbai on 26 November 2008. There were several positive developments in India–Pakistan relations, including liberalization of trade and travel. Cross-border terrorism saw a decline even though major terrorist outfits such as Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed continue to operate freely in Pakistan, spewing hatred against India. The ceasefire along the border and LoC remained in place even though stray incidents did occur.5 Unfortunately, the composite dialogue meant to settle outstanding issues did not make any headway. Former Indian Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal argues, Pakistani mindset towards India has not changed in any positive manner. On Kashmir, Pakistan has reverted to UN resolutions as a solution, on Siachen it feels wronged and on Sir Creek it rejects international principles. It will not permit Tulbul and will obstruct any power project in J&K, it is creating a new water issue despite the generous Indus Waters Treaty, it is expanding its nuclear arsenal by distorting the intent and purpose of the India–US nuclear deal and it is treating our terrorism concerns with contempt. If it has moved away from its irrational position of not trading with India and giving us MFN treatment, we do not need to feel grateful. Pakistan will benefit from this as well as the visa agreement more than we will, though any progress in these areas should be welcomed by us.6

Pakistani Parliament passed a resolution in early 2012 invoking UN resolutions to solve the Kashmir issue, a stand reiterated by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in his UN Security Council speech in September 2012. Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik during his India visit equated Mumbai attack to Babri Masjid. Towards the end of 2012 there began a series of ceasefire violations to provide cover to infiltrators. The tension heightened with the cruel act of beheading an Indian soldier and mutilating the body of another in early 2013. Tongue-lashing by Pakistan Foreign Minister accusing India of war-mongering, using contemptuous language and 5   Shyam Saran, ‘Deciphering Pakistani Adventurism’, Business Standard, 16 January 2013. 6   Kanwal Sibal, ‘Time to End Unilateral Concessions with Pakistan’, The Economic Times, 17 January 2013.

Jammu and Kashmir Peace Audit  N  167

taunting India with investigation by the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), whose role India does not recognize since 1971, added to the tension. If the exercise of the last eight years and more was for building trust between the two countries, argues Kanwal Sibal, then the kind of tonguelashing that Hina Rabbani Khar has given India hardly demonstrates that it has been successful. She represents the civilian government of Pakistan, which is supposed to be more committed to improve ties with India.7 Pakistan Army continues to consider Jehadi groups operating in India as strategic assets and the Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf receives Kashmiri separatists promising them support in their struggle for right of self-determination. There was a sense of outrage in India on the cruel beheading incident compelling the government to end unilateral concessions and base Pakistan policy strictly on reciprocity. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement that ‘[i]t can’t be business as usual with Pakistan’ adequately captured the public mood.8 Pakistan has not stopped there. Two days before its term was to end, the National Assembly of Pakistan passed a resolution on 14 March 2013 condemning the hanging of Indian Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and demanded the return of his mortal remains to his family, an issue which has once again put Kashmir Valley on a boil. Pakistan continues to fish in troubled waters. On 15 March, the Indian Parliament rejected the Pakistan resolution as an interference in its internal matters and reiterated that entire Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Group visa scheme for Pakistan nationals has been put on hold and India–Pakistan hockey series shelved for the present. Where Do We Go from Here? India’s National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon laments, Pakistan is a case where despite consistent efforts by the present and previous Indian governments, relations remain strained and issues unresolved. Kanwal Sibal, ‘Nettlesome Neighbor’, Deccan Herald, 21 January 2013.   Rajat Pandit, ‘Manmohan Singh talks tough, says “there cannot be Business as usual” with Pakistan’, 15 January 2013, http://timesofindia. indiatimes.com/india/Manmohan-Singh-talks-tough-says-there-cannot-bebusiness-as-usual-with-Pakistan/articleshow/18034520.cms (accessed on 15 April 2014). 7 8

168  N  Ashok Bhan In fact we now see a campaign in Pakistan to reopen an issue that was once said to be settled by the Indus Waters Treaty, the issue of the sharing of the waters of the rivers that flow from India to Pakistan.9

He goes on to add, ‘[b]ut beyond the issues themselves there is today fatigue in the Indian public about the constant effort that normalizing relations with Pakistan seems to entail’.10 Despite the strained relations and talks regarding Pakistan not moving in the desired direction, it is well-recognized by Indian think-tanks and foreign policy analysts that there is no other option but to engage Pakistan. However, there are different approaches from various schools of thought. Those supporting an uninterrupted and uninterruptible dialogue with Pakistan, despite the recent setbacks, cite the growing realization in Pakistan’s civil society in favour of peace with India as a positive development that needs to be understood. Another view voiced by former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran is that our response to the horrific act against an Indian soldier needs to go beyond the notions of revenge and matching violence. The aim should not be confined to responding to this one act of provocation but work to change the calculus in Islamabad that leads to such a pattern of behaviour. This requires a strategy that avoids a binary choice between going to war and taking actions that lack credibility, such as refusing to talk or to play cricket.11 There are those opposed to unilateral concessions to Pakistan. Former Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal does not oppose dialogue in the future but adds a caveat, ‘[i]t means Pakistan has to act like a civilized country and do serious introspection about its destructive attitudes and policies before we can resume efforts to build mutual trust’.12 How soon and on what terms the dialogue will be resumed is not easy to predict, but an overwhelming support for talks in Indian and Pakistani civil societies keeps the window of hope open.   S. Menon, ‘India and her Neighbors’, Ram Sathe, Chair, inaugural address, Symbiosis, Pune, 22 February 2013. 10 Ibid. 11 Saran, ‘Deciphering Pakistani Adventurism’. 12 Sibal, ‘Nettlesome Neighbor’. 9

Jammu and Kashmir Peace Audit  N  169

Pumping in of more terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistan, a fidayeen attack on the outskirts of Srinagar by two Pakistan nationals, increase in selective killings including those of Panchayat members by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistani rhetoric in Afzal Guru hanging case and its reiteration of moral and material support to Kashmiri separatists, are indicative of the current mood of the Pakistani establishment. In this background and the current standoff it would be unrealistic to expect an early resumption of dialogue to address outstanding issues.

Trans-LoC Travel and Trade Started with much fanfare, these CBMs have lost their sheen and have periodically become victims of strain in the relations between India and Pakistan. For instance, the Poonch–Rawlakot bus service was suspended on 11 January 2013, in the wake of escalating tension at the LoC in the Krishna Ghati sector in Poonch district, and resumed only on 28 January. The trans-LoC movement has not registered the attention and growth so that the people-to-people contact could compel the two sides to improve relations shedding their stated positions and allow peace to prevail in the State. These were important CBMs aimed at ‘making borders irrelevant’.13 The problems of banking and communication have not been solved yet. There are continuous demands for expanding the list of goods eventually leading to a ‘negative list’. The Joint Working Group of traders met after four long years in July 2012. Dr Mubin Shah, who heads the joint trans-LoC chambers of trade, is of the opinion that the CBM may not be sustainable for a long time if it fails to benefit the people of the State. ‘We see the trans-LoC trade as the base for a free economic zone within the territory that existed in the erstwhile state of J&K’, said Shah, and added ‘[w]e ultimately want transit trade and till then if the goods traded through LoC enter tariff areas of India and Pakistan, they should take care of it’.14 It needs a mention that this intra-Kashmir trade is P. R. Chari and Hasan Askari Rizvi, ‘Making Borders Irrelevant in Kashmir’, United States Institute of Peace, September 2008, http://www. usip.org/sites/default/files/sr210.pdf (accessed on 10 May 2014). 14 Masood Hussain, ‘Trans-LoC Traders from Divided Kashmir seek a Free Economic Zone’, The Economic Times, 12 July 2012. 13

170  N  Ashok Bhan

exempted from tariff so that goods produced in one part can be sold in the other through the two routes. The facility has been misused to hijack the bilateral trade between India and Pakistan, governed by a different tax regime. Former Joint Chamber Chief Zulfikar Abbasi shared some interesting details with participants (members of JWG) of how the traders in Pakistani Kashmir managed the green grams that dominated the trade for nearly two years as this was in huge demand across India. ‘As we purchased all the categories of green gram in Pakistan, the rates jumped from Rs 15 a kilogram to Rs 140 and it was out of an average Pakistani’s purchasing capacity’, Abbasi said. ‘Then we purchased whatever Afghanistan had and once we drained it totally we started looking at China and we were in the middle of purchase that it was banned’.15 The trade meant to take place between two Kashmirs has become trade between Afghanistan and India or between China and India misusing the free duty channel. A similar instance of misuse came to notice in import of garlic originating from China into Indian Kashmir. The ‘zero duty’ trade will begin impacting the revenue stream of the formal Indo-Pakistan trade happening through Wagah. The Government of India cannot remain a silent spectator to the misuse of the ‘zero duty’ regime and hijacking of normal trade. There is need for redefining the contours and content of trans-LoC trade if it has to survive and serve the purpose for which it was started. The two governments will have to facilitate contact, communication, banking and periodic review of the list of items and work towards a ‘negative list’. The working group on strengthening relations across the LoC had made the following recommendations, which also need a serious debate: (a) Open the Kargil–Skardu, Jammu–Sialkot, Turtuk–Khapulu, Chhamb–Jourian, Gurez–Astur–Gilgit, Teetwal–Chilhan and Jhangar–Mirpur routes across the LoC; (b) Lift restrictions on who can travel to include pilgrims, patients and tourists, if necessary unilaterally by India; (c) Create a free trade area between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-held Kashmir. 15

Ibid.

Jammu and Kashmir Peace Audit  N  171

Return and Rehabilitation of Misguided Youth from Pakistan The return and rehabilitation policy was announced by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir on 23 November 2010 and the procedure for the return and rehabilitation of youth, who had crossed over to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) for arms training between 1 January 1989 and 31 December 2009, notified in consultation with the Union Government. The aims of the policy were both humanitarian and security related. It facilitated the return of those who had shunned violence and were fed up with continued stay in Pakistan, wanting to come back to their families. Simultaneously, it would help keep count of and monitor the activities of those returning. In the absence of a policy, these individuals along with their Pakistani spouses and children had started coming back clandestinely. They would travel to Nepal on Pakistani documents and then enter India returning to their homes. Such illegal returns and their unnoticed presence was fraught with security risks as Pakistan is known to be investing in creation of sleeper cells that can be tasked at an appropriate time. For reasons not far to seek, Pakistan has not given its nod to the policy. The country would not like to admit the presence of Kashmiris who were enticed to go across for arms training and launch a proxy war. Many claims of so-called disappearances would be ridiculed. The hardships and disillusionment that these youth faced in Pakistan in the name of Jehad will get exposed. Therefore, the implementation of the policy met with rough weather. The entry into J&K of those wanting to return could not take place through legitimate routes such as trans-LoC bus or Attari and it continued in surreptitious manner, with or without the knowledge of the authorities. It is in this background that the recent controversy surrounding Liaquat Shah, arrested by Delhi Police on 20 March 2013 from near Indo-Nepal border, needs to be seen. Had Liaquat entered through one of the recognized routes after proper documentation there would have been no room for suspicion. While Delhi Police arrested Liaquat, alleging him to be a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist who was part of a group tasked to carry out a fidayeen attack in Delhi, the Jammu and Kashmir authorities have claimed that he was returning to surrender under the rehabilitation policy. An important CBM scuttled by Pakistan has created a situation in which future returns

172  N  Ashok Bhan

under the policy may get jeopardized and clandestine entries will be encouraged.

Addressing the Internal Dimension With no progress expected on the external dimension any time soon, it would be prudent to give a fillip to addressing the internal dimension. This would include political issues as well as day-to-day needs of the people. It will be useful to review the progress on this front generally during the past four years and more specifically during the year 2012. Some important issues being covered include progress in reaching the separatists for a dialogue, fate of the reports of interlocutors and working groups, reducing footprints of security forces, issues related to displaced Kashmiri Pandits, empowering of Panchayati Raj institutions and elections to establish second tier of grassroots democracy, curbing corruption and bringing transparency, employment generation, monitoring of developmental programmes, etc.

Separatists Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah, in his address on the eve of Republic Day 2013, appealed to the separatists to talk to the Central Government as political issues cannot be resolved by gun or money but across the table through a process of dialogue.16 Similar appeals have periodically been made from New Delhi as well. Unfortunately, while separatist leaders such as Moulvi Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik chose to visit Pakistan, the contact between separatists and the Indian Government continues to remain restricted to casual backchannels. If separatists can meet the Pakistani authorities, it should be possible to bring them round to talk to New Delhi. There is a perception in New Delhi that separatists have no worthwhile agenda to offer for discussion and therefore it is futile to talk to them. There is also a view that any political concession without taking Pakistan into confidence may be dangerous as the issue will still remain unresolved. In a meeting with the Moulvi Umar Farooq on 17 December 2012, the Pakistan Prime Minister reiterated his country’s resolve to ‘Address by Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir on the eve of Republic day 2013’, Daily Excelsior, 26 January 2013. 16

Jammu and Kashmir Peace Audit  N  173

seek resolution of Kashmir issue on the basis of UN resolutions and aspirations of Kashmiri people. Political leaders in Pakistan, except those of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), impressed upon the Mirwaiz to work towards unity of Hurriyat factions and accept Syed Ali Shah Geelani as the leader. United Jehad Council Chief Syed Salah-ud-din has asked both factions of Hurriyat Conference not to enter into bilateral dialogues in any case. The lukewarm reception given to the Mirwaiz on his return from Pakistan shows his waning influence. The hardliners led by Geelani are gaining ground by raising the bogey of resolving Kashmir in accordance with UN resolutions and discrediting the Mirwaiz by accusing him of entering into secret parleys with the government. Some followers of the Mirwaiz in Srinagar have been seen to have changed loyalties in the recent past. Visit of moderate Hurriyat delegation to Pakistan was not seen as a wise step by the people of Kashmir. They maintain that the situation in which Pakistan finds itself in, nothing worthwhile could be achieved by the visit. All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC-G) and likeminded organizations as well as the convener of Civil Society Professor Hameeda Nayeem openly criticized the decision of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC-M) to travel to Pakistan. It is interesting to note that (APHC-G) turned down the invitation by Pakistan Foreign office to visit the country. Two things become evident  — Pakistan has resumed harping on the UN resolutions, which boosts the morale of separatists, and it is working towards unity in separatist’s camp under the leadership of hardliner Ali Shah Geelani. Simultaneously, pro-Pakistan and pro-Azaadi Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) has increased its influence in the Valley in the past year. Jamaat held state-wide elections, strengthened its organizational setup and increased its activities under the new Amir Abdullah Wani. With his proximity to Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the JeI and Tehreek-e-Hurriyat are working in tandem. Both separatist organizations fearing loss of influence over people have been critical of Panchayats and labelled the elected members as government agents and informers. In a number of ijtimahs (literally meaning ‘consensus or converging on one idea or conclusion’; however, in this context it refers to the annual gatherings of JeI), the Panchayat members were criticized and an attempt was made to derail the entire process of making grassrootslevel democracy function. It may not be a coincidence that in the districts Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam of south Kashmir and

174  N  Ashok Bhan

Sopore in the north, where Jamaat wields a considerable influence, there are reports of subversives luring youth to join terrorist ranks to give a new lease of life to receding terrorist violence. It is from these areas that most of the resignations of Panchayat members were initially reported. While Syed Ali Shah Geelani has been advocating resignation of Panchayat members and inviting them to join separatists, the Pakistan-based United Jehad Council Chief Syed Salah-ud-din threatened them to resign or face consequences. Both have been strongly opposed to any electoral activity, including participation in elections to the state assembly and the parliament. These threats resulted in resignations by a number of Panchayat members and acted as a trigger for terrorists to target these members. Following an outcry in the Kashmir Valley over hanging of Afzal Guru and demand for his mortal remains as well as those of Mohd Maqbool Bhat, hanged on 11 February 1984, an umbrella organization named Mutahida Majlis Mashawarat (MMM) came into existence to give a weekly calendar of protests. It is a joint platform of separatist organizations including two factions of Hurriyat, led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Moulvi Umar Farooq, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Bar Association, and JeI. It is reminiscent of a Joint Action Committee formed by separatists, Bar and traders in the Valley during Shri Amarnath Ji land row in 2008. Separatists continue to be relevant as they can periodically whip up public sentiments on issues  — real or perceived. There are reports of lack of enthusiasm among youth and traders to follow the dictates of separatists. A strong constituency in support of peace has been developed but it is to be seen how successful it will be in influencing the separatists from vitiating peace and allowing functioning of educational institutions, tourism and developmental activities. Sajjad Lone of People’s Conference unsuccessfully contested elections to the State Assembly in 2008. In North Kashmir there have been instances of proxy candidates winning with support of separatist groups. JeI is also known to have supported individual candidates quietly, particularly in south Kashmir, in the elections held in 2002 and 2008. These are all positive developments and need to be encouraged. Mainstreaming of separatists must remain an important agenda in the run up to the next assembly polls due in December 2014, but it appears that pretty little is being done in this regard.

Jammu and Kashmir Peace Audit  N  175

Follow up on Reports of Interlocutors and the Working Groups The group of interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir submitted their report on 12 October 2011. The group, which included journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, academic Radha Kumar and former Information Commissioner M. M. Ansari, was appointed on 13 October 2010 by the Government of India following a visit to the State by an all-Party Parliamentary delegation from 20–22 September in the background of widespread violence in the Kashmir Valley in the summer of 2010. The interlocutors were mandated to ‘identify the political contours of a solution and the road-map towards it’.17 The report was placed before the Cabinet Committee on Security and put on the website of the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India on 24 May 2012 for an informed debate. The interlocutors, despite initial criticism of composition and non-political nature of the group, were able to reach most of the stakeholders except the separatists. The report has evoked a mixed response in line with stated positions of various groups and individuals, insofar as nature of recommendations related to political solution and road-map to achieve this are concerned. Therefore, to analyze the contours of the recommendations and what has been achieved so far, it will be useful to reproduce the issues identified by the interlocutors,18 on which they believe a broad consensus exists: (a) A political settlement in Jammu and Kashmir must be achieved only through dialogue between all stakeholders, including those who are not part of the mainstream. Their commitment to democracy and pluralism must be above board. (b) Jammu and Kashmir should continue to function as a single entity within the Indian Union. (c) The states’ distinctive status guaranteed by Article 370 must be upheld. Its ‘erosion’ over the decades must be reappraised 17 Radha Kumar,Dilip Pudgoankar and M. M. Ansari, ‘A New Compact with the people of J&K’, J&K Interlocutors Report on MHA Website, http://www.mha.nic.in/sites/upload_files/mha/files/J&K-InterlocatorsRpt0512.pdf (accessed on 20 May 2014). 18 ‘A New Compact with People of Jammu and Kashmir’, Final Report of a Group of Interlocutors, pp. 2–3, 12 October 2011.

