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Clouding of coming SAARC summit

Sadeq Khan

Ahead of the 18th SAARC Summit in Nepal formally announced from November 22 to 27, the heads of governments/states getting together on November 26, the simmering of renewed tension across the Line of Control (Ceasefire line) as well as the international border between India and Pakistan, in Kashmir valley and in Jammu respectively over the 67-year old Kashmir dispute, is clouding the climate of South Asian peace and cooperation.

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Sadeq Khan

Ahead of the 18th SAARC Summit in Nepal formally announced from November 22 to 27, the heads of governments/states getting together on November 26, the simmering of renewed tension across the Line of Control (Ceasefire line) as well as the international border between India and Pakistan, in Kashmir valley and in Jammu respectively over the 67-year old Kashmir dispute, is clouding the climate of South Asian peace and cooperation.

On the day of Hajj in Mecca, October 3, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which is regarded as a legitimate charitable social service by Pakistan and branded as a terrorist outfit by India and USA, addressed a gathering of tens of thousands of people at Liaqatbagh in Rawalpindi, the military headquarters of Pakistan. He warned the public: “India along with Western imperial powers, such as Israel and the US, has been hatching conspiracies against Pakistan by fanning sectarianism in the country. All the political parties should forge unity among their ranks while the nation should also stand along with the Pakistan Army to foil the nefarious designs of enemies and make the defence stronger.” He was obviously giving his reactions to the siege of Islamabad by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led by Cricketer Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek led by Cleric Tahrir-ul-Qadri, that was foiled by united parliamentary condemnation in a joint session of Pakistan’s Senate and National Assembly on October 4, and also to the US-India joint statement at the end of Obama-Modi meeting in Washington on October 30. In the joint statement, the US President and the Indian Prime Minister had specifically spoken against suspected “terrorist” links with the Pakistani establishment as follows: “The leaders stressed the need for joint and concerted efforts, including the dismantling of safe havens for terrorist and criminal networks, to disrupt all financial and tactical support for networks such as al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, the D-Company, and the Haqqanis. They reiterated call for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai to justice.” India accuses Hafiz Muhammad Saeed of being the mastermind behind the Mumbai massacre, but a Pakistani court had dismissed the evidence provided by India as insufficient to incarcarate Hafiz.
On the Eid day, October 5, Pakistan complained of cross-border firing at the LoC in Kashmir that continued unabated through the 3 days of Korbani. “We say yes to peace, but we will not accept hegemony of any country,” Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Khan said after attending a top-level meeting convened by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to discuss tensions along the Line of Control. Khan said the National Security Committee decided to write a letter to the United Nations about the “unprovoked Indian firing” as Muslims in the region were preparing to celebrate the Eid al-Adha holiday.
Pakistan warned New Delhi to refrain from any “adventure.” A statement issued by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s office after the meeting said Pakistan was resolved to respond to any attempts to challenge its territorial integrity and sovereignty “with full force” and that its military was “fully prepared to deal with any adversity at our borders.” Pakistan had taken steps to improve ties with India, but the sincerity demonstrated by Islamabad was not reciprocated.” The “abrupt cancellation” of talks by India and recent clashes were setback to the peace process. Pakistan and India were “aware of each other’s capabilities. War is not an option. It is shared responsibility of the leadership of both countries to immediately defuse the situation.”
New Delhi, on the other hand, accused Pakistan of starting the current skirmishes, saying it wants to create a distraction to help separatist militants infiltrate into Indian-controlled Kashmir. A graphic description of a section of Jammu border was given in a report from New Delhi (Indian Express, October 9) as follows: Bushfire to bullets, face-off threatens to spin out of control. Early on Eid morning, Indian border guards at Pital Post, not far from the small market town of Arnia in Jammu, began their routine march along the giant, barbed-wire border fence that runs from the Rann of Kutch to Kashmir. Like any other day, they wore body armour and carried guns — but this time, they had an unusual message to pass on. Let’s stop firing, it isn’t good for your people or for ours, they had been ordered to shout out to every Pakistani patrol passing by. But before dawn on October 6, mortar shells arched over the border, landing in middle of Arnia and the adjoining hamlet of Mashan-De-Kothe. Lined up at Arnia’s cremation ground that evening were the bodies of five civilians, including 2 women. Like so many of the little wars that erupted on the India-Pakistan frontier in Kashmir, the spark that lit the fire was small: a pile of burning bushes outside the BSF’s Pital Post. The BSF had begun clearing the undergrowth along the border late in the summer, and the Pakistan Rangers had protested, saying the fires threatened their positions. Then, on July 17, constable Sanjay Dhar of the 192 Battalion was shot dead outside Pital Post, killed in a burst that left three of his colleagues, and three more labourers, injured. