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Army Would Not be Deployed to Fight Naxal Terror: Antony

Ruling out the possibility of deploying Army in anti-Naxal operations, Defence Min A K Antony has said the real answer lies in strengthening local and central police forces.

He said the Services have been extending full support to the police troops on the ground and the IAF was operating its choppers during night also in Naxal-hit areas.



Ruling out the possibility of deploying Army in anti-Naxal operations, Defence Min A K Antony has said the real answer lies in strengthening local and central police forces.

He said the Services have been extending full support to the police troops on the ground and the IAF was operating its choppers during night also in Naxal-hit areas.

Asked if the time was right to deploy Army in anti-Naxal operations given the intensity of the attack on Saturday in Chhattisgarh, he said, "There in no proposal like that. We extend our support without direct involvement. The real answer is to strengthen the local police and para-military forces".

The Defence Ministry has been against deployment of Army and the IAF in anti-Naxal operations.

The Defence Minister said the Services are providing "full support. In fact day before yesterday, before this tragedy happened, Air Force helicopters were flying at night time. Our support has always been there."

On the Naxal attack, the Minister said, "India is a democracy, there is procedure, there are institutions and there are methods and opportunity for every section to express grievances. But this kind of violence is not acceptable."

Heavily-armed Maoists ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh's Bastar district on Saturday, killing 27 people including Congress leader Mahendra Karma, ex-MLA Uday Mudliyar, state unit chief Nand Kumar Patel and his son.

32 others, including senior party leader VC Shukla, were injured in the attack.

Army sources said they have so far trained around 79,000 personnel from central and local police forces to tackle the naxal menace.

40 battalions of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) and local police have been trained by the Army before they get inducted in anti-naxal operations in left wing extremism- affected states like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

The Army's Bengal Sappers engineering group has been imparting training to the CAPF and local police personnel in handling improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Senior Army personnel are also involved in training CAPFs at the training schools and centres under the Union Home Ministry.

The sources said a proposal to appoint retired Major Generals and senior army officers by state governments has not progressed successfully.

The Army is also planning to raise a counter-insurgency school in Kondaigaon area of Chhattisgarh.

It also deploys its brigades in the area where jawans practice war fighting maneuvers in Narayanpur ranges there.


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Karnataka’s Cong Government Seeks Separate Religion Status for Lingayats

Karnataka’s Siddaramaiah-led Congress government has decided to recognise Lingayats as an independent religion and seek approval from the Centre for the same. 



Karnataka’s Siddaramaiah-led Congress government has decided to recognise Lingayats as an independent religion (from Hinduism) and seek approval from the Centre for the same. The decision was taken after a cabinet meeting and consultation with Lingayat seers.

The Cabinet took the decision to accept recommendations of the Justice Nagamohan Das Committee, which had asked the state to accord a separate religion tag to the Lingayats.

If recognised as a minority religion, the Lingayats will be able to avail of benefits under Section 25, 28, 29 and 30 of the Constitution.

What makes the timing of the move particularly suspicious is that Karnataka is just about two months away from elections and Lingayats, who currently form 17% of Karnataka’s population, is a major vote bank for political parties.

In the recent decades, the Lingayats have emerged as strong supporters of the BJP. Experts suggest that if a separate religious status is granted to the community, the BJP will have a tough time explaining its ideological stance based on Hindu solidarity. Former Chief Minister and current CM candidate of the BJP, BS Yeddyurappa, is also from the Lingayat community.

The Congress, predictably, hopes to gain much from the desired branching.

The agitation is not a new one – and has forever revolved around a single core question viz., who are the Lingayats and what precisely is their religious identity?

Who are the Lingayats:

The tradition of Lingayatism is known to have been founded by social reformer and philosopher Basavanna in 12th century Karnataka. While there exists a debate around whether Basavanna founded the sect or if he merely reformed an existing order, there can be no doubt that under him the community acquired the form of a well-organised, structured mass movement. Followers of the sect continue to revere him as the founder and prime philosopher of their religion.