176  N  Ashok Bhan

to vest it with such powers as the State needs to promote the welfare of the people on its own terms. (d) People must be able to exercise their democratic rights without the strains and stresses of the past, both as State subjects of Jammu and Kashmir and as Indian citizens. Transparent and accountable governance cannot be ensured otherwise. Nor can freedoms and safeguarding of cultural identity, honour and dignity of every individual. (e) The diverse aspirations of the three regions — Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh — and of sub-regions, of various ethnic and religious groups, of people uprooted from their homes due to wars or endemic violence, must be addressed. This calls for political, financial and administrative empowerment of elected bodies at the level of the region, the district, the block, and the Panchayat/municipality. (f ) To promote the state’s economic self-reliance, a fresh financial arrangement between the Centre and the State is required. This would include a special dispensation for hilly, backward and remote areas and for socially disadvantaged groups. (g) A hassle-free movement of people, goods and services across the LoC and the international border must be swiftly ensured leading to institutionalized cooperation between the two parts of the erstwhile princely state in all areas of mutual interest and concern. (h) This would be best achieved if institutions of democratic governance are established at the level of the State, the region and the sub-region in those parts of Jammu and Kashmir that are presently administered by Pakistan. These areas of consensus can form the basis of future dialogue though hardliners on each side of the Peer Panchal, for different reasons, and will resist these basic premises becoming the basis for a dialogue. These issues essentially revolve round finding a solution within the parameters of the Constitution of India, indivisibility of the State as a unit within the Union, working on a relationship between the Union and the State maintaining a separate identity, institutional mechanism to meet aspirations of different regional, religious and ethnic groups and promoting State’s economic self-reliance. On the trans-border front it will involve institutionalizing cooperation

Jammu and Kashmir Peace Audit  N  177

between the two parts of Jammu and Kashmir, which will be facilitated by the establishment of democratic institutions at various levels at PoK. These issues as a package indeed reflect the wishes of a vast majority of people of the State, though there may be difference of opinion on the road-map identified to achieve these by the interlocutors. The road-map and the extent to which each recommendation can be accepted can be debated and redrawn to the satisfaction of majority of stakeholders. While the dialogue on these proceeds, there should be fast-tracking of winning ‘hearts and minds’ by following CBMs recommended by the interlocutors or the working groups: (a) Empowering of Panchayats and creating a three-tier system of democratic decentralization at the grassroots level, (b) reducing footprints of security forces, (c) making return of all Kashmiris, mainly displaced Pandits (Hindu minority), a part of state policy, (d) relief and rehabilitation of victims of violence including widows and orphans of militants, (e) promoting hassle-free movement of people and goods across the LoC, and (f ) facilitating return and rehabilitation of Kashmiris stranded across the LoC who may have gone for arms training but now wish to return and lead a peaceful life. For a result-oriented dialogue the Report of the Interlocutors needs to be read with recommendations of the working groups, particularly Justice Saghir Ahmed-led working group on Centre–State relations’, report of the working group on ‘Strengthening relations across line of control’, headed by M. K. Rasgotra, and recommendation of the Ansari panel on ‘Confidence-building measures across segments of society in the state’. These working groups were set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh following the round table conference of May 2006. The recommendations of the working group on ‘Centre– State relations’ submitted on 23 December 2009 are under scrutiny of a Cabinet sub-committee of coalition partners in the State. The committee has recently sought seventh extension as differences persist between the National Conference and the Congress party on the key recommendations.

178  N  Ashok Bhan

Unfortunately, the Report of Interlocutors has met the same fate as the earlier recommendations of the working groups. It has been alleged, in some quarters, that interlocutors were appointed only to buy time. No visible effort has been made to evolve a broad political consensus around important issues. Refusal of prominent separatist leaders to meet the interlocutors or talk to the Centre has also led to a kind of stalemate in the whole process. The strained relations with Pakistan have in no less measure contributed to the ‘go slow’ attitude of New Delhi. The divergent views on key issues of even the mainstream parties within the State have further complicated the matter. It needs to be realized, however, that in the event of another round of major disturbance, no amount of fire-fighting will give the desired result as the people of the State will lose faith in all party delegations and Centre-appointed committees and commissions. In the absence of a dialogue within the State and with Pakistan to find a political solution, permanent peace will remain elusive. The recommendations summarized earlier include important issues related to solving the internal dimension. An informed debate on many of these aimed at drawing a road-map to address the internal dimension need not necessarily wait till resumption of dialogue with Pakistan.

Reducing Footprints of Security Forces The state government has been quite vociferous in demanding gradual reduction in the footprints of security forces. A large number of government and privately owned buildings including schools and hospitals occupied by security forces have been vacated and they continue to vacate the rest. The government has also shown serious commitment to protection of human rights by permitting the use of only non-lethal weapons to deal with law and order situations. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) drawn to prevent collateral damage are being strictly enforced. However, a decision on the most talked about demand of phased withdrawal of AFSPA from the State remains elusive in the wake of serious reservations of the army on this count. The State Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has taken up the issue with each one who matters in New Delhi. He forcefully reiterated this in the State Assembly, urging the Centre to take a chance on AFSPA and said, [s]entiments of the people were also attached to revocation of AFSPA. It was the CRPF and J&K Police which countered recent militant attack

Jammu and Kashmir Peace Audit  N  179 in Srinagar. There are some areas where Army was not required. Let the Centre try it for six months.19

The support for phased withdrawal, occasionally coming from C. Chidambram, when he was the Union Home Minister, has not been renewed by his successor. Instead he was quoted as remarking that Government of Jammu and Kashmir has not made any formal request in this regard. Jammu and Kashmir is a border state with a history of wars and proxy wars. Therefore, the Indian Army’s presence to secure the borders is mandated by the constitution. The Indian Army is there to stay in this role. It is in the interest of the army that local population is not alienated, particularly in the border areas. The civic action programmes carried out by the army are lauded by people along the borders on both sides of the Peer Panchal. It was due to disturbed conditions in the State that the army had to play a dominating role in anti-insurgency operations, which it did with credit, shoulder-toshoulder with Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMFs) and Jammu and Kashmir Police. The security forces have performed the task of creating conditions conducive for democratic exercises. And it should be known that while performing this, the army as an institution, within the constraints, has set high standards in dealing with the civil population. This is not to say that there have been no awkward moments, but these have been exceptions with individuals erring or exceeding the brief. There are areas where people would prefer the continued locating of troops but cannot voice this in public. However, it would be in the interest of the army that with improvement in the ground situation its role in dealing with counter-insurgency must recede step by step. The army is within its right to ask for legal protection to facilitate anti-insurgency operations so that troops do not become victims of frivolous and false complaints. There is no case for repealing the Act. As long as the civil government needs the army in aid to civil authority, the nature of legal protection required has to be dictated by the operational requirements. AFSPA is an enabling provision and Chief Minister’s reply to a debate in Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on grants of his departments on 25 March 2013, reported in Daily Excelsior on 26 March 2013. 19

180  N  Ashok Bhan

the army must be taken on board if amendments as recommended by Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee are to be made in the Act. While the army when called to fight terrorism has the prerogative to choose the nature of legal cover, it is for the civil government to determine how long its presence is necessary in such situations. The promulgation of Disturbed Areas Act, which makes AFSPA operational, is ordered by the civil government and, therefore, withdrawal of this Act in phases or completely remains within the exclusive domain of the civil government. The State Government must, however, ensure that the local police with help from CPMFs are fully prepared to handle areas where army’s anti-insurgency role ceases. A roadmap for such takeover must be in place to prevent any relapse. Though the army and other security forces can be consulted (the process of consultations has already continued too long), the onus lies with the government to take a decision, keeping in view both the adverse implication of continued presence of the army in inhabited areas and local sentiments attached to the issue. Being a border state and victim of trans-border proxy war involving a neighbouring country, the State Government rightly chose to refer the matter to the Centre for a well-considered decision. Any unilateral decision by the State Government could have serious security implications. Curiously, the matter was referred to the Unified High Command and then the State Government constituted two committees to make recommendations on the issue. These are clearly tactics meant to delay a decision. This issue needs a political decision at the Central Government level and should not be further delayed. It involves some risk-taking but will be a big CBM for addressing the hearts and minds of the people, particularly in the Kashmir Valley. Let the government not be taken in to defer it further in the background of some recent incidents in the Valley, which have incidentally taken place despite the areas being disturbed and AFSPA applicable.

Institutional Mechanism to Fight Corruption and Monitoring of Projects Conflict situations weaken monitoring systems leading to institutionalized corruption in service delivery as well as developmental works. This has been evident in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the

Jammu and Kashmir Peace Audit  N  181

North East. Gradually, there has been a very powerful vested interest in the menace of corruption, which has been putting impediments in conflict resolution. It brings the elected government to disrepute and drains away a substantial part of special packages and funds allotted under flagship programmes. The results on ground do not commensurate with the money spent and benefits of poverty alleviation do not reach the needy. Jammu and Kashmir has also been a victim of this malaise and the conflict situation has taken corruption to new heights. The return of peace should have seen some concrete measures to curb this corruption. The present State Government, which completed four years in January 2013, has taken a slow but steady stance to tackle corruption and bring in transparency in administration. The State Information Commission and the State Vigilance Commission were constituted for the first time and the State Accountability Commission was made functional. The State was a pioneer in introducing the Public Service Guarantee Act assuring time-bound delivery of services to the citizens. Twenty more services have been added to the list bringing the total number to 69. A very elaborate and user-friendly online Urban Public Delivery System has been created, which can provide benefits of e-governance to the people of the State if hurdles in its implementation are cleared. Citizens can get birth certificates and build permission and similar services in all municipal areas online. There is expected resistance to such path-breaking initiatives as it reduces scope for delays and discretion leading to corruption. Jammu and Kashmir has become the 11th state in the country to introduce the Result Framework Document (RFD) scheme of accountability used to assess the performance of each department. This scheme is a performance assessment and management system aimed at judging the performance and functioning of departments on the basis of timeline completion of targets, outcome of schemes, priorities fixed, quality of work done, status of benefits of projects actually accruing to people and other ingredient. The State Government has directed all administrative departments to upload their RFDs for the financial year 2013–14 at the earliest possible.20 20 Neeraj Rohmetra, ‘Government Directs Departments to prepare RFD 2013–14 by March end’, Daily Excelsior, 25 March 2013.

182  N  Ashok Bhan

About 33 government departments had prepared their respective RFDs for the last quarter of 2012–13 and an appraisal of the same was done by the High Powered Committee headed by the Chief Secretary. The State Government has also been encouraging third party monitoring of important projects. Despite these institutional reforms the common perception about the state administration has not changed. Coalition compulsions are sometimes cited as a reason for helplessness of the government. Whatever the reasons, each step taken towards achieving transparency and good governance will help restore people’s faith in the government.

Economy and Important Developmental Activities The peaceful environment of two years has boosted economic and developmental activity. The focus of national as well as local media remains on covering incidents of violence and the good work done on the developmental front remains largely unreported. It will be useful to identify some initiatives to get a flavour of the positive side of governance in Jammu and Kashmir. The state economy grew at 7 per cent as against 6.87 per cent in the last fiscal. During 2012–13 the state had a capital outlay of INR 12,000 crore including a plan outlay of INR 7,300 crore, allocation of INR 1,000 crore for centrally-sponsored schemes and access to another INR 4,000 crore of central funds. The switchover to the ways and means regime of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), after the liquidation of a huge overdraft of more than INR 2,500 crore, was a landmark step taken by the State Government towards fiscal consolidation. As a result, the State Government saved interest payable to the J&K Bank to the tune of INR 225 crore approximately during 2011–12 and instead earned an interest of nearly INR 11 crore. The State Government has made some progress in developing infrastructure for education, health care, agriculture, horticulture, tourism, power projects in central and state sectors, and providing potable water. Conservation of Dal and Nigeen lakes is being undertaken at a cost of INR 298 crore. The government has sanctioned 79  tourist destinations and circuit development projects worth INR 366 crore. Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, 108 projects at a cost of INR 1,312 crore are under execution for developing infrastructure in the capital cities of Srinagar and

Jammu and Kashmir Peace Audit  N  183

Jammu and in other major towns. Under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act over 10.55 lakh job cards have been issued and INR 428 crore spent during 2012–13. Under the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Program two main projects  — Mughal Road, which will provide alternate connectivity across Peer Panchal ranges (at a cost of INR 600 crore), and Narbal Tangmarg Road — are near completion. The making of National Highway 1 A into four lanes, connecting the Valley to the rest of the country, is in progress with 114 km length out of 400 km having been completed. Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), 1161 km of roads connecting 143 inhabitations were completed up to December 2012 at a cost of INR 337 crore. These are all positive developments and important dividends of peace during the past few years.

Employment and Skill Development According to the official statistics, a total of 488,846 unemployed youth got themselves registered in Employment Exchange/District Employment Counseling Centers across the state in the year 2012– 13. The problem of unemployment is one of the more serious challenges facing the policy-makers. Industrial growth has not been along expected lines due to the reluctance of business houses to invest in the State and creation of new jobs in this sector has not materialized. The State Government has laid down a Skill Development Policy for the 12th Five-Year Plan as part of its Skill Development Mission. It is proposed to train over nine lakh persons and hone their skills during the period 2012–13 to 2016–17. Over a period of next five years one lakh youth will be trained in the organized sector under the ‘Himayat’ programme  — a joboriented skill development project launched in 2010 — which began with the handing over of placement offer letters to 1,060 trainees. The Centre aimed to give jobs to nearly 7,000 youths in Jammu and Kashmir during 2012–13 under this scheme. It mostly covers school and college dropouts and those from poor financial backgrounds. As per the government’s claim, so far 5,200 youth have been provided jobs, including 900 youth outside the State. The Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh has announced that during the financial year 2013–14 a target of 15,000 had been set for

184  N  Ashok Bhan

providing training and employment in the private companies under this scheme.21 Opportunities have been provided under the ‘Udaan’ programme and 25 corporate houses from all over the country have made a commitment to upgrade the skills of 25,000 youth from J&K. The Centre, disappointed with the success of the scheme, launched in March 2012, has redrawn some of the provisions to make it more attractive to the corporates. The altered terms of ‘Udaan’ propose to cut down the period of training at facilities of the corporate partners from the existing nine months to a year to six months, besides making the expenditure heads under the overall INR 1,000 crore scheme more flexible. A trainee who was assigned a fixed INR 4,000 as travel expense to his place of training will now get a reimbursement up to INR 10,000. Similarly, the INR 300 daily reimbursement for boarding and lodging of the trainee is proposed to be raised to INR 500 per day. A separate liaison agency will be engaged to help the private sector scout for and shortlist qualified youth that suit the job profile sought by the corporates. The State Government launched Sher-i-Kashmir Employment & Welfare Programme for Youth (SKEWPY) in December 2009. The focus of the scheme is to harness the entrepreneurship potential and generate job opportunities in the private sector. Under the policy, the State Government has vividly segregated and set targets for the primary stakeholders responsible for employment generation in the State. The Voluntary Service Allowances (VSA) component of the scheme is being implemented through the Labour Department. The Seed Capital Fund Scheme (SCFS) is being implemented through the J&K Entrepreneur Development Institute (JKEDI) with J&K Bank as the sole debt syndicator. JKEDI was given the target of establishing 5,000 units over a period of five years (2010–11 to 2014–15). However, against a target of 1,500 in the first two years, seed capital for only 839 units was released to J&K Bank. In 2012–13 the target of 1,000 units was achieved by December and the shortfall of previous years was expected to be cleared in the remaining three months. A survey conducted in November 2012 in districts of the Valley showed over 90 per cent success rate of established units.22 21 ‘Harnessing Private Job Market Key to Address Unemployment: Omar’, Daily Excelsior, 7 April 2013. 22 Data on SKEWPY, courtesy of Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneur Development Institute.

Jammu and Kashmir Peace Audit  N  185

In June 2011, a mid-term evaluation of SCFS was conducted by Mercy Corps, a US-based international development agency, which found that the scheme faced many bottlenecks due to a complicated process involved. The State Government, based on these recommendations, launched a Youth Start-up Loan Scheme in June 2012 on pilot basis within the ambit of SKEWPY. Under the scheme, soft loan at 6 per cent interest (simple) is being provided to prospective entrepreneurs in the age group of 18–37 years with minimum qualification of 10+2 in an off-bank mode for projects up to INR 8 lakh. During the current year, JKEDI was given a target of 100 such units in the State, which has been achieved. For the next financial year, an amount of INR 20 crore has been earmarked for the purpose, which should enable the institute to cover 250 more units. For the welfare of the labour class, the government has approved enhancement of daily wages, second time recently, besides enhancing the compensation on account of death of a labour from INR 1 to 2 lakh. Schemes like ‘death in harness’ for labourers, providing INR  2,250 per month to the family of a deceased labour, has been announced; 1.42 lakh labour families have been registered to be provided financial assistance under various heads and over INR  180 crore have been made available for providing financial assistance to labourers under various schemes. The State Government has announced that over 70,000 jobs in the government sector will be filled through a fast track recruitment process. Recruitment in this sector in such large numbers will be frowned upon by the Planning Commission as the government finds it difficult even to meet the current wage bill of around INR 13,500 crore and the State has a total annual income of INR  6,500 crore only. To reduce the immediate financial burden the government has announced a new recruitment policy. While those recruited after 2010 are not entitled to pension, the new recruits in non-gazetted cadres will get a stipend equivalent to basic pay for two years and basic pay plus some allowances for the next three. They will get regular pay and allowances only after completing five years of service. The policy has come in for criticism and may leave those recruited dissatisfied. It has been well recognized that the youth will have to seek employment outside the government sector; a number of schemes need to be launched to facilitate this. The answer lies in creating employability through skill development, self-employment and a firm

186  N  Ashok Bhan

commitment from the corporates to train and employ youngsters. Many schemes launched in this direction are in the take-off stage and have yet to show their full potential. In view of the enormity of the problem and limited scope in the government sector, the Skill Development Mission needs to be taken up in right earnest, and entrepreneur skills need to be developed and harnessed in the youth.

Issues Related to Displaced Kashmiri Pandits Kashmiri Pandits are an inalienable component of a composite culture and communal harmony in the Valley of Kashmir. For displaced Pandits, positive peace would mean creation of conditions that would enable them to return to their homes. The working group on CBMs within Jammu and Kashmir had recommended making the return of Kashmiri Pandits a part of state policy and the interlocutors in their report favoured fast-tracking their coming back. It is well recognized that such return depends not only on the security scenario and goodwill of the majority community but also financial constraints of the members of the community. The properties of the Pandits have either been sold by them or they have been encroached upon. Those willing to go back will have to start all over again, which is not going to be easy. In this regard early implementation of the Prime Minister’s Rehabilitation Package for Kashmiri Pandits can set the tone for a step-by-step return, which has begun with providing of employment to the members of the community in the Valley. The government has upgraded the infrastructure at various migrant camps. At Jagti, near Jammu, 240 new two-room tenements have been constructed. Cash relief to those who migrated has been increased from INR 1,250 per head per month to INR 1,650, subject to a ceiling of INR 6,600 per family. Under the Prime Minister’s employment package, 1,554 posts have been referred for selection to the recruiting agencies. Pandit organizations have been demanding filling up of the remaining sanctioned posts. There is also a demand for updating the voters’ list of Kashmiri migrants as per the data with the Relief Commissioner Jammu and authorities in other parts of the country. The displacement has seriously hampered the communities’ participation in democratic processes and also denied them genuine representation in various democratic institutions. Displaced Kashmiri Pandits have for quite some time also been demanding the passage of Kashmiri Hindu Shrines and Temples Bill.

Jammu and Kashmir Peace Audit  N  187

There are reports of illegal encroachment and land grabbing. For want of proper care and maintenance, the very existence of these symbols of Kashmir’s ancient culture is in danger. These religious places bring back a large number of displaced Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley for obeisance, and these numbers are increasing every year. Improved conditions of these religious places and their better management will increase such movements. It makes sense to promote such visits and resultant interaction with the majority community so that wounds of yesteryears can heal and conditions become conducive for return of migrants, to which governments at the Centre and the State are committed. The referring of the Bill to a select committee of the legislature has been criticized by various organizations of Pandits as a delaying tactic on the part of the government.

Panchayati Raj Institutions There has been no forward movement in terms of empowering Panchayats and creating a three-tier system of democratic decentralization at the grassroots level. The elections to Panchayats held under much fanfare and elation over the voter turnout have not been followed by empowering the Panchayats and making them functional. While Congress party, a part of the ruling coalition, is in favour of introducing 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution of India, to empower rural and urban institutions and give them a constitutional status, National Conference has held that the Panchayati Raj Act of the State already carries most of the provisions of the two amendments and in the name of autonomy is not willing to adopt these. The government has offered some allowances and perks to Panchayat members to silence them. The all J&K Panchayat Conference launched a three-day hunger strike on 24 March 2013 in the winter capital Jammu to press for their demands to empower Panchayats and provide security. The elections to Urban Local Bodies to establish second tier of grassroots democracy have not yet been held despite repeated deadlines set for the purpose. An editorial comment in a leading local daily ascribes the opposition to democratic decentralization to a mindset that believes in centralizing power in a few hands, lack of trust in the people at the grassroots level and opposition to people’s empowerment for shaping their own destiny.23 ‘Hostility to Decentralization’, Editorial in Kashmir Times, 15 March 2013. 23

188  N  Ashok Bhan

The largest opposition group in the legislature  — the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)  — has also been demanding delegating of powers to Panchayats. They have a sizeable number of elected Panchayat members particularly in south Kashmir. The elected members of the legislature belonging to the ruling coalition from these areas fear usurping of power by PDP through Panchayats. Thus a conflict of interests has arisen leading to dilly-dallying in empowering Panchayats. The killing of three Panchayat members and injuring of four in terrorist strikes during the year 2012 did generate a feeling of insecurity amongst them, leading to some resignations. This was a sequel to threats issued by JeI, Tehrik-e-Hurriyat and Pakistan-based United Jehad Council to the elected Panchayat members. It may not be feasible for the government to provide individual security to Panchayat members. While individual cases based on threat perception need to be considered, the security grid in the affected belt needs to be strengthened. Empowering Panchayats and holding elections to local urban bodies will set the tone for functioning of the grassroots democratic institutions in the State.