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had issued orders on June 13 for ceasefire violations to be responded to in strength. And that’s just what the BSF did, firing for days at several Pakistan Ranger positions facing Pital Post, killing at least four Pakistani soldiers. The unusually hard response drew retaliation, with every cycle turning the heat a notch upwards. Each week after, both sides fired thousands of rounds at each other, and clashes reached levels of magnitude higher than anything since India and Pakistan almost went to war in 2001-02. Following the shelling of Arnia, the rules changed and civilians on both sides began to pay the price. In the village of Dhamala, perched near the border east of Sialkot, an ageing woman was shot dead along with a 10-year-old and his four-year-old. In nearby Tulsipur, another senior citizen lost his life. Villagers across the border in Pakistan were targeted in an effort to mount pressure on the Rangers. Fighting raged on a giant arc running from Jammu to Poonch, although Indian commanders have warned the government that a meltdown of the ceasefire would hurt their counter-terrorism efforts in Kashmir, making it impossible to conduct the aggressive patrolling and ambushes that succeeded in eliminating 18 terrorist infiltrators in the last 30 days.
In propaganda war, Indian Ministers expressed almost identical, jingoism as the Ministers of Pakistan. In Delhi, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said on October 9, “Pakistan in these attacks has clearly been the aggressor. If Pakistan persists with this adventurism, our forces will make the cost of this adventurism unaffordable.” Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, “The Prime Minster is monitoring the India-Pakistan situation very closely. “Army and BSF personnel are giving a fitting reply” to Pakistan.
BBC monitors observed the charade of a battle of nerves in public utterances of leaders and media hype over the same by and between the two nuclear armed neighbours: Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said his country would “respond befittingly to Indian aggression” but it did not want confrontation. His Indian counterpart, Arun Jaitley, had said Pakistan would be made to pay an “unaffordable” price if it persisted with “adventurism.” Papers in both India and Pakistan have been reflecting “the strong position” taken by the two countries. In India, a front-page headline in the Deccan Herald says: “Government gives army free hand to take on Pakistan.” Pakistani papers have been urging their army to give India a “befitting” reply. But the media in both countries have largely not been able to explain the sudden exchange of fire, and there is a sense of disappointment in editorials and commentaries. Most papers seem to be advocating some form of talks to save the lives of affected civilians. At least 19 Jammu and Kashmir civilians died in the clashes. The Express Tribune, published in Pakistan in collaboration with the International New York Times, says there is “no room for war” and “diplomatic channels remain open and they must be used to their fullest extent. The Indian Express says “civilians on both sides have died” and Mr Modi needs to do “the smart thing” and “take a step back”.
The UN and the Western leaders appeared even-handed in their response to the “small war” situation adjacent to the Af-Pak theatre. They advised resumption of dialogue and bilateral search for a long term solution. And whether or not the whispers of leaders of opinion in the media had any effect on the leaders in Delhi and in Islamabad, indications of diplomatic engagement were forthcoming although simmering tensions continued on the ground.
The Express Tribune reported on October 20: Pakistan has expressed its willingness for early restoration of ‘peace and tranquillity’ along the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary with India, even as the two countries again traded fire after a two-day hiatus. Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz spoke to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Appreciating the work of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), Aziz noted that its role should be further strengthened to facilitate more effective monitoring and reporting of ceasefire violations: “The UN should not be inhibited by non-cooperation of one side.” The UN chief expressed his concern over the escalation of violence along the LoC and deplored the loss of lives.  He emphasised the importance of both sides taking necessary steps to de-escalate the situation and resolve all outstanding issues through negotiations.
Likewise on October 21, in an India-sponsored UN convention on terrorism, Indian Prime Minister’s National Security Adviser Ajit Kumar Doval said: “We would like to resolve our problems through negotiations, through talks. I don’t think of any problem that cannot be resolved through negotiations. “But on the other hand, India would like to have an effective deterrence to deal with terrorism.
“I think developing better relations with neighbourhood is important. India’s economic development could bind together the region which could see a vested interest that India’s growth will bring more opportunities and they should not feel undermined.”
Hopefully, the last-expressed thought will prevail in the coming SAARC summit, without any attempt by our big neighbour to “Modi-fy” other SAARC members by supremacist swagger of any kind.


