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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fire in the northeast

Published on :-14 Jun 2008,

Seeing the Darjeeling hills simmer with unrest and the army patrolling to keep peace, tourists are naturally heading to other places. The demand for Gorkhaland has again hogged the headlines and new faces and names have come up leading this unruly movement better known for the leadership of Subash Ghising. Now he is growing old and hence new faces have emerged. To register their presence, they find it fruitful to get more bitter, hateful and violent.

That's the comrade-ruled land of West Bengal, adjoining Nepal, an area that recently fell to the bloodthirsty and now power-hungry red brigade of Maoism. Just two days ago, a camp of a Hindu organisation near Ganga Sagar, a pilgrim centre of great significance, was attacked by a communally charged crowd. The result was that the state govt. accused the victims themselves of fomenting trouble and none of the attackers was arrested.

So which part of India is safe and can be visited for a pilgrimage and a Bharat dekho tour? From Kashmir to Kamakhya (Assam) and Jaipur to Darjeeling, Jihadis and Maoists have left their ugly marks. Manipur, famous for heavenly lakes and Krishna's legacy, is in the grip of anti-India, anti-anything Hindu terror outfits. So is the condition in Nagaland and Tripura. Are they going the way of Malaysia – another place which has seen anti-Hindu repression by the state?

Beyond Darjeeling the entire northeast is a region of enchanting natural panorama and religious pilgrimage. But you can't even think of going there for a holiday. Recently a new wave of killings was reported from the Karbi Anglong area of Assam. An organization known as the Black Widows killed 11 labourers and workers on May 15 in the North Cachar hills. This was said to be in retaliation against the army's action that saw 12 Black Widow terrorists eliminated. The same day, Black Widow gunmen killed 10 truck drivers who were bringing daily supplies to the interior areas.

Why should a terrorist organization be known as Black Widows? Is there any virtue in it, as the terrorists are known to find, the way they named their gang of murderers as Lashkar-e-Toiba or Jaish-e-Mohammad? The name, 'Black Widows', doesn't convey anything like that. It instantly attracts media attention though none has been authoritatively able to tell the reason behind such a weird name. One half-baked explanation is that a terrorist organization, Hmar Peoples' Convention, had killed 18 Dimasas in 1995 in Karbi Anglong, widowing 18 women. To avenge that, the Dimasas formed a group that later on became known as Black Widows.

This group, a breakaway faction from the original organization called Dima Halim Daogah (DHD) is headed by Jewel Garlossa. The outfit was formed by Pranab Nunisa. When Nunisa's group surrendered to the government in 2003 and started peace talks, Jewel under the influence of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isaac-Muivah) (NSCN-IM) parted ways, took an anti-talks position and entered into an agreement with his Naga Christian patrons that meant his group would support Nagalim (a Greater Nagaland with areas from Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh merging into it. Nagalim is clearly viewed by the NSCN as a state for Christ). Jewel also happens to be a Christian. When the tragedy occurred, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi chose to go on a trip to China and after a fortnight, sent his junior-most minister to probe the massacre.

More than the lack of timely help and sympathies is the attitude that hurts the most and turns even the soft-spoken shy tribal into a dreaded terrorist. The foreign powers, always in a search of such alienated sections, immediately seize their chance and spread their terror network.

Having failed in his duty to protect the Dimasas, Gogoi alleged that the BJP-ASDC (Autonomous State Demand Committee) run North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council was helping the Black Widows and announced an inquiry. But soon an executive member of the Autonomous Council, Mohet Hojai, issued a statement that revealed that the Congress had created the Dima Halim Daogah. Same story, different area. Remember when Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale had come to Delhi brandishing his AK-47s Congress leaders had chosen to look the other way and Rajiv Gandhi had issued his famous one liner – 'he is a saint'. From Bhindrawale to Raj Thackeray and Black Widows, vote bank politics has proved more murderous than any war waged on us from outside.

Have you ever asked yourself why India's best and most beautiful places are under terror attack? What should have been the natural course for all patriotic Indians in such a situation? To join hands, forget their internal differences and defeat the enemy of the nation, which obviously belongs to all Indians. The anti-national insurgent should have been the target of every Indian party – BJP, Congress, the Samajwadi Party, BSP and the others. Should the matter of how anti-nationals, pronounced enemies of our beloved motherland, be treated become a matter of debate? Should a wicked and unrepentant traitor be made a hero in the media and a debate be launched to re-discuss whether he should be hanged? Shouldn't the Home Minister show some spine and offer to be a hangman for the person who attacked Parliament and waged a war against the nation?