Conclusion Governor of the State N. N. Vohra, addressing the joint session of the legislature, aptly described the situation in the region when he said, ‘[i]n the context of the worrying situation which prevailed during 2008–10, the past two years have been marked by hope and development’.24 There is enough to write about the development front. A peaceful environment has benefitted all. The education system is back on rails. Businessmen, traders, artisans, and the working class have all reaped dividends of peace. A bumper tourist season boosted the economy. Yet, the hopes were belied by status quo on issues such as working on a political solution, winning ‘hearts and minds’ and devising institutional mechanism to end perceived discrimination between regions and communities. The list is only illustrative and many more areas have been identified in the earlier pages that need the attention of the authorities. 24 Address by the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir N. N. Vohra to the Joint Session of the Legislature on 28 February 2013.

Jammu and Kashmir Peace Audit  N  189

In view of the current hostilities between India and Pakistan it is difficult to predict how soon the two neighbours will sit across the table to resolve outstanding issues. The security scenario in the region after the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and the future alignments are not easy to predict. There is support for resumption of talks in India, but there is also a strong lobby disfavouring any unilateral concessions to Pakistan. The conditions do not appear favourable for resumption of talks any time soon. Meanwhile, why not set one’s own house in order? The reports of the interlocutors and working groups do provide a launching pad for engaging different shades of opinion. Some CBMs enumerated in the essay to win ‘hearts and minds’ will have to be announced and pursued unilaterally. It will involve some political ‘risk-taking’ and reaching out to different stakeholders. Results cannot be expected overnight. But a serious beginning has to be made in the run up to the next assembly elections due at the end of 2014. Situation on ground needs to be redeemed not only through improved intelligence, check on infiltration and anti-terrorist operations, but also by avoiding collateral damage in anti-terrorist operations, while dealing with law and order. A favourable environment has to be created for a free, fair and peaceful election. The return of positive peace and turnout of voters will depend on how imaginatively the internal dimension is addressed in the remaining life of the current legislative assembly. J

9 Northeast India: A Peace Audit Wasbir Hussain

S

ixty-five years after India’s experience with home-grown insurgencies, the government’s policy of peace with insurgent groups has come to be nearly accepted as among the biggest abettors of militancy in the northeastern frontier. The government’s open-door policy of negotiating peace through dialogues with all rebel groups who unleash a reign of terror in their strongholds or areas of influence has certainly led insurgent groups in the region to believe that it was possible to catch New Delhi’s attention if they manage to indulge in a high degree of violence as part of their campaign for cessation or more autonomy. Besides according legitimacy to even those groups who are nothing but rag-tag gangs of armed men, by first signing ceasefire agreements with them and then inviting them for peace talks, the government’s peace approach has been flawed in the sense that every peace overture in recent years has led to a split of the concerned rebel group or groups in question. Splits occur either because of internecine power struggles within a rebel group or the belief among the hardliners in a group that peace negotiation can go on for years without any result. At times, the lure for easy money through extortion has been the driving force among many second-rung rebel leaders to break away from the parent group and not join the peace process. There have been a few instances in which peace talks have resulted in the end of insurgency, such as in the case of Mizoram, where the Mizo Accord between the government and the rebel Mizo National Front (MNF) was able to bring the curtains down to a 20-year-long insurrection in the area. But as a whole, talking peace with insurgents has not yet succeeded in ushering in lasting peace in the Northeast. On the contrary, the government has been faced with the challenge of having to deal with more than one faction of a particular insurgent group, pushing more or less the same set of demands. That brings to the fore the question — can the government sign two peace deals

Northeast India: A Peace Audit  N  191

with two factions of the same insurgent group on the same demand? The answer obviously is no. The fact that talking peace with one and sundry insurgent outfits in the country, mainly in the Northeast, has not been a particularly good idea, and that it was perhaps encouraging insurgency to go on in the region with the emergence of newer outfits being slowly acknowledged by the government of late. The Union Home Ministry on 5 January 2013 said that it would take a decision of not holding any discussion with newer insurgent groups anywhere in the country in the days ahead and instead demand their unconditional surrender.1

Challenges to Peace Process At present, the Union government has ongoing ceasefire agreements with several insurgent groups in different States of the Northeast. The oldest one with the National Socialist Council of NagalandIsak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) dates back to 25 July 1997, and the other one with its bete noire, the National Socialist Council of NagalandKhaplang (NSCN-K), has been in effect since 28 April 2001. In Assam, the following organizations have ceasefire agreements with the government: Adivasi Cobra Militant Force (ACMF) since 19 September 2001, Birsa Commando Force (BCF) since 14 August 2004 and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) since 25 May 2005. Karbi Longri North Cachar Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF) had laid down their arms before authorities on 11 February 2010. The United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) declared a unilateral ceasefire on 12 July 2011 and entered into a tripartite agreement for suspension of operations (SoO) with the Centre and the Assam government on 3 September 2011. However, an anti-talk faction headed by Paresh Barua, the outfit’s elusive ‘commander-inchief’, has not yet joined the peace process. On 24 January 2012, seven more insurgent groups — Adivasi People’s Army (APA), All Adivasi National Liberation Army (AANLA), Santhal Tiger Force (STF), United Kukigam Defence Army (UKDA), Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA), Kuki Liberation Army (KLA), and Hmar People’s ‘No more Talks with Ultras in Future: MHA’, The Assam Tribune, 7  January 2011, http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id= jan0713/oth05 (accessed on 10 May 2014). 1

192  N  Wasbir Hussain

Convention (HPC)  — laid down arms in Guwahati. Other insurgent outfits, such as United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS), Dima Halam Daogah-Nunisa faction (DHD-N) and Dima Halam Daogah-Jewel Garlossa faction (DHD-J), have signed peace accords with the government after several rounds of talks. In the State of Meghalaya, the Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC) has had a ceasefire agreement with the government since 23 July 2004. In Manipur, the government had signed SoO with several Kuki rebel outfits on 22 August 2008. In Tripura, the Nayanbashi Jamatiya faction of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) has been observing a ceasefire with the government since March 2004. However, the ongoing peace process in the Northeast has numerous challenges in its path. Some of these are detailed as follows.

Splitting of Insurgent Outfits One of the major challenges to the peace process in the Northeast is the split within the insurgent outfits engaged in peace talks. Some leaders do not agree with the idea of talking peace with the government while some others like to continue with their subversive activities so as to reap benefits of the lucrative underground economy. There are numerous instances of splits among insurgent outfits in the region. In Assam, the insurgent outfit DHD underwent a split after it entered into a ceasefire with the government on 1 January 2003, as its former chief Jewel Garlossa went on to form the Black Widow or DHD-J in July 2004.2 Similarly, the Karbi People’s Liberation Tigers (KPLT), an insurgent outfit in Karbi Anglong district of Assam, was formed on 8 January 2011 by an anti-peace talk breakaway group of 25 members of the KLNLF after the latter had laid down arms on 11 February 2010.3 A recent example is the splitting of the Ranjan Daimary faction of the NDFB in November 2012.4 The new faction is headed by I. K. Songbijit and it was involved in Militant Groups’ Profile, Dima Halam Daogah (DHD), http://www. cdpsindia.org/assam_mgp.asp (accessed on 10 May 2014). 3 Militant Groups’ Profile, Karbi Peoples Liberation Tiger (KPLT), http://www.cdpsindia.org/assam_mgp.asp (accessed on 10 May 2014). 4 See ‘NDFB Splits for Third Time’, The Times of India, 21 November 2012,  http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-11-21/guwahati/ 35257355_1_ranjan-daimary-ndfb-boroland (accessed on 10 May 2014). 2

Northeast India: A Peace Audit  N  193

the murder of tea planter and businessman Adilur Rahman in Sonitpur district of northern Assam on 13 November 2012.5

Peace Process Leading to Further Conflict The peace processes sometimes rather than putting an end to conflict lead to the beginning of another one. This happens mostly because of two reasons — one, when the peace process leaves out some parties to a conflict, and second, when the process leads to the signing of an agreement or accord without proper thinking and consultation. Let us consider the first case. When a peace process does not include a party, it further alienates it from the process and also from the ones involved in the peace process. This leads to disgruntlement and further conflicts. The Shillong Accord with the Naga National Council (NNC) in 1975 is an example.6 It failed because it was not endorsed by all sections of the Naga rebels. The Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) Accord with the Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) in 2003 left out NDFB, which continued with its violent activities.7 Let us take a look at how things can unfold: The government first entered into a dialogue with the pro-talk NDFB faction headed by Govinda Basumatary in 2005. This was followed by government interlocutor P. C. Haldar, a former Intelligence Bureau Director, holding ‘informal talks’ with the jailed leader of the anti-talk NDFB faction Ranjan Daimary, already in the dock for his alleged role in the 30 October 2008 serial blasts in Assam that killed around a 100 people and wounded more than 300.8 The Daimary faction soon agreed to enter the formal dialogue process. Just as the grounds were being prepared, the Daimary faction of the NDFB suffered a further split, with the outfit’s ‘army commander’ I. K. Sangbijit forming a 5 See ‘Rahman’s Killers Identified, Launch op to nab them’, The Times of India, 17 November 2012, http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 2012-11-17/guwahati/35171832_1_assistant-information-and-publicityboroland-ndfb (accessed on 12 May 2014). 6 For the text of the Shillong Accord, see http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/ countries/india/states/nagaland/documents/papers/nagaland_accord_the_ shillong_nov_11_1975.htm (accessed on 12 May 2014). 7 For the text of the BTC Accord, see http://cdpsindia.org/btc_accord.asp (accessed on 12 May 2014). 8 Overview: Insurgency & Peace Efforts in Assam, http://www.cdpsindia. org/assam_insurgency.asp (accessed on 12 May 2014).

194  N  Wasbir Hussain

new faction. He named a new ‘interim council’ to lead the group’s campaign for an independent Northeast. The group is a part of the joint forum of Northeast militant outfits whose objective is sovereignty of the region.9 Meanwhile, the demand for a separate Bodoland state was gaining momentum, indicating that the Bodo Accord of 2003 had failed to fulfil the aspirations of the local people in the area. The pro-talk faction of the NDFB, also called NDFB (Progressive), renewed its call for a separate Bodoland state. It supported the indefinite blockade call made by the Joint Action Committee for Boroland Movement (JACBM) from 1 January 2013 to push for a separate Bodoland state.10 The blockade crippled movement of traffic on the National Highway linking the Northeast with the rest of India. The reason for the group’s renewed calls for a separate state is clear — the Government is already talking to the other NDFB faction headed by Ranjan Daimary, and there are chances that New Delhi would want to sign a single deal with both the factions. Ultimately, the rebel groups who sign peace deals with the government have to join the electoral bandwagon, contest elections and claim their political space. Therefore, rebel groups engaged in peace negotiations, representing the same set of people, are only too aware of the fact that unless they can make a head start in the poll race and rake up an issue that still has the potential to stir the imagination of the masses, they run the risk of being rejected by the electorate. The government’s policy on talking peace with insurgent groups is actually responsible for keeping the issue alive for other players to rake up the same issue at a later stage. Nowhere in the Bodo Accord of 2003 was it stated that with the signing of this Accord the Bodos give up their right to demand for a separate state. As such, the calls are again renewing with greater vigour, with the insurgent groups lending their voice too in the furore. In Nagaland, the Naga Hoho, the Church and the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) has been trying to unify the various See ‘Split wide open: NDFB gets a new “President’’’, Seven Sisters Post, 21 November 2012, http://sevensisterspost.com/split-wide-open-ndfb-getsa-new-president/ (accessed on 12 May 2014). 10 Wasbir Hussain, ‘Fresh “Bodoland” cry Government’s own making’, The Sentinel, 19 January 2013, http://www.sentinelassam.com/mainnews/story. php?sec=1&subsec=0&id=146413&dtP=2013-01-19&ppr=1#146413 (accessed on 12 May 2014). 9

Northeast India: A Peace Audit  N  195

Naga rebel groups/factions so that only one group, i.e., NSCN-IM, is not considered the sole representative of the Nagas. New Delhi too appears to be convinced that unless all key Naga rebel factions are brought under the purview of the peace dialogue, a lasting solution would continue to elude the Nagas.11 In the second case, a peace process leads to further continuation of conflict when the peace agreement is signed without putting in proper thought. A case in point here is the accord signed between the government and United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) on 25 November 2011.12 The government refused to concede the UPDS demand to hold elections to the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council under a neutral administration by dissolving the incumbent Congress-led council. The elections were held on 4 January 2012 and the Congress returned to power. A few former UPDS leaders did win their seats but, contrary to expectations, the peace agreement failed to secure a victory for the opposition combine backed by the erstwhile UPDS. Soon after the election results were out, UPDS termed the accord as a ‘failed experiment’ and threatened to walk out of the signed Memorandum of Settlement (MoS).13 The deal with the UPDS, it appears, was reached with the government in haste or as a fire-fighting mechanism. There is another similar case. On 8 October 2012, the government signed a peace accord with both factions of the DHD in New Delhi,14 which was supposed to have ended the more than a decadelong insurgency in the hill district of Dima Hasao (formerly North Cachar Hills) in southern Assam. The agreement led to the so-called upgradation of the Autonomous District Council, which has been in existence since 1952, to a ‘territorial council’ named the Dima Hasao Autonomous Territorial Council. However, on 25 September, as the 11 See ‘Delhi includes Khaplang in talks’, The Telegraph, 14 November 2012,  http://www.telegraphindia.com/1121114/jsp/northeast/story_ 16191591.jsp#.UQDG1fIYqWM (accessed on 12 May 2014). 12 For salient features of the Accord, see http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/ countries/india/states/assam/documents/papers/UPDS_accord.htm (accessed on 12 May 2014). 13 See ‘Poll results put Karbi Pact in Jeopardy: UPDS’, The Assam Tribune, 14 January 2012, http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id= jan1412/at08 (accessed on 12 May 2014). 14 See ‘DHD Peace Agreement Signed’, The Assam Tribune, 9 October 2012,  http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=oct0912/ at05 (accessed on 12 May 2014).

196  N  Wasbir Hussain

Centre and the Assam Government were giving final touches to the accord with the DHD factions, a new Dimasa insurgent group was taking shape in the Dima Hasao hills. This new outfit has named itself the Dima Jadi Naiso Army (DJNA). This is obviously a motley band of people, but its objective is familiar — to fight for a separate ‘Dimaraji’ state, and to ‘protect, promote and develop the Dimasa Kachari’ people.15 Thus, the district, which was slowly returning to normalcy after years of violence, is again on the verge of being witness to another round of violence.

Violation of Ceasefire Ground Rules The militant outfits are expected to follow some specific set of rules after entering into a ceasefire agreement. However, in the Northeast, the rules are being flouted by most of the outfits despite entering into truce deals with the authorities. The extortion racket in the insurgency-hit states of Northeast is still going on strong, even after various militant outfits observing ceasefire with the government. The ceasefire-bound outfits have still not stopped extorting money from the people and institutions despite the ceasefire ground rules preventing them from doing so. For example, in Nagaland, though ceasefire agreements with both the NSCN factions, i.e., NSCN-IM and NSCN-Khaplang (NSCN-K), have been in force for long, the ceasefire rules are still being violated. The militant groups have been continuously collecting ‘tax’ from the people and business establishments. This money is collected from all sources, including from Government departments and the extortion network spreads over not only the cities, like Dimapur, Kohima and various district headquarters and townships, but also almost all the 1,317 villages of the state. According to government sources, NSCN-IM and NSCN-K collect 25 per cent and 24 per cent, respectively, from one month’s salary of each government servant, once a year. ‘Tax’ is also collected from commercial vehicles plying on National Highway 39, en route, to Manipur.16 The outfits have also increased their cadre strength even 15 See ‘New Outfit buries hopes for Peace in Dima Hasao District’, Seven Sisters Post, 21 November 2012, http://sevensisterspost.com/new-outfitburies-hopes-for-peace-in-dima-hasao-district/ (accessed on 12 May 2014). 16 See ‘Wages of War’, Tehelka, 8 (32), 13 Aug 2011, http://www.tehelka. com/story_main50.asp?filename=Ne130811WAGES.asp  (accessed  on 12 May 2014).

Northeast India: A Peace Audit  N  197

though the ceasefire ground rules prohibit them from recruiting new cadres. In Assam, between 2002 and 2011, 620 cadres of various outfits engaged in peace talks were arrested on charges of extortion, kidnapping and other crimes. Among the arrested cadres, 462 cadres were from DHD-N and DHD-J, 46 were from NDFB, 26 were from protalk faction of the ULFA and 22 were from KLNLF.17 During the same period, police seized about 180 weapons from the cadres of these outfits. They had violated the ceasefire ground rules by carrying weapons outside the designated camps. The cadres of the outfits, who stay in designated camps, are allowed to keep some weapons with themselves for guarding their camps but are not permitted to exhibit them outside the camps. Of the recovered weapons, 82 were seized from DHD-N and DHD-J, 37 from NDFB, 18 from pro-talk ULFA faction and 23 from KLNLF.18 Thus, even though ceasefire agreements with militant outfits exist in the Northeast, unlawful activities by these groups have not scaled down. Reports of breach of ceasefire ground rule have also become quite common. In Nagaland, accusation of violation of ceasefire norms by NSCN keeps on surfacing from time to time.19 In Assam, too, violation of ceasefire norms by the outfits under ceasefire have been reported.20 The Ceasefire Monitoring Group, set up by the government, has not been of much avail. The government from time to time had made the ground rules stricter but it is still to have a major impact on the activities of the outfits under ceasefire.

Violence by Anti-talk Factions Another major challenge is the violence caused by the anti-talk factions of the insurgent groups. The anti-talk factions involve in violent See ‘Militant Outfits in Peace Process Flouting Ceasefire Ground rules’, The Times of India, 11 February 2012, http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes. com/2012-02-11/guwahati/31049824_1_outfits-cadres-peace-talks (accessed on 12 May 2014). 18 Ibid. 19 See ‘NSCN(I-M) Violating Ceasefire rules: Army’, The Indian Express, 3 November 2007, http://www.indianexpress.com/news/nscnim-violatingceasefire-rules-army/235300/0 (accessed on 12 May 2014). 20 See ‘Militant Outfits in Peace Process Flouting Ceasefire Ground rules’, The Times of India, 11 February 2012, http://articles.timesofindia. indiatimes.com/2012-02-11/guwahati/31049824_1_outfits-cadres-peacetalks (accessed on 12 May 2014). 17

198  N  Wasbir Hussain

activities to show off their strength and also to derail the peace process. On 21 January 2013, cadres of the anti-talk faction of ULFA attacked Namtola Police Station situated on the Assam–Nagaland border within Charaideo sub-division of Assam, and injured one police personnel and damaged the police station and a few vehicles.21 The anti-talk faction sometimes also attacks their former comrades, resulting in fratricidal clashes.