Social reformer and philosopher Basavanna (Wikimedia Commons)

Basava grew up in a Brahmin family with a tradition of Shaivism. As a leader, he developed and inspired a new devotional movement named Virashaivas, or “ardent, heroic worshippers of Shiva”. This movement shared its roots in the ongoing Tamil Bhakti movement, particularly the Shaiva Nayanars traditions, over the 7th- to 11th-century.

Basavanna’s vision of a societal order was one based on human freedom, equality, rationality, and brotherhood. He and his followers spread their ideas through vachanas (prose-lyrics) and their prime target was the caste hierarchy which they rejected with full force. In one of his vachanas, Basavanna asserts that “the birthless has no caste distinctions, no ritual pollution.”

Lingayat sect first emerged within the larger trend of Bhakti movements that had swept across South India from the 8th century AD onwards.

The Bhakti tradition was a social reform movement that took birth within Hinduism but strove to rectify what the followers saw as the unjust practices within the tradition.

But, historians like K Ishrawaran say that while the conventional Bhakti movements remained adjacent to the Hindu system, Lingayatism challenged the system in its most basic form and became a highly structured movement.

Other historians say that the most striking feature of this institutionalisation was that unlike other Bhakti movements, Lingayat status was hereditary in nature!

The desired differences aside, however, the one aspect that indicates the association of Lingayatism with Hinduism is the former’s relationship with Veerashaivism.

Veerashaivism is also a Shaiva sect within Hinduism and is predominantly located in Karnataka. It’s supporters claim that Basavanna was not the founder of the Lingayat tradition, but rather a reformer of an already existing religious tradition called Veerashaivism.

The Veerashaivas accept the Vedic texts and almost all Hindu practices.

Moreover, despite insisting upon the contrary, Lingayatism, quite like Jainism, does assimilate many aspects of Hinduism that are influenced by or drawn from the Upanishads and the Vedic traditions.

The close associations that the Lingayat followers share with Hinduism, both sociologically and historically, thus make it a complicated case of to be or not be Hindu.

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NIA Files Charge Sheet Against ISI Agent for Blackmailing Indian Army Lady Officer



Today (12th of March 2018) NIA filed a charge sheet before the NIA Special Court, Patiala House, New Delhi against accused Mohd Parvez in case no. RC-21/2017/NIA/DLI.

The allegations are that accused had sent obscene and morphed WhatsApp images and messages from a mobile phone and Facebook ID with a veiled threat to circulate them on social media, to the complainant (a woman), thereby causing mental harassment to her as well as threatening to ruin her reputation.

The woman, a colonel in the Indian Army posted in Delhi, complained to the Delhi Police. The case was handed over to the NIA.

This was done in pursuance of a deep-rooted conspiracy hatched by Pakistani Intelligence officials and the arrested accused with a view to compromise an officer of the Indian Army into divulging national security secrets.

The incident was reported in mid-September. By the end of the year, the case came to the NIA. In less than three months, the charge sheet has been filed. The woman officer told investigators that the man approached her with the alias Ikta Sharma.

Parvez, who lived in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk, was known to frequent Pakistan and had multiple SIM cards.

The charge sheet has been filed against accused MOHD PARVEZ, 43 years, a resident of 1867,
Gali Patte Wali, Sui Walan, Chandni Mahal, Delhi-110006 under section 120B read with sections 123, 354D, 417, 418, 420, 468, 471, 506 and 507 of IPC and sections 66E and section 67 of IT Act and substantive offences under sections 123, 354D, 417, 418, 420, 468, 471, 506 and 507 of IPC, sections 66E and 67 of IT Act 2000 and section 18 of UA(P) Act 1967.

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Maoists Deploying Pressure Mines

On February 7, 2018, one personnel of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was injured in a pressure mine blast.



