Assam: Troubles Persist
Nijeesh N. Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management
On December 31, 2016, one militant belonging to the I.K. Songbijit faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB-IKS), identified as Aalai Ram Brahma aka Anthai Brahma was killed in an encounter by the Indian Army at Dhopguri village under the Orang Police Station of Udalguri District. The militant was injured in a fierce exchange of fire, and later the same day succumbed to his injuries at Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH).
Manipur: Troubles amidst Gains
On December 20, 2016, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) announced that around 4,000 additional paramilitary personnel had been sent to the State of Manipur, which was experiencing increasing turmoil, as violent protests and an 'indefinite economic blockade' on the two National Highways (Imphal-Dimapur NH 2 and Imphal-Jiribam NH 37), that serve as lifelines to the State, completed almost two months. The economic blockade was launched on November 1, 2016, by the United Naga Council (UNC) - the apex body of the Naga community in Manipur - in protest against the State Government's decision to carve out new Districts from the existing nine in the State, especially from the Naga-dominated hill areas of Manipur. Worse, the Meitei dominated valley people started a 'counter-economic blockade' in protest against the UNC's economic blockade, leading to violence in the area. During the ongoing indefinite economic blockade, the State has recorded several violent incidents and a number of vehicles have been torched or vandalized by the protesters. The landlocked State has also been undergoing severe hardship in the supply of essential commodities as the main highways are blocked by protesters.
Dance of Death
Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed the death sentences of 13 'hardcore terrorists' on December 16, 2016. These 13 were involved in heinous offences related to terrorism, including the slaughter of innocent civilians, officials of law enforcement agencies and the armed forces, an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release said. According to ISPR, the convicted terrorists were involved in the planning and execution of the Bacha Khan, Parade Lane mosque, Marriott Hotel and World Vision NGO attacks, as well as an attack on an educational institution at Nawagai, Buner. "On the whole, they were involved in killing 325 persons and in causing injuries to 366 others. Firearms and explosives were also recovered from their possession. These convicts were tried by military courts," the statement added.
Manipur: Volatility Persists in Chandel
On December 15, 2016, at least three Manipur Police personnel were killed and another 11 were injured when suspected militants ambushed road opening parties (ROPs) of the Manipur Police at two different places in Chandel District. The first ambush occurred at around 6 am [IST] near the Lokchao Bridge in Lokchao village. Two Police constables were killed and 11 were wounded. M-79 grenade launcher shells and spent bullets of M-16 assault rifles were recovered from the ambush site. Around two hours later, a Police team coming from the State capital, Imphal, was attacked in the Bongyang area of the same District, and one Policeman on ROP duty was killed. Though no outfit has claimed the attacks so far, based on a report filed by State Director General of Police (DGP) L.M. Khaute, the Manipur Government sent a report to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) on December 16, 2016, stating that the Isak-Muivah faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) was suspected to be behind the twin attacks. Chandel District shares a border with Myanmar.
On December 5, 2016, the International Crimes Tribunal-1 (ICT-1) handed down the death penalty to Edris Ali Sardar aka Gazi Edris (67), a leader of the Islami Chhatra Sangha, the then student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), for crimes committed during the Liberation War in 1971. Sulaiman Mollah aka Soleman Moulvi (84) was also charged along with Sardar, but the Tribunal did not hold him responsible for the crimes as he had died of old age complications on October 26, 2016, during the closing arguments of the case. Edris has been on the run. Four charges including death in two charges, imprisonment for life in one and seven-year jail term in another charge were proved beyond doubt against Edris. The first charge that earned Edris death was for killing 200 Hindu people by firing shots indiscriminately on May 22, 1971, in Shariatpur District. The second charge that earned him death was for killing 20 Hindu people on May 23, 1971, in Madaripur District. The third charge that earned him life in prison was for torturing and killing Lalit Mohan Kundu and Shuresh Goon by stabbing with a bayonet in mid June 1971, in Shariatpur District. Edris was also awarded seven years of rigorous imprisonment on a fourth charge, for intimidating around 1,500 people into leaving Bangladesh between March 25 and December 10, 1971.
On November 29, 2016, the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre (CPN-Maoist Centre)-led Government registered a seven-point Constitution Amendment Bill at the Parliament Secretariat, seeking to amend the Constitution which was adopted in a historical step on September 20, 2015, to address the concerns of Madhes-based parties. The Amendment Bill proposed to leave only six Districts, Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Kapilbastu, Dang, Banke and Bardiya in Province 5, excluding the six hill Districts of Palpa, Arghakhanchi, Gulmi, Rukum, Rolpa and Pyuthan, to add them to Province 4. The Bill also seeks to amend the Constitutional provisions pertaining to citizenship, provincial border, and proportional representation, among others. Later, a Cabinet meeting held the same evening decided to form a High-Level Delineation Commission to settle all issues related to the delineation of Provinces after making a comprehensive study of all past agreements and reports submitted by various commissions. The Government had prepared the Amendment Bill in order to address the demands put forth by the agitating Madhesi parties, as the alliance of Madhesi parties had served an ultimatum, which ended on November 28, 2016, to bring an amendment proposal.
Just after 5:30 am AST [Afghanistan Standard Time] on November 12, 2016, terrorists carried out an explosion at Bagram Airfield in the Bagram District of Parwan Province, the largest United Stated (US) military base in Afghanistan. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which is heading the Resolute Support Mission (RSM) in Afghanistan, issued a statement that "An explosive device was detonated on Bagram Airfield resulting in multiple casualties. Four people have died in the attack and approximately 14 have been wounded." No one has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.
SIMI: Fatal Jailbreak
Eight cadres of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) fled from the Bhopal Central Jail in Madhya Pradesh (MP) at around 2 to 3am in the morning of October 31, 2016, after killing a security guard, Head Constable Ramashankar, by slitting his throat with steel plate and glass after overpowering him. The escapees were identified as Mohammad Aqeel Khilji aka Abdullah, Sheikh Mehboob akaGuddu aka Malik, Amazad Khan aka Pappu aka Daud aka Umer, Zakir Hussain Sadiq aka Vicky Don aka Vinay Kumar, Mohammad Salik aka Sallu, Mohammad Khalid Ahmad, Mujeeb Sheikh aka Akram aka Wasim aka Nawed aka Nitin akaFaizan aka Chintoo aka Yusuf, and Abdul Majid.