Lack of Transparency in Talks The lack of transparency in peace talks also creates some sort of apprehension among the common people. Talk with an insurgent outfit of a particular ethnic group is always looked with suspicion by people from other ethnic groups in the region. There arises a feeling that a particular ethnic group may benefit more from the peace talks. This leads to further discontentment. For example, in the Dima Hasao district of Assam, while talks were going on with the two Dimasa outfits, DHD-Nunisa and DHD-Jewel, a new militant outfit, Hill Tiger’s Force (HTF) has raised its head. Members of this outfit belong to non-Dimasa tribes and they opposed many demands of the Dimasa outfits. This group demands bifurcation of the Dima Hasao district, with one part belonging to the Dimasas and other to the Non-Dimasas. On 16 October 2011, HTF cadres burned down 19 houses in two villages of the Dimasa community in Haflong in Dima Hasao district. They also killed one person and injured three others.22 Thus, a major challenge in the peace process is the issue of transparency in talks. Unless it is clear what is transpiring in the talks, there will always be a suspicion lurking among the people who are outside such peace processes. In the case of the Naga peace talks, a peace deal with NSCN-IM is expected to be formalized soon. But since it is not known as to what would be offered as a part of the deal, it has raised concerns with states neighbouring Nagaland, especially Manipur, for fears of breach of its territorial integrity. In January 2013, Chief Minsiter of 21 See ‘ULFA attacks Police Station in Charaideo’, The Assam Tribune, 23 January 2013, http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id= jan2313/at07 (accessed on 13 May 2014). 22 See ‘Insurgents burn down 19 houses in Assam’s Dima Hasao hills’, Rediff News, 16 October 2011, http://www.rediff.com/news/report/insurgentsburn-down-19-houses-in-assams-dima-hasao-hills/20111016.htm (accessed on 13 May 2014).

Northeast India: A Peace Audit  N  199

Manipur O. Ibobi Singh met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Union Home Secretary R. K. Singh and expressed his reservations on the issue of an ‘honourable settlement’ with the NSCN.23 Chief Minister of Assam Tarun Gogoi, on 21 October 2012, said the state would continue to oppose the Naga outfit’s primary demand for territorial integration of Naga inhabited areas in Assam.24 The lack of transparency in Naga peace talks has induced fear among the majority Meiteis in Manipur about losing their territory to the Nagas.

Restlessness among Cadres of the Outfits The cadres of the outfits under ceasefire are still staying at the designated camps and are unable to integrate with the mainstream society. The situation will remain such until a peace agreement gets signed between the outfit and the government. This delay has resulted in restlessness among the cadres of the outfits staying in the designated camps. The leaders of these outfits also find it difficult to tackle their cadres in such cases. The government’s strategy here is to delay the peace talks and induce a conflict fatigue among the leaders and cadres of the outfits. But this strategy seems to have boomeranged with quite a few cadres deserting the camps and going back to the jungles. According to police records, in Assam, 185 cadres have fled from the designated camps of six outfits under ceasefire in 2010 and 2011.25 The runaways include 18 cadres from ULFA, 108 from NDFB (Progressive), 27 from DHD-J, 17 from KLNLF, 7 from DHD-N, and 8 from UPDS.

Achievements and Failures While military operations against the insurgency movements in the Northeast have achieved only limited results, it is the dialogue for See ‘Ibobi discusses Naga talks with Centre’, The Telegraph, 13 January 2013,  http://www.telegraphindia.com/1130113/jsp/frontpage/story_ 16435530.jsp#.UQDOMPIYqWM (accessed on 13 May 2014). 24 See ‘Gogoi stands Opposed to Territorial Integration demand of NSCN (IM): Assam, Manipur hum similar tune’, Sangai Express, 22 October 2012, http://e-pao.net/GP.asp?src=2..221012.oct12 (accessed on 13 May 2014). 25 See ‘185 Rebels flee Designated Camps’, The Times of India, 8 February 2012,  http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-02-08/guwahati/ 31037165_1_cadres-militant-outfits-pro-talks (accessed on 13 May 2014). 23

200  N  Wasbir Hussain

peace with them that has brought some order to the region. Dialogue with the MNF culminated in the signing of the Mizo Peace Accord,26 in 1986 ending the 20-year-long insurrection in the State of Mizoram. The signing of the Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) on Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) between the Assam government, the Union government and the Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) on 10 February 2003 and the en masse surrender of the cadres of the BLT on 6 December 2003 ended a near decade-long insurgency in the areas inhabited by the Bodo tribes-people in Assam. The MoS led to the creation of the BTC, an autonomous self-governing body within the State of Assam and under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India. Such experiences, however, have remained rare events. The achievements and failures of the peace process in the Northeast can be explained as follows:

Achievements Insurgent Groups Laying Down Arms The peace talks with the insurgents have led many groups to lay down their arms and some even disbanded themselves after signing a peace accord. In Assam, the BLT had laid down their arms on 3 December 2003 and disbanded itself. They laid down more than 500 varieties of assorted weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, AK-series rifles, light machine guns and SLR rifles.27 DHD-J laid down their arms on 2 October 200928 and disbanded itself on 26 November 2012.29 DHD-J deposited 136 weapons, including AK-47 and M-16 rifles, rocket launchers and grenades.30 On 24 January 2012, seven insurgent groups of Assam, Adivasi People’s 26   For the text of the Mizo Peace Accord, see http://www.satp.org/ satporgtp/countries/india/states/mizoram/documents/papers/mizoram_ accord_1986.htm (accessed on 13 May 2014). 27 See ‘Bodo militants lay down arms’, The Hindu, 7 December 2003, http://www.hindu.com/2003/12/07/stories/2003120703101000.htm (accessed on 13 May 2014). 28 Militant Groups’ Profile, Dima Halam Daogah-Jewel (DHD-J), http:// www.cdpsindia.org/assam_mgp.asp (accessed on 13 May 2014). 29 See ‘DHD-J disbands, launches NGO’, The Telegraph, 27 November 2012,  http://www.telegraphindia.com/1121127/jsp/northeast/story_ 16242734.jsp#.UP9-pPIYqWM (accessed on 13 May 2014). 30 Wasbir Hussain, ‘A Rebellion In Deep Freeze’, http://www.outlookindia. com/printarticle.aspx?262094 (accessed on 13 May 2014).

Northeast India: A Peace Audit  N  201

Army (APA), All Adivasi National Liberation Army (AANLA), Santhal Tiger Force (STF), United Kukigam Defence Army (UKDA), Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA), Kuki Liberation Army (KLA), and Hmar Peoples Convention (HPC) laid down arms in Guwahati. They deposited 201 arms and ammunition, including several sophisticated weapons.31 Insurgency-related Violence Reduced The coming forward of insurgent groups for peace talks have helped in reducing insurgency-related fatalities in the Northeast. Figure 9.1 shows the number of fatalities in insurgency-related violence in the Northeast from 1992 to 2012. It shows that starting year 2000, the number of fatalities had begun to dip in the Northeast. There was a brief escalation in 2007 and 2008, when incidents of violence were reported from Assam and Manipur, but after that it has again come down and now it has declined to a level below that of the year 1992. The major reason for this decreasing trend is the ongoing peace process that involves almost all the major insurgent outfits of the region. Figure 9.1: Number of Fatalities in Insurgency-related Violence in Northeast India, 1992–2012 1674

1662 1424

1055 910 492

1226 1068

1207

1329

1094 910

1015

823 717

1049 843

637 322 313 205

Source: www.satp.org (accessed on 13 May 2014). See ‘9 rebel groups of Assam lay down arms before PC’, http://www. echoofarunachal.com/?p=10825 (accessed on 13 May 2014). 31

202  N  Wasbir Hussain

Surrendered Rebels Joining the Mainstream The peace process has enabled the surrendered rebels to enter the mainstream and be once again a part of the society. The government has been providing attractive rehabilitation packages for the surrendered rebels and it has helped many former insurgents to become self-sufficient. Under the rehabilitation scheme, the surrendered militants would be lodged in a Rehabilitation Camp where they would be imparted training in a trade/vocation of their liking or befitting their aptitude. They would be paid a monthly stipend for a period of 36 months. An immediate grant of INR 1.5 lakh would be kept in a bank in the name of the persons who surrender as fixed deposit for a period of three years. The money can be withdrawn by them after three years, subject to good behaviour.32 The peace process has also enabled many leaders of the insurgent outfits to join the electoral process and get transformed into political leaders and workers. In Mizoram, the MNF had formed the government after signing the peace accord, with its leader Laldenga becoming the Chief Minister. In Assam, the BLT after signing the peace accord with the government, had formed the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) and took part in elections for the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) in the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD). It has won the elections twice and has been ruling the council since its inception in 7 December 2003. The BPF also is a coalition partner of the Congress party at the Assam Legislative Assembly.

Failures Led to Split among Outfits The peace process has led to split among various insurgent outfits. Differences within the organization on the issue of peace talks are the main reason behind this. As already explained earlier in this chapter, some leaders of NDFB, DHD and KLNLF had formed separate factions after the parent outfit entered into negotiations with the government. The same was true in case of ANVC in Meghalaya, which entered into a tripartite ceasefire agreement on 23 July 2004, but split in March 2012.33 32 Revised Scheme for Surrender-cum-Rehabilitation of Militants in the North East, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, http://mha.nic. in/pdfs/NE-III-Revised-Scheme300909.pdf (accessed on 13 May 2014). 33 See ‘ANVC splits’, The Shillong Times, 31 March 2012, http://www. theshillongtimes.com/2012/03/31/anvc-splits/ (accessed on 13 May 2014).

Northeast India: A Peace Audit  N  203

All the Stakeholders not Involved The peace processes in the Northeast have failed to involve all the stakeholders related to a particular conflict. Due to this, the demands of a section are not met and the problem persists, which casts a shadow on the entire peace process. This is the reason why peace deals such as the Shillong Accord in 1975 with the Naga National Council (NNC) in Nagaland, the 1988 agreement with the Tripura National Volunteers (TNV) in Tripura, 34 the Bodoland Autonomous Council (BAC) agreement35 of 1993 with the Bodo hardliners in Assam fell through as new factions, dissatisfied with the terms of the agreement resumed hostilities under new leaderships, forcing the government to open fresh channels of ‘peace talks’ with them. Fratricidal Clashes The peace process also has led to clashes among the pro- and anti-talk groups and also among groups already on ceasefire with the government. The anti-talk factions try to declare their presence through their activities as well as try to derail the ongoing peace process. And when two groups pushing the same demands enter into peace talks with the government, fight ensues for supremacy so that they can reap greater benefits out of the peace deal. The fight between the Naga rebel factions, NSCN-IM and NSCN-K, is largely because of this. Both these groups consider themselves to be the true representatives of the Nagas and as both are talking with the government, they both are trying to outsmart the other and clinch a better deal that can see them through in the events, largely electoral, that would follow. Peace Talks sans Time Limit Leads to Complications Stretching of the peace talks for too long can be considered to be a negative aspect of the peace process. Talks with NSCN-IM have been going on since 1997. The NSCN-K has been on ceasefire since 2001. However, there still has been no concrete solution to the Naga problem. The same is the case in Assam and Manipur, where talks are going on with some groups whereas they are yet to start with many For the text of the MoU with TNV, see http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/ countries/india/states/tripura/documents/papers/memorandum_ understanding_tnv_1988.htm (accessed on 13 May 2014). 35   See  http://www.neportal.org/northeastfiles/Assam/ActsOrdinances/ Bodoland_Autonomous_Council_Act_1993.asp (accessed on 13 May 2014). 34

204  N  Wasbir Hussain

insurgent groups under ceasefire. This stretching of peace talks is creating restlessness among the cadres of these outfits and, as explained earlier, many insurgents have even left the designated camps and returned to the jungles.

Possibility of Relapse of Violence The northeastern region of India is at present experiencing a period of relative calm. With almost all major insurgent outfits of the region entering into ceasefire agreements with the government, the incidents of violence have come down quite significantly over the years. However, there is no reason to be complacent about this fact. The situation may soon turn for the bad within a short period of time. With peace talks going on with several insurgent outfits at the same time and with some over the same issues, there will surely be differences over the demands and the solutions provided. It would surely not be easy to satisfy all the groups at the same time and this will mean disgruntlement among some sections of these outfits. Also, stretching of the peace talks for long is already creating restlessness among the cadres of various outfits. Thus, there is a high possibility of relapse of violence in the Northeast. It is very difficult to predict as to what could be the situation in the region in the days ahead. However, if we try to project the future trends in the insurgency situation in the Northeast, we can talk of the following scenarios. Scenario I:

Continuation of peace talks with the insurgent outfits on ceasefire Scenario II: More insurgent groups declaring ceasefire Scenario III: Growth in the number of factions Scenario IV: Anti-talk factions of insurgent outfits entering into talks with the government Scenario V: Anti-talk factions of insurgent outfits carrying out subversive activities in areas where they are strong Scenario VI: Emergence of new insurgent groups in the region Scenario VII: Emergence of criminal gangs in the region

Scenario I: Continuation of Peace Talks with the Insurgent Outfits on Ceasefire Engaging the insurgent groups in the Northeast in peace talks has been a frequently-used mode of conflict resolution by the Government

Northeast India: A Peace Audit  N  205

of India. Virtually every significant insurgent group, or at least factions within each, is now in a truce with the government. All frontline rebel groups in the key insurgency-hit states of Assam and Nagaland  — National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), the two factions of Dima Halam Daogah (DHD), United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS), Karbi Longri North Cachar Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF), the two factions of the NSCN and a section of ULFA, besides several Adivasi militant groups in Assam, have struck truce deals with the government. However, peace talks have not yet started with all these groups. In the days to come, it is expected that peace talks would continue with the insurgent outfits. These could also start with outfits which are on a ceasefire but have not yet come face-to-face with the government for negotiations. Already, the government has appointed interlocutors for talks with some of these outfits and once the modalities are prepared, and dialogue would begin with these outfits.

Scenario II: More Insurgent Groups Declaring Ceasefire There are many insurgent outfits that are still active in various states of the Northeast. The NLFT in Tripura, the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) and Liberation of Achik Elite Force (LAEF) in Meghalaya, though less influential now, still carry on with its activities in these states. In Manipur, except the Kuki rebel groups which are on a ceasefire, almost all other insurgent outfits are still continuing with their bush war against the Indian State. In Assam, though a section of the ULFA have come forward for talks under its ‘chairman’ Arabinda Rajkhowa, a faction led by ‘commanderin-chief’ Paresh Barua still continues its separatist agenda and have rejected the ongoing peace process initiated by Rajkhowa. However, with the changing insurgency scenario in the Northeast and the rapidly eroding public support and sympathy for the insurgent groups, we may expect to see a few more insurgent groups of the region declaring ceasefire with the government and coming forward for holding talks. Thus, in the future, we may have a scenario in which almost all the major insurgent outfits could be on a truce mode and might be willing to sit for talks with the government.

Scenario III: Growth in the Number of Factions Already all the major insurgent outfits of the Northeast have split into factions over the years. In Nagaland, NSCN has three factions

206  N  Wasbir Hussain

now; in Assam, NDFB too has three factions now and ULFA is divided into two factions.36 In Manipur, there exist several factions of a single rebel outfit. The split in these outfits is mainly because some leaders do not agree with the idea of talking with the government, while some others like to continue with their subversive activities so as to reap benefits of the lucrative underground economy. In the future, this trend may still continue and further splits in the insurgent outfits could occur. Whenever an outfit, still engaged in armed campaigns against the government, decides to sit for talks, there are chances of a section of its members opposing such a decision. This leads to creation of a new faction of the outfit. More anti-talk rebel factions are likely to emerge in the region with the peace process gaining momentum and more insurgent groups coming forward to join the peace bandwagon.

Scenario IV: Anti-talk Factions of Insurgent Outfits Entering into Talks with the Government Almost all the major outfits in the northeastern region have now entered into negotiations with the government. Even the different factions of these groups, which had split due to internal differences, have come forward for talks. The anti-talk factions of some groups have also now expressed their desire for talks. For example, in Nagaland, the NSCN factions are on a ceasefire although talks are on only with the faction headed by Isak and Muivah. The rival NSCN-K faction too is not averse to the idea of entering into a dialogue with New Delhi at an ‘appropriate time’. In Assam, the DHD factions have signed the peace accord with the government and disbanded itself. The anti-talk faction of the NDFB, which had been opposing peace talks for long, had declared a unilateral ceasefire in January 2011 and have expressed its desire to enter into talks to achieve an acceptable solution to their demands.37 Informal dialogues are on with its leader Ranjan Daimary. Looking at the present scenario, it can be predicted that in the coming days, we may see more anti-talk factions of insurgent groups 36   ‘Paresh Barua rejects ULFA talks with Govt’, The Assam Tribune, 8 February 2011. 37 ‘NDFB Daimary Faction Announces 6 Month Ceasefire’, http://www. news.outlookindia.com, 11 January 2011 (accessed on 13 May 2014).

Northeast India: A Peace Audit  N  207

in the region coming forward for holding peace talks with the government.

Scenario V: Anti-talk Factions of Insurgent Outfits Carrying Out Subversive Activities in Areas where they are Strong Anti-talk rebel factions are always on the lookout to cause maximum violence so as to stay afloat and be in the government’s radar. There are examples galore in the region. The anti-talk factions of the NDFB and DHD had created a reign of terror in their areas of domination in Assam.38 On 21 January 2013, a group of ULFA’s anti-talk faction attacked Namtola Police Station situated on the Assam–Nagaland border within Charaideo sub-division of Sivsagar district of Assam and injured one police personnel and damaged the police station and some vehicles.39 In Assam, for instance, there are very strong chances of anti-talk factions of insurgent outfits, such as the ULFA engaging in violent activities and stepping up extortion drives to gather funds. There are also chances of these factions carrying out attacks on cadres of the pro-talk faction, which may lead to fratricidal clashes between these groups.

Scenario VI: Growth of New Insurgent Groups in the Region With many insurgent groups entering into ceasefire with the government and confining themselves to designated camps, there are chances that the void created may lead to the formation of some new insurgent outfits. Also increasing disgruntlement among some ethnic groups, which do not yet have an insurgent group with cadres drawn from the community, may lead to the formation of a new outfit. This has already happened with reports of formation of seven new insurgent groups in Assam.40 These nascent rebel outfits are the   ‘Overview: Insurgency & Peace Efforts in Assam’, http://www.cdpsindia. org/assam_insurgency.asp (accessed on 13 May 2014). 39 See ‘ULFA attacks police station in Charaideo’, The Assam Tribune, 23 January 2013, http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id= jan2313/at07 (accessed on 13 May 2014). 40 ‘1,549 civilians, 205 securitymen, 1,703 ultras killed during 2001–10’, Assam Tribune, 13 July 2010. 38

208  N  Wasbir Hussain

Liberation Democratic Council of Mising Land, the United Tribal Liberation Front, the United Tribal Revolutionary Army, the Dimasa National Liberation Front, the Gorkha Liberation Army, the Hills Tiger Force, and the Santhal Tiger Force. Reports of these outfits being involved in extortion and abductions have already come up.41 The coming days may see the birth of a few more insurgent groups. With insurgency almost becoming an industry in the region, it can be said that more and more players may try to enter the arena.

Scenario VII: Growth of Criminal Gangs in the Region The northeastern region of India has been a profitable playground for the insurgent outfits. These groups have amassed enough money through their violent activities like extortion from business houses, industrialists and even the general public. They have resorted to abductions for ransom. They have been involved in drugs trade and arms trafficking. The sources of income42 for these outfits are so diverse that many criminal gangs have now entered the theatre for a slice of the cake. There has been a rise of criminal gangs in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts. On 14 September 2010, a criminal gang abducted a small tea-grower and trader from Chota Tingrai Tea Estate in Tinsukia district.43 Again on 15 November 2010, a criminal gang abducted a tea-planter, owning four tea gardens in eastern Assam, and his son from Doomdoma in Tinsukia district.44 Another businessman from Talap in Tinsukia district was kidnapped on 4 March 2011.45 All these abductions were done with a motive to earn ransom money. These incidents show how some criminal gangs are taking advantage of the inactivity of the insurgent groups.   ‘New Outfit behind Kidnap: Cops’, The Telegraph, 23 December 2010. Renaud Egreteau, ‘Instability at the Gate: India’s Troubled Northeast’, Csh Occasional Paper, http://www.csh-delhi.com/publications/downloads/ ops/OP16.pdf (accessed on 13 May 2014). 43 ‘Mani Subba’s Nephew Abducted’, The Assam Tribune, 16 September 2010. 44 ‘Assam Tea Planter, Son Kidnapped by Gunmen’, Deccan Chronicle, 16 November 2010. 45 ‘Unidentified Miscreants Kidnap Businessman in Tinsukia’, The Sentinal, 5 March 2011. 41

42

Northeast India: A Peace Audit  N  209

The scenarios expressed here are a general indication of what may happen to the insurgency situation in the Northeast in the near future. The region has been a conflict theatre for many years and it is unlikely that it will cease to be one anytime soon. Thus it can be said that there is every possibility of relapse of violence in the region.