But the traitor is not amused and is teasing the secular nincompoops from inside the jail and the Home Minister issues an annual report that's a bahi khata, a ledger of shame. Every single war against terror, waged by the initiative of brave forces, has been turned into a defeat for the sake of votes. A Times of India front page report said Afzal is not being hanged for fear of annoying the minorities. How can any Indian group, belonging to any faith, feel bad to see an anti-national going to the gallows at the orders of the country’s Supreme Court?

Look, the face of India. The army is deployed to keep peace in Sikkim, it is ordered to face the criminal gangs of the northeast working under various garbs of faith and is also deployed in internal and border security duties in the Valley. Yet we say we are a dynamic democracy surging ahead!

The Ministry of Home Affairs website states its functions thus – "The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) discharges multifarious functions, important among them being the maintenance of internal security. Article 355 of the Constitution enjoins the Union to ensure that the government of every state is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution."

But who is shouldering this responsibility? The list of banned organizations in India released by the MHA makes an interesting study. Most of them are either Communist, Islamic jihadis, or Church-supported Northeastern outfits. For the purpose of record I am reproducing the list of banned organisations as is published in the annual report of the Ministry of Home Affairs:

1) United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA)

2) National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in Assam

3) People's Liberation Army (PLA)

4) United National Liberation Front (UNLF)

5) People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (Prepak)

6) Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP)

7) Kanglei Yaol Kanba Lup (KYKL)

8) Manipur People's Liberation Front (MPLF)

9) Revolutionary People's Front (RPF) in Manipur

10) All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF)

11) National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) in Tripura

12) Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC)

13) Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC) in Meghalaya

14) Babbar Khalsa International

15) Khalistan Commando Force

16) International Sikh Youth Federation

17) Lashkar-e-Toiba/ Pasban-e-Ahle Hadis

18) Jaish-e-Mohammad/ Tahrik-E-Furqan

19) Harkat-ul-Mujahideen/ Harkar-Ul-Ansar/ Karkat-Ul-Jehad-E-Islami

20) Hizb-ul-Mujahideen/ Hizb-ul-Mujahideen Pir Panjal Regiment

21) Al-Umar-Mujahideen

22) Jammu And Kashmir Islamic Front

23) Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

24) Students’ Islamic Movement of India

25) Deendar Anjuman

26) Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)-People's War; all its formations and front organisations

27) Maoist Communist Centre (MCC), all its formations and front organisations

28) Al Badr

29) Jamiat-ul-Mujahidden

30) Al-Qaida

31) Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DEM)

32) Tamil Nadu Liberation Army (TNLA)

33) Tamil National Retrieval Troops (TNRT)

34) Akhil Bharat Nepali Ekta Samaj (ABNES)

The ban on these outfits in fact is nothing but a mockery of law as most of these organisations are active under different names. In the northeast, banned organisations like ULFA issue press statements and call the Army an "occupational army"; in Nagaland, a terrorist and separatist organization like the NSCN (IM) has its headquarters in Hebron where it 'celebrates' its "republic day" inviting journalists from Delhi and Kolkata; in Jammu and Kashmir, the government has announced pensions for the family of terrorists killed in encounters with security forces!

The seriousness of the ministry can be gauged by the way it maintains its presence on the internet. The first page of its website shows two columns, 'New' and 'Tenders'. But in the 'New' column, supposedly dedicated to the ministry's activities, the tenders have got mixed up, presenting a hilarious list. So after the Jaipur blasts, it is "finalising of rates of tender", and after "minister of state for home affairs", you suddenly find "purchase of boot polish and boot brushes" and so on.

It shows nothing but a casual attitude towards the most serious business of state affairs.

We can choose our concerns and our dinner tables. Be happy seeing Indians in the Forbes list, clap when an Indian tycoon builds the most fabulous highrise private residence, or an Indian multinational purchases corporate giants in UK, Sweden and US. If that makes you happy, please go ahead and giggle. The other side is the northeastern cauldron. Run by insurgents, Bangladeshi infiltrators, terrorists and their accomplice: corrupt politicians. That too is India. Enough reason to smile?

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