View Full Version : Counter-Insurgency in India

19 Jul 12,, 21:52
Counter-Insurgency in India: Observations from Punjab and Kashmir

by Hamish Telford


Over the past 15 years, India has experienced separatist challenges from a variety of ethnic and religious minorities - Sikhs in Punjab, Muslims in Kashmir and various tribal groups in Assam and other parts of the Northeast Frontier. Between 1983 and 1993, over 20,000 people were killed in Punjab, and since 1989 a greater number of people have been killed in Kashmir. While the insurgency in Punjab developed slowly between 1978 and 1984, it crumbled quickly between 1992 and 1994. The insurgency in Kashmir continues unabated. In fact, it seems to have been transformed into a proxy war with Pakistan.1 These crises have exacted a serious toll on the Indian state.

Ethnic and religious conflict is not new in South Asia. Indian independence, in fact, was achieved amid one of the greatest religious conflicts of the century. The legacy of partition in India placed two issues outside the boundaries of acceptable political discourse. First, the government of India made clear shortly after independence that demands for the political reorganization of the Indian state along religious lines would not be entertained. Second, it made equally clear that separatist claims would not be tolerated.2 Indeed, the Indian Constitution requires all political candidates and elected officials to swear that they will "bear true faith and allegiance to the constitution of India" and that they will "uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India."3

The insurgencies in Punjab and Kashmir over the past 15 years have seriously challenged these two fundamental rules of Indian political practice. As such, the government of India has moved forcefully to repress these movements. When the normal techniques of suppression failed to erode Sikh militancy in the early 1980s, the Indian government experimented with a number of ad hoc counter-insurgency strategies before developing a "successful" modus operandi in the early 1990s. The government of India has, by and large, pursued the same strategy of containment in Kashmir since 1989, but with less success. This modus operandi, which will be described below, was employed in each case with large social costs and without resolving the fundamental political issues. In Kashmir, furthermore, it has not even succeeded in terminating political violence.


Over the past 15 years, the government of India has developed a counter-insurgency strategy by trial and error. This strategy has a number of components. First, where an insurgency materializes the state government is dismissed and direct rule is assumed by New Delhi. Second, the central government has tried to avoid open, high-profile counter-insurgency operations ever since the bungled operation at the Golden Temple in 1984. Third, the central government has generally refused to negotiate settlements to these crises, preferring instead to fight wars of attrition. Fourth, the problem state is flooded with security forces, which attempt to contain militancy within a small geographic area. Fifth, the security forces have shown a ruthless determination to eliminate militant leaders, while providing leniency for followers. Sixth, the government has been helped by the delegitimation of these movements caused by militant excesses; the security forces may well have helped facilitate this moral disintegration. Finally, when the government feels confident it is winning the war on the battlefield, it moves to restore the democratic process with enforced elections. This places a veneer of democratic legitimacy on the final push to eradicate militancy in troubled states.

The Constitutional and Legal Framework

India is a federal union, but the Constitution equips the central government with extraordinary powers, including the right to dismiss democratically elected state governments. This is the "normal" method for dealing with obstreperous state governments or the breakdown of law and order in particular states. It is made possible by Article 356 of the Indian Constitution, which is supposed to be employed only upon the assessment of the state governor that the constitutional machinery of the state has collapsed. In practice, the central government has been able to invoke Article 356 at will.4 It is supposed to be imposed only for six-month increments, although it can be renewed up to a maximum of three years. In the Punjab case however, the Constitution was amended frequently to extend Article 356 beyond three years.

When Article 356 is in effect, the state is ruled from New Delhi, under the authority of the president. Under President's Rule, the government may violate the constitutional freedoms normally guaranteed in Article 19 - the freedoms of speech, association and movement - in its effort to restore order. In fact, the 59th Amendment of the Constitution, effected on 30 March 1988, served to suspend Article 21 - the right to life - in Punjab. This repugnant alteration of the constitution was repealed by the 63rd Amendment, which took effect 6 January 1990, but for 21 months the security of the person was not guaranteed in Punjab, while the government sought to quell this "internal disturbance."5

In addition to these constitutional powers, the government of India has a wide array of repressive legislation at its disposal. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (1956) permits the Army "to arrest suspects, conduct searches, and use lethal force" in "disturbed areas." The National Security Act (1980) "authorizes security forces to arrest and detain without warrant people suspected of undermining national security, public order, and essential economic services." The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (1967) "empowers the government to ban any subversive organization, such as those advocating secession." The Terrorist Affected Areas (Special Courts) Ordinance (1984) "promulgated in 1984 with special reference to Punjab, provides for secret tribunals to try terrorists." Finally, the now-repealed Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (1985) provided the security forces with unprecedented powers of search and seizure. Under the TADA, furthermore, suspects were tried in camera and were presumed guilty.6 Harish Puri et al report that 14,457 people were "detained without trial" in Punjab under these ordinances up to 1993.7

President's Rule was imposed in Punjab in October 1983, and it remained in effect until February 1992, with the brief exception of the period from September 1985 to May 1987. When Article 356 was invoked in October 1983, the Congress government in Punjab was discredited, and the opposition Akali Dal, the party of Sikh nationalism, was marginalized. The two primary democratic forces in the state were thus sidelined. Sikh militants, however, were emboldened. Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the fiery religious leader of the militants, had been directing his followers from the guest house of the Golden Temple since July 1982. In December 1983, just after the imposition of President's Rule, he shifted to the Akal Takht, the seat of Sikh temporal and spiritual authority, in the inner sanctum of the Golden Temple. He was joined, furthermore, by his armed supporters. The militants continued their campaign from the Akal Takht, apparently in the belief that they would not be attacked in a place of religious worship.

The political dynamics in Punjab at the time were such that the imposition of Article 356 was ineffective in containing Sikh militancy. The problem in Punjab did not lie with elected, democratic political parties. The culprits were extra-parliamentary militants, yet it was the government and political parties that were sanctioned. Legitimate political space was consequently closed, and the Indian government found itself facing a shadowy, underground enemy. While President's Rule was ill-advised and ineffective in Punjab, it continues to be the weapon of first strike for the government in these situations. The government seems to consider it necessary, if insufficient, to assume direct control of the state to restore law and order.

The Lesson of Operation Bluestar: Avoid High-Profile Military

Six months after Bhindranwale moved into the inner sanctum of the Golden Temple, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered the army to storm the Temple and arrest Bhindranwale and his followers. Operation Bluestar, as the attack was code-named, was a military and political disaster. The army did not have the military capacity or the intelligence necessary to perform the operation. It deployed regular troops for the operation, and it initiated the attack with mortar fire in the middle of a crowded city. Bhindranwale and his key supporters were killed, as were about 1,000 innocent pilgrims. The Temple, furthermore, was heavily damaged. The larger Sikh community was devastated by Operation Bluestar. Six months later, Indira Gandhi was assassinated in retaliation by two Sikh bodyguards.8

After Operation Bluestar, it was decided that the regular army would not be employed in high-profile operations. The regular army was subsequently deployed to secure the state, while commandos were trained for special operations. The National Security Guards (NSG) was formed in 1985 as an elite anti-terrorist force, and to protect leading public figures, and "[i]n 1991, the Army raised a new force, the Rashtriyia (National) Rifles, specifically charged to deal with terrorism, rioting, and communal violence. By 1996-97, the new force had 40,000 members."9 As the last vestiges of militancy were being eradicated in Punjab in 1992-93, the army was deployed to provide a secondary security perimeter while the police engaged in most of the actual combat.10 In short, the government decided that counter-insurgency had to be as discreet as possible.

The Lesson of the Longowal Accord: Refuse to Negotiate a Settlement

After the assassination of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi replaced his mother as leader of the Congress party and as the Prime Minister of India. In the general election the following month, he campaigned with rather chauvinistic rhetoric against the Sikhs but, after winning the largest majority government in the history of India, he felt confident to pursue a more conciliatory strategy. In summer 1985, Rajiv Gandhi struck a deal with Sant Harcharan Longowal, a moderate leader of the Akali Dal. The accord included the restoration of the democratic process and the transfer of Chandigarh - the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana - to Punjab alone. It was agreed in the accord that more contentious issues would be resolved later by commissions and future negotiations.11 Longowal was assassinated within a month by Sikh militants, but the election proceeded as scheduled in September 1985. The Akali Dal, now led by Surjit Singh Barnala, won its first majority government and a degree of normalcy returned to the state.

As the date for the transfer of Chandigarh approached at the end of January 1986, the government began to hesitate, fearing a backlash from right-wing Hindus across north India, especially in the neighbouring state of Haryana. Ultimately, Chandigarh was not transferred on the date stipulated in the accord. The Chief Minister of Punjab, Surjit Singh Barnala, instantly became a lame duck and militancy was resuscitated. In April 1986, militants recaptured the Golden Temple and announced the "formation" of "Khalistan." This was the first time that the militants openly declared their separatist intentions. In 1987, Barnala was dismissed and President's Rule was re-imposed in Punjab.

After the Longowal accord failed, the centre evidently determined not to accept a negotiated settlement, lest they agree to promises under duress that later they might not wish to keep. The Punjab crisis certainly ended without a negotiated settlement. The government of India decided instead to fight a war of attrition. The government, until very recently at least, similarly refused to negotiate a settlement in Kashmir. In spring 2000, immediately following President Clinton's visit to India, it contacted some militant groups about the possibility of conducting peace negotiations.12 On 24 July, the Hizbul Mujahideen announced a ceasefire and its intentions to negotiate a settlement with the government.13 Other militant organizations opposed the negotiations and sought to thwart them by engaging in a series of massacres that left more than 90 people dead.14 The talks collapsed within a week, when the Hizbul insisted that the government of Pakistan would have to be brought into the process.15 Nevertheless, the government of India announced a new ceasefire on 29 November to coincide with Ramadan; it subsequently extended its unilateral ceasefire for the month following Ramadan.16 Although winter is typically a time for depressed insurgency and counter-insurgency activity, this ceasefire may indicate a new willingness by the government of India to negotiate a settlement in Kashmir.

The Indian government, however, is likely responding to the imperatives of geopolitics, as opposed to a re-evaluation of its counter-insurgency strategy. While India's decision to test nuclear weapons in May 1998 was condemned by the international community, it did succeed in focussing world attention on South Asia. Since that time, the United States has shifted its foreign policy preferences from Pakistan to India. Pakistan was criticized for initiating the Kargil conflict with India in the summer of 1999, and it also lost international support after the military coup in October 1999. The United States has also been displeased by Pakistan's continued support of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. In an effort to exploit Pakistan's current weakness, and to solidify its relations with the United States, the government of India has attempted to seize the initiative in Kashmir. However, by initially sidelining the democratic government in the state, the government must now negotiate with the militants. This is a direct consequence of the government's counter-insurgency strategy. The geopolitical significance of the Kashmir conflict likely makes this case the exception to the rule. In other words, the government of India is not likely to change its general disposition against negotiated settlements in crisis situations without geopolitical significance.

Overwhelming Security Presence and the Geographic Containment of

If Indian leaders learned to avoid high-profile military confrontations, this did not stop them from flooding troubled states with an overwhelming number of security forces - regular army, state police, the Central Reserve Police Force and the Border Security Force. At the height of Sikh militancy, there were approximately 250,000 security forces in Punjab, a state of about 20 million people. Some 400,000-500,000 troops have been stationed in Kashmir, a state of only 5 million, although admittedly many of these troops are defending the Line of Control with Pakistan, not fighting Kashmiri militants. Indeed, the primary objective in both states was to seal the border with Pakistan, which was a point of refuge for Sikh militants, as it continues to be for Kashmiri militants. In Pakistan, Sikh and Kashmiri militants were safe from the Indian government; they could solicit the support of the Pakistan government and it was an excellent place to purchase weapons.17

While sealing the border with Pakistan was an obvious security objective, non-border troops were initially deployed rather haphazardly.18 Sikh militancy was always more concentrated in the northwest districts of Amritsar and Gurdaspur, and consequently the security forces were deployed so as to contain the insurgency in these areas.19 With the Pakistan border sealed on the west, and the mountains of Jammu in the north, the militants had nowhere to escape. At this point, it was only a matter of time before the militants were eliminated. In Kashmir, the fighting has been contained in the small Vale of Kashmir, north of Jammu and west of Ladakh, with the Line of Control in the north and west. The mountainous terrain, however, is much more difficult to patrol than the plains of Punjab. Nonetheless, the geographic containment of militancy in isolated areas has been a crucial aspect of India's counter-insurgency strategy. This strategy, furthermore, was congruent with the military's conventional "positional war" orientation.20

Separation of Leaders and Followers

In Punjab, the security forces initially attempted to squash militancy indiscriminately. This did not succeed; it turned every potential militant into an actual militant. In its ruthless attempt to capture militants, the police frequently tortured the relatives and friends of suspected militants to obtain information on the whereabouts of the suspects. For many young men, the choice was to fight or be tortured. Furthermore, captured militants were routinely tortured and very often killed. There was thus very little incentive for militants to lay down their weapons. This tactic continued until the end of 1991, when K.P.S. Gill was reappointed as Director-General of the Punjab police.

After Gill assumed command, the police moved to separate militant leaders from their followers. Huge bounties were placed on the heads of leading militants. Rewards of Rs 25,000 to Rs 100,000 were standard, and a leading militant like Gurbachan Singh Manochahal was killed by the police with a three million rupee price on his head,21 as compared to the standard police salary of about Rs 2,500 per month. The police suddenly became highly motivated to capture senior militants. At the same time as the militant leaders were being hunted down, a tacit policy of amnesty, or at least leniency, was offered to the rank and file fighters. As senior militants were eliminated one by one, their followers could surrender. They were finally given a route out of the quagmire. The physical elimination of senior militants and leniency for the "small-fry" thus became another element in the counter-insurgency strategy developed by the Indian government.