Conclusion It is clearly seen that continuing with holding peace talks with each and every rag tag insurgent group in the region can never end the insurgency in the region. It can stop violent activities for some time but it cannot be a long term solution. The government needs to understand this fact and it should put a stop on such practice. At last, however, New Delhi has gathered the courage to say no more peace talks with insurgent groups. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been testing the waters for two years now, hinting that it may not carry on with the policy of talking peace with one and sundry rebel groups in the country. Now, the MHA has firmed up its decision. On 5 January 2013, Shambhu Singh, Joint Secretary (Northeast), MHA stated that the government has a plan in the pipeline to take a decision that it shall no longer hold talks with any insurgent group, anywhere in the country.46 He said, [t]he issue is that every time you talk to a group a small remnant of the group breaks away and again continues with its illegal and totally prejudicial activities and then thinks that it will be given the same moral high ground and high table to sit and discuss and put across its demands which are basically nonexistent . . . they better surrender.47

In fact, the Joint Secretary seemed to mean business and this indicates that the decision was taken at the highest level in the MHA. At the tripartite dialogue between the Centre, the Meghalaya Government and ANVC, held in Shillong on 5 January 2013, Shambhu Singh 46 ‘No more Talks with Ultras in Future: MHA’, The Assam Tribune, 7 January 2011, http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id= jan0713/oth05 (accessed on 13 May 2014). 47 Ibid.

210  N  Wasbir Hussain

sounded stern and straight even to the ANVC, saying the concept of general amnesty would never happen. Again, his reply to a question on holding talks with the GNLA (Garo National Liberation Army) was: ‘How do you expect that the Government will invite these rogues to the talking table and make them sit at the talking table?’48 Such responses from MHA officials are unprecedented because one is used to hearing replies like, ‘our doors are open for negotiations’. In the ultimate analysis, though, the government’s peace policy has been flawed. It has been a policy that has actually been encouraging insurgency in the Northeast. This is because the rebels have come to know that they can kill and extort money and amass enough wealth for a few generations to follow, and then, at a convenient time, come forward to talk peace, enter into a deal with the government, get excused for all their crime, and then, of course, join the electoral process and turn into law-makers. Mostly, it is the government and the media who give legitimacy to the splinter groups. Once legitimacy is attained, the government invariably starts peace talks with them. Thus, while on one hand, the government is giving legitimacy to the demands raised by the rebels, on the other, it seems to be clueless as to what could be offered to the different groups in their respective peace deals. The BTC was formed for the Bodos after talks with the BLT. But what will be offered to the other groups like the two factions of the NDFB that are still fighting for their demands in Bodoland? Similar is the problem with the NSCN and the DHD because newer rebel groups have sprung up in Dima Hasao. What is needed to end insurgency and bring peace in the region is good governance and dedicated developmental measures. Community leaders and representatives of the people must provide good governance by reducing levels of corruption and improving the governance delivery mechanism. It is here that the government must look to set up Accountability Commissions in each of the northeastern states, which can at least work as a deterrent to corruption and poor governance. Development initiatives need to go hand-in-hand 48 See ‘Centre hints at no-talks policy for rebel groups’, Seven Sisters Post, 6 January 2013, http://sevensisterspost.com/centre-hints-at-no-talks-policyfor-rebel-groups/ (accessed on 13 May 2014).

Northeast India: A Peace Audit  N  211

with administrative measures to check insurgency and to keep insurgent activities under control. All these measures together, and not only talking peace with insurgent outfits, would help in developing the region and put an end to the vicious cycle of insurgency in the Northeast. J

10 The Naga Peace Process: An Audit Madhumita Das

A

fter almost 16 years of closely guarded and fiercely contested negotiations between the Government of India and the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM), a settlement, albeit in the form of an interim arrangement, seems in the offing. For the sixdecade old Naga National Movement, this ought to be a momentous, if not a paradigmatic occasion. It ought to have tremendous demonstration effect for sustainable resolutions of the conflict systems prevalent in the rest of Northeast India. For the Government of India (GoI), it could potentially be a showcase of the flexibility of the Constitution, and the viability of the State. Yet, not only have the GoI and the NSCN-IM kept the negotiations and its expected outcome under close-wraps, but even among the concerned Naga and non-Naga constituencies in Nagaland and the neighbouring states, there is palpable a sense of cynicism and apprehension. This signals clearly towards the changing characteristic of the Naga National Movement; its locus no longer rests merely with the armed groups challenging or resisting the armed might of the Indian State. Like most ethno-national self-determination movements, the Naga national question was an internally contested one and held a diversity of opinions from its very beginning. But the last two decades have seen a dramatic expansion of the meaning and scope of the national movement. Such changes call for an expanded understanding of the Naga peace process. It can no longer be captured through the lens of cessation of hostilities between the Indian State and the Naga armed groups, and between the Nagas themselves. There have come forth an increased number of actors suited to negotiating and effecting peace with the Indian State, with their immediate neighbours, as well as within the Nagas themselves. Equally significant is the transformation of the identity of the movement, from ethnonational sovereignty narrowly defined, to embrace questions of

Naga Peace Process: An Audit  N  213

truth, reconciliation, justice, substantive democracy, and sustainable development. The attempted audit is mindful of the fact that it is mistaken to understand the emergent peace process as a zone completely devoid of conflict. As Ranabir Samadder explains of such processes, ‘a dialogue is essentially a contested conversation. But conflicts play out in different ways in the peace process’.1 Moreover, underscoring the ubiquity of power politics, he insists that peace as a process grows out of the process of power. Therefore, for an evaluation of the Naga peace process, the examination of the past and current peace talks and accords are an important, but not the determining, constituent. Rather, it demands an audit of the entire gamut of actors and stakeholders in the Naga national question, their intertwined relationships, as well as an evaluation of the socio-political and socio-economic impulses that motivate these actors. This is not to disregard the dominant narratives of the Naga conflict trajectory  — the landmark events and phases. Not only are they an effective entry point into the peace process, but continue to resonate powerfully with the current generation of Naga national workers and populace. Therefore, the audit would supplement an evaluation of the dominant milestones of the peace process, with an assessment of the contributions from various other stakeholders. The audit then is divided into four parts. The first section examines the current status of Indo-Naga talks and that of ceasefire and negotiation with the other armed groups. Thereafter, the role of the Indian electoral actors in the four states of Nagaland, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur is considered. Section three concentrates upon the extremely important and emerging actors redefining and steering the Naga peace process — the traditional decision-making institutions, civil society organizations and the Church bodies. Subsequently, an attempt is made to take stock of the changed socioeconomic and political scenario that motivates these actors and their positions. The role of the Indian State towards the peace process is briefly considered, before summarizing the findings of the audit.   Quoted in Sanitsuda Ekachai, ‘Politics of Peace’, The Bangkok Post, 5 February 2005, http://www.mcrg.ac.in/rana1.htm (accessed on 25 January 2013). 1

214  N  Madhumita Das

Indo-Naga Talks and the Armed Groups The ceasefire and peace talks between the GoI and the NSCN-IM witnessed some new heights as well as disappointments in 2012. The self-styled Ato Kilonser of the NSCN/GPRN Thuingaleng Muivah has decried rumours of accepting the Indian Constitution.2 Excerpts from the current status report leaked by the media indicate substantive accommodations.3 In return for a separate Naga Flag, separate nomenclatures for the Legislative Assembly and its functionaries, and a distinct identification on Indian passports, the NSCN-IM are believed to have accepted federal devolution along non-territorial lines. The cultural and social aspects of Nagas living in the states of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam will be overseen by a pan-Naga body, centred in Nagaland, and funded directly by New Delhi. There is also some agreement on the absorption of NSCN-IM cadre into the Indian Army and its deployment along the international border.4 Both the GoI and the NSCN-IM have been selling the terms of the proposed interim agreement as an ‘honourable solution’ based on the recognition of ‘contemporary realities and a future vision consistent with the imperatives of the 21st century’.5 But given India’s mixed record at federal devolution, and its recognition of unique mutual histories, the opinion in Naga society about phrases such as Shared Sovereignty and Non-Territorial arrangement is sharply critical. Many have been decrying the reduction of the 60-year revolutionary struggle into a sell-out, akin to a company shop offering Eastern Mirror News Network, ‘NSCN IM refutes IE Report’, Eastern Mirror Nagaland, 16 October 2012, http://www.easternmirrornagaland. com/mirrornews/frontpage/item/2621-nscn-im-refutes-ie-report.html (accessed on 20 October 2012). 3   Sujit Chakrabarty, ‘“Supra State” body likely to be Christmas Gift for Nagas’, The Seven Sisters Post, 13 November 2012, http://e-pao.net/ GP.asp?src=1..141111.nov11 (accessed on 20 October 2012). 4   Anonymous, ‘Progress in Nagaland’, Economic and Political Weekly, 47 (43), 2012, p. 8. 5   Samudra Gupta Kashyap, ‘Differences “narrowed”: Delhi, NSCN (IM) hope for early pact’, The Indian Express, 19 July 2011, http://www. indianexpress.com/news/differences--narrowed--delhi-nscn(im)-hope-forearly-pact/819369 (accessed on 21 January 2013). 2

Naga Peace Process: An Audit  N  215

successive discounts, season’s sales, post-season sales, and finally clearance sales.6 Such serious crisis of legitimacy among the populace is compounded by the continued and thriving presence of the rest of the armed groups. Realizing that it could not wish away the existence and influence of the NSCN Khaplang (K) faction, the NSCN-IM, in a breakthrough, has given its tacit approval to the holding of talks between the former and the GoI.7 On its part, the NSCN-K, in a ceasefire with the GoI since 2001, is still awaiting a call from New Delhi. It has at the same time belied expectations of being easily co-opted into the current framework of the peace process. Standing firm on absolute territorial sovereignty, Khaplang insists that any agreement thrashed out with the NSCN-IM shall not apply beyond Manipur and that with the Khole Kitovi (KK) faction, shall not apply beyond Nagaland.8 In the process of the ongoing military restructuring in Myanmar, the NSCN-K has also emerged as the only insurgent/ liberation group to be in agreements with the governments of two sovereign states  — India and Myanmar. In the latter, the NSCN-K has bargained for complete socio-cultural control over the three districts in the Sagaing Division in the Naga Self-Administered Zone, with the promise of more territories being added later.9 With the Khole Kitovi and the Khaplang factions controlling large areas in Nagaland, and the latter in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, the NSCN-IM faces an up-hill task of consolidating its influence in the three states. To add to its woes, IM faction faces stiff opposition from the Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) as well. The ZUF has warned the NSCN-IM of any interference with the affairs of the Kekhrie Yhome and Gideon Shadang, ‘What is not possible in Naga Talks’, Eastern Mirror Nagaland, 30 January 2013, http://www.eastern mirrornagaland.com/views/oped/item/6808-what-is-not-possible-innaga-talks.html (accessed on 30 January 2013). 7   H. Chishi, ‘Delhi includes Khaplang in talks’, The Telegraph, 13 November 2012,  http://www.telegraphindia.com/1121114/jsp/northeast/story_ 16191591.jsp#.UWs1dKJ-bVE (accessed on 15 November 2012). 8 Newmai News Network, ‘Khaplang Group to start Dialogue’, Imphal Free Press, 23 November 2012, http://kanglaonline.com/2012/11/khaplanggroup-to-start-dialouge/ (accessed on 25 November 2012). 9 Nishit Dholabhai, ‘NSCN (K) bags autonomy in 3 Myanmar Areas’, The Telegraph, 14 May 2012, http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120515/jsp/ northeast/story_15477837.jsp#.UWs26KJ-bVE (accessed on 20 May 2012). 6

216  N  Madhumita Das

Zeliangrong Naga tribes all over Manipur, Assam and Nagaland.10 Historically, the Naga national movement among the Zeliangrong has played out very differently from the Naga National Council (NNC) and NSCN trajectories, and the former have extended only halting and conditional support to the Indo-Naga talks.11 In Manipur, the situation is additionally complicated with the Kuki National Organization (KNO) and the Kuki State Demand Committee (KSDC) reinvigorating their stand of carving out a separate state out of the Churachandpur, Sadar Hills and some parts of the Senapati districts.12 The KNO has repeatedly threatened to overturn its Memorandum of Understanding reached with the GoI, if the latter did not honour its commitments of beginning dialogue. To this end, it had also threatened to stall the ASEAN Car Rally in its journey from Moreh into Myanmar.13 Such ferment in the hills has, in turn, given a new lease of life to the valley-based insurgencies focusing on Manipuri territorial sanctity and Meitei supremacy. The secretive nature of the talks between the GoI and the NSCN-IM has earned the wrath of not only the general populace and the concerned constituencies in all of the states, but the speculations have also contributed to a spike in factional violence. The year 2012 saw the demise of six civilians and 52 underground workers. While it is a far lesser number than the spike of 145 casualties in 2008, it is a significant increase in the violence of 2009–10 and 2011.14 Newmai News Network, ‘ZUF reacts against NSCN (IM) allegation’, Imphal Free Press, 13 June 2012, http://kanglaonline.com/2012/06/zufreacts-against-nscn-im-allegation/ (accessed on 20 January 2013). 11 John Thomas, ‘Sending out the Spears: Zeliangrong Movement, Naga Club and a Nation in the Making’, Indian Economic and Social History Review, 49 (3), July–September 2012, pp. 399–437. 12 Anonymous ‘Kukis set to Intensify Separate State Demand’, Eastern Mirror Nagaland, 21 January 2013, http://www.easternmirrornagaland. com/mirrornews/frontpage/item/6509-kukis-set-to-intensify-separate-statedemand.html (accessed on 25 January 2013). 13 Times News Network, ‘KSDC threatens to block BCIM car rally in Manipur’s “Kuki” areas’, The Times of India, 23 February 2013, http:// articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-02-23/guwahati/37256654_1_ kuki-state-ksdc-state-demand-committee (accessed on 25 February 2013). 14 South Asia Terrorism Portal, Nagaland Assessment 2013, http://www. satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/nagaland/index.html (accessed on 20 February 2013). 10

Naga Peace Process: An Audit  N  217

With the terms of engagement between the insurgent groups and the Indian Army, under close supervision of the Cease Fire Monitoring Group (CFMG) and the Cease Fire Supervisory Board (CFSB), clashes between the Naga underground and the Indian Army are far more controlled than that between the undergrounds themselves. The widespread realization that a final solution will only follow and not precede a lack of internecine bloodshed, has led the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) to take upon itself to bring all the underground factions under a common platform. The resulting Naga Condordant and proposals of a single Naga National Government comprising all the underground groups and a single taxation system, is, as yet, more in the nature of an enticing possibility and has not reaped real dividends on the ground. It is, however, clear to all the underground groups of varied strength and influence that the future of the Naga national movement would lay through Indian electoral politics. Thus willy-nilly, the one section that, in cohorts with the underground, has developed deeper stakes in the ongoing peace-talks than before is the Nagaland State Government and all the concerned Naga and non-Naga political parties in Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The next section of the audit would assess the developments on this front.

Electoral Actors in Nagaland, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur In the State of Nagaland, electoral politics and its actors have always thrived in a co-constitutive relationship with the underground. The last two decades had seen a gradual drawing of sides as the Nagaland Congress cooperated with the NSCN-IM and -K alternately. With the emergence of the Nagaland People’s Front (NPF), and its Democratic Alliance for Nagaland (DAN)-led government, it is alleged by many that the ‘Cock Party’ is merely front for the NSCN-IM and its soundest means to try and consolidate its hold over the entire territory of Nagaland.15 Suggestively, the Neiphu Rio-led NPF has, within the limits of the Indian Constitution, gone furthest to echo the stand of the NSCN-IM. The early and peaceful resolution to R. N. Ravi, ‘Chasing a Chimeric Peace’, The Hindu, 15 November 2012, http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/chasing-a-chimeric-peace/ article4095592.ece (accessed on 20 November 2012). 15

218  N  Madhumita Das

the Indo-Naga political problem, with the NPF playing the role of a facilitator, is the most important constituent on their manifesto. Simultaneously, it has also started to model itself as the spokesperson of Nagas outside of the State of Nagaland. To this effect, in 2010, it has changed its nomenclature from the Nagaland People’s Front to the Naga People’s Front, and has expanded into the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. In the latter, it has managed to win four out of the 11 Assembly seats it had contested on short notice in 2012. While some read the electoral verdict as dismal and as a blow to the canard that all Nagas wish to live together, others see it as a pragmatic calculation on behalf of the Nagas, Kuki’s and other Hill communities, who would want to avoid polarization in the interest of everyday peace.16 In the State of Nagaland, on the other hand, with speculations of an announcement by the GoI and the NSCN-IM towards the end of 2012, hanging heavy in the air, the political parties outdid each other to position themselves as rightful heirs to any arrangement that would be thrashed out. Resultant was a Joint Legislators Forum (JLF), comprising all 60 members of the Nagaland State Legislative Assembly. The JLF had resolved to vacate office en-masse, if required, in order to pave the way for a peaceful solution. They also put their weight behind the idea of ‘Solution — not Election’, as the United Democratic Front (UDF) had done in 1998. This was also undertaken in response to the Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s remarks that an announcement of the interim arrangement could be made by as early as March 2013.17 This compelled all political parties to en-cash on what they read as popular sentiment. However, with the Election Commission of India going ahead and scheduling elections in Nagaland for February 2013, such promises of sacrifice were put on the back foot, as all parties keenly contested the elections. Alongside widespread instances of money laundering, rigging and buying votes with cash,18 was delivered an overwhelming verdict in 16 Pradip Phanjoubam, ‘Relevance of Congress’ victory in Manipur’, Economic and Political Weekly, 47 (12), 24 March 2012, pp. 14–16. 17 Anonymous, ‘Center pins hope on Pre-poll Naga Situation’, The Telegraph, 11 October 2012, http://www.telegraphindia.com/1121011/jsp/frontpage/ story_16077717.jsp#.UW20IKJ-bVE (accessed on 20 March 2013). 18 Temjenrenba Anichar, ‘Proxy Voters made hay while polling sun shone’, Eastern Mirror Nagaland, 26 February 2013, http://www.easternmirror

Naga Peace Process: An Audit  N  219

favour of the incumbent NPF-led DAN. Decimating the Nagaland Congress to a mere eight seats, the NPF won 38 out of the 59 seats contested. Of significance was their collecting 13 of the 16 seats in the Eastern Nagaland region, potentially lending a counterweight to the demand for a separate state by the Eastern Naga People’s Organization (ENPO). It also made inroads into the traditional Congress bastion of Dimapur, Mokukchung and Zhuneboto, picking up 10 out the 26 seats. Committing itself anew to the cause of the Naga-political solution, the NPF has amplified its stand on the emotional integration of the Nagas, while also insisting that the solution must be preceded by an atmosphere of peace in the State of Nagaland.19 With all the three adjoining states opposing any territorial demarcation in their borders, the vague proposal of emotional integration has gained ground at the official level. In the case of Assam, that alleges Nagaland to be illegally in control of 662.4 square kilometres of Assamese territory, the Congress-led government of Tarun Gogoi has given its assent to the emotional integration of Nagas in his state with those of Nagaland and elsewhere.20 Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, of Arunachal Pradesh, has been more reticent, insisting that the welfare of the Nagas living in Arunachal is the outlook of that State alone. It has also made token gestures like allocating greater budgetary resources to the Naga-dominated districts of Tirap and Changlang.21 It is in Manipur, however, that the project of Naga integration, whether territorial or through a ‘non-territorial supra-state model’, faces a volley of stiff oppositions from various sides. nagaland.com/mirrornews/frontpage/item/8184-proxy-voters-made-haywhile-polling-sun-shone.html (accessed on 28 February 2013). 19 Anonymous, ‘We need Peace for Solution, says Kaito’, Eastern Mirror Nagaland, 11 April 2013, http://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/mirror news/frontpage/item/9523-we-need-peace-for-solution,-says-kaito.html (accessed on 11 April 2013). 20 Nishit Dholabhai, ‘No Change in Assam Territory, says CM’, The Telegraph, 4 November 2012, http://www.telegraphindia.com/1121104/jsp/ frontpage/story_16157718.jsp#.UWs-_aJ-bVE (accessed on 10 November 2012). 21 Nishit Dholabhai, ‘Arunachal CM defines Priorities’, The Telegraph, 7 November 2012, http://www.telegraphindia.com/1121107/jsp/frontpage/ story_16168333.jsp#.UW2NrjdD52Y (accessed on 10 November 2012).

