News Wrap


Twelve major ports in India are managed by the Port Trust of India, under Central Government jurisdiction, and guarded by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). 139 operable minor ports are under the jurisdiction of the respective state governments. Though they are prime targets for terror and vulnerable to smuggling of radiological ‘dirty bombs’ or weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the public sector managed ports in the country are reluctant to invest in modernizing their security infrastructure, owing to mounting losses. Recommendations of Intelligence Bureau (IB) to strengthen port security have remained unimplemented. Most Indian ports are still not equipped with container scanners, radiological detectors, modern access control systems or anti-intrusion devices to strengthen their perimeter security. Most locations of ports are in highly urbanized areas, involving big security challenges to their landside perimeter. Security infrastructure at most of the Indian ports is archaic. Most of them are located at some distance from schools. The public sector ports are incurring losses. The high cost of inspecting all ship containers lead to shipping delays inherent in the process.

Plantation Tamils
Since the beginning of the 20th century, Indian Plantation Tamils, were working as rubber tappers in rubber plantations in Peenkande and Ratnapura of Sri Lanka. The early 1970s witnessed a repatriation of Indian Tamils from plantations in Sri Lanka. The repatriated plantation Tamils were settled in Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka. From the beginning of the 1970s, they continued to live there and work on rubber plantations. Thousands of Tamils of Indian origin, were repatriated from Sri Lankan plantations to Karnataka between 1972 and 1974. 988 families of ‘Plantation Tamils’ were resettled in rubber plantations in Putter and Sullia Taluks of Dakshina Kannada district of coastal Karnataka. Employed by the Karnataka Forest Development Corporation (KFDC) for working on rubber plantations, the original repatriates, along with their descendents continue to live in the region. Owing to their unique historical legacy, the repatriates face a problem of identity, and other social and economic deprivations.

The older plantation workers posses their birth certificates and passports issued in Sri Lanka. Such passports are valid only for direct travel between India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and may not be used for travel to any other country. The ‘National Status’ clause clearly states that the bearer is a citizen of India. Voter identity cards, birth certificates and ‘Above Poverty Line’ ration cards providing three litres of cooking oil, have been issued to the repatriates. While their Indian citizenship is not contested, the repatriates have been refused caste certificates over the past decade. The repatriates colonies are deep inside rubber plantations.

Genocidal Anarchy
Conflict continues in the Central African Republic, one of the African continent’s poorest and most troubled nations. The murders of early September 2013, near Bossangoa in the North West of the country, form part of a growing pattern of genocidal atrocities. The vast landlocked nation of 5.1 million people, was ruled for thirteen years until 1979 of Jean-Dedel Bokassa, one of Africa’s most notorious tyrants. Anarchy and the spiralling cycle of blood letting shows little sign of abating, as Muslims and Christians butcher one another. The country is being torn apart by rebels, ragtag groups of militiamen, and a president, Michel Djotodia, whose power barely extends beyond his palace. Joseph Kony, the Ugandan warlord who leads the Lord’s Resistance Army, has a $5 million (3 million pound) bounty on his head on charges of rape, mutilation and murder. He is hiding in the Central African Republic. In the capital, Bangui, most shops are closed, and residents are too scared to venture on to the streets after dark. Assassinations and kidnap are almost daily occurrences. The disorder has drawn in some of the region’s most violent Islamic extremists. There are fears that the Boko Haram, the Nigerian terrorist group, known for its slaughter of thousands of Christians and its bloody attacks on school children has moved into the Central African Republic, and is involved in attacks on Westerners. A rebel alliance, known as the Seleka, strengthened by mercenaries from Chad and Sudan, has since March 2013, embarked on an orgy of looting and killing. The rebels, who include children as young as twelve, have burnt down churches and villages, raped girls in front of their parents, killed mothers still clutching their babies, and hacked civilians to death with their machetes. Responding to the atrocities, motley bands of vigilantes, made up of peasants and some soldiers loyal to former president Francois Bozize have begun to wage an armed resistance, in the north and west.

Vol. 46, No. 27, Jan 12 -18, 2014

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