Nagaland: Encouraging but Frag...
Giriraj Bhattacharjee Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management
In his address to the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) cadres at Camp Hebron on March 21, 2017, the group's 'headquarters', on the outfit's 38th 'Republic Day', 'general secretary' Thuingaleng Muivah declared, "NSCN had consultative meetings with the people on talks consecutively for eight times. The historic Framework Agreement recognizes the unique history, identity, sovereignty and territories of the Nagas. It also recognizes the legitimate right of the Nagas to integration of all Naga territories." The Framework Agreement was signed on August 3, 2015.
Kerala: Lurking Threat
On January 15, 2017, Security Forces (SFs) in Kerala warned that the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) was planning a coordinated movement of its urban and rural forces to strengthen its activities in India's southern States, mainly in Kerala. SFs made this claim on the basis of the review report of the CPI-Maoist's 'South Zonal Committee' (SZC), retrieved by the Police from the site of the November 24, 2016, Nilambur encounter. The report asserted that the Maoists had been able to defeat 'enemy' plans and successfully organize their meeting in the forests of the 'tri-junction area' - connecting Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu - under the protection of People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) Forces, and with the 'support' and 'participation' of people.
On February 8, 2017, six employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were shot dead by terrorists of the Islamic State (IS, formerly, Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham, also Daesh) in the Qoshtapa District of Jawzjan Province. After the killing, ICRC suspended its operations in Afghanistan on February 9, 2017.
Sindh: Fragile Peace
Baba Ladla alias Noor Muhammad, the notorious Lyari gangster who carried a reward of PKR three million, was killed on February 1, 2017, during a shootout with Rangers personnel in the Lyari Town area of Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. Two of Baba Ladla's close associates, Sikandar aka Sikko and Mohammad Yaseen aka Mama, were also killed in the encounter. During the operation, Head Constable Fayyaz and Constable Tufail were also killed. One Kalashnikov, two 9mm pistols and a hand grenade were also recovered from their possession. The "most wanted" suspects had been involved in numerous terrorist incidents, according to a Press Release issued by the Rangers: "Baba Ladla was wanted in more than 74 crimes by Police."
Maharashtra: A Fading Red
On January 12, 2017, two civilians, Ramesh Atala (27) and Manohar Atala (55), were killed by Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres in Gadchiroli District. A Gadchiroli Police statement disclosed that the Maoists shot the victims claiming they were 'police informers'.
FATA: Smouldering Fire
Registering the first violent incident of the year in the region, 25 people were killed and more than 87 were injured in a bomb blast at the Sabzi Mandi (vegetable market) area of Parachinar in the Kurram Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in the morning of January 21, 2017. A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that the improvised explosive device (IED) blast took place at 08:50am PST. Government official Shahid Khan stated that the explosion took place when the market was crowded with retailers buying fruits and vegetables. In a text message sent to journalists, the al-Alami (International) faction of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LeJ) claimed that it, along with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) splinter Shehryar Mehsud group, carried out the attack. The Shehryar Mehsud group did not independently claim the bombing.
Articulating new hopes of prosperity, coexistence and reconciliation, President Maithripala Sirisena, in his New Year message on January 1, 2017, declared, "The year 2017 dawns with new hopes of prosperity, coexistence and reconciliation in our hearts. It is imperative that we overcome the challenges ahead of us. The progress of the human race was pioneered by people who faced challenges with confidence, utmost courage and determination amidst obstacles. Our goals could be achieved if we manage our work efficiently and productively, and do the right thing at the right time with unwavering commitment to serve the greater good." Similarly, the Leader of the Opposition and of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) R. Sampanthan, in his message of greetings for the New Year, noted, "2017 will be a crucial year in the history of our country. Our expectation is that we should find a permanent and lasting solution to the national question. The new Constitution in the New Year should bring about this achievement."
Though the insurgency has ended in Nepal, political violence continued through 2016. However, not a single insurgency-related fatality was recorded in 2016, and this has been the case since 2013, with not a single insurgency-related fatality on record. At the peak of insurgency, Nepal had seen 4,896 fatalities in 2002 alone, including 3,992 Maoists, 666 Security Force (SF) personnel and 238 civilians.