The Delegitimation of Militancy

The Sikh separatist movement was never unified. Moderate Sikh nationalists were riven by patron-client networks and egotistical leaders. The militant nationalists were divided by personal vendettas from the inception of the movement. The unrelenting suppression of the movement instilled further distrust among militants, and caused a rapid factionalization among the militants. Over time, the Khalistan movement descended into thuggery. The militants increasingly engaged in robbery, extortion, rape, indiscriminate killings and ever-escalating terrorist attacks on innocent civilians. By 1991, Sikh militants were generally viewed as unprincipled criminal gangs. The brother of a leading militant quipped, "the reason that the Khalistan [land of the pure] movement failed was because the boys began working towards an Ujadistan (a land of ruin)."22 A similar pattern of debauchery and degradation has emerged in Kashmir. It is not clear if this moral disintegration was wholly self-inflicted, or if it was aided and abetted by security elements operating inside militant groups. While the security forces almost certainly infiltrated the militant movement to gather intelligence, the full scope of their activities remains largely unknown.23

A new strategy has been employed in Kashmir: surrendered or captured militants have been redeployed by the security forces as counter-insurgents or "friendlies."24 With 3,000 armed "friendlies" in the state, they are almost as strong as the militants. In Punjab, Gill deputized a number of low caste mazhabi Sikhs as "Special Police Officers." This tactic was designed as much to neutralize their incentive for joining the militants as it was for community protection.25 These "police officers," however, were not former militants; indeed, mazhabi Sikhs were frequently the victims of militant attacks. Their loyalty was thus assured. In Kashmir, the recruits were initially fickle mercenaries whose allegiances switched each time a better offer was directed at them. This was a very risky strategy.

More recently, at least in the Jammu region of the state, the police have organized "village defence committees" (VDCs). The VDCs were initiated in 1995, but in the past two years they have mushroomed from 400 units to over 1600 units.26

Since they are familiar with the area, VDC members have been providing the security forces with valuable information on the militants' movements and tactics. Thanks to the tips given by villagers, the number of militants killed by the security forces has almost doubled in the past year. [Consequently], [e]quipping the VDCs and the special police officers (SPOs) is now the top priority for the state police.27

This community policing program, however, is not without its problems. In particular, the scheme seems to have heightened tensions between the Hindu and Muslim communities in the region. By and large, the Hindu communities have been receptive to the scheme, whereas the Muslim communities remain quite suspicious. Indeed, "there has been a persistent demand by local Muslim leaders to disarm the VDCs."28 As such, the village defence program is likely to have little chance of success in the predominantly Muslim part of Kashmir where the fighting is concentrated.

The deligitimation of the Khalistan movement was a crucial variable in the termination of the Punjab conflict. How much the security forces precipitated this moral decline is unclear, but it seems evident that the government is also actively attempting to facilitate the factionalization and delegitimation of Kashmiri militancy. However, it is not clear that the factionalization of the insurgency makes it easier to contain. It may reduce the overall fighting capacity of the movement, and consequently frustrate the primary objective of the insurgency, but it may make it more difficult to eliminate the numerous fighting units this strategy creates. Many little gangs can inflict considerable damage, even if they cannot collectively achieve their objective of separating their respective states from India. It also makes a negotiated settlement more difficult because an agreement with one group might not be respected by others. Although the tactic is risky, it has become a part of India's counter-insurgency strategy.

Enforced Elections: Punjab

The Congress government of India went to extraordinary lengths to hold state elections in Punjab in February 1992, reversing a long-standing policy of not holding elections in disturbed areas. (Elections for the 13 parliamentary seats were held simultaneously.) The Punjab elections were originally scheduled to coincide with the general election in May-June 1991.29 Most militants, however, opposed the election, fearing that it would give voice back to democratic Sikh leaders in the Akali Dal, who at that time were effectively marginalized. As the June poll approached, the level of violence in the state increased, culminating in two train massacres. On the eve of the poll, the Chief Election Commissioner cancelled the election, and rescheduled it for September.30

While the Punjab election was cancelled, the Congress party won the general election, despite the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. Narashima Rao, who emerged as the party leader after the death of Gandhi, became prime minister. As September approached, the new Congress government determined it was not yet ready to hold fresh elections in Punjab and pushed the election back again, until February 1992. As February approached, the militants once more opposed the prospect of an election and sought to thwart it. All of the mainstream factions of the Akali Dal, save one minor group, decided resolutely to boycott the poll. The government, however, was determined to hold the election. The state was swamped by 750 paramilitary companies and nine army divisions,31 comprising some 250,000 troops. Every candidate was assigned at least a 32-man security detachment.32 The main Akali leaders and several hundred party workers were detained under the Terrorism and Anti-Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act to ensure that they could not disrupt the election. Under these Orwellian conditions, Punjabis were asked to go to the polls. Voter turnout was a meagre 21.6 percent, significantly less than a third of the normal Punjabi turnout of about 68 percent. In the twelve urban constituencies, the turnout was 38.3 percent, but in the 70 rural constituencies, where the militants held greater sway, the turnout was an abysmal 15.1 percent. In one constituency, the turnout was less than 1 percent.3

The Congress Party swept to power with rather exaggerated fanfare, given the electoral abnormalities. The Congress captured 87 of the state's 117 assembly seats with 43.8 percent of the vote. In other words, the Congress mandate emanated from less than 10 percent of the electorate. No other party captured more than nine seats. Beant Singh, an old Congress stalwart, was installed as the Chief Minister of the state. Beant Singh was a rough-hewn Sikh and, with his signature dark glasses, he was a rather sinister-looking individual. Notwithstanding the perversion of democratic norms, the election produced the result desired by the Congress government at the centre.

Beant Singh assumed the officer of Chief Minister just three months after the imposing but urbane K.P.S. Gill was reappointed as Director-General of the Punjab Police. Both men were Jats, the same caste as the majority of Sikh militants.34 Gill rearmed the police and promised his men that he would shoulder all criticisms of police tactics. In short, he transformed the police into a disciplined and motivated fighting force.Beant Singh, with the support of the central government, gave Gill a free hand to quash militancy in the state. The presence of an elected government provided a facade of political normalcy in the state and allowed Gill to proceed with his mission without creating the impression that Punjab was a police state. The people accepted this charade because they were tired of the turmoil and the excesses of the militants. A Sikh journalist wrote in 1994 that "[w]hen [the] history of the fight against terrorism comes to be written, Mr. K.P.S. Gill could well be judged (by those partial to him) as one who restored order at the expense of law. But that seems besides the point now that the basic objective of peace has been largely achieved."35 The depravity of the militants may well have been the government's saving grace.

Under Beant Singh, militancy was quelled in Punjab. Beant Singh, however, was assassinated on 31 August 1995, by a car bomb placed outside the state secretariat in Chandigarh, the capital of Punjab.36 After Singh's death, the Congress government of Punjab stumbled along with a succession of hapless Chief Ministers until the state election of February 1997, when it was trounced by a resurgent Akali Dal. The voter turnout returned to its normal 69 percent. The Akali Dal, led by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, captured 75 seats, while its electoral partners, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won 18 seats. The Congress was reduced to 14 seats.

The Akali Dal's stunning victory and the Congress Party's ignominious defeat can be attributed to a couple of factors. The Congress seems to have paid the price for the strong-arm tactics employed by the police and security forces to terminate militancy. The near elimination of militancy, however, permitted the moderate Sikh nationalists to return to centre stage and it allowed the rural Sikhs to return to the polls. In this sense, the Congress was a victim of its own success. But its loss is perhaps more attributable to its failures. The fundamental political tensions that existed between Punjab and New Delhi in the 1970s were still unresolved. Consequently, the Akali Dal's old political platform was just as relevant as it was 20 years earlier. Finally, the national Congress party was no longer in power in the centre, and its reputation was in tatters, as its major leaders were charged with various counts of corruption. The national party was simply in no position to assist its Punjabi colleagues; indeed, it may well have become an electoral liability.

Gurharpal Singh has argued that the 1992 Punjab election was held "to fulfil a constitutional obligation," even if the cost was a "serious erosion of democratic legitimacy."37 The elections were no doubt a democratic charade, but they were not held to meet a pro forma obligation. There was no legal requirement to hold the election - the central government could have continued to rule the state almost indefinitely through the emergency provisions of the constitution.38 The purpose of the election was to provide a veneer of democratic legitimacy to the otherwise forceful suppression of Sikh militancy. While democratic normalcy largely returned to the state with the 1997 election, the 1992 exercise was nonetheless still a risky strategy.

Enforced Elections: Kashmir

By mid-1995, the Congress government in the centre was of the opinion that its election strategy in Punjab had been successful, and they began to plan for elections in Kashmir. The Vale of Kashmir, however, was more unsettled than Punjab and the people had a much greater antipathy toward the government of India. Most Muslim Kashmiris, unlike most Sikhs, do not identify themselves as Indian. This makes the Kashmir crisis much more intractable and the holding of elections in the state more problematic. Furthermore, fraudulent elections, especially the 1987 state poll, are thought to be a cause of militancy in Kashmir.39 An enforced election was thus a risky proposition.

It was decided that elections for the six parliamentary seats would be held prior to the state assembly poll. The parliamentary elections were scheduled for May 1996, with the state election to be held in October. The conditions in May were so poor that polling for the six seats had to be spread out over three days. As with Punjab, the state was flooded with security forces, some 950 paramilitary companies and two army divisions, representing over 100,000 soldiers. Moreover, about 9,000 Urdu-speaking election officials were flown into the state to conduct the elections, with the promise of an extra month's salary and a half-million rupee life insurance policy.40

The parliamentary election was boycotted by the National Conference, historically the governing party of Kashmir, and by the Hurriyat Conference, the political umbrella of the leading militant groups. The militants, as in Punjab, endeavoured to sabotage the elections. Without the National Conference, and with militant threats, the people of Kashmir - as with Punjab in 1992 - were inclined not to vote. Intelligence assessments for the Home Ministry suggested the voter turnout in the Vale of Kashmir could be as low as 10-20 percent, even worse than the farcical 1992 Punjab poll. Desperate to avoid an electoral embarrassment, the government seems to have ordered the police and army to ensure a good turnout. There were reports of soldiers moving from village to village with voter lists, rousing people to vote and threatening those who resisted.41 This strategy was moderately "successful." In the constituencies of Baramulla and Anantnag in the volatile Vale of Kashmir, the voter turnout was 35 and 43 percent respectively.42 When the ballots were counted, the Congress Party had won two of the three seats in the Vale of Kashmir and four of the six in the entire state. The next step was to conduct a state assembly poll.

By the time the state assembly poll was held in October 1996, the political landscape had changed dramatically at the centre. The Congress government was soundly defeated in the national election in May 1996; the BJP, the largest single party in parliament, was unable to form a government; and a thirteen-party coalition, led by the Janata Dal, assumed office with H.D. Deve Gowda as Prime Minister. The regional character of this motley coalition spawned considerable discussion about the federalization of the Indian party system.43 This new climate may have emboldened Farooq Abdullah, the leader of the National Conference, to contest the state assembly poll. Abdullah's reputation was badly tarnished by allegations of massive electoral fraud in the 1987 state election, but his credibility was restored by his boycott of the May 1997 parliamentary poll.

While the militants and the Hurriyat Conference continued to oppose the election, the election proceeded "in what most independent observers concede was a free and fair election after the farcical parliamentary poll."44 Voter turn-out ranged from 15 percent in some constituencies to as high as 60 percent, and the National Conference swept to power, capturing 59 seats in the 87 seat legislature. The Congress was reduced to seven seats, and the BJP took eight seats, all in Jammu, indicating a hardening of Hindu sentiment in that region of the state. While Farooq Abdullah's campaign for state autonomy may have struck a cord with some voters, reports from the state suggest that the National Conference's victory does not represent a whole-hearted endorsement of the party. Rather, the people may have simply "turned to what they recognized as the only credible political force to steer them out of the quagmire."45

The election of the National Conference in Kashmir has not been a panacea for the troubled state, but neither has it been an unmitigated disaster. However, it seems that Farooq Abdullah has not taken advantage of his opportunity to capture the hearts and minds of the Kashmiri people. Furthermore, it would appear that the people of Kashmir have grown disillusioned with the democratic process. In the March 1998 federal election, voter turn-out in Srinagar was 30 percent; in the September 1999 federal election, voter turnout in the state capital dropped dramatically to 11 percent.46 The electorate was almost certainly fearful of the resurgence of militancy in the summer of 1999 (see below), but they may also have come to the conclusion that the electoral process has not brought a solution to the troubled state. In the last four elections, the people have taken serious risks when they voted. The electoral calculus may now be that the weak return for voting does not warrant taking the risks of voting. In sum, "[d]espite three years of popular - at least nominally - government, the level of confidence among the people is abysmally low."47

The final stage of India's counter-insurgency strategy is the holding of enforced elections. The government moves to this stage when it feels confident it has gained the upper hand on the battlefield. The strategy appeared to be "successful" in Punjab, but this might owe more to the fact that the partisan interests of the Congress governments of Punjab and India coincided. The same alignment of party interests does not exist between the centre and Kashmir. The strategy thus does not seem to be as successful in Kashmir as it was in Punjab.


Militancy has essentially been eradicated from Punjab, while the situation has been complicated in Kashmir by a large number of foreign mercenaries. In this sense, India's counter-insurgency strategy might be considered partially "successful." On the other hand, the strategy has had large social, economic and political costs. These counter-insurgency campaigns have exacted a heavy death toll. They have severely undermined the economic well-being of many families and retarded the economic development of the affected states. This strategy, furthermore, may not be appropriate in other states; it is not even clear that it was wholly successful in either Punjab or Kashmir. India's counter-insurgency strategy has been fundamentally apolitical. It has entailed serious violations of human rights, and it may have disturbed civil-military relations. Finally, these counter-insurgency campaigns may have weakened the democratic legitimacy of the Indian state.