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Shaheed Minar must remain as a symbol of  national unity

Faruque Ahmed

The country’s social fabric which binds the people together beyond politics is fast breaking apart at all level. Friends and admirers wanted to put the body of  Prof Pias Karim of BRAC University at Shaheed Minar for showing their last respect. But the denial of permission of Dhaka University authorities and resistance of the pro-government student bodies came as a severe shock to the nation.

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Faruque Ahmed

The country’s social fabric which binds the people together beyond politics is fast breaking apart at all level. Friends and admirers wanted to put the body of  Prof Pias Karim of BRAC University at Shaheed Minar for showing their last respect. But the denial of permission of Dhaka University authorities and resistance of the pro-government student bodies came as a severe shock to the nation.

They termed Prof Pias karim as a Razakar as he would discuss in TV talk shows in a political frame which was critical of the government and appeared more close to opposition politics. Pias Karim was a young freedom fighter coming from a family of elderly Awami League leaders of Comilla district, as lately disclosed by the Law Minister. But since he was critical of the present Awami League regime’s policies, he was lamented as a anti-liberation element along with his father and forefathers. He was punished on his death for opposing the government.    
The action of the “pro-liberation” bodies under overt support of the government prompted outcry from all level as such horrendous act happened never before at Shaheed Minar But no sooner had this shock mingled in the air, the student leaders extended the ban on nine more outstanding intellectuals including journalists, academics and civil society think tank who are still healthy and yet to be taken to Shaheed Minar. They said on their death their bodies also can’t be taken to Shaheed Minar.
Major opposition BNP, other socio-political parties and civil society organizations have denounced the act saying it signals the rise of fascism which want to divide the people and destroy the unity of the nation in one hand and make the country volatile by unleashing hostilities in public life on the other.
Shaheed Minar can’t be the property of a particular party or group, it belongs to all, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said in reaction to the ban while blaming the government for sheltering such divisive politics. Barrister Rafiqul Haque was more blunt. He said Shaaheed Minar is not the paternal property to any person or group. Dr Akbar Ali Khan warned of terrible consequences if things like this continue to happen.
But the leaders of these ultra-secularist student organizations who are using the bogies of religious extremism and communalism as a threat to the secular foundation of this predominantly Muslin nation will not stop here. Bangladesh Chatra League - the student front of the ruling Awami League and other left student bodies affiliated to left political parties comprising the ruling coalition made it clear that people who openly speak for religious cause, support ‘destructive’ BNP politics and oppose the government are essentially enemies of the basic secular concept of the state and friend to those who had opposed the liberation war.
Shaheed Minar symbolizes the spirit of the Language Movement which led to the creation of a secular Bangladesh through the liberation war. Therefore the presence of such people at Shaheed Minar either living or dead undermine the non-communal character of the state and this is not acceptable and as such they should not have any place at Shaheed Minar. They said new names will be added to the list soon.
But why Pias Karim and nine others is their target. They are not overtly religious in their life and look like more liberal democrats in their professional careers. They are not primary members of any political parties which are opposed to the ruling Awami League and other coalition partners. As far as I know many of them were members of left student organizations and even today they feel more comfortable with secular politics.
