News Wrap


For moving between Orissa and neighbouring Chattisgarh, the left radical Naxals use the 5791 sq km thickly forested area, known as the jungle corridor—Andhra Pradesh-Orissa Border Axis (AOB). Superintendent of Police, Malkangiri (Orissa) has only 291 personnel for the AOB Axis, implying one policeman for 20 sq km. Additionally, there are Central Security Forces too in the area. Malkangiri is one of the most critical districts affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE) in India. The 910-metre bridge on the Gurupriyo River is merely constructed on paper. If built it would connect at least 22 villages, to the rest of India. The cluster of villages is known to local administration, as the ‘‘cut off’’ area. It has scarcely been administered by the Indian state. The nearest police station is 80 km away, in Andhra Pradesh. The area is a Maoist base, and a fertile recruitment ground for the Maoist cadres. The six gram panchayats in the cut off area have a population of 25000 to 30000. There are two primary health centres in the fringes, and scarcely any development. Soil testing for the bridge began in March 2015. No contractor is ready for the bridge construction tasks. Some times women in labour have to walk 30 km for basic health care. In 2014, the Border Security Force set up a camp near Badapada Gram Panchayat, in the cut off area.

Girl Babies
As in other parts of India, parents in J and K conduct gender tests on babies conceived, and abort them if they happen to be female. In 2011, J and K had 889 females for a thousand males. The sex ratio amongst children was even worse. Haseeb Drabu, Jammu and Kashmir’s new Finance Minister has proposed in his first budget for 2015-16, opening of a savings account for every newly born girl, and a monthly deposit of Rs 1000, for the next fourteen years. The cumulative balance in the account would earn interest. The girl would receive the balance at age 21, which is estimated to be about Rs 650,000. The adult girl could share the kitty with friends, boy friends, or any one else. The scheme should be sufficient disincentive for baby girl killers. The scheme is being experimented first in six J and K districts, with the worst female sex ratios.

Moving Arms
With fears of termination of a 15-year cease-fire agreement in India’s north-east rising, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) has been moving arms and ammunition from Throilo in Nagaland’s Mon district to Nyanching village in Myanmar’s Sagaing division. The cease-fire agreement of April 2000, between the Union Government of India and the NSCN(K), has been under strain with the indiscriminate use of routes through Mon district by Manipur valley based rebel outfits and by the Paresh Barua led ULFA. The NSCN(K) has signed an agreement with the Myanmar government, which allows Yangon not to act against the outfit. Nyanching is about a day’s walk, through the jungles across the border. S S Khaplang, who heads the outfit formed in 1988, after a split in the NSCN is a Myanmarese Naga based in Myanmar, where he holds control over a large area bordering Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, that is inhabited by Nagas. His protection extends to the Manipur valley based People’s Liberation Army, ULFA and the IK Songbijit faction of the Bodo outfit.

Nuclear Deal with Iran
After eight days of marathon talks in Lausanne (Switzerland), in the beginning of April 2015, Iran and world powers reached a framework agreement. Under future accord, Tehran will reduce 19,000 centrifuges to 6,104 installed. Iran has agreed to not enrich Uranium over 3.67% for at least fifteen years. The current stockpile of some 10,000 kg of low enriched Uranium will be reduced by Iran to 300 kg of 3.67% low enriched Uranium for fifteen years. All excess centrifuges and enrichment infrastructure will be placed by Iran in IAE monitored storage, to be used only as replacements. Iran has agreed not to build any new facilities for the purpose of enriching Uranium for fifteen years. Robust inspections of Iran’s Uranium supply chain will last for twenty five years. Only 5060 of Iran’s permitted installed [centrifuges] will be enriching Uranium for ten years. If Iran verifiably abides by its commitments, it will receive economic and oil sanctions relief, amounting to millions of dollars. US and EU nuclear related sanctions will be suspended after IAEA verifies that Iran has taken all of key nuclear related steps. As Iran addresses concerns about its nuclear programme, past UN Security Council Resolutions will be lifted. The nuclear deal marks a major break-through between Iran and the western powers. The deal faces scepticism from conservatives in USA and Iran; and US allies in the Middle East, especially Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Vol. 47, No. 47, May 31 - June 6, 2015