The Human and Economic Cost of Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency

India's counter-insurgency strategy is premised on the assumption that a large state will eventually prevail over a small secessionist movement. The assumption is perhaps not incorrect, but there are large costs associated with such a strategy. The government of India has engaged in two successive wars of attrition. The death toll has been staggering. Over 50,000 people have been killed in Punjab and Kashmir combined. As Punjab and Kashmir are relatively small states, this high death rate has affected most villages and many families. Furthermore, since many of the victims were young men, many families have lost important breadwinners.

Each of these wars has dragged on for at least ten years at tremendous economic cost. In summer 1997, I. K. Gujral, the short-lived prime minister of India, forgave Punjab's debt of Rs 8,500 crores (about 3 billion USD), accumulated combatting militancy since 1984.48 This was just the state government's debt; the central government would have assumed additional costs for its own counter-insurgency efforts. Similar costs will also have been incurred in Kashmir, perhaps even greater costs given the isolation of the state, difficult terrain and harsh (winter) climate.

There was also significant economic dislocation in each case. Punjab has remained the wealthiest state in India per capita but it is impossible to estimate how much investment the state lost during its "troubles." Punjab is still highly dependent on agriculture; its industrial development lags behind Gujarat and Maharashtra, the second and third richest states in the country. Kashmir, a rather impoverished state, has been decimated by the almost total collapse of tourism, formerly the state's primary industry. In each state, thousands of young men, participants who were not killed, have had their economic potential seriously depreciated by these decade-long conflicts. The social malaise that has pervaded each state has had incalculable human and economic costs.

Limited Utility of India's Counter-Insurgency Strategy

The Indian government has had to expend considerable energy combatting relatively small insurgencies in two of the country's smaller, landlocked, states. Indeed, militancy has been largely confined in each case to two or three districts. Militancy peaked in each state with no more than 6,000 lightly armed insurgents.49 In each case, however, the government was required to deploy about 250,000 security forces, and still the disturbance has not been quelled in Kashmir. Furthermore, as the Punjab and Kashmir conflicts overlapped, half a million forces were engaged simultaneously in two internal disputes, leaving India's external defences vulnerable.

It is hard to imagine that India's counter-insurgency strategy would be successful in one of the country's larger states, especially a coastal state. Tamil Nadu, for example, has a population four or five times that of Punjab and a long coast line. A separatist insurgency in this state could not be defeated with the same tactics employed in Punjab or Kashmir. The Indian Army learned this lesson with its ill-fated peace-making mission to Sri Lanka in 1987.

Limited Success of the Strategy

It is not clear, in fact, how successful India's counter-insurgency strategy has been in either Punjab or Kashmir. The conflict in Kashmir continues, although perhaps perpetuated by foreign mercenaries. In early 1997, there were still more than 3,500 armed militants in the state.351 The presence of foreign fighters in Kashmir stands in contrast to the case in Punjab. Since 1991, as many as 1,380 foreign mercenaries have been killed in Kashmir by the security forces, and another 142 have been arrested.52 It was estimated that 1,500 foreign mercenaries were operating in the state in the last few years,53 and it is speculated that as many more have crossed into Kashmir since summer 1999.54

By all accounts, the crisis has escalated dramatically since the conflict with Pakistan in summer 1999. The government of India has reported that in the months following the clash with Pakistan, the number of violent incidents in Kashmir increased by 27 percent, "and attacks against the security forces by 95 percent."55 In July 1999, militants in Kashmir launched their first suicide mission in the state, following the example of Hizballah in Lebanon and Israel, as well as of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.56 This trend apparently continued throughout 1999, as militants "aimed at chipping away the morale of security forces."57 The militants, furthermore, have continued their offensive into the winter, unlike previous years.58

The successful hijacking of an Indian Airlines flight in December 2000 almost certainly raised the morale of the militants in Kashmir.59 Two of the prisoners released in exchange for the hostages have surfaced in Pakistan and devoted themselves anew to the liberation of Kashmir. Maulana Masood Azhar, who is often described as a Muslim cleric from Pakistan, is the purported leader of the Harkat-ul-Ansar, an umbrella organization of the groups fighting for the separation of Kashmir from India. The hijackers also secured the release of Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, alias Latram, who was the leader of the Al Umar Mujahideen, one of the original militant groups in Kashmir.60 It is suspected that these groups have links to Osama bin Laden. Indeed, bin Laden reportedly has declared that "India and America are now our biggest enemies . . . all mujahideen groups in Pakistan should come together to target India . . . we are always ready to help the Kashmiri mujahideen."61 It is now feared that "bin Laden's jihad may revive the ideological basis of Kashmiri militancy."62 Indeed, it was reported in early 2000 that as many as 500 youth had crossed into Pakistan for training.63

In the post-Kargil, post-Kandahar period, it appears that India's counter-insurgency strategy "is fast spinning out of control."64 Indeed, the ability of militants to strike seemingly at will has created "the impression that they are more in control than the government."65 India now faces two fundamental problems. First, the insurgency in Kashmir is deeply entrenched. This will have to be solved politically as well as militarily. But, second, this is no longer simply a domestic problem. The government of India has long resisted "internationalizing" the question of Kashmir, inasmuch as it does not want this issue solved by the United Nations or actors outside the region. However, it would now appear that India will not be able to resolve the situation in Kashmir without a peace settlement with the government of Pakistan. Indeed, as one Indian observer has noted, "Pakistan is not only a party to the Kashmir dispute, it is now a party in Kashmir as well."66 Thus, from an Indian perspective, the greatest failure of the government's counter-insurgency strategy in Kashmir may be that it will be forced to make serious compromises in its relations with Pakistan.

Peace has largely returned to Punjab, but militant elements remain in the state and abroad. In fact, as late as 1997, the state was rocked by relatively frequent bomb attacks, including a train bomb which killed 38 people.67 Furthermore, half a dozen small bombs were detonated in and around Delhi in October and November 1997, leaving at least seven people dead. While 1998 was relatively calm in Punjab, there were fears that militant groups were re-activating in 1999. In January and February 1999, a number of explosions occurred around the state.68

India Today, citing anonymous intelligence sources, has claimed that about 300 militants, including two-dozen hardcore terrorists, were operating in Punjab in 1997.69 Most of these militants were not on police lists, which have not been updated since 1993.70 Moreover, militant groups are now making a concerted effort to recruit religiously motivated youth who do not have criminal records.71 The situation is further confused by the byzantine array of militant factions. At least nine groups were known to exist in 1997, ranging in size from 10 to 50 people.72 New militant tactics have confounded a rather demoralized police force. These groups appear to be much more clandestine than they used to be. They are organized with a more rigorous and compartmentalized cell structure such that the relatively few militants still operating in India are not known to each other. Furthermore, these groups have tended not to claim responsibility for their attacks, so as not to provide any clues for the police.

It seems that operations are now planned abroad by groups like the Babbar Khalsa International and the International Sikh Youth Federation but carried out by affiliated groups in India. The Babbar Khalsa tends to recruit from the community of illegal immigrants in the west and returns them to India with the necessary training and financial resources to continue the movement.73 It is reported that the Babbar Khalsa, and other Khalistani militant groups, are supported by as many as 5,000 sympathizers living in at least 20 countries around the world. Most of the Khalistan militant groups also allegedly have operatives in Pakistan, where they have reportedly forged alliances with various Kashmiri separatist groups. The highly pluralistic region of Jammu, wedged between Punjab and Kashmir along the Pakistan border, has also become a significant operational base in India for both Kashmiri and Sikh militants.

Thus, seven years after militancy was thought to have been eradicated from Punjab, the police find themselves playing a cat-and-mouse game with an ever more elusive enemy. K.P.S. Gill, who thought he had won the battle against militancy, stated flatly in 1997, "there is no way we can stop terrorism from returning to Punjab."74 This sad development is probably more attributable to the political failure of India's counter-insurgency strategy rather than any military shortcomings.

Failure to Address Underlying Political Issues

The long-term structural causes of militancy in Punjab and Kashmir are complex and vigorously debated.75 While it may have been difficult for the government of India to foresee the underlying causes of militancy, it must accept responsibility for ignoring long-standing grievances in each state. These grievances stoked the fires of political unrest. While state politicians frequently raised their grievances with central authorities, they were repeatedly rebuffed. The state politicians consequently had nothing to show for their efforts, and thus were forced to return to their constituency empty-handed. It is little wonder that alienated youth lost patience with their traditional leadership and resolved to pursue a more radical course.

In Punjab, the Akali Dal presented a list of 45 demands in 1981.76 Two issues were at the core of these demands - the transfer of Chandigarh and other territorial adjustments, and the division of waterways between Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.77 Rajiv Gandhi promised to transfer Chandigarh to Punjab in January 1986, as part of his agreement with Sant Longowal, but he failed to deliver on his promise. Indeed, none of the salient aspects of the Longowal Accord came to fruition.78 Four years after the end of armed hostilities, no progress has been made on any of these issues. The proximate causes of militancy in Punjab thus still exist. If the Akali government of Punjab is again unable to make progress on these issues with the centre, it may once again lose support in the Sikh community and open the door for renewed militancy. The Akali leaders did not help themselves with their incessant squabbling in 1999.79

A similar pattern is evident in Kashmir. The fundamental issue concerns Kashmir's constitutional relationship to India. As a former princely state of British India, the Maharaja of Kashmir was required only to cede the powers of defence, foreign affairs and communications to the government of India, as stipulated in Article 370 of the Constitution. Sheikh Abdullah, the leader of the National Conference, refused to join India's Constituent Assembly and he attempted instead to negotiate a special status for Kashmir in India based on the terms of accession. Nehru tired of Abdullah's tenaciousness and orchestrated his downfall in 1953. The new leader of the National Conference, Baskhi Gulam Muhammad, quickly reached a constitutional agreement with the central government. Muhammad's 1953 agreement with the central government considerably reduced Kashmir's autonomy inherent in the terms of accession, although it still provided Kashmir with more autonomy than the other states in the Union.80

Over the next 40 years, the autonomy of Kashmir was eroded further as the Indian government attempted to integrate the state into the Union on the same terms as the other states, contrary to the provisions in Article 370. After nearly a decade of bitter political conflict in the state, there is no indication that the government of India is ready to respect the provisions of Article 370. While the Janata Dal coalition was potentially more sympathetic to regional concerns than the other major parties, it did not restore the spirit of Article 370 during its term of office. On the other hand, the BJP government has not moved to eliminate Article 370 since it came to power in 1997, as it threatened to do when it existed in opposition.

Farooq Abdullah and the National Conference won the 1996 state election largely as a result of his promise to negotiate autonomy from New Delhi. Abdullah's inability to obtain autonomy from the centre threatens his fragile legitimacy. In early 2000, Abdullah renewed his efforts. He declared threateningly, "[i]f Jammu and Kashmir has to remain a part of India, autonomy has to be given. It's better the Centre start thinking that this has to happen to win the hearts of the people. They can dismantle me but the issue of autonomy will not disappear."81 However, it is exceedingly unlikely that the BJP government will accede to these demands.82 The underlying political issue in Kashmir thus remains unchanged, and the alienation of the Kashmiri people continues unabated.83 Indeed, the alienation in the state may have deepened over the past decade as a result of the central government's oppressive counter-insurgency strategy. Once again, this strategy has failed to eliminate the root cause of militancy.

India's counter-insurgency strategy is decidedly apolitical: it assumes that militancy can be eliminated by force. Militancy in Punjab and Kashmir, however, has been politically motivated and as such it requires a political solution. Without a political solution, the long term prospects for peace appear tenuous, especially in Kashmir. While the political dynamics in Kashmir are much more explosive than they were in Punjab, the Akali Dal also requires a political settlement to ensure that it is not outflanked by militants in the future. While India's counter-insurgency strategy is apolitical, it has had political consequences. It has precipitated a delegitimation of the police, a weakening of civil-military relations and an erosion of India's democratic traditions.

Human Rights Violations and the Delegitimation of the Police

When K.P.S. Gill was reappointed as the Director-General of the Punjab police, it seems that there was at least a tacit understanding with the central government that human rights violations would be part of the price to pay for the restoration of order in Punjab. The Punjab police have been repeatedly accused of staging "fake encounters" with militants. There were also frequent accusations that militants were captured, tortured and then executed. Human rights violations similarly have been ignored in Kashmir. The government of India simply ignored these complaints, and it repeatedly refused to permit international human rights organizations to enter the country.

This wilful neglect of human rights may well return to haunt the government of India. In the 1980s, a number of Sikh intellectuals chose to advance the Khalistan cause by establishing human rights organizations. These organizations have been very adept at exploiting human rights violations to embarrass the government of India, both domestically and internationally. While the conflict has subsided on the battlefield, it seems that "Punjab Part Two" will be fought in the courts. Instead of AK-47s, the "litigation gun" is now firmly trained on the police.84

Over 1,000 writ petitions have been logged against the police with the Punjab and Haryana courts, involving more than 2,000 police personnel. At present, "[t]hirty policemen are in jail, around 100 are out on bail and 140, including seven [superintendents], are facing prosecution."85 There are also 85 active investigations against the Punjab police being pursued by the Central Bureau of Investigation and 91 judicial probes, including "cases involving partially identified or unidentified bodies, mass cremations, and disappearances from police custody."86 A senior police officer fears that "[n]o less than one-sixth of the 70,000 strong force may find itself in the dock."87 For a police force that "suffered 1,700 casualties between 1978 and 1993 and lost 800 family members in the war to keep Punjab in India, this seems like ingratitude at its worst."88

The previous Congress government of Punjab funded a large war chest to provide the police with the best legal representation possible. The new Akali Dal administration is not as keen to protect the police, given the rather low esteem in which the force is viewed in the Sikh community. The Punjab Advocate General, G.S. Grewal, has said only that "[o]nce they are exonerated, the state is not averse to reimbursing the legal expenses incurred by the policemen."89 The national Congress party is obviously no longer in a position to provide the police with immunity. While the Indian courts are notoriously slow, there is potential for the moral fabric of the police to unravel. The lower ranks, which cannot afford expensive legal council, may find it preferable to testify against their commanding officers rather than risk prosecution.90

India, however, cannot afford to have the police command structure collapse. India is a highly volatile, diverse, developing society. Political disturbances are certain to be a recurring feature of the Indian landscape, and the security forces will be asked again to contain such movements. In defence of his force, K.P.S. Gill, now retired, has argued, "a mechanism must be found to obviate the legal harassment of those who put their lives at stake during low-intensity conflicts . . .. Otherwise, who is going to fight terrorism tomorrow?"91 Criminal immunity for human rights violations, however, is not the solution. Counter-insurgency efforts must be conducted within the letter and spirit of the law and under firm civilian political command. India's counter-insurgency strategy, which has relied on excessive force and disregard for human rights, is not sustainable in a political democracy, with constitutionally guaranteed liberties and an open legal system.

