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INTERNATIONAL

4 Gunmen Attack Pakistan Stock Exchange Building In Karachi

All four attackers who attempted to storm the Stock Exchange compound in Karachi killed.

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KARACHI (Pakistan): At least four gunmen attacked the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) building in Karachi on Monday. As per reports, two citizens were killed while three others left injured in the terror attack.  The terrorists launched a grenade attack at the main gate and entered the building after opening indiscriminate firing, reported Geo News.

Initial reports said that four terrorists, a little before 10 am, came out of their vehicle and threw grenades after which they entered the compound and opened fire. At least two civilians have been so far reported dead while multiple injuries have been confirmed.

Police surgeon Dr Qarar Ahmed Abbasi said that five bodies and seven injured, including policemen, have been brought at the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi.


PSX Managing Director Farrukh Khan termed the attack as “serious and unfortunate”. While speaking to Geo News, he said the number of people in the compound was lesser than normal due to the Covid-19 situation.

He said that the terrorists had been intercepted outside the entrance and only one of them had entered the compound. None of them entered the trading hall or the building.

The building is in a high-security zone and also houses the head offices of many private banks.


A police officer and a security guard stationed outside the building were among those wounded.

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ECONOMY-DEVELOPMENT

BANNED: 59 Chinese Mobile Apps That Threaten India’s Sovereignty And Integrity

There have been acute concerns relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of Indians.

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NEW DELHI: The government of India on Monday announced the ban of 59 Chinese apps in the country. A day later one of the most popular short video applications TikTok has been taken down from Apple App Store and also Google Play Store. The government has called the decision “a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace & to safeguard interests of crores of Indian mobile/internet users“.

Also Read:
(1) TikTok Underlines Need For Data Protection Bill
(2) Zoom App IS NOT SAFE: Amit Shah-Headed MHA Issues Advisory For Users

Courtesy: PIB, GoI

Electronics and IT Ministry said in a release that these apps were banned in view of the information available they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of the country, defence of the country and security of a state and public order.


Geopolitics and international relations (IR) experts believe that the move is an exercise of coercive diplomacy that has, as the starting point, opted for a low-denomination item — mobile app — that has a limited impact on Indian businesses but one that has a disproportionately large presence in the mass consumer segment.

Two months ago, in April, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, made it mandatory for foreign direct investment from neighbouring countries to take prior government approval.

This was also aimed at curbing opportunistic takeovers/ acquisitions of Indian companies during times of the Covid-19 pandemic, when valuations were at new lows.


Over the last few years, India has emerged as a leading innovator when it comes to technological advancements and a primary market in the digital space.

At the same time, there have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians. It has been noted recently that such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of the country.

The Ministry of Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about the misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.

The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures.

The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps.


This Ministry has also received many representations raising concerns from citizens regarding security of data and risk to privacy relating to the operation of certain apps.

The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) has also received many representations from citizens regarding the security of data and breach of privacy impacting upon public order issues.

Likewise, there have been similar bipartisan concerns, flagged by various public representatives, both outside and inside the Parliament of India.

There has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against Apps that harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens.

On the basis of these and upon receiving recent credible inputs that such Apps pose threat to sovereignty and integrity of India, the government has decided to disallow the usage of certain Apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet-enabled devices.

The Scale/Impact:

TikTok had nearly 119 million active users in India and was among the top 10 apps on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Users who still have the TikTok app on their mobile phone can still be able to use it, however, the app can’t be downloaded anymore. Most other Chinese apps banned in India are still available for download.

It must be noted that if you have the app installed on your phone you will still be able to see it on Google Play store. Once you uninstall it the TikTok app will not be visible.

For users who have the TikTok app download can still use the app and post videos but officially the platform is now banned in the country.


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COVID19

COVID-19 Worldwide: 1,00,00,000 Cases And Mounting

Brazil and the U.S. together represent 49% of the newly reported cases globally.

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GENEVA (Switzerland): In a ghastly reminder to administrations across the world that the COVID-19 pandemic is nowhere near running its course, the deaths from the coronavirus worldwide topped 500,000 and infections surged past one crore.

A tally compiled by Johns Hopkins University registered the milestone on June 28, after India and Russia added thousands of new cases. The United States has confirmed more than 25 lakh infections, the most in the world.

The global number of reported coronavirus fatalities stands at 500,108, according to figures gathered by Johns Hopkins University in the United States. Meanwhile, the total number of infections worldwide stands at 10,063,319.