The fact is that they made them enemy of the government taking part in TV debates often giving views to the embarrassment of the government using their democratic rights and far-sight on contemporary socio-political issues. But why it should be treated as a crime to be chased even beyond one’s death.  
For Pias Karim Law Minister advocate Anisul Haq said he personally knew him from boyhood. He was a young freedom fighter at his 13 during the liberation war. The Law Minister also said Pias Karim was held by Pakistani occupation army while distributing leaflets in Comilla town during  liberation war. The question is how come it then he became a Razakar over time.
Pias Karim’s father M A Karim was a leading lawyer in the district town and a founding member of Comilla district Awami League. He later became its treasurer. He had to sign a bond to Pakistani army to secure the release of his son. Then he had to became president of District Peace Committee as part of the condition of his son’s release.
M A Karim however worked for the liberation war, protected the freedom fighters giving them identity cards. Anisul Haque said it is not true that he had killed Dheran Dutt as alleged by neo-Awami League leaders to establish Pias Karim has in fact inherited the legacy of a Razakar’ family.
The Law Minister also ruled out the allegation that Pias Karim’s grand father Dr M A Rouf was a Razakar. He died in 1957 or 58 even before the liberation war. His maternal grand father was a founding president of Comilla district Awami League and a minister of Jokto Front government. Law Minister dismissed the allegations from some people that he was also a Razakar. It appears that the ruling party men have brought all such charges against Pias Karim and his family only to demean him to public eyes for his TV talk show deliveries which were often critical of the government.
Question now arises why the pro-government student organizations are out to make the Shaheed Minar the centre of a political contest. We hold the view that if Shaheed Mirar is the symbol of unity, there should not be any partisan politics around it. Such politics will then reduce the place to the status of an enclave only accessible to the secularists while the non-secular population who make up the vast majority of the nation may lose interest and respect for the Language Mausoleum. It will be highly disgraceful for a nation and bring disrespect to the language mortars.
We are a nation and must build it together. The people who are putting ban on our  outstanding sons of the soil from their right to receive last respect at Shaheed Minar even may be nowhere in near future. But their bad examples may remain disturbing as an example to the hand of others. We must avoid such politics and act with far-sight.


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I.M.F. CALLS FOR PUBLIC INVESTMENT
Why global economy in tailspin again?

M. Shahidul Islam in Toronto

Economies must grow money by planting it. If the public is unwilling or unable to do it, governments must. The lingering stuttering of the global economy has finally alerted the IMF to urge governments to increase public investment and spending.
On Thursday, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde issued a clarion call to the US and Germany to open the purse and spend more on infrastructure. In coming weeks, developing nations too will be squeezed to invest more in job creation to spur demands for goods and services.

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M. Shahidul Islam in Toronto

Economies must grow money by planting it. If the public is unwilling or unable to do it, governments must. The lingering stuttering of the global economy has finally alerted the IMF to urge governments to increase public investment and spending.
On Thursday, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde issued a clarion call to the US and Germany to open the purse and spend more on infrastructure. In coming weeks, developing nations too will be squeezed to invest more in job creation to spur demands for goods and services.

This begs a moot question: is more state intervention the ultimate solution to the lingering global economic affliction or, the proven income inequality within each economy lies at the centre of the crisis. Poverty erases tax base of the majority and makes even resource-rich nations poorer by not enabling the poor to rise above threshold and contribute handsomely in the public coffer.