Civil-Military Relations

The Indian army, almost uniquely in the Third World, has remained under firm civilian control since independence. Rajesh Rajagopalan has noted that the Indian army developed its counter-insurgency doctrine during the conflict in Nagaland in the 1950s. He suggests that the main points of the doctrine include limits on the use of force, isolation of insurgents from the general population, military dominance of insurgency-affected areas and superiority of numbers.92 Although the army has engaged in a number of counter-insurgency operations since that time, it has not fundamentally revised its counter-insurgency doctrine. In short, the army does not seem to have responded to the modernization of insurgency movements, with their significantly improved weapons and communications equipment for the insurgents, and significant external support for the enemy, in the form of both regional sanctuary and international support networks. In short, the military has maintained its conventional "positional-war" orientation.

While India suffered a humiliating defeat against China in 1962, the Indian military performed admirably in conflicts with Pakistan in 1948, 1965 and especially the 1971 liberation of Bangladesh. The military thus developed a certain prestige in Indian society. The military has not engaged in an external war since 1971, notwithstanding the skirmish with Pakistan in summer 1999, but it has been employed frequently to suppress domestic uprisings. Between 1951 and 1970, the army was asked to suppress domestic strife on 476 occasions. By contrast, the military engaged in 433 domestic situations between June 1979 and 1984. "Most of these interventions were limited and . . . [i]n this sense, the military has acted in support of the political structure, providing the ultimate force in situations in which political solutions had failed and in which the police could not cope."93 The increased deployment of the military for domestic peacekeeping has lowered its prestige in society, disturbed ethnic relations in the military and strained relations between senior military officers and civilian authorities.

The Indian military is a social institution. It is composed of individuals drawn from India's diverse communities. India's diversity is thus mirrored in the military, to a greater or lesser degree. When the military is asked to suppress a community-based insurgency, it is bound to disturb members of that community in the military. Soldiers are not divorced from their community and, if a counter-insurgency effort steps beyond eliminating terrorists to attacking the community or its cherished institutions, a soldier's loyalty may be called into question. The Punjab crisis is illustrative of this problem.

The Sikh community was regarded as the backbone of the British Indian army. While Sikhs only composed about 2 percent of India's population, the military was 25 percent Sikh at independence. Although the officer corps is still about 20 percent Sikh, the overall figure has dropped to about 12 percent, much to the consternation of Sikh political leaders. Sikhs in the military are as loyal as any other soldier, and they had little or no sympathy for the separatists in their community, but Operation Bluestar severely tested the loyalty of many Sikh soldiers.94 Even K.P.S. Gill has said bluntly, "No one defends Bluestar. It was a grave mistake and everyone, every Sikh had the same reaction. There was a sense of outrage. Even I had it."95

Three of the key generals who planned Bluestar were Sikh, as were four of the six battalion commanders who participated in the operation, and a fair number of Sikh troops were also involved.96 The President of India, the constitutional Commander-in-Chief of the military, was also a Sikh. These loyal soldiers were instantly regarded as pariahs in their own community, and they lived with the threat of terrorist retaliation after the operation. Indeed, General A.S. Vaidya, who commanded Operation Bluestar, was assassinated on 10 August 1986, six months after he retired from active duty.97 And President Giani Zail Singh was struck by a bullet when he toured the Golden Temple in the aftermath of the operation.

As news of the operation spread across India, over 2,500 Sikh recruits deserted the army in a desperate attempt to defend the Golden Temple.98 Operation Bluestar placed every Sikh soldier in a moral quandary: they were asked to submerge their cultural identity for the sake of professional duty. Stephen Cohen has argued,

the Punjab crisis had one unprecedented impact upon the Indian armed forces. Given the evidence of the mutinies that occurred in June 1984, the temporary alienation of retired Sikh officers, and the close links between Sikhs in and out of the military, one can assume that no Sikh unit was fully trusted, especially in a situation that involved the Punjab itself . . .. The overall integrity of the Indian armed forces, especially the army, may have been badly, if temporarily, weakened.99

The stress placed on the military's delicate ethnic composition during counter-insurgency operations is yet another reason to pursue political settlements to these problems.

The deployment of the military for counter-insurgency duty also strains the relations among senior military commanders and the political decision makers. The Indian military regards its primary task as the defence of India from external aggression, but "[a] third and occasionally more of the army is employed on internal security duties."100 India and Pakistan share a long border, much of it over flat land with large civilian populations nearby. A large contingent of soldiers is thus required to guard the border. Furthermore, the defence of the isolated borders with China also requires an enormous logistical effort. The military regards domestic counter-insurgency duty as an unnecessary diversion from its primary task.101 The military has thus increasingly asserted that domestic insurgencies require political resolutions.102 Indeed, Lieutenant-General J.R. Mukherjee, commander of the 15th Corps in Kashmir, stated in July 2000, "I think it has been accepted by all that ultimately there would have to be a political solution" to the crisis in Kashmir.103

The military's engagement in counter-insurgency places it in the middle of a political conflict between the centre and the disaffected region. As the military is necessarily an instrument of the centre, it stands to lose social prestige in disturbed regions. The military may well resent this loss of public support, especially if the political maladroitness of the centre has caused or perpetuated the conflict. Cohen has observed, "[s]ervice resentment over political incompetence, especially when that incompetence affects the conduct of war or the readiness of the military to fight a war, runs deep . . .. The armed forces, especially the army, are not passive observers of the deterioration and increasing lawlessness of Indian politics."104 With all of the problems and crises facing the government of India, it can ill-afford a disgruntled military. Cohen has cautioned that the obedience of the military to civilian authority "will continue only so long as that authority is regarded as legitimate."105 And therein lies the greatest danger of India's erstwhile counter-insurgency strategy.

Democracy in India

India's legitimacy is derived from its democratic traditions, which are rare among Third World states. Indeed, India's democratic history is more in keeping with western political traditions. Furthermore, the military in India has been wholly subservient to civilian authority. While India's security forces may be able to ensure the compliance of the population, the continued "use of force to suppress dissent, resolve social conflicts, and maintain order may lead to the erosion of legitimacy and undermine the capacity of the state to rule."106 As Noorani notes, furthermore, "[d]emocracy is in peril when intelligence agencies mould policy and political decisions."107 V.R. Raghavan has noted that "India's central paramilitary forces have expanded four times and more in the last 20 years." He continues, "that the Indian state is required to use such a large force, in an armed role against its own citizens, should be a sobering thought."108 Raghavan also laments that all too often the central and state governments have been content to allow large portions of the country to be essentially governed by the military and paramilitary forces. Rajni Kothari has described the trend toward police rule and authoritarianism as "the state against democracy."109

India's democracy is now under enormous strain. The fragmentation of the party system, unstable coalition governments, dubious exploitation of the constitution, massive graft and political corruption, the criminalization of politics and the general decay of many institutions have left many Indians deeply suspicious and distrustful of the political system. A pervasive cynicism has taken root across India, especially in highly disaffected states, such as Punjab and Kashmir. The citizens of Punjab and Kashmir first witnessed the dismissal of their democratically-elected governments. They then endured a decade of police rule followed by sham elections. The governments elected by these charades were the political puppets of New Delhi, not the representatives of the people. It would not be surprising if the citizens of these states have had their belief in democracy shaken and their faith in the central government diminished. A similar process of state delegitimation has occurred in Assam and the micro-states of the northeast frontier.


Punjab and Kashmir are relatively small states on the periphery of India. The country may well endure these crises, but it can ill-afford more crises. The government of India cannot alienate large portions of the population in successive states, if it wishes to maintain its legitimacy. The repeated use of the counter-insurgency strategy developed in Punjab and Kashmir could well undermine the democratic fabric of India. The long-term erosion of the political legitimacy of the Indian state is the real danger of India's counter-insurgency strategy.

India will likely suffer more separatist insurgencies in the years ahead. It is thus imperative that an effective counter-insurgency strategy be developed that avoids the pitfalls encountered by the efforts in Punjab and Kashmir. Force will undoubtedly be a part of this strategy, but it must conform to the letter and spirit of the law, if it is to obtain public acceptance. The frequent use of excessive force - extra-judicial executions and torture - has serious costs, in the short, medium and long-term. In the short-term, it enrages the local population and fuels militancy; in the medium term, it exposes the police to damaging legal suits, the possible unravelling of the command structure, the demoralization of the police and a possible reluctance to fight future insurgencies; in the long-term, it may cause the erosion of the state's political legitimacy.

India's erstwhile counter-insurgency strategy has been based overwhelmingly on the use of force; it has been almost wholly apolitical. The government of India has steadfastly ignored the political grievances that cause such crises. All too often, legitimate political issues have been allowed to fester. This leads only to greater complications. The Indian state must win back the hearts and minds of its disaffected populations instead of simply trying to enforce compliance. Winning the confidence of the people is the only real long-term solution to these protracted crises.

Counter-Insurgency in India: Observations from Punjab and Kashmir | Telford | Journal of Conflict Studies (http://journals.hil.unb.ca/index.php/jcs/article/view/4293/4888)

It is a piece from 2001, so it may not take into account the change in character of the Kashmir insurgency over the last decade. Regardless, I found this to be an extremely well written analysis of COIN in India. It analyses many of the early flawed COIN tactics and policies, and how they evolved and changed over time, correcting previous mistakes. It also analyses the costs, social and economical, of the specific methods used in tackling the insurgency.

I also think this is a must read for all those who condone the previous COIN policies and tactics, despite not having an inside perspective on the issue.

19 Jul 12,, 21:56
Is there a pdf or a more compact format for reading this article?

19 Jul 12,, 22:01
Is there a pdf or a more compact format for reading this article?

Here you go Dok; Counter-Insurgency in India: Observations from Punjab and Kashmir | Telford | Journal of Conflict Studies (http://journals.hil.unb.ca/index.php/JCS/article/view/4293/4889)

20 Nov 12,, 03:34

India: Internal Conflicts And Jittery Forces A Dual Challenge – OpEd
India: Internal Conflicts And Jittery Forces A Dual Challenge - OpEd Eurasia Review (http://www.eurasiareview.com/04112012-india-internal-conflicts-and-jittery-forces-a-dual-challenge-oped/)
By: Dr. Bibhu Prasad Routray
November 4, 2012

Deaths of six CRPF personnel in Bihar’s Gaya district in a landmine explosion on October 18 would not have amazed many. India’s internal conflict theatres have claimed at least 10,000 security forces lives since 1990 and hence, the nation has developed the habit of relegating such deaths to the ‘expected’ category. However, what would surprise many is that at least half of such deaths could have been prevented, had the strategic planners in New Delhi given attention to few basic requirements of the forces.

The October 18 fatalities took place because the anti-landmine vehicle had ignored the basic Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of not taking on to an un-sanitised road. The vehicle had assumed that the road has been cleared when a pilot patrol was trying to diffuse some of the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) recovered on the road. Deaths among the forces as a result of such ‘oversight’ or violation of SOPs is not a new phenomenon and have taken place with alarming regularity in the conflict theatres. However, this rampant disregard for established rules of safety, far from being a malaise in itself, is only a symptom of an acute problem facing the forces.


CRPF personnel consider, according to a media report, J&K to be a more favourable operating ground than the Naxal badlands, where they are constrained to operate without basic amenities like toilets and mosquito repellents. An official study locates the reasons of widespread dissatisfaction among the forces in sleep deprivation, inadequate leave structures and medical care benefits. The net result has manifested in high levels of stress and fatigue leading to irresponsible use of weapons and a range of boisterous acts. It is not difficult to surmise why a large number of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), running into several battalion strengths, have taken voluntary retirement or have resigned from the force in recent years.

Sometime in early 2011, I walked into the Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPRD) to interview its chief regarding the modernisation of the CAPFs. The BPRD chief had relinquished his position as the top man of the CRPF a few months back and would be the perfect candidate, I assumed, for my queries. I had ignored the media reports that reversals suffered by the CRPF in Chhattisgarh in mid-2010 was blamed on his un-inspirational leadership and had ultimately led to his ouster from the CRPF. How a man who faltered in action could be relied to lead research that augments capacities of the police forces all over the country was also a mystery. One hour into the interview, I realised that my optimism was misplaced.

Questions regarding the challenges facing the project modernisation for the CAPFs went answered, as this former-CRPF chief was at his evasive best. “Modernisation is an ongoing process and it takes into account various factors”, he kept on repeating during the interview. He was neither interested to give a hearing to my preliminary findings of my project, nor was he willing to take questions on the areas of improvement for CAPF modernisation.

Some would argue that BPRD chief was merely trying to avoid the queries of an outsider, and justifiably so. I argue to the contrary, however. Official strategic planners live in a make-believe world of self-sufficiency in wisdom, resist external intervention and are often oblivious to many of the degenerative trends that affect the forces.