Worryingly, Hopkins reports only confirmed coronavirus cases, which many healthcare experts believe could be just about the 10th of the total people infected by the virus. The belief stems from the argument that lakhs and lakhs of people worldwide either do not have means to get tested or are not getting tested because they don’t carry any symptoms.

Though faring better than the world in almost all parameters in its fight against the pandemic, India stands at third position with cases surpassing 5.5 lakh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his country must focus on bolstering the economy while exiting lockdown.

On June 28, India reported additional 19,906 confirmed cases, taking its total to nearly 529,000 with 16,095 deaths.

The World Health Organization reported almost 190,000 new cases for the 24-hour period through early Sunday, after Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this month that the pandemic has entered “a new and dangerous phase.”


The global epicentre of the coronavirus is continuing to shift. First, it was China, then Europe, and now developing countries with weaker health-care systems like Brazil and India are reeling.

The U.S. and Brazil together represent 49% of all new infections, according to the WHO’s data for the latest 24 hours. Cases from the Americas account for 62% of the 189,077 new infections, followed by 13% from Southeast Asia and 8.8% from Europe.

The country with the second-highest number of recorded cases is Brazil, with a total of 13 lakh, and more than 57 thousand deaths.

Russia reported 6 lakh 633 thousand 542 cases and more than nine thousand deaths so far.

Meanwhile, China has imposed a strict lockdown near Beijing to curb a fresh outbreak. Nearly half a million people will be barred from travelling in and out of Anxin county in the province of Hebei


The first cases of the new coronavirus were confirmed on Jan 10 in Wuhan in China, before infections and fatalities surged in Europe, then the United States, and later Russia.

The total number of cases continued to increase at a rate of between 1-2 per cent a day in the past week, down from rates above 10 per cent in March.

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INTERNAL CHALLENGES

Bangladeshi Terror Group JMB Failing To Make Inroads In India

The SFs have so far been able to thwart all attempts by JMB to make any major inroads in India.

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On May 29, 2020, Abdul Karim, a top leader of the Bangladesh-based terror group, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JMB), was arrested from Jangipuar in the Murshidabad District of West Bengal in India. “He is one of the top JMB operatives in India. We had been looking for him for quite some time,” an unnamed Police officer stated.

Karim was reportedly involved in a case relating to recovery and explosion of an improvised explosive device (IED) near Kalachakra Maidan in Bodhgaya in the Gaya District of Bihar on January 19, 2018. The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which registered the case on February 3, 2018, filed a charge sheet on September 27, 2018, against three accused. In the supplementary charge sheet filed on January 28, 2019, the NIA included the names of another five accused, including Karim.

Investigation in the case by the NIA have revealed:


…accused formed a terrorist gang and hatched a conspiracy to carry out the incident of planting the IEDs in Bodhgaya temple complex and other symbols of the Buddhist faith. The motive was to attack symbols of Buddhism in retaliation to the alleged atrocities committed on the Rohingyas in Myanmar and to overawe the Government of India by the terrorist act.

A JMB militant was arrested on March 18, 2020, from Raghna village in North Tripura district in Tripura. The arrestee was identified as Abdul Malik. Police stated that “during preliminary interrogation by the police and intelligence officials, the JMB cadre confessed that he is a Bangladeshi national and settled in India with fake documents.”

According to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), since the October 2, 2014, Burdwan Blast, the Security Forces (SFs) have arrested at least 96 JMB cadres in 62 incidents of arrest from across India. 11 JMB cadres were arrested (six incidents) in 2014, 19 (13 incidents) in 2015, 27 (12 incidents) in 2016, one (one incident) in 2017, eight (six incidents) in 2018, 28 (22 incidents) in 2019, and two (two incidents) in 2020 (data till May 29, 2020).


The JMB came under the scanner of India’s security establishment more prominently subsequent to the October 2, 2014, blast in a rented house at Khagragarh in Burdwan in West Bengal. Two persons were killed and another was injured in the incident. It was found that those killed and injured and others who were present in the house were JMB cadres.

A case was registered by the Burdwan Police on the same day. The NIA took over the case on October 10, 2014. So far it has filed one charge sheet and three supplementary charge sheets against a total of 22 persons in the case. The NIA investigations, inter alia, have also revealed that

The members of JMB had established a network of terrorist training camps at selected Madrasas and other hideouts in India where selected Muslim youths were indoctrinated into violent Jihadi ideology and trained for violent action by using explosives/IEDs and firearms.

This was undertaken with the larger objectives of subverting a section of the vulnerable Indian population, exploiting their common religious and linguistic identities across the border, in Indian states and districts bordering Bangladesh, to join the JMB and utilise them for their movement to overthrow the existing democratically elected Government in Bangladesh and to establish a hard-line Sharia-based Islamic rule in Bangladesh.

