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INTERNAL CHALLENGES

SUCCESS: Maoists Finding No Place To Hide At Andhra-Odisha Border Region

AOB region saw 23 Maoist-linked fatalities in 2019, including seven civilians, one trooper, and 15 Maoists.

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On August 3, 2020, two civilians, identified as Mondipalli Ajay Kumar and Mondipalli Mohan Rao, were killed in a landmine explosion near Chintalaveedhi, located in the interior part of the ‘Andhra-Odisha Border (AOB)’ region, in Visakhapatnam District of Andhra Pradesh.

According to the Police, the two tribal youth ventured into the forest in search of cattle when they inadvertently stepped on a landmine, planted by the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), leading to their death on the spot.

On July 26, 2020, a CPI-Maoist cadre was killed in an exchange of fire with the Security Forces (SFs) at Gangaraju Madugula, in the AOB region, in Visakhapatnam District.


According to partial data collated by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), the AOB region – comprising of four north coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh (East Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam) and the five Districts of southern Odisha (Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Gajapati and Ganjam) – have recorded five Maoist-linked fatalities (three civilians and two Maoists) in the current year, thus far (data till August 16, 2020).

During the corresponding period in 2019, the AOB region had recorded 12 fatalities (five civilians and seven Maoists).

Maoist-linked fatalities in the AOB region stood at 23 (seven civilians, one trooper, and 15 Maoists) through 2019.

Since 2001, when the ‘Andhra-Orissa Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC)’ was formed, the AOB region has recorded 820 fatalities (314 civilians, 219 SF personnel, 273 Left Wing Extremists (LWEs) and 14 Not Specified, data till August 16, 2020). A high of 96 fatalities was recorded in 2008, while a low of 13 was recorded in 2004. Overall fatalities in the region have followed a cyclical trend.


The security situation in the region has, however, seen constant improvement over the past few years. Civilian fatalities, a key index of security in an area/region, have fallen, on year on year basis, since 2017. As against 22 fatalities recorded in this category in 2016, there were 21 fatalities in 2017, nine in 2018, seven in 2019, and three in 2020 (data till August 16, 2020).

During these years (2017-2020), SFs have also made considerable gains on the ground. The SF:LWE kill ratio since 2017 stands at 1:3.18, much higher than the overall ratio of 1:24, albeit at much lower levels of total fatalities. Significantly, in the 10 years, between 2001 and 2010, the ratio was in favour of the Maoists, at 1.49:1.

SFs have arrested two Maoists in the region in the current year (data till August 16, 2020), in addition to 21 in 2019, 60 in 2018, and 32 in 2017. Mounting SF pressure has also resulted in the surrender of 23 Maoists in the current year, in addition to 43 in 2019, 51 in 2018, and 102 in 2017.

The twin encounters in the Bejingi Forest area between Ramgarh and Panasput in Malkangiri District on October 24 and 27, 2016, resulting in the death of 28 and two Maoist cadres, respectively, dealt a major blow to the outfit in the AOB region.

Among the nine Districts of the AOB region, Malkangiri recorded the highest of 349 fatalities (135 civilians, 108 SF personnel, 105 LWEs and one Not Specified) followed by Koraput, with 173 fatalities (72 civilians, 54 SF personnel, 44 LWEs and three Not Specified); Vishakhapatnam, 152 fatalities (67 civilians, 19 SF personnel, 63 LWEs and three Not Specified); Rayagada, 57 fatalities (19 civilians, 10 SF personnel, 27 LWEs and one Not Specified); East Godavari, 34 fatalities (five civilians, 11 SF personnel, 13 LWEs and five Not Specified); Vizianagaram, 23 fatalities (seven civilians, six SF personnel, nine LWEs and one Not Specified); Gajapati, 22 fatalities (two civilians, 10 SF personnel and 10 LWEs); Srikakulam, six fatalities (four civilians, one SF trooper and one LWE); and Ganjam, four fatalities (thee civilians and one LWE).


The AOB region has for long served as a safe haven for the Maoists because of its terrain and dense forest cover. Part of the region adjoins the geographical spread popularly known as Swabhiman Anchal, earlier called as the ‘cut-off area’, which falls in the east of the Balimela river sandwiched between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. The ‘cut-off’ area was a long-time sanctuary and stronghold for the Maoists.

Nonetheless, of late, this Maoist safe haven has been eroding with a steady decline in their presence as well as a growing crisis in leadership.

A June 13, 2020, report observes that CPI-Maoist cadres in the erstwhile ‘cut-off’ area of AOB were facing a leadership crisis, as the link between the cadre base and the main leadership has reportedly been severed.