Fear of stagflation
Look at Europe first where lingering worries about Germany’s deteriorating economic outlook is not only floundering the euro zone recovery, lack of inflation at the same time has increased the fear of stagflation and led to heavy selling on European stock markets, tumbled oil prices, and, dragged bond prices to a record low. Poorer economies banking on export earnings from Europe must now rethink how to compensate for the prospective loss.
We are not alarmist and we hope the much feared recession is skirted off. But the German economy had already failed to grow at all over the past half year, with little indications that it can drive the euro zone recovery in coming months. The 0.2 percent third quarter growth expected in the survey of 36 economists would cancel out the 0.2 percent contraction reported between April and June.
In North America, persistent economic downturn has already eviscerated the wealth of many Americans, resulting in median wealth falling more than 40% from 2007 to 2013. The OECD forecasted in its latest report that the U.S. would grow by only 2.1 percent in 2014, down from its May projection of 2.6 percent; while the euro growth will slide downward from 1.2 percent in May to 0.8 percent in next quarter, and, only 1.1 percent in 2015. A poorer USA means a poorer Canada where over 70 % of Canadian exports are headed to.

Wither structural reform?
In an integrated and interdependent world, the IMF has aptly realized its clamoring on structural reforms is neither growth friendly, nor conducive to economic sustainability. The latest IMF call clearly signals a stark departure from its continual insistence in the past years on holding down government debt and lifting economies through ‘structural reforms’ that have resulted in increased instances of poverty in the developing economies and proved politically infeasible to implement.
Now, faced with another global tantrum, the new IMF mantra is: wise investments in infrastructure would boost jobs and growth in the short run, and pay for themselves over time by raising productivity and long-run economic potential.
Many IMF analysts have also begun to believe the malice in the global economy stems from loose monetary policy that had pumped trillions of dollars into markets only to  remain idled as bank reserves or corporate cash holdings and too little translating so far into investment and household spending. Besides, trade liberalization and structural reform, touted so long as being indispensable to boosting global growth, have too proved politically difficult to yield much tricked down dividends.

Disillusionment
Let’s call it a belated disillusionment of the IMF, although it could as well be another distraction from the individualized choices of the poorer economies. According to IMF Deputy Managing Director, Min Zhu, “There has been a big drop in aggregate demand and someone has to fill that gap.” The aim now is to use an old-fashioned tool – the public purse – to step in where households, the private sector, banks and others have not.
This seems like a classical Keynesian intervention which shows imposed market economy carries no panacea for economic afflictions of nations with diverse demand and supply mechanisms. As well, the revision in IMF postures having followed latest global economic outlook that reveals Germany is already in danger of slipping into a recession, Germany and China must swallow the prescription first. Germany aside, growth in China has slowed too while the U.S. is concerned that a fresh bout of global recession will stymie its recovery too.

Disagreement and divergence
But German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble disagrees with the latest IMF prescription and maintains that the idea of ‘writing checks’ in Europe to bolster growth is not workable.
Germany, Europe’s largest economy, contracted by 0.2 percent in the second quarter and faces the prospect of flattening in the third quarter and beyond. “As soon as France and Italy implement substantial structural reforms, the situation in Europe will change,” Schaeuble said in Washington on Wednesday ahead of the IMF and World Bank’s fall meetings.
More so, the engine of global growth is in Asia where growth is getting more anemic by the day. Economists at a latest panel discussion on Wednesday on growth and government spending cited the US as a developing nation whose roads, bridges and airports could use a spruce up campaign to improve growth and create jobs in the near-term.
Officials meanwhile calculated if the IMF solution must be swallowed, developing nations need trillions of dollars in capital spending which they may not have unless the global demand for commodities is set free from its sagging drag of the present to put their export to a higher trajectory.