Consider, for example, the response of the Home Ministry on March 14, 2012, to a question in Rajya Sabha regarding the reasons for rising deaths among the CRPF personnel in the Naxal theatre. “The casualties among CRPF personnel can be attributed to lED explosions, hostile and inhospitable terrain, dense forests, surprise attacks by the CPI (Maoist) etc.,” minister Jitendra Singh explained. No surprises here.

Since the government is oblivious to the larger crises among the forces and considers the fatalities as a result of “tactical deficiency”, its prescription never goes beyond the usual measures. These include, in the words of the minister, “increase in deployment of CRPF battalions to plug escape routes, better training before induction, provisioning of modern equipment for carrying out anti-naxal operations, implementation of comprehensive civic action programme, professional investigation of major incidents, etc.”

The situation indeed presents a twin challenge for the policy-makers. Unless the long pending concerns of the CAPF personnel are addressed, not only the country would continue to lose its trained personnel to attrition, but the continued deployment of these personnel in the protracted counter-insurgency operations may also leave behind an irreparable trail of destruction, including civilian body bags.

This article appeared in The New Indian Express and is reprinted with permission.

20 Nov 12,, 03:41
CRPF men find J&K safer than Maoist killing fields
Rakhi Chakrabarty, TNN Oct 25, 2012, 03.20AM IST
CRPF men find J&K safer than Maoist killing fields - Times Of India (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-10-25/india/34729336_1_crpf-men-crpf-commandant-maoist-areas)

(In the Maoist heartland…)

NEW DELHI: In the Maoist heartland of Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district, a posse of CRPF jawans carrying night vision-enabled X 95 assault rifles patrols the road that snakes through thick forests. It's barely a few months ago that were posted in Chhattisgarh after a two-year stint in Kashmir. Yet, the CRPF men — belonging to different states from Kerala to Assam — already missed Kashmir sorely.

Though counter-intuitive, J&K, perceived as a graveyard for Indian security forces, has emerged as a coveted posting for CRPF men battling the Maoists. It is a telling statement on the challenge posed by the far-Left insurgents in contrast to the relative success of security operations in J&K.

Currently, there are 65 CRPF battalions in J&K and the force is trying to further reduce its footprint. In the Maoist zone spread across nine states, 70 CRPF battalions are posted and there is demand for more. Senior CRPF officers have to contend with scores of applications from officers and jawans citing reasons why they should not be posted in a Maoist-hit area.

"We could at least sleep in peace at night in Kashmir when we were not on duty. In Maoist areas, we are on tenterhooks day and night," said a CRPF commandant.

CRPF is the nodal agency conducting joint anti-Maoist operations in nine states. Danger lurks in every corner of Maoist-hit areas. "Maoists are an invisible enemy who can strike anywhere and at any time. It's easier fighting terrorists in Kashmir," said an officer who served in Kashmir.

The Maoists fight a mobile guerrilla war. They have attacked police stations, camps and jails day and night. Dozens of security forces were ambushed and killed by Maoists.

The biggest danger though is from landmines or improvised explosive devices planted by Maoists along roads and even outside schools. For instance, Maoists planted landmines and blew up a school where the CRPF had camped in a village in Jharkhand's Khunti district about two years ago. Security forces in anti-landmine vehicles, too, are killed in landmine explosion. Maoists blew up an anti-landmine vehicle on October 18 in Bihar's Gaya district killing six CRPF men.

There are many instances of killing of security force personnel not on duty or while carrying ration in civvies for remote camps in Maoist-affected areas in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh or Odisha.

20 Jan 13,, 21:39
Not a good look...

‘We were used as human shields in Latehar against Maoists’
Anumeha Yadav

Four villagers died in an explosion when they tried to lift a CRPF jawan’s body

Adivasi villagers at Amvatikar have accused the CRPF of beating them and using them as shields as they were forced to search for security personnel’s bodies in the Katiya forest in Latehar district on January 8. Eleven security personnel were killed in an encounter with Maoists a day earlier.

In an interview to The-Hindu on January 11, Vijay Turi (40), who survived the blast that killed four villagers, said the explosion took place when they tried to lift the body of Baijnath Kisku on the CRPF’s instructions. It caused a three-foot deep pit. A scarf, broken slippers and scraps of cloth lay scattered on the slope of the Bhaluwahi hill at the edge of the adivasi hamlet.

Police officials initially said the blast was triggered by explosives planted under Kisku’s body. They later said it was likely that Maoists had sewn the explosives inside the body, as they had done with CRPF’s Babunath Patel’s body. That bomb was detonated safely outside a hospital in Ranchi on January 10 after doctors, suspecting something was amiss when they noticed an incision on the body, called the police.

“Pramod Sau from Nawadih came at 10 a.m. and said the police would beat us if we did not help them look for the bodies,” said Turi’s nephew Binod Turi (18). “The police made us walk in three queues, men and women on both sides and the police at the centre. We spotted the body on the hill slope. The police stood with the villagers at the base of the hillock, 20 feet from the body. They asked six villagers in the front to walk ahead and lift the body.

“Suddenly there was a huge explosion. We ran. The police asked us to take cover with them, but the villagers were running. Some policemen then started hitting the men with their guns, sticks, boots, saying ‘you shelter Maoists.’ They put a gun to my stomach and made me sit there,” he recounted.

On Friday morning, he and Turi’s wife Asha packed a few bags of clothes and some grains and fled the village with Turi’s two sons and several Adivasi families, fearing more violence.

Another villager, Suresh Parahaiya, said a CRPF man hit him in his forehead and leg when he ran in panic after the blast. “They beat us when we tried to run and made us sit there till 4 pm when two bodies were found and loaded on a tractor,” said his wife Mano Devi.

“The policemen made us walk to the hill and then they held some men in the front by the back of their neck; they held a gun to Ganu, my niece’s son,” said Bimli Devi. Ganu (16) had walked a few steps up the Bhaluwahi hill and was bending over the jawan’s body when the blast took place. Only the lower half of his body was recovered on Tuesday evening. He was the youngest among the four villagers who died.

“On Monday, we heard gunshots all day,” said Rajkumar Bhuian (70). “My older son Jogeshwar asked his wife and five sons to leave for Manika town with my younger son Suneshwar. On Tuesday, I was in the forest grazing cow and found out only in the evening that the police had taken Jogeshwar to search for the bodies. I found only his gamchha (small towel), his chappal, and three ribs.”

“They could not find my son Birendra’s body on Tuesday,” said Bihari Yadav. “When I went to the police station in Latehar, the policemen began beating me and calling me a Maoist before an officer intervened. On Wednesday I found only his limbs.”

Pramod Sau, a shopkeeper from Nawadih who had helped the police gather villagers from Amvatikar, Nawadih, Chahal and also got two tractors from the village to carry the bodies, succumbed to his blast injuries in his face in Ranchi on Wednesday.

The mukhiya of the neighbouring Chungru panchayat, Baldev Parahiya, said he had agreed to help the police look for four bodies and arranged for three tractors on Tuesday morning, but requested that the villagers be allowed to go home after the explosion occurred.

IG (Operations) S.N. Pradhan could not be reached for his comments on Friday. In an interview to TheHindu on January 11, Mr. Pradhan denied the charge that the CRPF forced villagers to accompany them. “We often need the help of villagers to borrow cots to carry bodies back. Women and children sometimes accompany the men as they think this will ensure the men’s safety,” he said.

Chhattisgarh police, IAF in spat over injured cop
By Deeptiman Tiwary, TNN | Jan 20, 2013, 12.45 AM IST
Chhattisgarh police, IAF in spat over injured cop - The Times of India (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Chhattisgarh-police-IAF-in-spat-over-injured-cop/articleshow/18094527.cms?)

NEW DELHI: An injured Jharkhand police jawan left behind in an IAF chopper that came under fire from naxals in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district on Friday has become a point of friction between the Air Force and anti-naxal forces.

While Chhattisgarh police personnel have expressed anguish at the fact that six IAF personnel left behind an injured jawan choosing to run to safety themselves, the Air Force is furious that its courage and commitment to duty is being questioned.

IAF sources say they did not move him to safety as he had a severe gunshot wound and moving him on foot could have proved fatal. The force has, in fact, blamed CRPF and Chhattisgarh police for failing to sanitize the area before the arrival of the chopper leading to its ambush.

On Friday at around 5.20 pm, an IAF chopper on its way to evacuate an injured jawan and the dead body of another personnel from the Chhattisgarh Armed Force in Timmilwada area of Sukma jungles came under heavy fire from suspected naxalites forcing it to crash-land near Puswada village, about 2.5 km from Timmilwada. While the chopper took 15 hits with its fuel tank and hydraulic system busted, wireless operator with Chhattisgarh police MK Sahu sustained a bullet injury in his abdomen.

The six IAF personnel, who had escaped unhurt, left for CRPF's Chintagufa camp, about three km away from the crash site, to organize help leaving a profusely bleeding Sahu behind. The need for all six to set off, leaving the jawan behind is raising a few eyebrows.

Sahu bled for over three long hours before any help could be organized. At around 9 pm, he was given first aide at the Chintagufa camp and then flown to Raipur in an IAF chopper on Saturday morning. He was accompanied by another injured Chhattisgarh police personnel, Nandkishore Bhadoriya, in whose rescue the first IAF chopper had been hit. By the time Sahu reached Raipur his condition had become critical, however, Chhattisgarh police said he was now out of danger.

"Our jawan could have died. I cannot understand why IAF personnel could not carry him to the camp for immediate medical help," said a senior Chhattisgarh police officer.

Countering this, an IAF officer said, "The jawan was immbolised. If we moved him on foot, he could have died as it took us two and a half hours to reach Chintagufa due to dense jungle. The very fact that we came under fire shows that the police had failed to sanitise the area, a prerequisite of our air assistance to them."

In an official statement, IAF spokesperson Sqdrn Ldr Priya Joshi said, "The crew reached the CRPF Camp at Chintalgufa and informed them of the exact location... helping them reach the location. Since the injured CRPF Jawan could not be moved due to injuries suffered, he was airlifted in the morning today from Chintalgufa to Jagdalpur and from Jagdalpur to Raipur by a special IAF aircraft. An enquiry has been ordered into the incident."

21 Jan 13,, 09:29
CRPF men find J&K safer than Maoist killing fields

Lol...that is coz the army does the COIN ops in J&K and the CRPF does sentry duties within the city.
When I was serving in J&K, their DIG never allowed them to operate after sunset (I'm not joking).

21 Jan 13,, 13:56
Lol...that is coz the army does the COIN ops in J&K and the CRPF does sentry duties within the city.
When I was serving in J&K, their DIG never allowed them to operate after sunset (I'm not joking).

The main difference between J&K and Naxal afflicted areas is the extensive HUMINT network that the Army has cultivated in J&K over the last 20 years. Every few weeks you hear stories of local commanders of the LeT and other groups getting cornered and eliminated in their hiding places in villages and forests alike. This is impossible without accurate intelligence and is something that the CRPF sorely lacks. In fact I would think the maoists probably have more informants in the security forces than the other way round.

The second issue is that the CRPF soldiers and especially their officers are simply not as well trained as their Army counterparts. The Army spends a lot more time and money training their young officers and they have honed their skills in J&K and the northeast over the years. The CRPF officers don't have the same skills or the experience and it shows. They routinely lead their men into ambushes that could have been avoided or detected earlier with better tactics.

This statement from the IAF for example is telling:

IAF sources say they did not move him to safety as he had a severe gunshot wound and moving him on foot could have proved fatal. The force has, in fact, blamed CRPF and Chhattisgarh police for failing to sanitize the area before the arrival of the chopper leading to its ambush.

The IAF crews are used to operating with IA soldiers. They probably expected the CRPF men to follow the same standard tactics as the regular Army.

22 Jan 13,, 05:13
Point taken. But news reports of a wounded police constable being left behind is shocking.
The IAF crew should have waited at the chopper and ensured its protection and that of the wounded man. Disgraceful behaviour by the pilot and co-pilot.

08 Apr 13,, 08:30
IAF flies double sorties and commandos to Naxalite areas - The Times of India (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/IAF-flies-double-sorties-and-commandos-to-Naxalite-areas/articleshow/19435610.cms)

RAIPUR: The Indian Air Force (IAF), which faced flak after its personnel abandoned an injured policeman in a chopper crippled in Naxalite firing, has now begun flying double sorties to many areas and more commandos for its air support missions in anti-naxalism operations to prevent such incidents.

The sortie routes of the IAF helicopters are being sanitized by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in advance and it has doubled the strength of on-board 'Garuda' commandos to four every time its Mi-17 choppers fly in remote and forested areas of Naxalite violence affected states, official sources said.

A senior official in the anti-Naxalite operations grid noted that the helicopters are under an increased threat from extremists. The new operational procedures are being undertaken after the January 18 incident in Chhattisgarh's Dantedwada district where Maoist gunfire had forced an IAF Mi-17 helicopter to make an emergency landing and the conduct of the on-board IAF men being probed.

A court of inquiry is already underway to ascertain the role of the IAF men involved in this operation.

In many cases two helicopters fly the same path, with one flying alongside the other in a secure formation, the sources said. While two commandos man the light machine gun (LMG) mounted on-board the chopper, two others armed with sophisticated rifles secure the machine after landing.

"The anti-naxalite operations are a dynamic state of affairs. There are regular intelligence inputs suggesting Naxalite tactics and the helicopter sorties are surely under an increased threat," the official said.

The CRPF, which is the lead operations force against Maoists, is also deploying more men to secure the helipads during ascent and descent of helicopters that aid the operations by way of bringing in men and material besides evacuating casualties from conflict areas. The Union home ministry had sometime back asked the defence ministry to take action against the IAF men who had abandoned the injured policeman and the helicopter in Chhattisgarh, saying the incident was extremely disturbing.