According to the report, after the October 2016 twin encounters, the Andhra Pradesh Police have been on the offensive. This was well supported by the Odisha Government, which not only increased the footprint of its Special Operations Group (SOG) and District Voluntary Force (DVF) in the ‘cut-off area’ but also increased the presence of the Border Security Force (BSF) by setting up new camps in Jayapayi, Hantalaguda and Darlabeda. On the Andhra Pradesh side, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has set up two new outposts at Nurmati and Rudakota.

Further, according to Superintendent of Police (SP), Visakhapatnam District of Andhra Pradesh, Attada Babujee, with the coming up of the armed outposts and BSF camps and increased surveillance and combing, the Maoists have been pushed back to a small pocket to the north of the ‘cut-off area’.

Fearing exposure, the main leaders such as Akkiraju Haragopal aka Ramakrishna aka R.K., ‘Central Committee’ member; Gajarla Ravi aka Uday aka Ganesh, ‘secretary AOBSZC’; and Chalapathi, Central Committee member, have reportedly moved to the Gumma region of Odisha.

150-odd villages of Kudumulu Gumma Block (administrative unit) were separated from the rest of the Block by the Balimela Reservoir and were consequently called the ‘cut-off area’. However, with the inauguration of the Gurupriya Setu (bridge) on July 26, 2018, the area and its more than 20,000 people got connected to the mainland of Malkangiri District.

According to a July 26, 2020, report, with the efforts of the District administration, the development outreach was being extended to the remotest corners of the area.

The region is now known as Swabhiman Anchal (Self-respect Zone).

The collector of Malkangiri, Manish Agarwal, observed:

“The Gurupriya bridge has facilitated the construction of several kilometres of roads inside Swabhiman Anchal. Bus and ambulance services have been introduced in the area. Also, the administration has dug more than 250 tube-wells, electrified villages and strengthened the primary education system and healthcare in the area on a priority basis.”


Moreover, a June 28, 2020, report noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had hit the Maoists hard, as the usual supply routes for procuring their rations through the interior villages in the AOB region have been sealed. An unnamed Police officer observed:

“Naxal movement along the borders is very common. Because of the difficult terrain, the Andhra-Odisha border area is a haven for their activities. Maoists get their essentials from weekly markets or towns. Since vehicular movement is restricted, Maoists are entirely dependent on villagers who are now reluctant to go out of their homes amid the COVID-19 outbreak.”

The recent crises faced by the Maoists have been capitalized on by the SFs as well as the administration, which have been focusing on developing the area.

On June 19, 2020, the Director-General of Police of Odisha, Abhay, asserted that the CPI-Maoist violence is on the decline in the Swabhiman Anchal in the region. The DGP noted,

Three security vacuums have been filled up in the erstwhile cut-off region in the last six months. They include enhancing Police presence in the region, operationalization of BSF camps in Jantapai, Hantalguda, and Darlabeda and accelerating development works.

More recently, on 24 July 2020, DGP Abhay said that “apart from carrying out anti-Maoist operations, development activities in the affected areas have also helped curb Naxal activities.” The officer further added that seven major roads are under construction in Malkangiri.

Currently, as a part of the focused initiatives of the Odisha Government to usher development, road connectivity has been given top priority and several road projects have been taken up in the area. These are:

  • Badapada to Jantapayi (work completed)
  • Jantapayi to Jodambo (Single layer BT completed)
  • Jodambo to Guarasethu to Panasput (work is being started)
  • Janturayi to Gajalmamudi (metalling work underway)
  • Darlabeda to Kutunipadar (metalling work going on)
  • Jantapayi to Papermetal to Dhuliput to Singabaram (metalling work in progress)
    and
  • Hantalguda to Kalibandha to Bandhaguda (metalling and BT work in progress)

Nonetheless, worries still persist. A July 31, 2020, report highlighted that, despite strict vigilance by SFs, the Maoists observed their ‘Martyrs Week’ (July 28 – August 3) in a grand way at a “martyrs’ pylon” close to the Andhra Pradesh borders in the AOB region and paid tributes to their ‘martyrs’. They conducted a meeting with the people of around 15 villages in the ‘cut-off area’ of Malkangiri, in which their top leader and ‘AOBSZC secretary’ Gajarla Ravi aka Uday aka Ganesh addressed the gathering.

Earlier, on July 23, 2020, the ‘East Division Committee secretary’ of CPI-Maoist, Aruna aka Venkata Ravi Chaitanya, while giving a call to the public to observe ‘Martyr’s Week’, conveyed that the ‘East Division’ would continue to fight for the people’s rights and support the people’s movements.