Pressure mines may not be lethal, but can certainly decapitate a person. On February 7, 2018, one personnel of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was injured in a pressure mine blast in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur district, near Dhanora.

For over more than a decade, Naxalites of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), Maoists in short, have been widely deploying pressure mines, especially in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, as well as in other parts where they operate.

Speaking on May 16, 2006, the then district police chief of Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, said: “These mines will kill anyone who steps on them. The mine doesn’t distinguish between a policeman and a civilian. It is also for the first time in the country that the Visakhapatnam police have unearthed pressure mines.”

The intended target is security force personnel on patrol. While on duty, the fear of a blast constantly lurks in his mind and he has to be very cautious while walking; this is a distraction. If he is careless, he might get injured and lose a limb permanently; occasionally he may also die. An injured security force personnel is more expensive for the state as it raises the cost of fighting the rebels; the injured person has to be tended to and a replacement found.

Besides, innocent civilians and cattle have also been victims of pressure mines. During a visit to Bastar some years ago, this author met a school teacher, Triveni Devangana, in Narayanpur who had been injured by a pressure mine. The teacher was riding her moped very near the school when a pressure mine got triggered a mere three feet away from her. The mine had been planted adjacent to a bore well with a view to target security forces personnel who normally halt there to quench their thirst. But a young cattle-herd had found the device and it exploded when he began fiddling with it. Devangana lost sight in the right eye, suffered partial damage in the left eye and received severe burn injuries in the face.

A mother of two children and a Sahitya Ratna in Hindi, her family of modest economic means spent Rs 1.1 lakh for her treatment. The Maoists did not even care to ‘apologise’, which they do occasionally when innocent civilians fall victim to their violence.

It is sad and abhorring that the unintended targets of Maoist violence have often been civilians and innocent, speechless, animals. On a number of occasions, cattle grazing in the forest have been killed or injured in pressure mine blasts. There is no count of the number of cattle killed in these incidents.

Typically, a pressure mine is made by placing TNT or other explosives in a small, spherical container and attaching a blasting cap at the top of the container. The size of the blast depends upon the size of the container and the amount of explosive material packed inside. Pressure bombs are made with readily available materials and can be simple or complex; it all depends on the fabricator’s choice. “These bombs are easy to conceal. They are planted just below the surface of the earth. The pressure that a person would exert when he or she steps on it accidentally while walking normally is all that is needed to trigger-off an explosion.”, a senior Superintendent of Police told this author during an interview in July 2007.

The Maoists have gone a long way in indigenously and ingeniously fabricating weapons. Lately, they have developed crude rocket launchers that are not accurate but have “nuisance value”. Their arsenal now consists of a melange of weapons – 4,000 regular and another 6,000 country-made. These include sophisticated weapons such as SLRs, AK series rifles, INSAS rifles looted from the security forces, and weapons such as tapanchas that they have fabricated in their production units.

While the Maoists have beaten a tactical retreat, they are still a formidable force with an estimated 4,000 armed underground cadre spread across 106 districts in 10 States. The core is still intact. While some members of the apex and all-powerful Central Committee have been arrested, killed in encounters, or surrendered, the Central Military Commission, presently consisting of six members, which guides all armed activity, is intact. (A seventh member Jinugu Narasimha Reddy alias Jampanna surrendered to the police on December 22, 2017).

Therefore, there can be no room for complacency. The government’s four-pronged approach of security, development, public perception management and ensuring the rights and entitlement of local communities needs to be implemented earnestly and, more importantly, its monitoring has to be rigorous.

Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of League of India or of any of its partners.

Originally published by Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses ( here

P. V. Ramana

P V Ramana is Research Fellow at IDSA. A student of South Asian studies, he works on the Naxalite-Maoist movement in India. He is the editor of a book entitled The Naxal Challenge (2008), and author of the book Understanding India’s Maoists: Select Documents (2014).

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