220  N  Madhumita Das

Taking the toughest line against Naga integration, the incumbent Congress swept to power in the 2012 Manipur Assembly elections. There onwards, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, while mouthing platitudes of lending full support to the Indo-Naga peace talks, has been consistently vetoing all proposals at administrative devolution in the State. Urging the Centre to amend Article 3 of the Constitution that allows for the redrawing of state borders, he is also said to have categorically rejected the proposal of according special status to the Nagas in Manipur, under Article 371 (A) of the Constitution.22 Such a state of affairs helped contribute to the popular lament that the Indo-Naga political dialogue has been reduced merely to communal and power politics in the State of Manipur.23 In a parallel effort, the United Naga Council (UNC) of Manipur has consistently kept up the demand for an Alternate Arrangement since 2013. Following an All Naga Student’s Association of Manipur (ANSAM)-led blockade, in July 2010 Naga People’s Convention, the UNC, citing communal policies and actions of the Meitei-dominated Congress government, decided to sever all administrative ties with the Manipur State Government. Thereafter several rounds of tripartite talks have been held between the GoI, State Government and the UNC. With the Centre deciding to reserve all initiative in the matter with the State Government, the failure of the talks is a foregone conclusion. Still, as the Naga Student’s Federation President Mutsikhoyo Yhobu insists, the mere agitation is the ‘first step for the Nagas to administratively separate themselves from the Meitei’s’ and hopes that it will serve as an example for the Nagas of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh as well.24 On the other hand, there are also popular allegations that the UNC and the ANSAM work at the behest of not just the NSCN-IM Anonymous, ‘CM speaks out his mind to Shinde in Rejecting Article 371(A) Proposal’, The Sangai Express, 15 February 2013, http://www. thesangaiexpress.com/tseitm-23759-cm-speaks-out-his-mind-to-shinde-inrejecting-art-371-a-proposal/ (accessed on 20 February 2013). 23 Kekhrie Yhome and Gideon Shadang, ‘What is not Possible in Naga Talks’, Eastern Mirror Nagaland, 30 January 2013, http://www.easternmirror nagaland.com/views/oped/item/6808-what-is-not-possible-in-naga-talks. html (accessed on 30 January 2013). 24 Rita Manchanda and Tapan Bose, ‘Expanding the Middle Space in the Naga Peace Process’, Economic and Political Weekly, 46 (53), 31 December 2011, pp. 51–60. 22

Naga Peace Process: An Audit  N  221

but also the NPF and have been coercing the tribal population of the State into toeing the line of Naga integration. The machinations of the electoral actors in the four states, especially in Nagaland and Manipur, suggest complex and multifaceted implications for the Indo-Naga peace process. With a long history of intrigue, co-optation, defections, and corruption behind all of the political parties, it is difficult to separate political opportunism from honest commitment to peace. The fact that any political solution to the Indo-Naga conflict will have to be effected through electoral politics at the Centre as well as in the states, makes it imperative that the concerned actors be made an equal participant in the talks. This has been the complaint and demand of electoral actors across the spectrum. However, because electoral politics among the Nagas in the entire region has always been a lackey to national question and never a true democratic barometer, the mantle of democracy has gradually come to be held with the extremely vocal and proactive Naga civil society. These organizations, institutions and communities have been responsible for the most fundamental churning in the Naga peace process. As Dolly Kikon puts it, [p]rotracted struggles for right to self-determination show that notions of sovereignty, self-determination and nation not only get interpreted and re-interpreted during the transition of power from one generation to another, but also engineer negotiation processes with centralized governments and redefine priorities of the people.25

In the Naga case, the national movement has survived and thrived across seven decades only through a gradual redefinition, the substance of which can be located most fully in the sphere of its civil society. This is the concern of the next section of the audit.

Traditional Decision-making Institutions, Churches and Civil Society The Naga National Movement, from its earliest times has derived its strength from the traditional power-structures and communitarian Dolly Kikon, ‘Engaging Naga Nationalism: Can Democracy Function in Militarized Societies?’, Economic and Political Weekly, 40 (25), 25 June 2005, pp. 2833–37, 2844. 25

222  N  Madhumita Das

ethos at the village and clan level. The years of intense bloodshed between the underground and the Indian Army and later the underground factions themselves, coupled with extortions and heavy taxation at multiple levels had managed to instil a fear psychosis in the minds of the Nagas. It was in the 1990s however, that the space for common voices began to open up. The NSCN-IM managed to secure membership for Nagalim at the United Nations People’s Organization (UNPO) at The Hague. Later, the United Nation’s declaration of 1993 as the International Year of Indigenous People gave a renewed fillip to the Naga National Movement. These new forums opened up what Ramon Maiz calls ‘political opportunity structures’ for the Nagas.26 They were, in the words of Isak Swu, ‘choked up so far without an outlet to the outside world’.27 This opening up necessitated that the mantle of the movement be carried not just by the underground but by the populace themselves. The communitarian character of the Naga polity ensured that such a channel was readily available. The Naga Hoho, or the traditional multi-layered decision-making body of all Naga tribes, had lent legitimacy earlier to the NNC and the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN). In current times, along with many other civil society organizations, the Naga Hoho, and the Dobashi organizations form the backbone of the Consultative Committees of the NSCN-IM. Alongside, several other traditional decision-making and conflict-resolution structures have come to the rescue in the frequent ‘wars’ along the disputed border between Assam and Nagaland. The Merapani Declaration of 2004 formalized their role through the set up of Border Peace Coordination Committees. The BPCC works towards the resolution of all border-related disputes through traditional means, without resorting to the respective state governments.28 Even as such traditional communitarian channels were being increasingly tapped, the 1990s saw the emergence of organizations   Ramon Maiz, ‘Politics and the Nation: Nationalist Mobilization of Ethnic Differences’, Nations and Nationalism, 9(2), 23 April 2003, pp. 195–212. 27 Isak Chishi Swu in Abraham Lotha, ‘Articulating Naga Nationalism’, PhD thesis, New York: City University New York, 2009, pp. 331–32. 28 Namrata Goswami, ‘The Assam-Nagaland Border Face Off’, IDSA Comment, 17 August 2007, http://www.idsa.in/idsastrategiccomments/ TheAssamNagalandBorderFaceOff_NGoswami_170807 (accessed on 15 January 2013). 26

Naga Peace Process: An Audit  N  223

such as the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) that sought to reinterpret Naga nationalism on grounds of human and indigenous rights. In a landmark case against the GoI, the NPMHR managed to turn national and international attention on the excesses of violence enabled by the Armed Forces Special Power’s Act (AFSPA) and managed to secure strict injunctions on it.29 In the ensuing years, the NPMHR, the Naga Student’s Federation (NSF) and similar bodies have secured the support and goodwill of numerous other quasi-governmental, non-governmental and international organizations. The most notable among such groups are the United Kingdom Parliamentarians for National Self Determination, Flemish support group KWIA, NSCN Justice and Peace Centre, International Human Rights Association of American Minorities, World Baptist Alliance, Asian Cultural Forum on Development, Naga Vigil Group, Minority Right Group, International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), Society for Threatened Peoples, International Alliance for Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests (IAITTF) as well as several UN forums.30 The Naga Mother’s Association (NMA) was born out of a deeprooted desire to prevent generations of young men and women from being sacrificed at the altar of inter-tribal and factional warfare. It emerged rapidly as the most substantial peace-making and peacekeeping body, not just among the Nagas, but in the entire region. The NMA was instrumental in opening up channels of communication between the GoI and the NSCN-IM and facilitating the ceasefire. They have also trekked to Myanmar to urge the Khaplang faction to cease bloodshed from their end.31 Unlike other peace-keeping and women’s organizations, the NMA has intentionally sought to maintain a low profile, in order to not compromise their efficacy as peace-makers. It has, in turn, inspired the works of many other associations like the Naga Woman’s Association of Manipur (NWAM) and The Naga Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights vs. the Government of India, The Supreme Court Judgment, 27 November 1997, http://judis. nic.in/supremecourt/helddis.aspx (accessed on 15 March 2013). 30 A. S. A. Shimray, Let Freedom Ring: The Story of Naga Nationalism, New Delhi: Promilla and Co., 2005, p. 291. 31 Paula Banerjee and Ishita Dey, ‘Women, Conflict and Governance in Nagaland’, Policies and Practices, 51 (Kolkata: Sage Publications, 2012), p. 17. 29

224  N  Madhumita Das

traditional tribal bodies such as the Tangkhul Shanao Long. In the violence that erupted in Manipur in 2001 in wake of the announcement of a GoI–NSCN-IM ceasefire without territorial limits, and in the Mao Gate incident of 2010, these bodies have been instrumental in preventing the communal violence from spiralling into more casualties. By taking upon the mantle of preserving peace at the grassroots level, as seen in the Shirui incident of 2009, these women’s organizations have also helped prevent the breakdown of the peace talks, even under situations of heavy stress.32 Alongside traditional and civil society organizations, the Church has played a seminal role through the entire movement and the peace process. The phenomenon of inter-tribal divisions within the movement and the theme of reconciliation arose almost simultaneously, and by 1957, the Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) was already exhorting the necessity for all Nagas to come together as one people. With Christianity as a central feature of Naga life and a marker of its distinct identity, the role of the Church has been intensely debated. Some like Father Abraham Lotha find that ‘Christianity is still just one of the many garments used strategically by the Nagas’.33 But Ao considers that, ‘[h]ad there been no intervention by Naga Churches in the present on-going internal clashes between the Naga factions, there would have been total civil war in Nagaland’.34 Acting as a conscience-keeper of people much tormented and misguided, the Church bodies, namely the NBCC in Nagaland, and the Council of Naga Baptist Churches (CNBC) in Manipur, have repeatedly directed the underground to introspect on their means and methods. In the recently concluded Nagaland Assembly elections of 2013, the NBCC ran an intensive Clean Election Campaign, urging people to not offer and accept money for votes. Though it did not manage to fully plug the ubiquitous flow of money, the campaign did manage to make a mark.35 32 Nandita Haksar, ‘Machiavelli’s Ceasefire and the Indo-Naga Peace Process’, Mainstream, 47 (16), 4 April 2009, http://mainstreamweekly.net/ article1276.html (accessed on 28 February 2013). 33 Abraham Lotha, ‘Articulating Naga Nationalism’, PhD thesis (New York: City University New York, 2009), p. 313. 34 A. Lanunungsang Ao, From Phizo to Muivah: The Naga National Question (New Delhi: Mittal Publications, 2002), p. 187. 35 Pangernungba ‘Some Contributions of the Clean Election Campaign’, Eastern Mirror Nagaland, http://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/views/

Naga Peace Process: An Audit  N  225

Perhaps the most significant of the civil society initiatives is the genesis and work of the FNR. Founded in 2008 by 18 representatives of organizations such as the Naga Hoho, the NPMHR, NMA, NSF, Naga Women’s Union (NWU) and NBCC, the FNR has taken upon itself the task of effecting a course correction of the Naga National Movement. Grounding the importance of reconciliation to the movement, Charles Chasie writes, [w]e created a Cause, before we could fully become a people. This was alright if it helped us to become a people. And initially, the Cause did accelerate the process of our tribes coming together. But the Cause, for various reasons, soon preceded the process of our becoming a people and seemed to have gone on its own. The building of our nationhood got neglected and even began to slide backwards. What further accentuated this neglect was the explanation that our nationhood was already a fact and that our people would automatically unite and become one, cooperating with each other, once the Cause was achieved. The logical extension of such thinking process is that only a few “traitors” were standing in the way . . . [Moreover] . . . In other parts of the world political settlements come about as a result of, directly or indirectly, external pressure. But the geopolitics and dynamics of our situation are different from those other conflict situations and our people cannot hope that the same results can be affected in like manner. In our situation, there is no alternative to reconciliation.36

The GoI has in recent times made it sufficiently clear that a final solution would be predicated on all underground factions coming together.37 To this effect, the FNR, under the aegis of Rev. Dr Wati Aier, has made giant leaps to get the groups talking to each other, apologizing for their past errors and committing to a joint future. Their efforts have received the encouragement of international figures such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter and Neville oped/item/8901-some-contributions-of-nbcc-clean-election-campaign.html (accessed on 20 March 2013). 36 Charles Chasie, ‘Forces and Factors of Change in Naga Society’, in N. Venuh (ed.), Naga Society: Continuity and Change, (New Delhi: Shipra Publications, 2004), pp. 135, 137. 37 Nishit Dholabhai, ‘Delhi move to Unite NSCN Factions’, The Telegraph, 30 October 2012, http://www.telegraphindia.com/1121030/jsp/frontpage/ story_16138792.jsp#.UTB6oGeKaG0 (accessed on 10 November 2012).

226  N  Madhumita Das

Callam (of the Baptist World Alliance).38 The FNR meeting of 29 February 2012, attended by over 50,000 people, marked a watershed in terms of entrenching the reconciliation process.39 The meeting also reiterated the earlier stand of the six underground factions, including the NSCN-IM, NSCN-K and NNC to come together to work towards the formation of one ‘Naga National Government’ with a singular taxation system.40 While it is difficult to convince a populace ravaged by decades of internecine bloodshed, tribal brinkmanship, and other hardships of the sincerity of the undergrounds, the ‘Naga Concordant’ so resulted has been taking slow but steady steps to encourage trust. An instance is the February 2013 Nagaland Assembly elections, wherein the Concordant announced that it would not involve itself in any way with the elections, nor hinder the electoral process.41 Though cynics have been quick to decry the reconciliation movement as hype and playing to the gallery, its efforts were clearly visible in the timely interventions in 2012, which arrested many factional clashes from spiralling out of control. The Naga Civil Society has also undertaken the most important task of engaging civil society opinion in the mainland. The ‘Journey of Common Hope’ was begun under the aegis of the FNR in 2008. Not only did it reach out to the remotest of all Naga inhabited areas, but in a bid to gather popular and Indian Parliamentary support, it also undertook people-to-people contacts in Delhi and other parts of the mainland. With the Indo-Naga talks at the presently delicate state, such contacts have been renewed. The two-day long Newmai News, ‘Desmond Tutu praises Naga Reconciliation Process’, The Assam Tribune, 17 January 2010, http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/ details.asp?id=jan1710/ne8 (accessed on 20 May 2012). 39 Avalok Langer, ‘Over 52000 Nagas meet to Chart a Path to Peace’, Tehelka, 29 February 2012, http://archive.tehelka.com/story_main52.asp? filename=Ws290212Nagaland.asp (accessed on 10 April 2013). 40 Nagaland Post Network, ‘6 top Leaders form HLC for one Naga National Government’, Nagaland Post, 27 August 2011, http://www. nagalandpost.com/channelnews/state/statenews.aspx?news=TkVXUzEwM DAwNDcxOQ%3D%3D-adYb7feovqw%3D (accessed on 10 April 2013). 41 Times News Network, ‘Naga Concordant to stay away from Upcoming Elections’, The Times of India, 21 January 2013, http://articles.timesofindia. indiatimes.com/2013-01-21/guwahati/36462538_1_naga-reconciliationnaga-national-council-reconciliation-process (accessed on 25 January 2013). 38

Naga Peace Process: An Audit  N  227

‘Discussion on the Naga Political Issue’ between Naga and Indian CSOs in January 2013 harped on the need for greater transparency and the inclusion of more actors, namely the Naga and Indian Civil Society, in the ongoing official talks.42 The momentum gathered by the peace talks has also led to initiatives like the Forum for Understanding Naga–India Conflict and Human Rights (FUNICH). Led jointly by Naga and non-Naga students, such platforms have been working to sensitize the Indian student community and young parliamentarians about the distinctive nature and history of the Naga national movement.43 It is ironic to note that while Naga civil society has attempted to build bridges with mainland Indians and between the warring Naga underground groups, it has not been able to do the same with people in the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. In the first two states, the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and Arunachal Pradesh Student’s Union (APSU) have been militantly opposing any concession made to the Nagas over ‘their’ territories.44 Manipur has had a long tradition of a vibrant civil society, but presently it stands fractured along the Valley–Hill and Meitei–Tribal divide. During the 18 June 2001 uprising in Manipur against the extension of the GoI– NSCN-IM ceasefire, the Naga civil society had taken great care to ensure that the violence in the valley did not cause a backlash in the hills. Their efforts were later even acknowledged by the valley-based Meitei organizations that had led the protests. But with talks gradually drawing to a close, sentiments in Manipur are even more heightened. Increasingly, both Meitei and Naga civil society trade robust Newmai News Network, ‘Solution will be for Satisfaction of all Naga Areas: Naga Hoho’, Imphal Free Press, 6 January 2013, http://kanglaonline. com/2013/01/solution-will-be-for-satisfaction-of-all-naga-people-nagahoho/ (accessed on 20 January 2013). 43 Anonymous, ‘Discussion of Naga issue held in Delhi’, Nagaland Post, 11 March 2013, http://www.nagalandpost.com/ChannelNews/State/ StateNews.aspx?news=TkVXUzEwMDAzMzY3Mw%3D%3D-SBfHezc% 2By2s%3D (accessed on 15 March 2013). 44 Anonymous, ‘Protest Galore against NPF move, SAF demands all party meet’, Arunachal Times, 7 April 2007, http://www.arunachaltimes.in/ archives/apr11%2007.html (accessed on 20 March 2013); Udayon Misra, ‘Naga Peace Talks: High Hopes and Hard Realities’, Economic and Political Weekly, 38 (7), 15 February 2003, p. 596 (pp. 593–97). 42

228  N  Madhumita Das

allegations of communalism against the other.45 This was observed clearly during the Mao Gate incident of 2010, as also in the case of the assault of a Manipuri actress by an NSCN-IM cadre in December 2012. Such charges notwithstanding, the reach and depth of Naga civil society has led commentators such as Samir Kumar Das to observe that, ‘civil society vigilantism is a part and parcel of the Naga peace process’.46 Tracing the journey thus far, Bharat Bhushan observes, it has been  . . . a dialectical process- the civil society strengthening the peace process in turn giving an unprecedented voice to the civil society. Today, Naga civil society organizations can criticize and would give direction to the peace process. A decade ago people would have been assassinated for being critical of the underground.47

It is, however, important to underscore that the Naga civil society, as indeed the civil societies in the adjoining states do not have wholly independent agendas. Neither do they work independently of the armed groups and the state governments. Each influences, constrains and supplements the working of the other. On the one hand, such deep connections serve to further embed the durable disorder within the Naga national movement, as seen most clearly by the Naga–Meitei impasse in Manipur. On the other hand, it also holds the potential to break away from the conflict quagmire, as seen in the slow but steady progress of the FNR-led reconciliation process. This expansion of the custody of the Naga national movement, and also the Naga-Indo peace process cannot be understood without taking stock of the economic and socio-political changes that have been underway among the Nagas in the past few decades. This is the attempt of the next section of the audit. Tapan Kumar Bose, ‘Without Integration, no Lasting Settlement’, 22 January 2013, http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/without-inte gration-no-lasting-settlement/article4329606.ece (accessed on 22 January 2013). 46 Samir Kumar Das, ‘Where do Autonomous Institutions Come from?’, in Ranabir Sammader (ed.), The Politics of Autonomy (Kolkata: Sage Publications, 2005), p. 90. 47 Bharat Bhushan in U. A. Shimray, Naga Population and Integration Movement (New Delhi: Mittal Publications, 2012), p. 104. 45