The NIA took over three JMB-linked cases in 2019. These include:


  • Bengaluru (Karnataka) JMB Module Case: Five improvised hand grenades, three fabricated grenade caps, three circuits of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), one-timer device, two rocket bends, one rocket body, one 9mm bullet, and various other incriminating materials used in the fabrication of hand grenades/IEDs, were recovered from a place rented by JMB cadres in the Chikkabanawara area of Bengaluru in Karnataka on July 7, 2019. A case was registered by the local police on the same day. The NIA took over the case on July 29, 2019.
  • Tripura JMB Case: On March 6, 2019, a JMB cadre identified as Najir Sheikh aka Patla Anas, was arrested from West Tripura District. A case was filed by the Police on the same day. The NIA took over the case on March 22, 2019.
  • Recovery of Arms at PS Barpeta, Assam: On July 30, 2019, seven JMB militants who were associated with Sahanur Alam aka Md. Sahanur Alom (charge-sheeted accused in the Burdwan Blast Case) were arrested from Barpeta District in Assam. The local police registered the case on the same day. The NIA took over the case on December 21, 2019.
    On April 3, 2020, the NIA filed its first supplementary charge sheet in the Barpeta case. According to an NIA release:

An investigation has revealed that the accused persons have undergone training as JMB cadres in Barpeta at the house of Sahanur Alom and some of the accused were also trained at Simulia Madrasa in West Bengal. Accused persons procured weapons and ammunitions in a conspiracy to commit terrorist acts in pursuance of the Jehadi Ideology of JMB.

Earlier, on January 1, 2020, the NIA had filed the charge sheet in the case.

In between, on February 18, 2020, the NIA filed a charge sheet in the Bengaluru (Karnataka) JMB Module Case. In a release dated February 18, 2020, the NIA stated,

Today, NIA filed a charge-sheet against eleven accused… Investigation revealed that A-1 to A-12 being members of JMB, a proscribed terrorist organization were involved in a criminal conspiracy to commit terrorist acts or preparation thereof, raising funds by committing dacoities for their terrorist activities, organising terrorist camps, recruiting persons for committing terrorist activities, harbouring group members, procurement of explosive and ammunition for anti-national activities.

A further investigation against absconding accused B.D. Arif @ Nasim (A-4) and other suspects whose names surfaced during investigation continues u/s 173(8) of CrPC.

Since 2014, JMB has been making all efforts to create trouble in India has become more relentless in its approach in recent years. Concerned over these developments, the Government of India banned JMB in May 2019. A press release dated May 24, 2019, stated,

The Central Government vide notification dated 23rd May 23, 2019, has banned the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh or Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen India or Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Hindustan and all its manifestations under clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 35 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 with immediate effect.

The notification states that the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh and its formations like Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen India or Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Hindustan and their manifestations have committed acts of terrorism, promoted acts of terrorism and have been engaged in radicalisation and recruitment of youth(s) for terrorist activities in India.

According to the notification, the JMB had plans for


…making permanent bases within 10-kilometres, along the India-Bangladesh border in the districts of states of West Bengal, Assam and Tripura and of spreading its network in South India with an overarching motive to establish Caliphate in the Indian subcontinent.

Later, on October 12, 2019, raising concern over the outfit’s activities in India, NIA chief Y.C. Modi said JMB had spread its activities in Jharkhand, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala as well, in the guise of Bangladeshi immigrants, adding, “The NIA has shared with states concerned a list of 125 suspected activists who have close links with the JMB leadership.”

On the same day, Alok Mittal, Inspector General, NIA, disclosed that JMB had started its activities in India, first in 2007, initially in West Bengal and Assam, and then in other parts of the country. He added, further, that from 2014 to 2018, JMB had set up 20-22 hideouts in Bengaluru and tried to spread its bases in South India.

The SFs have so far been able to thwart all attempts by JMB to make any major inroads in India. However, continuing efforts will be needed on the ground to destroy the remaining active cells of the group, to ensure that it fails in its efforts to cause disruption in India at any point in the future.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Published with permission from South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

Ajit Kumar Singh

Dr Ajit Kumar Singh is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Conflict Management and is involved in research on conflicts in South Asia. After completing his M.Phil. on "Emergence of Afghanistan as Buffer between Tsarist Russia and British Indian Empire (19th Century)", from JNU, New Delhi, he was awarded Ph.D. on "The Ethnic Conflict and State Structure in Afghanistan: 1989-2001".

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