The IAF and BSF 'Dhruv' helicopters fly from bases in Raipur, Jagdalpur and Ranchi for air support missions to forces undertaking anti-Naxal operations. They have a stipulated flying time of 80-hours a month thereby making their flying a precious and meticulously calculated decision by the hard pressed commanders of the forces who rationalise the limited sorties for more than 80,000 troops in Left Wing Extremism hit states.

09 Apr 13,, 01:50
Lashkar threatens J&K village council members, asks them to resign

In a bid to derail grassroot level democracy in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) on Thursday threatened and asked village council members to resign from their elected posts.

The LeT posters threatening village members and asking girls to follow strict "Islamic dress code" appeared in Aharipal village, 50 km from Srinagar in south Kashmir's Pulwama district.

The posters were signed by Abdullah Mujahid who claimed to be the LeT commander for Jammu and Kashmir. Through the posters the outfit threatened village panches and sarpanches of dire consequences if they did not resign from their posts.

The posters written in Urdu also asked the girls to adhere to a strict Islamic dress code. The LeT warning asked locals to desist from working for Indian agencies.

In the past also such threats by other guerrilla groups have appeared in some villages. One such threat also asked girls not to use mobile phones.

Five elected village council members have been killed by gunmen in the Kashmir Valley since the panchayat election in 2011.

An overwhelming majority of villagers participated in the panchayat polls of 2011, which were held in Jammu and Kashmir after a gap of 28 years.

Lashkar threatens J&K village council members, asks them to resign : North, News - India Today (http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/let-lashkar-threatens-jammu-and-kashmir-village-council-members-asks-them-to-resign/1/260653.html)

Sarpanch shot dead by unidentified gunmen in South Kashmir

Unidentified gunmen killed ruling National Conference sarpanch, Ghulam Mohammad Lone, district Pulwama district, 55 km south of Srinagar late on Monday evening.

Police sources said that unidentified gunmen fired at 50-year-old Lone from a close range outside his house at his native village Kulpora.

Lone was immediately rushed to hospital. But he succumbed on way, police said.

Lone's killing has come nearly two months after the killing of a National Conference sarpanch in North Kashmir.

On February 24, unidentified gunmen killed Javid Ahmad Wani at Kalantra village in North Kashmir's Baramulla district. Wani was prominent figure of the National Conference in the area.

Sarpanch shot dead by unidentified gunmen in South Kashmir : North, News - India Today (http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/sarpanch-killing-kashmir-national-conference-sarpanch-ghulam-mohammad-lone/1/261345.html)

6 sarpanches resign after latest killing in Kashmir valley; Omar govt comes under attack

A day after the killing of a sarpanch in Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla district, six panches and sarpanches resigned from their posts on Monday over terrorists' threat.

According to reports, some terrorists visited the houses of these sarpanches and threatened them to quit from their posts.

It was the fifth killing of a sarpanch in six months in the state and the latest to be targeted was affiliated to the ruling National Conference. The unidentified assailants fired repeatedly at the sarpanch from a close range.

Reacting to the latest killing, the president of J&K Panchayat Conference, Shafiq Mir, said, "It is a sad issue. A sarpanch has been killed. He was a dynamic person. The militants had threatened that panches and sarpanches will be targeted. We have been asking the government to provide us security but it did not take any step."

"All the pro-democracy forces had to be targeted and we were aware. In the next two days, we will take a decision on what step to be taken. We are not thinking of running away and resigning. But we will surely take some step. All that is happening will end the roots of democracy slowly and gradually," Mir said.

Another sarpanch, Ghulam Mohammad Mir, said, "As you know this is fifth sarpanch's murder. This is the government's irresponsibility. More than 100 people have resigned. They are not secure. Government is responsible for this situation. After Afzal Guru's hanging, situation has become worse in Kashmir."

Reacting to the latest killing, the BJP also raised concern over the spate of attacks on democratically elected representatives in Kashmir valley. BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said in the national capital that it was a big loss to democracy and the state government must take steps to check the cycle of violence.

"Separatists and terrorists spreading terrorism in Kashmir valley is a serious issue. Government should take steps against it. This is also a loss of democracy. The electors of Kashmir valley elected good people... The issue will be raised in Parliament. Government should take adequate steps against it. This is a conspiracy and we must condemn it," Javadekar said.

6 sarpanches resign after latest killing in Kashmir valley; Omar govt comes under attack : North, News - India Today (http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/6-sarpanches-resign-killing-in-kashmir-valley-omar-govt-kashmir-omar-govt/1/251624.html)

Looks like the Pakistani militants are getting real desperate and have now started hitting the local village leaders.

10 Apr 13,, 23:25
This article is not exactly about COIN ops in India, but it does deal with the LeT, which is the biggest terrorist group operating in Kashmir now, and is responsible for attacks elsewhere in India as well.
It is a blog post about a report published by the Combating Terrorism Center of the US Military Academy at West Point, NY.

Didn't know where else to post this. Tronic, if there is a another thread where this is more appropriate, please cross-post there. It definitely deserves eyeballs, as it is coming straight from the USMA.

The Fighters of Lashkar-e-Taiba: Recruitment, Training, Deployment and Death (http://vipulmb.blogspot.in/2013/04/the-fighters-of-lashkar-e-taiba.html)

Some excerpts

> Fighter Background

- Age: According to our data, the mean age when a recruit joins LeT is 16.95 years, while the militants’ mean age at the time of their death is 21 years. The mean number of years between an LeT militant’s entry and death is 5.14 years.


> Residence and Recruitment

- Location: The vast majority of LeT’s fighters are recruited from Pakistan’s Punjab province. While LeT’s recruitment is diversified across the north, central and southern parts of the Punjab, the highest concentration of LeT fighters have come (in order of frequency) from the districts of Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Lahore, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Sialkot, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Khanewal, and Multan.


> Training, Deployment and Death

- Location and Level of Training: LeT training has historically occurred in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan and in Afghanistan. Together these two locations have accounted for 75 percent of LeT militant training over time.

The highest level of training reported by most LeT militants (62 percent of available data) was specialized training (Daura-e-Khasa, LeT’s advanced course), the majority of which occurred in Muzaffarabad.


- Fighting Fronts and Location of Death: Ninety four percent of fighters list Indian Kashmir as a fighting front. Although less relevant, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Tajikistan and Bosnia are also identified in the biographies as other fronts.

According to our data, the districts of Kupwara, Baramulla and Poonch in Indian Kashmir account for almost half of all LeT militant deaths since 1989.

> Recruitment Base and Other Linkages

The Pakistan government insists that Pakistanis are not engaging in acts of terrorism in India or elsewhere; rather, the government claims that it is only providing diplomatic and moral support to the indigenous mujahidin fighting in India. While few entertain these claims as credible, our database indicates that this claim is false. First, the vast majority of LeT fighters are Pakistani and most are Punjabi, not Kashmiri....

20 Apr 13,, 03:24

Lessons need to be learnt to fight internal armed conflicts (Article)
New Delhi, Tue, 16 Apr 2013 ANI
Lessons need to be learnt to fight internal armed conflicts (Article) (http://www.newstrackindia.com/newsdetails/2013/04/16/150-Lessons-need-to-be-learnt-to-fight-internal-armed-conflicts-Article-.html)

New Delhi, April 16 (ANI): The Indian Army is one of the very few armed forces in the world which has been kept on its toes since Independence, engaged in the task of defending the country against foreign aggressors as also helping the government in maintaining peace and order.

At the dawn of Independence the Indian Army had to look after refugees who came from Pakistan and prevent communal disturbances within the country. Before the country could settle down, the army had to rush to Jammu and Kashmir to defend the state, which had acceded to India, against 'raiders', who were backed by personnel from the Pakistan Army.

The cease-fire in Jammu and Kashmir, which was accepted at the end of 1949, hardly saw any peace. India had to face aggression from China in 1962, in the North East and in Ladakh in the north. Today, the India-China border continues to be sensitive.

There has been no respite insofar as the India-Pakistan border is concerned. India has had to fight three wars with Pakistan in 1965, 1971 and in 1999.

Even though the Indian Army has been deployed to aid the civil authority in various situations ever since Independence, the basic training of the Indian 'soldier' has been to fight the 'enemy' of the country. The Jawan, as the soldier is commonly referred to, generally looks for a 'dushman' while he is deployed.

Therefore, the Indian Army has been reluctant to get involved in managing 'internal disturbances'. Over the years, the Government of India has created what has been called paramilitary forces, including the Border Security Force, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and Central Industrial Security Force, to name a few. In addition, it has added to the strength of forces like the Central Reserve Police Force.

The Indian Army faced its first major confrontation with insurgency in Nagaland in the middle sixties. As Public Relations Officer of the Defence Ministry, based in Shillong, I had to interact with the media about the activities of the armed forces in the northeast.

I do recall a long briefing that I had from then Major General K. P.Candeth, about the Nagas and the task of the Indian Army to maintain peace in the area. He briefed me about the simplicity of the people of the area, whose loyalties were tribal in nature, but were motivated by 'foreign' forces who were interested in the area seceding from India. Those were the days when efforts were made to establish an accord with the Nagas with the help of Reverend Michael Scott.

Major General Candeth also briefed me about the task that he was facing in reorienting the Indian soldier as far as his task was concerned.

The 'insurgency' in Nagaland was only the beginning. The Mizos followed the Nagas. We have had trouble in Tripura, Manipur and Assam. The army had to deal with the situation in all northeastern states.

In the West, India had to fight internal disturbances in Punjab in the eighties. It was the first phase of proxy-war inflicted on the country by Pakistan. It was followed by 'militancy' that surfaced in Jammu and Kashmir in 1989.

The army had to assist the civil authorities both in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. While the disturbances in Punjab came to an end in the early nineties, the trouble in Kashmir is continuing.

I recall that General K. V. Krishna Rao, who was appointed the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir in 1989, was reluctant to use the army to fight the militants in the state and had conveyed it to then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. He resigned as Governor when the Government changed in Delhi. However, when he was sent to the state again in 1993, the army was fully involved in fighting insurgency in the state.

Much credit should go to General B. C. Joshi, who raised the Rashtriya Rifles in the early eighties to fight insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir. He made every soldier swear by the "Ten Commandments" while performing duties in the state, to ensure that he does not treat the 'militant' as an 'enemy'.

The latest, and perhaps the most serious threat to internal security of the country is 'Left Wing Extremism'. Also known as Naxalites or Maoists, left wing extremists have been able to establish the 'red corridor' through Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Andhra, and parts of Maharashtra . They hope to 'liberate' the country through an armed rebellion.

The country has been debating for over a decade as to whether the armed forces should be used in fighting left-wing extremism. There is reluctance to deploy the armed forces to fight the Naxals. The author, Lt. Gen. (Retired) Rustom K. Nanavaty, has pointed out that, as stated in 1952 by the first Indian Commander in Chief, General K. M. Cariappa, the role of the army is to 'defend the country against external forces' aggression and help the civil and state governments in times of need'.

Different authorities have restated the role of the army, but as the author has stated, 'in substance, little has changed'.

Lt. Gen. Nanavaty has pointed out that the army must overcome the traditional reservations and inhibitions regarding its secondary role. As the last bastion of the nation's security, it has a responsibility to respond to the evolving security needs of the state and thereby ensure its continued relevance.

Lt. Gen. Nanavaty has also pointed out the need for training the army as also the Special Forces to enable them to fight left wing extremists and insurgents effectively. The government has created the Special Forces, but they have not received the training needed to fight insurgents, and consequently, have suffered heavy casualties on occasions.

It is time the army is used to train the forces if there is a reluctance to deploy the military, as the state governments is finding it difficult to 'control' the armed forces in fighting the militants. The author has also given an analysis of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which has been a subject of controversy in Jammu and Kashmir and in Manipur.

Nanavaty has underlined the need for synergizing security forces operations and intelligence, as also the use of information dissemination. He has pointed out that there is no effective coordination between the Directorate of Public Relations of the Ministry of Defence, which is the authorized information dissemination agency for the armed forces, and the Public Information Organisation of the Army, which has the task of conducting information warfare to aid the forces on the ground.

There are many lessons to be learnt if the country has to successfully deal with internal armed conflict in the country.

The basic principles, Lt. Gen. Nanavary points out are that the security forces engaged in internal armed conflict must conduct operations with restraint strictly in accordance with law.

There should be synergy in the conduct of operations, the forces should adopt a grid patter of deployment, the offensive operations should be based on intelligence and the forces must have the trust, respect and goodwill of the people.

The Department of Defence and Strategic Studies of Pune University and the Centre for Land and Warfare Studies which supported the research and the publication of the book, deserves to be complimented for persuading Lt .Gen. Rostum Nanavatty , who has had wide experience in fighting anti-national forces both in the West and the northeast to author the book (ANI)

Attn: News Editors/News Desks: Mr. I.Ramamohan Rao is a former Principal Information Officer, Government of India. He can be contacted at the following e-mail ID raoramamohan@hotmail.com.

Book Review.Internal Armed Conflict in India by Lt. Gen (Retd) Rostum K. Nanavatty.Pp 246. Pentagon Press. Rs. 595

Published on April 18, 2013
India: Human Rights Education For Paramilitary And Armed Forces
India: Human Rights Education For Paramilitary And Armed Forces Eurasia Review (http://www.eurasiareview.com/18042013-india-human-rights-education-for-paramilitary-and-armed-forces/)
By Asif Ahmed

Human Rights are those minimal rights which every individual must have by virtue of his being a “Member of the human family”, irrespective of any other consideration. They are based on mankind’s demand for a life in which the inherent dignity of the human being will receive respect and consideration. The most basic rights are the ones that relate to life, liberty and security. To these may be added the right to live with dignity. These rights are equal and inalienable, and universally available to the human family.