Following this, on July 25, 2020, the Maoists dug up a road between Tamilawada and Chintagupa to disrupt the vehicular movement of SFs in the Visakhapatnam District of Andhra Pradesh.

Further, according to a July 28, 2020, report, the ‘Koraput-Visakha Secretary’, Benu, released an audio message in which he talked about the alleged atrocities of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha Governments and urged the local masses to join the Maoist ‘revolution’.

The AOB region remains a significant shelter zone for the Maoists and they are currently desperate to make every effort to keep the remaining safe havens in the region intact.

SFs of both Andhra Pradesh and Odisha need to continue to act in coordination and sustain their offensives to transform the AOB region into a Maoist free zone.

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.

Dr Indrajit Sharma

Indrajit Sharma is associated with the South Asia Terrorism Portal at the Institute for Conflict Management, a New Delhi based think tank focusing on Conflict and Terrorism in South Asia. He holds an M.Phil. and a PhD in Security Studies from Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, India.

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INTERNAL CHALLENGES

Paresh Baruah’s ULFA-I Trying To Get On Feet From China?

At present, the approximate cadre strength of ULFA (I) is said to be around 250.

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On October 4, 2020, an Assam Rifles (AR) trooper, Havildar Birendra Singh Yadav, was killed while another trooper was injured when terrorists ambushed their vehicle (a water tanker) near Hetlong village in the Changlang District of Arunachal Pradesh.

Later, the Independent faction of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA-I), in an email sent to the media, claimed that it, along with the Yung Aung faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K-Yung Aung) and Revolutionary People’s Front/People’s Liberation Army (RPF/PLA), had jointly carried out the attack. NSCN-K-Yung Aung also sent an email reiterating the same claim.

On July 29, 2020, three AR personnel were killed and another five injured when terrorists ambushed their vehicle at Khongtal village in the Chandel district of Manipur. ULFA-I subsequently sent an email claiming that it, along with the Manipur Naga People’s Front (MNPF) and the RPF had jointly carried out the attack.


Significantly, after the demise of Shangwang Shangyung Khaplang, the ‘chairman’ of the Khaplang faction of the NSCN (NSCN-K) on June 9, 2017, and the subsequent internal feud within the NSCN-K, the ULFA-I ‘commander-in-chief’ Paresh Baruah seems to have emerged as the leader of the Indian Insurgent Groups (IIGs) in Myanmar. This is evident with both Naga and Manipuri groups carrying out joint strikes, especially with the ULFA-I, after June 9, 2017.  Altogether 31 fatalities (one civilian, 20 SF personnel and 10 militants) have been registered in nine such joint strikes since that date.

Meanwhile, in the operations by the Myanmar Army (Tatmadaw) in January 2019 targeting IIGs, ULFA-I suffered the most. According to an affidavit filed by the Assam State Government in September 2020, before the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) tribunal, Tatmadaw operations targeting IIG camps in the Taka area of Sagiang Region had damaged the “Lungmark, Taka and Nilgiri camps of ULFA -I. Several cadres also deserted the outfit.”

Since the operations in Myanmar, 85 ULFA-I militants have surrendered (data till October 9, 2020). 51 of them surrendered in 2020, all in Assam.

In 2019, 34 ULFA-I cadres had surrendered (33 in Assam and one in Arunachal Pradesh). 35 ULFA-I militants had surrendered before the operations, since August 8, 2012, when ULFA-I was formed. Six ULFA-I militants surrendered in 2018, two each in 2017 and 2016, one in 2015, five in 2014, 18 in 2013 and one in 2012.


The group’s activities on the ground almost came to a halt after the Tatmadaw operations.

The July 29, 2020, attack (above) was the first reported attack resulting in fatalities in which ULFA-I was involved.

However, during the intervening period, ULFA-I took advantage of several opportunities to regain its hold in the region. One such opportunity was the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 by the Parliament in December 2019 (in the Lok Sabha on December 9 and Rajya Sabha on December 11). ULFA-I declared itself in favour of the agitation that followed the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019, which spread across the Northeast region and was particularly intense in Assam.

ULFA-I ‘commander-in-chief’ Paresh Baruah warned on December 11, 2019:

“The ULFA-I will not sit idle if a protesting student or any Assamese for that matter is assaulted. We appeal to Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta, Director General of Police (DGP) of Assam Police, not to lathi-charge people taking to the streets and vehemently opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The DGP should control his police force and not harass innocent protesters.”

