Bihar: Maoists Surge
Deepak Kumar Nayak Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management
On March 14, 2017, a man identified as Kaushal Paswan (30) was shot dead by Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres near Mahuraushan village in the Gaya District of Bihar. Superintendent of Police (SP), City, Avakash Kumar disclosed that Paswan, a native of Pashewa village, was a member of an anti-Maoist outfit - Bhakt Sangharsh Samiti - formed in 2016 by some Dalits as a vigilante group against Maoists, after they had killed some members of the Bhuian and Paswan communities during the State Assembly polls in 2015.
J&K: Testing the Peace
On March 5, 2017, two terrorists and a Policeman were killed and five Security Force (SF) personnel, including an Army Major, were injured during an encounter in the Tral area of Pulwama District. The slain terrorists were identified as Aqib Molvi of Tral and Umar from Pakistan.
Meghalaya: Dramatic Gains, Lingering Dangers
On February 25, 2017, a Police team that included newly constituted Special Force (SF)-10 commandos, in an encounter, killed the 'commander-in-chief' of the now-disbanded United Achik Liberation Army (UALA), Singbirth N. Marak aka Norok. X. Momin, at a hideout located inside a forest near Thapa Matronggre village in North Garo Hills District. Marak, along with other cadres of the UALA had surrendered before the Meghalaya Government on June 9, 2016, and had started living a 'normal life' after the group was disbanded. However, he reportedly escaped to the neighboring State of Assam after Meghalaya Police started looking for him following the arrest of one suspect, along with a cache of arms, on November 12, 2016, and surrender of three other suspects on November 13, 2016.These suspects subsequently disclosed that the arms were meant for the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) and they were working under Marak's instructions to provide the weapons to this militant formation.
Odisha: Persistent Anxieties
On February 2, 2017, Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres killed a civilian, identified as Dasru Durua, at Bara village under the Mathili Police limits of Malkangiri District.
Punjab: Two-faced on Counterterrorism
The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Punjab Police in Pakistan killed the new leader of the sectarian terrorists Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Asif Chotu akaRizwan, along with three associates, during an intelligence-based operation near the Sheikhupura Bypass in the Sheikhupura District of Punjab in the early hours of January 17, 2017. Three other terrorists managed to escape. CTD recovered arms, ammunition and explosive material from the possession of slain terrorists. The killings came 18 months after CTD had shot dead long-time LeJ chief Malik Ishaq in an encounter on July 29, 2015. Asif Chotu had been named in over 100 murder cases and had a bounty of PKR three million on his head. According to a CTD statement, the LeJ leader was hatching a plot to target the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif: "Big chapters of terrorism, target killings have been closed today. These terrorists were merciless killing machines."
Arunachal Pradesh: Relative Peace Persists
On December 14, 2016, Security Forces (SFs) killed two cadres of the Independent faction of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA-I), identified as Deep Moran and Noga Moran, during an encounter at Dharmapur village under Maio Police Station in Changlang District. SFs also managed to arrest six other ULFA-I cadres, including two women, during the operation. One AK-47 rifle and one pistol were recovered from the possession of the arrested militants. It was suspected that the slain militants were involved in the ambush at Pengaree near Digboi in Tinsukia District, Assam, on November 19, 2016, in which three Army personnel were killed.
On December 24, 2016, two Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) terrorists were killed during an operation, codenamed 'Ripple 24' at Ashkona in the Dakhkhin Khan area of the capital city, Dhaka. Two women, Jebunnahar Shila, wife of ex-army Major Zahid who was killed in a 'gunfight' with law enforcers at Roopnagar in the capital on September 2, 2016; and Trishna, wife of absconding JMB leader Musa, along with two children, surrendered to Police.
Maoists: Desperate Measures
On December 16, 2016, Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres hacked Dharmendra Kudami (33) to death in the Kurrempara area of Metapal village in the Dantewada District of Chhattisgarh on the suspicion of being a 'police informer'. Kudami's wife Ratna Kudami is the sarpanch (head of the Panchayat, the village local-self government institution) of Metapal village. An unnamed Police officer disclosed, "A group of Maoists, armed with bows and arrows, axes and knives stormed into the victim's house and murdered Dharmendra in front of his family. Though the exact reason for the attack is yet to be ascertained, preliminary investigation suggests the ultras accused him of being a police informer."