On December, 1948 the United Nation General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations, 1948). Article 1 of the declaration states that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. Article 3 emphasizes that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”. Article 12 states that “No one shall be subject to arbitrary interference with his privacy”. Article 18 provides for freedom of thought, conscience and religion and Article19 for freedom of opinion and expression. Article 26 gives everybody to right to education. Significantly, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, in its preamble, calls upon every individual and every organ of the society to promote respect for these rights through teaching and education.

India is a party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the UN General Assembly. In India, the essential Human Rights have been embodied in those parts of the constitution which deal with Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of the State Policy. Such enjoyment of fundamental freedom can only be achieved as provided when Government, the State and the People are conscious of the need to ensure that every one enjoys human rights. Merely because such human rights are enshrined either in the constitution or in other statutory laws of the country will not help people in realizing human rights. Therefore some positive steps have to be taken to make the rhetoric of human rights into attainable realities.
Violation of Human Rights in War and Low Intensity Conflicts

One might be forgiven for thinking that the very nature of human rights is not a primary consideration for the armed forces of a state which has established them for at least one purpose, to fight a war on its behalf. The fighting of war necessarily involves loss of life, injury to individuals and the destruction of property. There is, it might be argued, little room to consider the human rights of those within the armed forces or those who come into contact with them during a war, whether of an international or of a non-international kind. To provide some amelioration of the condition of the victims of the war, to control the method of war and to limit its consequences, particularly as they affect civilian objects, states have, over a period of time, agreed by treaty to a wide body of international humanitarian law.

Violation of human rights is unfortunately common. Human rights are violated on a large scale during wars, and armed conflicts. This happens in spite of the fact that the basic rules of international humanitarian law- protocols, (International Committee of the Red Cross, 1983). In times of peace human rights violations are common in countries under dictatorship but are also known to take place in the most open democracies. The seminal problem of all laws, including humanitarian law, is the yawning gap between percepts and practices. Possibly, the best way to control the violation of human rights is to educate people about their rights and raise an outcry against violation.

On the account of the alarming rise in armed conflicts and other forms of violence in different parts of the world, most of which are internal in character, countless innocent people have to face hardships and suffering. Political or social actions aimed at alleviating the hardships can be successful only if there is a foundation of humanitarian laws that protect the rights and dignity of individuals and groups. International humanitarian law is a very important branch of international law, which regulates situations of international and internal armed conflicts basically by making it obligatory for parties in a conflict to spare persons not participating in hostilities, and by restricting excessively dangerous or indiscriminate means and methods of warfare.
The Indian Experience

The Indian Army’s engagement in counter insurgency operations for more than 50 years in the North East and for nearly two decades in J & K has some times made it deviate from its civilized ways and its conduct has not been completely free of blemish.
The Indian armed forces are being increasingly used in Low intensity conflicts (LIC) and Counter insurgency operations (CI) in Jammu & Kashmir and the North East region, as also some other States are facing the menace of militancy, naxalism and terrorism from past to present time. The Armed forces of the Union including Para Military force have been deployed in some disturbed areas to aid and assist the State Government authorities to handle internal security situation. In carrying out these tasks, the Army has time and again, come under criticism for human rights violations.

The Indian Armed Forces have often been accused of extra judicial execution of innocent civilians, illegal imposition of curfew, rape, molestation and sexual harassment of women, torture, forced labour and large scale looting of homes and granaries. Various civil liberties organizations have considered the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958 (AFSPA), a colonial instrument, modeled on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1942, which was enacted to neutralize the Quit India Movement by Britishers. They have accused the Indian government of violating the International standards of human rights, defined by the constitution and the International Bill of Human Rights. The United Nation’s Human Rights Committee, in 1991, found Section 4 of the AFSPA to be incompatible with Articles 6, 9 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966, which was ratified by India on April 10, 1979. Section 4 of the AFSPA grants special powers to army officers, JCO’s and Non commissioned officers to use force against a person who is acting in contravention of the law in a disturbed area. It also grants them unlimited power to destroy a place being used by an armed group as a training camp or hideout and the power to arrest a person without warrant on suspicion of committing a cognizable offence.

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (1958), the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (1967) and the Chattisgarh Special Public Security Act (2006) are some examples of legalization which grant de facto impunity to the security forces. These Acts compound the provisions of Sections of the Criminal Procedure Code (1973) which require prior government permissions before starting legal proceedings against members of the armed forces and the police. Media and some reports documents cases where Indian Security Forces have shot civilians under the authority of law such as the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act. These laws, enacted during the beginning of the conflict, allow lethal force to be used “against any person who is acting in contravention of any law or order for the time being in force in the disturbed area”. Many other laws offer state agents effective immunity from criminal prosecution. These need to be reviewed and repealed as they grant unfettered power’s, which are often prone to human rights violations and result in complete lack of accountability and India should ratify the U.N. Convention against Torture, legislate against inhuman and degrading treatment and enforce it. Indeed, one of the essential principles of international humanitarian law is that a distinction must be made at all times and in all circumstances between combatants and non-combatants, along with its corollary, a distinction between military targets and civilian targets, the later to be protected. There are few conflicts in which this principal is fully respected.
National Human Rights Commission of India on Human Rights violation by Armed Forces

The painful issue of how to protect human rights in times of terrorism and insurgency confronted the National Human Rights Commissions within days of its establishment (1993) with the tragic death of civilians in Bijbehara, in the state of J & K, in the course of a firing by the Para-military force. The Commission took suo -muto cognizance of the incident and after examining the reports, for which it had asked, concluded that excessive force had been used. There has been a strict vigilance by the commission on such kinds of violations. At times, there are allegations of human rights violations by the force who conduct operations against terrorists and on receipt of such complaints, the Commission calls for reports from concerned authorities.

Army has issued strict guidelines to all ranks on the observance Human Rights while operating in such areas. It has also been reported that since 1994, there have been 1318 allegations of Human Rights violations of which, 1269 have been investigated and 54 have been found to be true. 115 persons have been punished. The National Human Rights Commission of India had long back recommended the repeal of the AFSPA, and the enlightened world public opinion stands for the repeal.

In the last 14 years, the Commission has endeavored to curb violation of Human Rights as well as to promote a culture of Human Rights in the country through various measures. The Commission has been organizing training programmes and workshops on Human Rights issues since its inception. The target groups include Police personnel, Armed forces personnel, Judicial officers, Students, Public representatives, NGOs etc. The programmes cover general Human Rights awareness as also some specific issues like rights of the disadvantaged sections e.g. women, tribals, food security, right to education and health and custodial justice etc. The ‘Know your rights’ series brought out by the Commission has proved highly useful in spreading Human Rights awareness. Other publications include Handbook on Human Rights for Judicial Officers, Disability Manual, and Human Rights Education (HRE) for beginners etc.

The National Human Rights Commission requires a broader mandate, greater independence and empowerment to be able to conduct its own investigations and to enforce its decisions. The Protection of Human Rights Act (2006), which was further, diluted its independence, will need to be changed. As declared by the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on December 17, 1979 that “all police officers shall respect and protect human dignity and uphold the human rights of all persons as well it applies to the armed forces, they have to abide by the international conventions against torture and other cruel punishments, principles of international cooperation in the detention, arrest, extraditions and punishment against humanity”, which is paramount in the functioning of the police is not abide by. Since time immemorial police have not been able leash it’s atrocities in spite of the commendable job done by them. Time and again National Human Rights Commission has been show causing the officials of the police as to why an action should not be taken against them. It is of utmost importance to understand various human rights of the individuals, the situations in which violations are likely if sufficient care is not exercised and the likely allegations or charges against personnel of Armed Forces as well the Police.
Role of a Security Personnel in protection of Human Rights

The right relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the constitution or embodied in the international covenants and enforceable by the courts in India. Since there has been an increase in number of cases of terrorist activities, communal riots, activities of Naxalism the role of security forces have become paramount and necessary. These forces although play an important role in protecting the borders, and now their requirement is even more necessary in controlling civil unrest, enhancing the security at the important places and also control and maintain law and order whenever required. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on December 17, 1979 that all security personnel shall respect and protect human dignity and uphold the human rights of all persons as well it applies to the armed forces, they have to abide by the International conventions against torture and other cruel punishments, principles of international cooperation in the detention, arrest, extraditions and punishment against humanity.
Indian Armed Forces stand on Alleged Human Rights Violations

The understanding of the “citizens in uniform” concept varies from country to country depending on history, military culture, transition from authoritarian rule to democracy, and experience with war and conflict. There is therefore no single model for protecting the human rights of armed forces personnel. A clear constitutional basis is recommended for the armed forces. However they do set the context for the functioning of the armed forces at home and abroad. Constitutional framework is especially important in countries where there has been a transition from civil war. Human rights education should be a core component of training, especially where armed forces have been involved in inter-communal conflict.

Indian Defence Minister A K Antony said at a seminar on ‘Internal Security’ though cases of human rights violations by security forces have been rare, even a single instance of human rights violation is totally unacceptable. Human rights are the lifeblood of a democracy and Terrorists have no regard for human life, or rights and attack the vary basis of a democratic set-up, but they underestimate, or overlook the resilience of a democratic country like ours. One of the major challenges in countering terror is that security forces, on the one hand, have to preserve the territorial integrity, sovereignty of the nation and give a sense of security to the people. On the other hand, in the process of combating terrorism, they also run the risk of being dubbed as authoritarian and repressive. Through repeated terror attacks, the terrorists want the security forces to make mistakes which can be projected as a violation of human rights. Though cases of human rights violation by security forces have been rare, even a single instance of human rights violation is totally unacceptable. The Indian Armed Forces personnel are made aware of the respect for human rights and laws at every stage of their military training. This awareness must be translated into action on the ground. Our Armed Forces must consciously follow the twin ethics of ‘minimum use of force’ and ‘good faith’ during operations against an ‘invisible and ruthless’ enemy. Though the constraints of the security forces are understandable, the security forces too must bear in mind that the process of ‘winning the hearts and minds’ of people is never an easy one task.

In India, the traditional application of humanitarian law to the armed forces is almost as old as the armed conflict themselves. The Indian Army took immediate cognizance of the protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. It established its Human Rights Cell in March 1993, six months prior to the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission in India. Its (COAS) Ten Commandments laying down the code of conduct for all ranks operating against armed insurgents and terrorists i.e. Do’s or Don’ts, are recognized by the Indian Judicial System, and by the United Nations. The doubts about human rights conduct of the soldiers in India and abroad arise currently on account of lack of understanding about terrorism and insurgencies, the difficulties faced in dealing with them, and human rights aberration that take place in such operations.

The Armed Forces may be called upon to provide aid to civil authorities for maintenance of law and order, counter insurgencies, combat terrorism and help the public during natural calamities. While dealing in these types of situations, the Armed Forces come in contact with the public and unavoidably, uses some force, minimal though it may be. The Indian Armed Forces are faced with the dilemma of containing insurgency on one hand and to prevent violations of human rights on the other hand. The Indian Armed Forces especially Army frequently has been painted as ‘monstrous institution of the state’ perpetrating widespread human rights violations by those very countries that in the first place are responsible for funding separatism, insurgency and terrorism in India. While the actions of the armed forces are closely monitored by human rights organizations, the same is not applicable to the acts by the militants. The media too, apparently is oblivious to the blatant human rights violations by the militants.

Sometimes the security forces tend to over react when some casualty occurs to their own comrade. The militants fire at the security forces and then merge with the local population. This Provo Cates the security forces to fire indiscriminately which in turn causes injuries to the local population resulting in violation of human right’s. The Armed Forces are thus required to handle difficult situations during these situations with firmness and courtesy so that its reputation for being impartial, friendly and professionally component is maintained.
Need of Human Rights for Para Military and Armed Forces

Human Rights Education (HRE) is central to this ongoing process. The World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 stated that “Human rights education, training and public information are essential for the promotion and achievement of stable and harmonious relations among communities and for fostering mutual understanding, tolerance and peace”. It called on all States and institutions to include human rights, humanitarian law, democracy and rule of law as subjects in the curricula of all learning institutions in formal and non formal settings.

In India there is not such an institution that can teach the basics of interrogation to the Army officers and other junior leaders. In this enthusiasm to extract the actionable information the individual inadvertently violates human rights. Due to the acute shortage of officers, there are a number of occasions when the counter insurgency operations are being handled by junior and non commissioned officers who might not be adequately equipped with knowledge pertaining to laws regarding human rights. In such circumstances despite the best intentions, violations of human rights may occur. The culture of instant result in forces often leads to irrational acts resulting in violations of human rights.

Many governments, international agencies and NGOs today faced with daunting task of re-establishing peace and order in post-war societies. In so doing rights are an essential component of just societies, but in that HRE is a necessary element in the process of re-establishing stable and just post-war societies. Hence, human rights have become an important concept in both popular and diplomatic language. Human Rights Education (HRE) is based on the premise that human rights will reduce violence within society, if understood as generally accepted principles and rules of society expressed and adapted to a particular society and culture. In practice, however, HRE is rarely a prescribed remedy. For example, in the 1998 report for the UN Research Institute for Social Development, entitled Rebuilding after war, HR or HRE was entirely absent as an element in the process of the rebuilding societies.

The Government of India has the primary responsibility to comply with its earlier national commitments and human rights obligations. The human rights policy should be holistic and multilateral, urge upon accountability, transparency and follow-up actions of the national institutions and officials. The argument that human rights must be sacrificed for national security or national interests must be countered. In fact preservation of human rights standards is the only way to ensure our nation remains secure, as violation leads to greater alienation of the victims.