The enactment of CAA 2019 on December 12, 2019, when it received the President’s assent, is seen by groups representing ‘indigenous’ interest as a measure that not only legitimises present ‘illegal’ migrants, but also invites future migrations from neighbouring Bangladesh. The resultant demographic shift, they fear, will deprive indigenous populations of their political, cultural and ethnic rights. ULFA-I is trying to exploit such fears for its own ends.


Not surprisingly, ULFA’s support to the CAA agitation helped the outfit regain some support among the locals and to recruit new cadres.

Significantly, the State Government called-off the Rongali Bihu (April 14-20, 2020) celebrations citing COVID-19, but has now allowed the Durga Puja celebrations, albeit under restrictions, despite the situation on the ground being relatively worse.

Obviously, one of the reasons behind the Assam Government’s recent decision was intended to keep all dominant linguistic/ethnic groups happy before the upcoming State Assembly Elections in 2021, which are likely to be fought on identity issues.

Not to miss the opportunity, ULFA-I on September 4, 2020, urged the Assam Government to cancel the Durga Puja celebration this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, stating:

“The Assam Government had called-off the Rongali Bihu [Assamese harvest festival] amid the coronavirus pandemic and now to they have allowed celebrating the Durga Puja which is not acceptable.”

ULFA-I also stated that Assamese nationalism is not religion centric. The militant group further alleged that the State government is allowing Durga Puja celebration to please Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s extremist Hindu agenda.

Obsessed with a polarizing electoral strategy, the dominant political establishment is failing to understand the degree to which providing such opportunities is helping ULFA-I gain more support and revive its strength.

Meanwhile, according to a Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) notification dated, September 18, 2020:

“The ULFA(I) led by Paresh Baruah is currently based in Ruili, Yunnan Province, China is continuing with violent activities including extortion, recruitment and procurement of arms. The members of ULFA(I) are active in Upper Assam districts of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Lower Assam districts of Goalpara, Dhubri and Guwahati city, bordering areas of Udalguri, Darrang, Sonitpur, Lakhimpur districts of Assam besides in the bordering areas in districts of Tirap, Changlang, Longing, Namsai in Arunachal Pradesh, Mon district of Nagaland and Assam-Meghalaya-Bangladesh border.”

It added, “At present approximate cadre strength in ULFA (I) is around 250”.


It is imperative for the political establishment government to ensure that disruptive and polarizing strategies do not create opportunities for relatively marginalized insurgent formations to restore their legitimacy among the population.

Unfortunately, with Assembly Elections scheduled for 2021, such hopes are unlikely to be met, putting increasing pressure on SFs to deal with the consequences.

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.

Giriraj Bhattacharjee

Giriraj Bhattacharjee is a Research Assistant at the Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi.

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DEFENCE-SECURITY

The India-Pak IB At Punjab Is Now The More Active Border

Given Pak’s incessant efforts to create turmoil in Punjab, the security forces will have to step up vigilance.

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On August 22, 2020, Border Security Force (BSF) personnel shot dead five unidentified armed Pakistani intruders in the Tarn Taran District of Punjab. A BSF spokesperson said that after suspicious activity was noticed near the India-Pakistan International Border (IB) in the region, the troopers “cordoned the area and challenged the intruders to stop and surrender. The Pakistani armed intruders did not pay any heed to the challenge and opened fire on the BSF troops resulting in a gun-battle.”

Later, the troopers recovered dead bodies of five slain intruders along with nine packets containing 9.92 kilograms heroin, an AK-47 rifle, four 9mm Beretta pistols, and some ammunition.

This was the most violent incident, in terms of the number of fatalities, recorded along the India-Pakistan International Border in Punjab, since 2000, according to data compiled by the Institute for Conflict Management (ICM).


The worst previous incident was recorded on January 21, 2014, when BSF troops deployed in the area of Border Out Post (BOP) Naushera Dhalla in Amritsar District, shot dead three Pakistani intruders and recovered 20 kilograms of narcotics and ammunition.

Other prominent incidents of violence include:

October 26, 2013: BSF troops shot dead three Pakistani smugglers near the Mullankot border outpost in Amritsar District and recovered 24 kilograms of heroin and arms and ammunition.


March 29, 2012: BSF personnel killed three intruders and recovered 10 kilograms of heroin and one pistol from the check post near pillar number 72/17, close to the Sundergarh border outpost near the India-Pakistan International Border.

March 19, 2012: A patrolling party of the BSF shot dead three Pakistani intruders near Amarkot village in Amritsar District and recovered 22 kilograms of heroin.