Naga Peace Process: An Audit  N  229

Economic and Socio-Political Ferment in Naga Society A largely young population, that has not witnessed firsthand the genocidal treatment of the Indian Army or the excesses of factional bloodletting, is set to receive the baton of the Naga national movement. It is a generation that has grown up wittingly or unwittingly into the market economy introduced by the Indian State. The worldviews of this new ‘middle class’ is different from the deeply communitarian society that was previously predicated upon the jhum economy. According to Tapan Bose and Rita Manchanda, ‘this small but powerful educated professional grouping, which straddles both the traditional tribal institutions and the modern socio-economic structures, is expanding the Naga public sphere and reshaping its politics’.48 The process has been underway in several discernable ways: most visibly by being extremely critical of the high-handedness of the Naga armed factions, the rampant taxation and corruption of the underground workers, and each one’s exclusive claims to represent the authentic Naga voice. The inherent communitarianism of the Naga tribal polities is now making its presence felt in the mass media and the social media, giving rise to the what some see as a parallel ‘Naga Nation on the Net’.49 Groups such as The Naga Blog (TNB) have emerged as spaces where extremely sensitive issues like tribalism, Naga–Meitei relations, territorial integration, independence, sovereignty, and federalism can be fearlessly discussed by a youth just coming to terms with the uniqueness of Naga history.50 On the other hand, Naga newspapers like The Morung Express, Eastern Mirror Nagaland, the Hornbill Express, Nagaland Page, and many others Rita Manchanda and Tapan Bose, ‘Expanding the Middle Space in the Naga Peace Process’, Economic and Political Weekly, 46 (53), 31 December 2011, pp. 51–60, p. 57. 49 Maya Ranganathan and Shiva Roy-Chowdhury, ‘The Naga Nation on the Net’, Economic and Political Weekly, 43 (29), 19 July 2008, pp. 61–68. 50   Gayatri Parameswaram, ‘Going Online: The Naga Struggle for Freedom’, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 18 May 2012, http://www.rnw.nl/ english/article/going-online-naga-struggle-freedom (accessed on 20 March 2013). 48

230  N  Madhumita Das

have facilitated dialogue between the older and new generation of Nagas, sometimes with diametrically opposite opinions and views. Through timely and effective communication, this section of the Nagas has sought to courageously put the underground in its place, whenever deemed necessary and supported them wherever deemed fit. Less visible, but equally consequential is the way this newly constituted Naga polity expands the scope of Naga self-determination and nationalism. The issues that motivate these actors are not just ethnicity and exclusive identity, but rather those of justice, truth, reconciliation, and impunity on the one hand, and communitarianism, good governance and sustainable development on the other. Even though the atrocities committed by the Indian Army has drastically lowered in intensity (though not disappeared), past excesses continue to haunt people and feed directly into the demand for selfdetermination. In Manipur, the Extrajudicial Execution Victim’s Families Association (EEVFA), along with Human Rights Alert, had petitioned the Supreme Court of India to look into the facts behind 1,528 extrajudicial killings since 1979. With the Court upholding at least six of the deaths till present, there is renewed expectation of being able to overthrow the AFSPA.51 Simultaneous to the human rights discourse, groups like the NPMHR have made Naga rights coterminous with Indigenous Rights. They have tied up with numerous other First Nation movements worldwide and have been instrumental in furthering the indigenous political discourse at international platforms.52 Facing the pressure of relentless modernization on their rich and fragile ecology, for an increasing number of Nagas the national movement is also about choosing their own mode of development. Therefore, while on the one hand towns like Dimapur and Kohima groan under the burden of rapid deforestation, traffic congestion and illegal constructions, on the other hand issues such as the exploitation of natural reserves are still deliberated and decided by the tribes and communities Times News Network, ‘Activists Welcome Verdict on Extra Judicial Killings’, The Times of India, 5 April 2013, http://timesofindia.indiatimes. com/city/guwahati/Activists-welcome-verdict-on-extra-judicial-killings/ articleshow/19389610.cms (accessed on 5 April 2013). 52 A. S. A. Shimray, Let Freedom Ring: The Story of Naga Nationalism (New Delhi: Promilla and Co., 2005), p. 295. 51

Naga Peace Process: An Audit  N  231

concerned.53 With Naga society increasingly straddling between traditional work cultures and modern bureaucracy, experiments involving the communitization of public goods and governance has been a big success in Nagaland.54 Emerging strongly alongside is the issue of women’s status in Naga society and their participation in the political process. Increasingly, Naga women and men are fighting for women’s representation in the formal traditional decisionmaking structures, as well as in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly. Such socio-economic changes within Naga society are increasingly being reflected in their stands on the Indo-Naga peace talks. Public figures are calling for further democratization of the peace process itself. Political education of the Nagas, widespread discussions and debates over the meaning of autonomy and self-determination, and the cultivation of dialogue with the Meiteis, Assamese and Arunachalese are now seen as urgent agendas. For this purpose, Father Abraham Lotha suggests the formation of something in the nature of an All‑Naga People’s Convention.55 There is also much ferment around the expected outcomes of the peace talks, based on under-specified terms like ‘shared sovereignty’ and ‘non-territorial autonomy’. Some like to see it as a creative way out of the trappings of the Westphalian State. It not only enables the Nagas to be a unique nation among nations, but also opens up an additional layer to the structure of Indian federalism, paving the way for the latter’s flexibility and durability.56 On the other hand, scholars such as Yhome and Shadang, citing India’s past record at federal devolution, see it as a veiled trap. While not discarding the ideas per se, they consider the undergrounds, the FNR, the Hoho, and the Churches to be ideologically   Aheli Moitra, ‘Call for Unity on Rights around Oil Exploration’, The Morung Express, 11 April 2013, http://www.morungexpress.com/frontpage/ 93900.html (accessed on 11 April 2013). 54   Press Trust of India, ‘Nagaland Government gets UN Public Service Award’, The Indian Express, 19 May 2008, http://www.indianexpress.com/ news/nagaland-govt-gets-un-public-service-award/311385  (accessed  on 16 April 2013). 55   Abraham Lotha, ‘Quo Vadis Naga Nationalism’, The Morung Express, 23 February 2012, http://www.morungexpress.com/Perspective/76939. html (accessed on 25 February 2012). 56   Anonymous, ‘Progress in Nagaland’, Economic and Political Weekly, 47 (43), 27 October 2012, p. 8. 53

232  N  Madhumita Das

exhausted, for selling the dictats of the GoI by dressing them up as attractive possibilities.57 This last possibility suggests that for the audit to be comprehensive there is a need for examining the motivations and workings of the Indian State itself. Sceptics of the peace talks often harp on India’s fine-tuned counterinsurgency strategies; one of them being to tire the opponent out through relentless negotiations, while co-opting a moderate counterelite into the electoral process and cultivating a pliant middle class with monetary excesses. They read a similar pattern in the 16-year trajectory of the GoI–NSCN-IM talks. On the other hand, the changed international and geo-political scenario suggests a renewed political vigour on part of the Indian State. Imperatives of the Look East policy, along with a resurgent Myanmar re-hauling its relationship with its separatist movements, lend to the Indo-Naga talks an urgency missing in the past years. Late in 2012, the UPA government apprised the Opposition of the developments in the talks, hinting at an early resolution of the issue in the Parliament.58 But, notwithstanding the foreign policy imperatives, the Indian State’s wavering can also be read as the burden of ideological contradictions related to its unfinished nation-building project. At the heart of this conundrum lies the situation in Manipur. In the event that the GoI were to side with the Naga argument, and deny to Imphal its century-old ‘territorial sovereignty’, it would result in taking away from the Indian State its own legitimacy to control its peripheral polities.59 It is in this sense that the Indo-Naga peace talks present a challenge to the Indian State, as much as it does to the Nagas. For the Nagas, the challenge is to redefine the meaning of selfdetermination in a way that is compatible with contemporary realities. For India, it is an opportunity to redefine the grounds of its Kekhrie Yhome and Gideon Shadang, ‘What is not Possible in Naga Talks’, Eastern Mirror Nagaland, 30 January 2013, http://www.eastern mirrornagaland.com/views/oped/item/6808-what-is-not-possible-in-nagatalks.html (accessed on 30 January 2013). 58 Newmai News Network, ‘Sushma Swaraj Support to Naga Talks’, Northeast Today, 17 October 2012, http://www.northeasttoday.in/our-states/ nagaland/sushma-swaraj-support-to-naga-talks/  (accessed  on  20  October 2012). 59 Kekhrie Yhome and Gideon Shadang, ibid. 57

Naga Peace Process: An Audit  N  233

legitimacy as a State — from mere territorial sovereignty to accommodative co-existence with multiple nations and nationalisms.

Findings The attempted audit of the Naga Peace Process is motivated by the understanding that a reduction in the levels of armed conflict and casualties does not automatically translate into a condition of peace. Therefore, to posit that the conclusion of an agreement with one or several armed groups neutralizes the challenge to the Indian State would be a false-start. It also holds that peace as a process is not devoid of either conflict, or of considerations of power. Rather, conflicts assume newer forms and get played out differently in a peace process. And the peace that manifests always flows from a position of strength, or power. However, in a peace process, especially one as long drawn out as the Naga case, there is always the possibility of changes in the location of power. It has been the burden of the audit to trace the shifts in this location of power. It finds that the Naga Peace Process is intimately related to the Indo-Naga peace talks, but stretches far beyond its expected conclusion and any resultant Accord. Accords cater to but a manifestation of the conflict and do not always address its cause. Moreover, the historical record of Accords in Northeast India reveals a mere co-optation of moderate counterelites, and not a broad-based agenda for sharing or devolution of rights. Viewing the Naga national question as a singularly ethnoterritorial one is to miss the core issues of democracy deficit, human rights, entitlements, and plural visions of development that lie at the heart of Naga self-determination. At the applied level, the audit findings suggest that both the GoI, as well as the Naga underground factions take responsibility for the deep-seated grievances, and almost irreconcilable differences that exist among the Nagas themselves, and between the Naga populace and their immediate neighbours. Thus, for the current peace talks to deliver real dividends, there is a discerned need to expand to multiple actors, both Naga and non-Naga, be multi-layered and address the multiple issues thrown up in the audit. The audit finds that a committed engagement with the Naga Peace Process is in the interest of not just India’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, international agenda, and internal security. Rather,

234  N  Madhumita Das

it is a test and a barometer of India’s democratic credentials and its viability as a multi-national federation. As for the Naga’s national question, centred now on shared sovereignty and territorial integrity/non-territorial autonomy, any solution acceptable to the entire Naga polity will have tremendous demonstration effect upon ethnonational movements, liberation movements and First Nation agitations around the world. In spite of the fragmented opinions and widespread conflict fatigue, the NSCN-IM is still regarded as the force capable of negotiating the toughest deal with the Indian State. This makes the current Indo-Naga peace talks a lynchpin of the Naga Peace Process, but not the only one. J

About the Editors D. Suba Chandran is Director at the IPCS, New Delhi, since January 2012. His primary area of research includes Pakistan’s internal security, Afghanistan, and Jammu & Kashmir. He is Visiting Professor at the Pakistan Studies Programme, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, and an Associate at the Pakistan Study Research Unit (PSRU), University of Bradford. Earlier, he was Visiting Fellow at the Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, UK; ACDIS, University of Urbana-Champaign; University of Jammu, J&K. He was also a Consulting Editor of the monthly magazine Epilogue, published from Jammu and Kashmir. He is co-editor of the annual — Armed Conflicts in South Asia. He is currently working on Pakistan in the Next Decade, and on Indo-Pak water conflicts, especially, Indus Water Governance — a study aimed at improving the process of water governance and addressing the concerns of various sub-regions in the Indus Basin region. He is also working on state failure/fragility in the South Asian context, especially focussing on stability–instability curve and failure in parts, and testing hypotheses of cyclic failure and functional anarchy. P. R. Chari is a former member of the Indian Administrative Service (1960; Madhya Pradesh Cadre). He served in several senior positions in the Central and State Governments, and sought voluntary retirement in 1992 after 32 years of service. During the course of his official career he served two spells in the Ministry of Defence (1971–75 and 1985–88). His last position there was Additional Secretary. He retired from the position of Vice-Chairman (Chief Executive) of the Narmada Valley Development Authority. He was Director, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi (1975–80); International Fellow, Centre for International Affairs, Harvard University (1983–84); Visiting Fellow, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (1998); Research Professor, Centre for Policy Research (1992–96); Co-Director and Director of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), New Delhi

236  N  About the Editors

(1996–2003). He has worked extensively on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and Indian security issues. He has published over 1,400 op-ed articles in newspapers/websites and over 130 monographs and major papers in leading journals/chapters in books, in India and abroad. Currently he is Research Professor at IPCS.

Notes on Contributors Ashok Bhan is a former Director General of Police who served in various capacities in the state of Jammu and Kashmir during the conflict period. Having joined the Indian Police Service in 1976, he served as Director General of Police (Intelligence), Director General of Police (Prisons), Commissioner of Vigilance, Inspector General of Police of Kashmir Zone, DIG Jammu, SSP Anantnag and SSP Rajouri besides heading the J&K Armed Police, Security wing and the State Police Academy. After his retirement from the Indian Police Service in March 2010, Dr Bhan served a two-year term as Member of the National Security Advisory Board. Currently he is a member of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board; Distinguished Fellow of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), New Delhi; Chairman of the J&K Regional Branch of the Indian Institute of Public Administration; and Member of the Executive Council of Indian Institute of Public Administration in New Delhi. Madhumita Das is a doctoral candidate in International Politics at the Center for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is currently writing a thesis on India’s Foreign Policy Approach towards the Liberation Movements of Tibet and Palestine. Madhumita keeps a deep interest in Northeast India, and the issues of nationalism, territoriality, self-determination and indigenous studies. She has devoted her MPhil dissertation and several articles to the Naga National Movement. Wasbir Hussain is a journalist and political commentator. He is Executive Director, Centre for Development and Peace Studies, Guwahati, and a two-time former member of the National Security Advisory Board, India. Hussain is currently Consulting Editor of Times Now TV and hosts a popular weekly English talk show on News Live ‘Talk Time with Wasbir Hussain’. Hussain’s recent publication include Tarun Gogoi: The Inside Story of a Blunt Politician (2010); Chord of Harmony: Sattras & Dargahs of Assam (with Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, 2010); and Positive in Rhino Land: Battle Against HIV/AIDS

238  N  Notes on Contributors

in Assam (2008). Hussain’s edited volumes include Kamrup: The Mirror of Assam’s Past and Present (2013); Peace Tools & Conflict Nuances in India’s Northeast (2010); and Order in Chaos: Essays on Conflict in India’s Northeast and the Road to Peace in South Asia (2006). N. Manoharan is a researcher based in Delhi. He was South Asia Visiting Fellow at the East–West Center Washington (2005) and recipient of Mahbub-ul Haq Award (2006). His areas of interest include internal security, terrorism, Sri Lanka, Maldives, human rights, ethnic conflicts, multiculturalism, security sector reforms and conflict resolution. His recent publications include Developing Democracies, Counter-terror Laws and Security: Lessons from India and Sri Lanka (2013); ‘Security Deficit’: A Comprehensive Internal Security Strategy for India (2012); India’s War on Terror (2010); SAARC: Towards Greater Connectivity (2008); Ethnic Violence and Human Rights in Sri Lanka (2006); and Counterterrorism Legislation in Sri Lanka: Evaluating Efficacy (2006). Deepak Kumar Nayak  is  a Research Officer with the  Centre for Internal and Regional Security (IReS) at the IPCS, New Delhi. He has completed his MPhil degree in ‘Globalization and the Question of Justice’ and MA at the Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is involved in research and documentation of Left Wing Extremism in India. He has also written on the Maoist-insurgency in different Indian states, both online and print. Nishchal N. Pandey is Director of the Centre for South Asian Studies (CSAS), Kathmandu. He is International Research committee member of the Regional Centre for Strategic Studies (RCSS), Colombo and honorary fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), New Delhi. He was Executive Director (Bisishta Shreni) of the Institute of Foreign Affairs (IFA), under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1998–2006); Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), National University of Singapore (2006–07); and Visiting Fellow at the University of Hull, UK (2009). He was also Advisor to the National Planning Commission for the tourism and civil aviation sectors (1996–97), and a task force member to draft the ninth five-year plan of Nepal. Pandey’s latest edited volumes include Nepal’s National Interests (2013); Towards a More Cooperative South Asia (2012); SAARC:

Notes on Contributors  N  239

Towards Meaningful Cooperation (2012); Regional Environmental Issues: Water and Disaster Management (2012); and Nepal’s National Interests (2011). Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman is a PhD candidate in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of TechnologyGuwahati (IIT-G), Assam. He completed his Masters in both Philosophy and International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, amd his Bachelors in Political Science from Hindu College, University of Delhi. He works as an independent researcher and writes on various topical issues relating to Northeast India. His areas of interest include research on Northeast India, mainly on issues relating to insurgency, peace-building, development, migration, and cross-border exchanges. His current research work is on border studies in Northeast India and transboundary water sharing and management issues between China, India and Bangladesh, and he is working on a project with the Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS), New Delhi, on the Sino-Indian border in Arunachal Pradesh. Bibhu Prasad Routray is a security analyst/consultant based in Singapore, and a visiting fellow at the IPCS, New Delhi. He previously served as Deputy Director in India’s National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), New Delhi. Prior to his official tenure, he served in various think tanks including the Institute for Conflict Management (ICM), Guwahati, Assam, which he headed as Director. Routray specializes in decision-making, governance, counterterrorism, force modernization, intelligence reforms, foreign policy and dissent articulation issues in South and South East Asia. His writings have appeared in various international forums including Janes Intelligence Review, Asia Times and Wall Street Journal. Mariam Safi is Assistant Editor, South Asia Defence & Strategic Review, a bi-monthly magazine in Delhi.  She is a distinguished foreign policy expert situated in Afghanistan, Canada USA, and UK. She was the Deputy Director at the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies (CAPS), Kabul, Afghanistan, where she headed the research team and engaged in exploratory research work assessing the ‘Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme’ in the Helmand Province  — in preparation for the NATO-ISAF’s Reintegration

240  N  Notes on Contributors

Cell.  Currently, Mariam is an advisory member of  several bodies situated across the globe, such as Peace Direct — Insight on Conflict, London, UK; South Asia Centre for Peace (SACP), Islamabad, Pakistan; Afghanistan Justice Organization, Kabul, Afghanistan; Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies, Kabul, Afghanistan; Women’s Democracy Network, Washington DC, USA.