In Armed and Para military forces the traditional emphasis has been on training rather than education. In many western societies training has tended to focus on the formal equipping of officers and soldier’s with the necessary knowledge of the law and development of practical skills to do their job. Though the armed forces have always been conscious of human rights values, they have been leveled with various allegations of violating the human rights. Thus it is important that the various characteristics of human rights are known and understood by all personnel so that they value them and do not violate them. It is therefore very essential that the government and the armed forces must ensure the preservation and promotion of human rights in the country. Time has come to re-educate the bureaucracy, the Ministry, the media and the defence personnel with the universal human rights standard and ramifications of human rights violations. The State human rights commissions have to be recharged and reactivate.
Human rights education should draw the law enforcing personnel more and more into this effort where they become life long learners. Human rights education should been introduced in the whole curriculum of the Armed Forces, Police Training Institutions and the other agencies. Human rights education and awareness-raising for law enforcement officers should be regarded as the priority of human rights policy in India. All security practices ranging from arrest, interrogation to treatment of suspected persons have been improved in line with human rights principles. Any officers who violate human rights will be brought to justice or face disciplinary action as soon as possible.

1. Indu singh and Ajay Saxena, Human Rights in India and Pakistan, Deep and Deep Publications, New Delhi, 2004. P.4.
2. Powar.K.B., Human Rights and the Implementation of Programmes Related to Human Rights Studies in Indian Universities, Book- Conceptualizing Security for India in the 21st Century, (Editor-Gautam Sen), Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. New Delhi. 2007, chapter.23.p.321.
3. Jha.U.C. Wing Commander (retd.), Armed Forces and Human Rights, The Hindu, August3,2004.
4. Jacobs.K.S. Human Rights Checklist for India, May 20,2009.
5. Malik.V.P. Human Rights in the Armed Forces, Journal of National Human Rights Commission of India, New Delhi. Vol.4.2005.
6. Singh.Harwant Lt-Gen (retd.), Fighting Insurgency: Human Rights violations by troops avoidable, The Tribune, Sep.15,2008.

20 Apr 13,, 07:38
Means and Ends

A fighting force trying to win by following the rules of the book
An opposing force that has no such constraints

What happens?

An ambush followed by revenge from a few.

The correct way is to let the insurgents burn the place down, install autonomy and then promote the insurgents as politicians/leaders of that autonomous state. This doesn't solve the original problem of "scheming". The north-east and kashmir valley will continue to remain a battlefield but the tensions are reduced when the locals are given control of their region and society. The question is not whether the step will prove favorable or unfavorable to the locals.

22 Apr 13,, 12:39
Means and Ends

A fighting force trying to win by following the rules of the book
An opposing force that has no such constraints

Its called counter-insurgency operations.

What happens?
An ambush followed by revenge from a few.

The correct way is to let the insurgents burn the place down, install autonomy and then promote the insurgents as politicians/leaders of that autonomous state.
Your statement is based on what??...experience...research/study??

This doesn't solve the original problem of "scheming". The north-east and kashmir valley will continue to remain a battlefield but the tensions are reduced when the locals are given control of their region and society.
Two different regions with very different causes of rebellion, so don't lump them them in one basket.

22 Apr 13,, 17:48
The north-east and kashmir valley will continue to remain a battlefield but the tensions are reduced when the locals are given control of their region and society. The question is not whether the step will prove favorable or unfavorable to the locals.

Balderdash! The locals do have control of both Kashmir and NE states, just like every other Indian state. The CM and state govt. leaders are locals, elected by the local people. The militants are actually trying to stop village level local government elections by killing the elected Sarpanches (village heads).

In addition to that there are more privileges granted to Kashmir by Article 370 of the Indian constitution, like no one from outside the state being able to buy land there for example.

22 Apr 13,, 18:53
...like no one from outside the state being able to buy land there for example.

How is that a good thing?

22 Apr 13,, 19:36
How is that a good thing?

Oh, it's not. It has stifled economic development in Kashmir for decades. If you ask me, the entire article 370 is egregious and should have been discarded ages ago. The problem is, Kashmiris don't see it that way. They consider it a measure of their autonomy and will oppose any attempt to revoke it tooth and nail. It is not something imposed on Kashmir by the Indian state. They actually want it.

23 Apr 13,, 05:25
The Kashmiri's have got use to free doles from the Indian state, that is why they want Article 370 to remain.

23 Apr 13,, 06:36
Do you guys think insurgency can exist without the assistance of the local people?

What is the point in having village leaders when the indian army cannot even protect them from insurgents? If every little guy who goes against the insurgents is a target then indian army will have to keep aside a portion of its resources for protecting each one of these guys and quite frankly that is not possible. Lets be realistic.

In such a situation, the best option is to convince the insurgents to join politics in lieu of peace and stability. Basically, both Kashmir and North East are never going to become normal. We have to accept this fact. Besides normalcy, Kashmir has article 370 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_370) and NE has ILP (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inner_Line_Permit) and ADCs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_administrative_divisions_of_India), both of which restrict free movement of people and wealth so these regions will not see economic and social development also. The point is not to develop the region(because we don't have that option) but to contain the instability within these regions. The worst thing that could happen is insurgents from unstable regions plotting an attack on stable regions. If that happens, we can at least hold the insurgents(who we promoted as politicians in the region) responsible, accountable and punishable. However, if insurgents already have a free rein in their own territory, it would discourage them from plotting attacks elsewhere. There is no guarantee but it keeps peace for the longest time regardless of the few bomb attacks once in a while.

23 Apr 13,, 09:43
Do you guys think insurgency can exist without the assistance of the local people?
Yes in Kashmir's case. The terrorists are mainly Pakistani not Kashmiri.

In such a situation, the best option is to convince the insurgents to join politics in lieu of peace and stability.
You want to convince Pakistani backed jihadi groups to join politics and make them MPs and MLAs....:biggrin:

Basically, both Kashmir and North East are never going to become normal.
Who says???
Do you know that MNF in Mizoram was the LTTE of its time. The 1988 peace accord held true (thank God). The state is peaceful and a calm.
Nagaland and Manipur are more intricate, but solveable.

04 Jun 13,, 04:08
Quite a big hit carried out by the Maoists. They took out some very senior leaders of the Congress Party.

Maoist Attack Kills Dozens in India

NEW DELHI — Hundreds of Maoist guerrillas ambushed a convoy of top state political leaders in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh on Saturday and killed at least 27 people, including three leaders of the nationally dominant Indian National Congress Party.

The attackers blocked the road by felling trees, forcing the convoy of vehicles to a halt, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. The guerrillas set off a land mine that blew up one of the stopped vehicles, and then they opened fire on those remaining. Officials estimated that 200 to 300 guerrillas were involved.

And an intriguing view regarding the attack:

Questions Raised Over Intended Target of Maoist Attack

NEW DELHI— On May 25, a convoy of cars carrying senior leaders of the Congress Party and others was attacked by the Maoist guerrillas in southern Chhattisgarh in central India. It was one of the most audacious attacks by the Maoists, who now work under one umbrella group called the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

One of the 25 who were killed was a man the Maoists had been trying to hunt down for years. In 2006, Mahendra Karma of the Congress Party founded Salwa Judum (which in the local tribal language means “purification hunt”), an anti-Maoist militia made up of young tribal men. But instead of inflicting significant damage on the Maoists, the group ended up isolating the tribal population further after its cadre recklessly killed innocent people and looted and plundered villages, resulting in the displacement of over 150,000 people. Over the years, Mr. Karma had escaped many assassination attempts. But this time, the Maoists got him.

But what was really surprising about the attack was the way another Congress leader, Nand Kumar Patel, was targeted. The National Investigation Agency said that according to survivors, the Maoists took Mr. Patel and his son Dinesh hostage after tying their hands, and then shot them in a little forest clearing. The Congress Party general secretary Digvijaya Singh said in a post on his personal blog that the rebels had been looking for Mr. Patel in this particular attack and had not been expecting the presence of Mr. Karma, but he didn’t say where he had gotten this information.

A few days after the killings, however, the Maoists released a statement saying that their main target was Mr. Karma but they also sought to kill Mr. Patel, along with Mr. Karma, because Mr. Patel had been the home minister of Madhya Pradesh, which governed Chhattisgarh at the time he sent paramilitary forces to root out Maoists. They added that Mr. Patel had a “history of suppressing the people.”

But the question is: if that was the case, why was Mr. Patel never the target of such attacks before? Mr. Patel has had no history of rancor with the Maoists. In fact, he was among the few politicians in Chhattisgarh who were not seen as hawkish on the issue of dealing with the Maoists.

While conspiracy theories floated around in the state capital Raipur, Mr. Singh, in the same blog post, raised questions over the killing of Mr. Patel. “Why were they looking for Nand Kumar Patel, who was apparently not a supporter of Salwa Judum and who had been consistently opposing the police atrocities on tribals in Bastar? Why did they kill him and his son?” Mr. Singh asked.

A day after the blog post, the central government minister for tribal affairs, K.C. Singh Deo, alleged that some politicians and corporate houses could be “in tandem” with the Maoists.

While the truth behind Mr. Patel’s killing may take some time to appear, Mr. Deo has some basis for his allegations, since in Maoist areas many local government officials connive with the Maoists to siphon off government funds. In fact, the nexus between politicians and Maoists is quite old. In Andhra Pradesh, where the majority of senior Maoist cadre comes from, politicians have piggybacked to power on Maoist support. In 1982, the popular Telugu actor-turned-politician N.T. Rama Rao won the state’s chief minister post after calling the Maoists “Desh Bhaktalu” (patriots). But once he assumed his position, he went after them.

In 1989, the Congress Party snatched power from him by repeating the same formula: declare Maoists as patriots and use their popularity to win elections. This trend continued for many years.

In the Maoist-affected state of Jharkhand, bordering Chhattisgarh, it is widely believed that in many areas, one cannot win an election without shaking hands with the Maoists. In caste-ridden Bihar, Maoists have received political patronage for decades.

In the recent times, this murky association has come to fore in West Bengal as well. In a newspaper interview in April 2009, the Maoist leader known as Kishenji admitted that the rebels had sided with the mainstream leftist party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), in 2000 in West Bengal to fight another political party, Trinamool Congress. The guerrilla leader revealed that he had personally collected 5,000 cartridges from the Communist Party office to be used against the Trinamool Congress.

But in 2009, the tide turned. This time, the Maoists turned against the governing party and established liberated zones in the Lalgarh area of the state. This time, they had the support of Trinamool Congress.

In 2011, the Trinamool Congress snatched away West Bengal from the Communists, which had governed the state for more than three decades, and the seats in the Maoist-affected areas played a vital role in that victory. Immediately after winning the elections, the Trinamool chief, Mamata Banerjee, turned against the Maoists, and in November same year, Mr. Kishenji was killed near Lalgarh by security forces. Her own senior party member, Kabir Suman, spilled the beans about her ties with the rebels by writing in his book an account of how Ms. Banerjee had met two senior Maoist leaders.

More recently, the Home Department of the Maharashtra state government has cautioned that Maoist leaders and their supporters may have been elected to panchayats, local village-level governing councils.

The politicians know how to use the Maoists in their areas of influence to their advantage. The Maoists may not believe in democracy, but they know that it is important to keep ties with politicians for short- and long-term gains. In public, both ridicule each other. But sadly, in this nexus, it is the innocent people who ultimately drown in the cesspool this nexus creates.

Questions Raised Over Intended Target of Maoist Attack - NYTimes.com (http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/29/questions-raised-over-intended-target-of-maoist-attack/)

04 Jun 13,, 04:50
at least this time only politicos died.
Not one tear for them.

04 Jun 13,, 10:07
That is why it looks more like a paid hit.

04 Jun 13,, 19:05
at least this time only politicos died.
Not one tear for them.

Only a few were politicos. The rest must have been their security and staff.

05 Jun 13,, 05:08
Only a few were politicos. The rest must have been their security and staff.
Of the 27 dead, 9 were policemen and the rest were party workers. 37 others were also injured.

05 Jun 13,, 05:23
That is why it looks more like a paid hit.

Yep. Live by the scam die by the scam

25 Jun 13,, 20:15
Lethal tribal jungle unit joins war on Naxals

India is raising an unnamed jungle commando outfit of young tribal men in Chhattisgarh's Bastar to counter Maoist guerrillas.

Cobra, the most elite commando unit of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), has so far trained and absorbed 300 men aged 18 to 30.

The six-month gruelling course at CRPF's Lanjhi forest camp in Bastar is perhaps the world's longest training module in jungle warfare. The Ranger School at Fort Benning, US, has a similar but shorter, 61-day course.

The driving philosophy: Locals know their habitat best. In Bastar's dense saal forests where one of the world's bloodiest guerrilla wars is fought, stealth is precious.

In the war that is fought behind trees, darkness, glowworms and birdcalls, and where sniper bullets lurk, the local tribals' instincts and familiarity with the terrain are an asset.

"There's no foolproof strategy in this war. You have to keep trying new things," says Zulfiquar Hasan, inspector general, CRPF, Chhattisgarh.

The commandos are trained to pick up Maoists' tracks, identify fake animal calls used by the enemy as signal, survive for a week or more without carrying food - eating animals and plants and extracting water from spongy roots - and using a range of guns.

They use naptha balls to light small, hard-to-detect fires which don't emit smoke of odour.

They can tell a poisonous berry from an edible one.

"Their local expertise and intuitiveness is proving to be a huge asset against the Naxalites," says Uday Divyanshu, commander of the 204 Cobra battalion.

The tribal commandoes are being used mainly to track down Maoists from the faintest clues and to evacuate injured soldiers.

At the Cobra headquarters in Karanpur, HT met five members of the new elite jungle force last week.

Their favourite diet in the forests: Instant noodles.

"But when it gets over, we make do with what the forest offers," says a 22-year-old freshly-trained commando from Bastar's Gond tribe.

His next mission after joining the force: To get married.

Lethal tribal jungle unit joins war on Naxals - Hindustan Times (http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/Chhattisgarh/Lethal-tribal-jungle-unit-joins-war-on-Naxals/Article1-1080888.aspx)

Maoists and security forces both recruiting from the tribals means a more contained insurgency. Just hope this new all-tribal unit is put under tight oversight, and things don't go the Salwa Judum way.