APEC worries
The ongoing Beijing gathering of ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum are discussing these burning concerns ahead of the group’s annual summit next month when Chinese President Xi Jinping will host his counterparts Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Shinzo Abe, and many others. “Now global economic recovery remains difficult, with downside risks still existing,” China’s Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli said in a speech formally starting the finance meeting.
Gaoli’s comments came a day after China, the prime driver of global growth, said its GDP expanded only by 7.3 percent in the third quarter of 2014, slowest since the worldwide downturn kicked off in 2009.

Chinese enigma
China seems to be aware of the risks it faces and believes overall Asian slowdown will pull the global economy to a new low. “The Asia-Pacific region is the main driving force and engine for global economic growth,” said Gaoli, emphasizing that the APEC economies account for 40 percent of the world’s population, 70 percent of the global economy and 46 percent of world trade. Zhang said ministers would discuss, among other issues, the global and regional economy, infrastructure investment, financing cooperation and fiscal and taxation policy.
Yet, many analysts believe China remains an enigma and will pay little heed to the global cries for more investment and reform within. “With the economy able to grow by 7.3% in the third quarter, the government is not likely to be launching big stimulus policies in the near future. The relief measures that are provided will remain modest and targeted, and will do little to reverse the overall slowdown,” said Duncan Innes-Ker, a China analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Besides, China’s economic growth has become increasingly built on debt, Innes-Ker warned. He said, “China will need to begin deleveraging at some point in the future, and when that happens the economy will have to brace for even more pain.”
The IMF too is much worried about China and thinks reform within China is an inescapable necessity. “It (China) now needs to focus on reforming its economy rather than rely on monetary and fiscal policy to stimulate economic growth,” said a senior official at the World Bank who insisted on anonymity.
More worrying is that APEC itself remains beset by geopolitical crisis. Tensions within the organization include maritime territorial disputes between China, the Philippines and Vietnam as well as between China and Japan. APEC also includes China’s turbulent semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong and self-governing Taiwan, which is claimed by Beijing.

Other concerns
Sri Mulyani Indrawati, managing director of the World Bank, warns of wider global risks, including weakening commodity prices, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and political instability in the Mid-East characterized by the rise of the Islamic State group, and the pestering conflict in Ukraine.
The Asia-Pacific faced many challenges in the past, including what Indrawati described as “policy adjustment of major developed economies,”  alluding perhaps to the US Federal Reserve winding down its vast bond-buying program that was put in place to help fight the global financial crisis.
All these indicate one thing for sure:  the ongoing economic tantrum is there to stay for a while. IMF Deputy Managing Director Naoyuki Shinohara says, “We are looking at protracted low growth and there is a role for fiscal policy to play.” He added, “Even countries with high debt could find room to borrow for good projects. There is fiscal room to be realized.”
Established in 1989, APEC cobbled together 21 economies from Asia, Oceania and North and South America; including the US, China, Japan, Russia, Mexico, Indonesia and small nations such as Brunei and Papua New Guinea. It has now become the most potent engine to pull the global economic wagon out of the morass.
Yet, given that China’s economy grew only at 7.3% in the third quarter, the weakest since the first quarter of 2009, there are fears that Beijing would miss its annual growth target in 15 years. This being a real bad news for nations looking for Chinese investments, the 2014 could turn out to be a very disappointing year for the global economy by posting growth not above 2.5 per cent. Prudent strategization would suggest that nations with potential or real political instabilities must tread cautiously to avoid public uprisings in days ahead.


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India plans army deployment to wipe out Maoist insurgency

Shamsuddin Ahmed

India has planned to deploy the armed forces for  anti-Maoist operations in a bid to wipe out the decade old Maoist insurgency that has rapidly spread admittedly posing the gravest threat to the country’s internal security. The new policy to deal with the Maoists awaiting approval of the cabinet said the government has reserved the right to use “any element of its national power” against the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist).

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Shamsuddin Ahmed

India has planned to deploy the armed forces for  anti-Maoist operations in a bid to wipe out the decade old Maoist insurgency that has rapidly spread admittedly posing the gravest threat to the country’s internal security. The new policy to deal with the Maoists awaiting approval of the cabinet said the government has reserved the right to use “any element of its national power” against the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist).