Index 9/11 attacks 6, 21 Abdullah, Omar 160, 172, 178 Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC) 192, 202, 209–10 Adivasi Cobra Militant Force (ACMF) 63–64, 191 Afghanistan: Afghan Border Police (ABP) 35; Afghan National Army (ANA) 13, 33–34; Afghan National Party (ANP) 34; Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) 25, 29, 32–38, 45; Afghan–US Security Compact 22; Al Farooq spring offensive (2012) 26, 38–39; Bonn II Conference (2011) 30; Chicago Summit Declaration on Afghanistan (2012) 22, 32, 43; civilian and military casualties in 25–29; Civil War (1992–96) 21; counter-terrorism operations 30; Green-on-Blue (GOB) attacks 24, 38–39; Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) 28; International Security Assistant Force (ISAF) 4, 13, 25, 34, 45; Kabul Conference (2010) 32; levels of violence in 24–25; London Conference on Afghanistan (2010) 39; longterm security challenges 29–34; military situation in 23–24; peace and reconciliation strategy 39–41; Peace Process Roadmap for 2015 41; poppy production, earnings from 29; ‘Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict’ report (2012) 25; security transition process, ANSF implications on 34–38; Strategic Partnership Agreement (2012) 22,

29; taking back ownership of peace process 44–46; Tokyo Conference Declaration on 22; trilateral and bilateral meetings and agreements 43–44; US-led allied military operations 21; US–Pakistan Joint Commission on reconciliation 45; Afghanistan–Pakistan strategy 12–13, 39 Afzal Guru, Mohammed 162–64, 167, 169, 174 Akbar Hydari Agreement 49 Al Farooq spring offensive (2012) 26, 38–39 All Adivasi National Liberation Army (AANLA) 52, 53, 191, 201 All Assam Students Union (AASU) 56, 227 All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) 56 All-Naga People’s Convention 231 All Parties Hurriyat Conference 173 All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) 51, 53–54 al Qaeda 4, 31, 32, 39, 61 Andhra Pradesh, Naxal violence in 109–10 Ansari, M. M. 175 Arab Spring 3, 8, 10, 137 Arakan Liberation Army (ALA) 75–76 Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA, 1958), India 55, 160, 164, 223, 230; demand for phased withdrawal of 178–81; Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee, recommendations of 180 Article 370, of Constitution of India 175–76 Asharf, Raja Pervez 43, 167

242  N  Index Asia Foundation Report on Afghanistan (2012) 22, 24 Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) 56 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 8 Babri Masjid 166 Bajrang, Operation 50 Bandaranayake, Shirani 149–50 Baruah, Paresh 49, 63, 191, 205 Bhattarai, Baburam 125–26, 128, 131 Bihar, Naxal violence in 111–12 bin Laden, Osama 4, 30–31 Black Widow 53, 192 Bodo Accord (2003) 50, 194 Bodoland Autonomous Council (BAC) agreement (1993) 203 Bodoland Territorial Autonomous District (BTAD) 61, 202 Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) 50, 193, 202, 210 Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) 50, 193, 200, 210 Bonn II Conference (2011) 30, 32 Border Guard Force (BGF), Myanmar 72 Border Security Force (BSF), India 55, 112, 162 Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) 51, 53–54, 66 Burmese Communist Party 78 Cameron, David 43 ceasefire agreement (CFA) 69, 71–72, 74–77, 89–92, 96–97, 153, 190– 92, 196–97, 202, 204 Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMFs) 179–80 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) 112, 114 Chicago Summit Declaration on Afghanistan (2012) 22, 32–33, 43 child soldiers: recruitment and use of 76; rehabilitation of 155, 157

China 156, 158; concerns regarding intra-Myanmar conflicts 94; Shwe dual pipeline project 78; supply of arms to insurgents in Myanmar 71–72, 78–79 Chin National Army (CNA) 75 civil society movements 3, 5, 8–11 civil society organizations 56, 67, 95–96, 213, 222, 224, 228 Cold Start doctrine 16 Cold War 4, 78 Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) 112, 114–15 Communist Party of Burma (CPB) 71 Communist Party of India (CPI) (Maoist) 99, 100–107, 117 Communist Party of India (Marxist– Leninist) 99 Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) 125 confidence-building measures (CBMs) 40, 165, 169, 177, 180, 186 Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA) 119 Counter Insurgency and Anti-Terrorism (CIAT) schools 107 counter-insurgency operations 13, 55, 58, 66 cross-border terrorism 6, 159, 166 Daimary, Ranjan 50, 53, 192–94, 206 Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) 56, 217 Dima Halam Daogah-Jewel Garlossa faction (DHD-J) 52, 192 Dima Halam Daogah-Nunisa faction (DHD-N) 192 Dima Hasao Autonomous Territorial Council 195–96 Dimasa National Liberation Front 208 Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), Bangladesh 60

Index  N  243 Divi Neguma Bill (2012), Sri Lanka 149 Dukhtaran-e-Millat 174 Eastern Naga People’s Organization (ENPO) 219 Employment Exchange/District Employment Counseling Centers 183 European Union (EU) 147; arms embargo on Myanmar 81 Failed State Index (FSI) 140 fake currency networks 60, 65–66 Farooq, Moulvi Umar 172, 174 Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) 12–14 Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) 194, 217, 225–26 Freedom in Solidarity: Media working for Peace in South Asia (2010) 137 Fukushima-Daiichi accident, Japan 4 Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) 210 Geelani, Syed Ali Shah 173–74 Gilani, Yousaf Raza 15 Global Peace Index (GPI) 140 Gorkha Liberation Army 208 Government of India (GoI) 49, 53– 54, 61, 67, 99–100, 120, 159, 170, 175, 212, 220, 223, 225; role in Maoist-insurgency 107–9 Green-on-Blue (GOB) attacks 24, 38–39 Gross National Happiness 12 Gurung, Chhattra Man Singh 128 Haldar, P. C. 193 Haqqani Network 14, 46 high security zones (HSZs) 141–42, 145 Hill Tiger’s Force (HTF) 198, 208 Hindu Swayam Sevak Sangh (HSS) 136 Hizbul Mujahideen 171

Hmar People’s Convention (HPC) 191–92, 201 Hmar People’s Convention-Democracy (HPC-D) 51 human rights: abuse of 140, 145; Human Rights Alert 230; Human Rights Commission 157; Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) 223, 225, 230; protection of 26 Hurriyat Conference (2008) 165, 173 Hynniewtrep Achik Liberation Council (HALC) 51 Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) 52, 205 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) 28, 38–39, 57 India: impact on armed conflict situation in Myanmar 80–81; insurgencies in Northeast India see Northeast India, insurgencies in; Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project 67; Look East Policy 66, 232; military assistance to the Myanmar 81; Union Rural Development (URD) 111 India–Pakistan nuclear conflict 16– 17 India Reserve Battalions (IRBs) 107, 162 Indo-Sri Lankan Accord (1987) 151 Indo-Tibetan Border Force (ITBP) 112 internally displaced persons (IDPs) 25, 83–85, 139–40, 147 International Crisis Group 35 International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) 4, 13, 25, 32, 34, 38–39, 45 Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan 14, 60, 116, 119 Islamist militancy, in Northeast India 60

244  N  Index Istanbul Process (2011) 32 Jaish-e-Mohammed 166 Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) 173–74, 188 Jammu and Kashmir: anti-insurgency operations 179, 189; Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 160, 164, 178–81; Article 370 175– 76; beheading of Indian soldier 166–67; border firing incidents by Pakistan 163, 165; confidencebuilding measures (CBMs) 165, 169, 180, 186; cross-border terrorism 159, 166; Disturbed Areas Act 180; economy and developmental activities 182–83; fidayeen attack 169; incidents of attack on CRPF and BSF 163; indices of reduction in terrorist violence in 161; infiltration of terrorists in 162, 163, 165; internal dimension, addressing of 172–88; Joint Working Group of traders 169; Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee 180; National Conference 177, 187; Panchayati Raj institutions 172, 187–88; People’s Democratic Party (PDP) 163, 188; Poonch–Rawlakot bus service 169; Public Service Guarantee Act 181; reports of interlocutors and the working groups 175–78; return and rehabilitation policy 171–72; security forces, reducing influence of 178–80; separatists problem 172–74; situation in 2012 and early 2013 160–64; Srinagar– Muzaffarabad Bus Service 165; Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) 178; State Accountability Commission 181; State Vigilance Commission 181; terrorist violence in 161, 162, 164; tourism in 160; trans-LoC travel and trade 165, 169–70; ‘Udaan’ programme

184; UN resolutions for solving Kashmir issue 166, 173; Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) 174 Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) 148 Jharkhand Liberation Tigers (JLT) 119 Jharkhand, Naxal violence in 114 Jharkhand Sangharsh Janmukti Morcha (JSJM) 119 jhum economy 229 Joint Action Committee for Boroland Movement (JACBM) 194 jungle warfare 48, 73, 120 Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee 180 Kabul Conference (2010) 32 Kachin Independence Army (KIA) 70–72, 81–82, 91–93 Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) 70, 93 Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO) 52 Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) 50 Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council 195 Karbi Longri National Liberation Front (KLNLF) 52–53, 63–64, 197, 199, 202 Karbi People’s Liberation Tigers (KPLT) 192 Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) 70, 79 Karzai, President 12, 32, 41, 43, 44 Kashmiri Hindu Shrines and Temples Bill 186–87 Kashmiri Pandits, displacement of 172; issues related to 186–87; Prime Minister’s Rehabilitation Package 186 Khar, Hina Rabbani 167 Kokrajhar riots (2012) 59–61, 64, 67

Index  N  245 Kuki National Army (KNA) 52 Kuki National Front (KNF) 52 Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) 191, 201 Kyoto conference (2012), Japan 42 Laldenga, Pu 51, 202 Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) 15, 61, 119, 166 Left Wing Extremism (LWE) 99, 101, 113; incidents of economic targets by 104–6 Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation (LLRC) 141, 151, 153–54 Liberation of Achik Elite Force (LAEF) 52–54, 66, 205 Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) 139, 148; Eelam War 139, 141, 145, 153; rehabilitation of ex-child soldiers of 155, 157; sleeper cells 143 Line of Control (LoC) 165, 177 Lisbon Summit declaration (2011) 32 London Conference on Afghanistan (2010) 39 Maharashtra, Naxal violence in 113 Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, India 183 major armed conflicts: definition of 6; generic trends impacting 8–12 Malik, Yasin 172 Mao Gate incident (2010) 224, 228 Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI) 99 ‘Mautam’ famine (1959) 51 Menon, Shivshankar 167–68 military dictatorships 8, 75 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 130 Minority Right Group 223 Mizo Accord (1986) 190, 200

Mizo National Front (MNF) 51, 56, 190, 202 Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA) 74 Mumbai terror attack (2008) 14, 16, 165–66 Musharraf, General 9, 162, 165 Muslim Rohingyas 18, 84 Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA) 52–53 Mutahida Majlis Mashawarat (MMM) 163, 174 Myanmar, ethnic insurgencies in: armed conflicts, trends in 81–88; armed groups 69–76; ceasefire agreements 89–90; Chinese influence on 78–79, 94; civil society organizations and 95–96; conflict management 89–96; ending the Kachin War 90–92; external powers, impact of 78–81; guerrilla attacks on army troops 73; India, influence of 80–81; international organizations, role of 93; Peace Support Initiative sponsored by Norwegian government 93; Rakhine State, trouble in 84–85; reformists and hardliners divide on 88; and re-settlement of displaced populations 84; Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) 88; Sein, Thein 69, 76, 81, 84–85, 96–97; supply of arms from China 71–72, 78–79; Suu Kyi, Aung San 95; Tatmadaw (Myanmarese Armed Forces) 76–77, 79; Thailand, influence of 79–80; United States, role of 93; war on drugs and 86–88; war with the Kachins 81–84; yaba (crazy drug) 86 Naga civil society 226–28; autonomy and self-determination 231; economic and socio-political ferment in 229–33; jhum economy 229;

246  N  Index participation in political process 231 Naga insurgency 48–50, 54 Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) 224–25 Nagaland People’s Front (NPF) 217– 18 Naga National Movement 48–49, 225; Armed Forces Special Power’s Act (AFSPA) 223; Border Peace Coordination Committees (BPCC) 222; Cease Fire Monitoring Group (CFMG) 217; Cease Fire Supervisory Board (CFSB) 217; decision-making institutions, churches and civil society 221–28; electoral actors in 217–21; Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN) 222; Indian Army and 217; IndoNaga talks and the armed groups 214–17; Indo-Naga talks, status of 213, 221, 231–34; inter-tribal divisions and 224; Naga–India Conflict 227; Naga nationalism and 223; self-determination and nationalism 230; Valley–Hill and Meitei–Tribal divide 227 Naga Peace Process 18, 53, 212–13, 221, 228; findings of 233–34 Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) 223, 225, 230 Naga Woman’s Association of Manipur (NWAM) 223 Naga Women’s Union (NWU) 225 National Awami Party 11 National Commission for Minorities (NCM) 61 National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) 50, 74, 191, 205; anti-talk factions of 207 National Investigation Agency (NIA), India 118 Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) 212

National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) 51, 53–54, 192, 205 National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) 49 National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K) 89 National Socialist Council of NagalandIsak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) 191 National Socialist Council of NagalandKhaplang (NSCN-K) 191 National Socialist Council of NagalandUnification (NSCN-U) 49 National United Party of Arakan (NUPA) 70 Naxal violence, in India: Andhra Pradesh, incidents in 109–10; Bihar, incidents in 111–12; Border Security Force (BSF) 112; Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) 107; Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) 112, 114; Chhattisgarh, incidents in 112; Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) 112, 114; conflict in 2012, trends of 116–19; conflict management, strategies for 119– 20; Construction/Strengthening of Fortified Police Stations Scheme 107; economic targets by LWE 104–6; fatalities related to 101; Indo-Tibetan Border Force (ITBP) 112; Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for dealing with 108, 120; Jharkhand, incidents in 114; Left Wing Extremism (LWE) 101, 104–6, 113; Maharashtra, incidents in 113; Maoist network of ‘sleeper cells’ 110; Odisha, incidents in 114– 15; People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) 100; principal actors in 100; Road Requirement Plan-I 108, 120; Scheme for Modernization of State Police Forces (MPF scheme) and 107; Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme for

Index  N  247 107, 109; Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS) 107; special schemes for Naxal-affected areas 108; state actors in 107–16; state governments affected by 109–16; statewise left wing extremist violence 102; Strategic United Front 100; West Bengal, incidents in 115–16 Nellie riots 60 Nepal: Army Integration Special Committee (AISC) 128–29; CA Committee on State Restructuring and High Level Commission 135; Comprehensive Peace Accord (2006) 137; constitutional vacuum and rule of law 133–35; economic growth 127; federalism, issues on 135–36; foreign direct investment (FDI) 127; Maoist movement in 9; Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 130; Nepalese Army (NA) 128; Nepali Congress (NC) 129; Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHDI) 130; People’s Liberation Army (PLA) 128–29; poverty index in 130; Rastriya Prajatantra Party 131; secularism, issue of 136–38; separation of powers, principle of 131; Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) 131–32; Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) 128; United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) 129; United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) 129; Ne Win, General 72 Northeast India, insurgencies in: achievements and failures of 199– 203; Adivasi insurgencies 50; antiforeigners agitation in Assam 56; anti-talk factions, violence by 197–98; Assam insurgency 49–50; Bodo Accord (2003) 50, 194; Bodo–Adivasi clashes 59;

Bodo insurgency 50; Border Security Force (BSF) and 55; ceasefire ground rules, violation of 196–97; Ceasefire Monitoring Group 197; and challenges to peace process 191–92; conflict in 2012, major trends in 56–58; conflict management 58–67; counter-insurgency operations 55, 58, 66; criminal gangs, growth of 208–9; factionalism among insurgent groups 65; fatalities due to 201; fratricidal clashes 203; Garoland, demand for 52; Indo-Naga talks 213; insurgent activity and counter-insurgency measures 57–58; insurgent groups declaring ceasefire 205; inter-ethnic rivalry 51; Islamist militancy 60– 61; jungle warfare and guerilla tactics 48; laying down of arms by insurgent groups 200–201; in Manipur 50; in Meghalaya 51– 52; Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) 195; Mizo Accord (1986) 190, 200; new insurgent groups, growth of 207–8; Nine Point Agreement (Akbar Hydari Agreement) 48–49; peace process leading to further conflict 193–96; principal actors 52–56; and reduction in insurgency-related violence 201; Sengkrak movement 51; Shillong Accord (1975) 49, 193, 203; ‘split and rule’, policy of 65; and splitting of insurgent outfits 192–93, 202; stakeholders, involvement of 203; and surrendered rebels joining the mainstream 202; Suspension of Operations (SoO) 54, 191; tripartite ceasefire agreement 202; in Tripura 51 Obama, Barack 17, 29, 32; Afghanistan– Pakistan strategy 39; visit to Myanmar 84

248  N  Index Odisha Maobadi Party (OMP) 114, 119 Odisha, Naxal violence in 114–15 opium poppy cultivation, in Myanmar 86–88 Pakistan: collaboration in the peace process in Afghanistan 44; cooperation with Taliban leadership 43; Gross Domestic Product (GDP) 15; Hatf missiles 16; lawyer’s agitation in 8–9; Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) 173; polio vaccination 14; relations with US 32; struggle against jihadi terrorism 13; US– Pakistan Joint Commission on reconciliation 45; violence against Shi’a shrines 14 Panchayati Raj institutions 172, 187– 88 Panetta, Leon 23–24 Paris conference (2012), France 42 Peer Panchal 176, 179, 183 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) 50, 128 People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI) 114, 119 People’s Liberation Front of Meghalaya (PLF-M) 52 People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) 50 People’s United Liberation Front (PULF) 51, 60 People’s War (People’s War Group) 99, 137 Phizo, Angami Zhapu 48 Positive Peace Index (PPI) 140 Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) 183 ‘Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict’ report (2012) 25, 133 Public Service Guarantee Act, India 181 Rabbani, Burhannudin 39, 43–44 Rajapaksa, Gotabhaya 152

Rajapakse, Mahinda 12, 142, 145, 148–52, 155 Rajkhowa, Arabinda 49, 205 Ramesh, Jairam 111, 115, 183 Rastriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) 136 Reang, Dhananjoy 51 Rhino, Operation 50 Rohingiya Muslims 61, 80, 84–85 SAARC Summit, Islamabad 165 Salah-ud-din, Syed 173–74 Sangharsh Jan Mukti Morcha (SJMM) 119 Santhal Tiger Force (STF) 191, 201, 208 Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act (2006), India 108 Sein, Thein 69, 76, 81, 84–85, 96– 97 Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) 96 Shan State Army (SSA) 70–71, 74 Sher-i-Kashmir Employment & Welfare Programme for Youth (SKEWPY) 184–85 Shillong Accord (1975) 49, 193, 203 Shinde, Sushil Kumar 118, 199, 218 Shwe dual pipeline project 78 Sibal, Kanwal 166–68 Singh, Manmohan 117, 165, 167, 177 Singh, Okram Ibobi 220 South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) 7, 17, 19– 20, 165 Sri Lanka, peace process in: ‘13th Amendment Plus Plus’ 155; All Party Representative Committee (APRC) 151; ceasefire agreement (CFA) 153; Civil Defence Force 144; concept and methodology for 139–41; demilitarization strategy

Index  N  249 for 145; democratization strategy for 148–50; Divi Neguma Bill (2012) 149; economic indicators for 140; Eelam War IV 139, 145, 153; foreign direct investments 146; high security zones (HSZs) 141–42, 145; ‘Humanitarian Mission — 02’ 142; human rights abuse and 140, 145; Indo-Sri Lankan Accord (1987) 151; internally displaced persons (IDPs) 139–40, 147; ‘liberation of the East’ 147; Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) see Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE); Nagenahira Navodaya and 147; National Action Plan for the Reintegration of Ex-combatants 142; Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) 149, 152; Plan of Action for 144; political aspects of 148– 50; post-war reconstruction 147; recommendations for 154–58; rehabilitation programme for LTTE cadres 143–44, 155, 157; Uthuru Wasanthaya and 147; war crimes and 153 Suu Kyi, Aung San 85, 95 Taliban 13, 21–22, 24–25, 32, 40; Al Farooq spring offensive (2012) 26, 38–39; Kyoto conference (2012), Japan 42; Paris conference (2012), France 42; participation in international forums 41–43; rule in Afghanistan (1996–2001) 21; safe havens in Pakistan 43; trilateral and bilateral meetings and agreements 43–44; US–Taliban talks 40–41 Tamil National Alliance (TNA) 148– 49, 152, 156 Tatmadaw (Myanmarese Armed Forces) 76–77, 79 Tehreek-e-Hurriyat 173, 188

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) 14 Tokyo Conference Declaration 22 ‘Udaan’ programme 184 Unified Communist Party of NepalMaoist (UCPN-M) 128–29 United Democratic Front (UDF) 218 United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) 129 United Jehad Council, Pakistan 173– 74, 188 United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) 53, 191; anti-talks faction of 58, 63, 198, 207; decimation of 63; formation of 49, 60; Indian Army operations against 49–50; peace talks 64 United Naga Council (UNC) 56, 220 United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) 70, 91–92 United National Liberation Front (UNLF) 50, 52–53 United National Party (UNP) 148 United Nations (UN) 21, 83; Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) 25–26; Children’s Fund (UNICEF) 143; Development Program (UNDP) 37; General Assembly 43, 133; High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 139; Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) 167; Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) 129; Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 86–87; Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 133 United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) 52–53, 63–64, 192, 195, 199, 205 United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) 146, 148–49, 152 United States (US) 3–4; Department of Defense (DOD) 34

250  N  Index US–Pakistan Joint Commission on reconciliation 45 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (1967), India 107 Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) 6 Vajpayee, Atal Behari 165 vicious cycle, of ethnic conflict 59, 63, 211 Weimar Constitution 134

West Bengal, Naxal violence in 115– 16 World Bank 35, 96, 128 World Baptist Alliance 223 Worldwide Governance Indicators 133 yaba (crazy drug) 86, 88 Yadav, Ram Baran 125 Yousafzai, Malala, shooting of 13 Zardari, Asif Ali 15, 43, 166 Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) 215–16