News Wrap


On 27 July 2019, seven Maoists, including three women, were killed in an encounter in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh state. The encounter took place near Tiriya, sear the Odisha border, between the Maoists and members of the District Reserve Guard, and the Special Task Force, as well as the CRPF. There are no reports of any injures or fatalities to security personnel. Security acted on specific intelligence of a team of Maoists, Numbering between 40 and 50, in the jungles near Tiriya –Machkot, under Nagamar police station limits. One INSAS rifle, four 303 rifles, and other muzzle loading weapons and camping material, have been recovered from the spot. The Maoists are driven by a desire to create a better world for all, to share wealth amongst the many, and not just the few. This vision of an egalitarian future, guides their daily practice. The Adivasis of the forests eastern and central India have experienced the Indian state as quite oppressive. The state consists of policemen and forest guards, the armies of CRPF and BSF who raid villages, beat villagers calling them "Junglis" (Savages), take away land and forests, and incarcerate villagers on charges of being Maoists, without trial. The Maoists initially won the sympathy of the forest dwellers by driving away forest guards, setting up health camps, promoting education, raising the wages of "Kendu" leaf collection, and giving contractorship to local men. In the Naxal heartlands, the Maoists argue that armed resistance is the only option left to fight against the enormity of structural violence, the everyday institutional violence of poverty, inequality, social injustice and neglect, faced by the oppressed people in India.

Within the Adivasi forest villages of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Maharashtra and Telengana, the Indian state's military domination, has reduced the territory that the Maoists can live in to very small pockets. On 03 Aug 2019, seven Naxals, including five women were killed in an encounter with security forces in the Sitagota-serpa forest area, under Baghnadi police station area, in Chhattisgarh's Rajnandgaon district. Arms were seized from the spot by security forces.

Rising Militancy In Jammu And Kashmir
Military continues to be on the rise in the districts of South Kashmir, and is now dominated by locals, who are picking up guns. There have been no reports of cross border action or infiltration across the Line of Control (LOC) in summer 2019, with a majority of ceasefire violations from small arms firing on security forces. Among the 100 incidents initiated by militants in the first half of the year, 33 of them were in Pulwama, 23 in Shopian, 15 in Anantnag, and 10 in Srinagar districts. A majority of these incidents are of militants firing on security forces, detonation of improvised explosive devices (IED), throwing petrol bombs, weapons snatching, and abductions. There have been 228 recorded incidents of stone petting, 346 incidents of civilian protests, 10 bandh calls given in the first six months of 2019, which saw the conduct of Lok Sabha elections, in multiple phases for security reasons. Of the 12.1 militants killed in Jammu and Kashmir by security forces in the first half of 2019, only 21 were from Pakistan, which means that 82% of the militants killed in the state were locals. 76 locals picked up guns in the first half of 2019, with 39 of them joining Hizbul Mujahidin and 21 Jaish-e-Mohammad. The majority of those who joined militancy were from South Kashmir, districts, viz Pulwama, Shopian, Anantnag and Kulgam, between Jan and June this year. During the same period, security forces have lost 71 men in Jandk, and 115 of them have been injured.

On 26 July, 2019, the Union government of India decided to dispatch 25,000 military—reinforcement personnel to Kashmir, to strengthen the counter-intelligence grid, as well as for maintaining law and order. Security authorities maintain that additional requisition of forces has been made to make up for the 200 companies that need to proceed to their battalions for mandatory training exercises. Uncertainty has spread over large parts of Kashmir Valley after the deployment of additional forces Political leaders feel this could the part of the plan to abrogate Article 35A. People in many areas are panic buying essential items.

Protests In Moscow
President Vladimir Putin has been in power in Russia, as either President or Prime Minister since 1999. He won a landslide re-election victory and a new six-year term in office, in 2018. His popularity has dipped since then, because of an unpopular pensions reform, and five straight years of falling, real incomes. Russia has a tightly controlled political system. Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was jailed for 30 days on 24 July 2019, ahead of 27 July 2019 protests, and other members of the opposition have previously had their homes searched. Jailed opposition leader Alexi Navalny had called for protests, near the Moscow mayor's office, to pressure authorities to allow opposition minded candidates to run in an 8 Sep 2019 local vote in Moscow, which they have been barred from. Authorities say the local election candidates were prohibited from running, because they had failed to collect a sufficient number of genuine signatures in their support, an allegation the opposition rejects as false. At the unsanctioned rally in central Moscow Russian police detained more than 600 people on 27 July 2019, including prominent opposition activities. The protestswere attended by thousands of people. Some of those detained appeared to be ordinary passersby, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The police detained activists to prevent them from attending the protests and blocked off some central streets to help them control the situation. Under Russian law, the location and timing of such protests needs to be agreed with the authorities beforehand, something that was not done in this case. The election to select members of Moscow city's parliament is not a national one. Opposition activists view it as an opportunity to try to gain a Foothold in the Russian capital, where Kremlin backed candidates have proved less popular in the past, than in other parts of the country. Some 3500 people took part in the unauthorized protests on 27 July 2019. Riot police arrested almost 1400 people, as they gathered at Moscow's Trubnaya square on 28 July 2019.

Maoist Rebels In Nepal
The Communist Party of Nepal Maoists (CPN-M) led by Netra Bikram Chand Biplab, is a group that the Nepal Government has declared unlawful. Biplab's outfit has accused its parent Maoist party, which merged with Nepal Prime Minister KPO Li's party to form the ruling Nepal Communist Party, of compromising on the basic principles and mission of the "People's War". The CPN-M allegedly targeted 23 telecommunication towers in different parts of Nepal on 01 Aug 2019, signaling that it is determined to continue its armed rebellion against the state. The simultaneous attacks partially damaged some of the towers. The CPN-M was part of the decade long insurgency from 1996. Although the group has not owned responsibility for the incident, police have pinned the blame on them.

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Vol. 52, No. 7, Aug 18 - 24, 2019