The past Congress led UPA government allowed air force helicopters for emergency duty of rescue, evacuation and transportation of paramilitary forces but refused to deploy the army in anti-Maoist operations. The Army Chief had also refused to involve in internal security measures.
It may sound incredible that nearly 2,00,000 paramilitary forces plus the police have failed to fight out the Maoist guerrilla fighters variously estimated barely at between 9,000 and 20,000. They have, no doubt, thousands of cadres and sympathizers among section of human right bodies and intellectuals.
Home minister Rajnath Singh has been reviewing the new draft of the Maoist policy during the past three months of its preparation.
Clarifying “any element of national power” as envisaged in the new plan a senior official said, “any element obviously would mean whatever power comes under the command of the state - be it Army, Air Force or any other option but it would be requisitioned if the situation warrants…..The state is duty bound to resolutely deal with the Maoist violence and reserves the right to use any element of its national power against the outfit.”
The hawkish change of policy in dealing with the Maoists might have come upon realization that external threat to the national integrity could not be faced keeping alive the Maoist insurgency which is allegedly getting support from across the northern border. Repeated border incursions by the Chinese troops and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent instruction to the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) to prepare for a regional war has undoubtedly worried Delhi which is tied with US-Japan design to contain the rise of China.
During the UPA regime, even the the home minister Chidambaram doctrine, that was considered to be security heavy, had rejected the use of Army and Air Force in the worst of massacres by the Maoists when about 30 people - almost the entire Congress leadership of Chhattisgarh State including a former central minister - were killed on May 13 last year and 76 paramilitary CRPF jawans were killed in April, 2010 in ambushes laid by the red rebels.
The new policy proposed to nearly double the deployment of paramilitary forces in the red corridor that runs through the central India from Orissa to Bihar. New battalions have been raised to put into anti-Maoist operations. “There will be more boots on the ground in days to come,” reports Times of India, a daily close to the government.
Formed in 2004 CPI (Maoists) has militancy roots mostly among the tribal and aboriginals displaced from the mineral rich forests that provided their livelihood. There has been aggressive invasion of mining corporates with political blessings in the name of economic liberalization. The Maoist armed struggle, joined by neglected and deprived low caste Hindus spread rapidly across the country. Gaining strength, the Maoist armed struggle is aimed at capturing the state power  by 2050. Many political leaders maintain links with the Maoists and fund them to protect their skin.  Jogendra Sao, a former minister of Jharkhand was recently arrested from Delhi for his links with the Maoist. He was accused for funding the rebels.
When announced, the anti-Maoist policy is likely to be opposed by non-BJP state governments like Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Telangana and human right bodies.
Condemning the reported plan people’s rights activist Gautam Naulakha said, “The government is escalating the war against its own people and giving carte blanche to the armed forces. I hope the Army will realize the futility of it once such option comes to it as it will degrade their reputation internationally….. It will not be easy to put suchh a policy on the ground as rhetoric and jingoism is different and ground realities are different.”
Security analyst and executive director of Institute of Conflict Management Ajai Sahni, however, said it is just a policy statement.  “Don’t read too much into it. It just means that even all options have fail and the Maoists become very strong than the State should have the power to use any instrument, including Army. The Army is used only as the last resort and that too after a lot of thinking. Right now Army is not an option at all. It (army) is already outstretched and unable to fulfill even its duties on external borders,” Sahni said.
Informed sources view that no harsh policy to annihilate the Maoists would succeed in the absence of key social content to combat caste-based and feudal exploitation of marginalized communities.  Tribal, Adivasis and Dalits are continued to be exploited by feudal landholding class who belong to the upper caste and political elites.  “The biggest impediment to the proposed policy will continue to be political class owning lands in rural India and has interest in corporate exploitation of mineral resources,” observed a leader of human right activist.


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