According to partial data compiled by ICM, since 2000, at least 22 violent incidents have been reported along the IB in Punjab (data till August 30, 2020). These incidents have resulted in a total of 33 killings (all intruders) and two injuries (both intruders), and 13 arrests.

It has been found that the perpetrators in most of these violent incidents along the border were Pakistani intruders attempting to smuggle ‘composite consignments’ [weapons/drugs/Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN)] into the State, and thereafter, further into the rest of India, in order to help Pakistan-backed terrorist groups replenish their coffers as well as their armouries.

Indeed, on August 23, 2020, a day after the gun battle at the Border, BSF personnel detained four persons after a raid in the remote rural belt along the IB in Tarn Taran for their links with the five slain Pakistani intruders in the District. The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Dhruman Nimbale, later disclosed,:


“Prima facie it appears to be an attempt to push narcotics from the Pakistan side in connivance with drug smugglers on this side of the border. Also, we unlocked the two mobile phones recovered from the scene. The call details and data led us to some border-belt residents. The phones have been sent for technical forensic examination, as it may lead us to more drug operators.”

On December 10, 2019, Parliament was informed that, according to the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) data, large quantities of drugs had been recovered from Punjab between 2015 and 2018. These included a total of 5,414.5 kilograms of Ganja (cannabis); 1,830.72 kilograms of Heroin; 1,669.41 kilograms of Opium; 168,420.32 kilograms of Poppy Husk and Poppy Straw; and 15,888,517 tablets of all type.

SFs had arrested a total of 46,909 persons in drug-related cases over this period.

Recently, on March 4, 2020, the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Indian Parliament) informed that a total of 991.64 kilograms of Ganja (cannabis); 116.98 kilograms of Hashish; 894. 95 kilograms of Heroin, 361.57 kilograms of Opium; 31,559.155 kilograms of Poppy Husk and Poppy Straw; and 79,20,932 tablets of all type were recovered in 2019. SFs arrested a total of 10,057 persons in drug-related cases in 2019.

According to a data released by the BSF, as on August 23, 2020, around 357.931 kilograms of heroin worth INR 17.89 billion in the international market have been recovered by the BSF in the State during the current year. Meanwhile, according to the Punjab Police data, 662 kilograms of heroin was recovered in the State between January 1 and July 31, 2020. This included 209 kilograms recovered by the BSF. In 2019, a total of 1,096 kilograms of heroin was recovered in the state, including a single day recovery of 532 kilograms on June 29, 2019.

SAIR has already highlighted the increasing use of the air and water routes to smuggle ‘composite consignments’, the former using drones.

More recently, according to an August 23, 2020, report, the BSF issued an alert that “Pakistan’s ISI plans to pump in a massive consignment of drugs, arms and ammunition inside India with the help of drones”.

The intelligence wing of BSF also alerted the Security Forces (SFs) that Pakistan intended to use drones to attack security establishments near the IB in Jammu and Kashmir’s RS Pura and Samba sectors. The possibilities of such attacks in Punjab cannot be ruled out.

Further, according to an August 17, 2020, report, intruders from Pakistan were trying to use water channels to push ‘composite consignments’ into Indian territory. In this context, an unnamed BSF official stated:

“Enhanced vigilance by the BSF has thwarted the attempts from Pakistan to push consignments of contraband items into India and that is why they have now chosen riverine areas to push such consignments.”


Indeed, sources indicate that at least 72 incidents of seizures of ‘composite consignments’ were reported from border districts of Amritsar, Ferozepur and Gurdaspur between 2009 and 2019. The recoveries included drugs such as of heroin, opium, etc.; and weapons and ammunition including AK-47/56 rifles, pistols, and RDX, as well as counterfeit currency (Fake Indian Currency Notes, FICN).

Pakistan’s external intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) uses the services of a common network of ‘drug smugglers/couriers’ to push in ‘composite consignments’ into Indian Punjab from Pakistan, exploiting gaps along the land and riverine border.

The ‘drug smugglers/couriers’ working under the ISI’s aegis also throw the consignment over the Border fence in areas where infiltration is not suspected. Their Indian partners later collect the goods.

Meanwhile, according to an August 24, 2020 report, in a drive against the use of drones by the Pakistani operatives, the BSF, with the help of other security agencies is conducting anti-drone tests along the India-Pakistan border to shoot down any drone carrying weapon-load for terrorists in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

To combat the narcotics menace in the State, the Narcotics Control Bureau had recently decided to undertake efforts and coordinate a crackdown along with the Punjab Special Task Force and the BSF, against drug traffickers and syndicates that operate along the India-Pakistan border.

Significantly, the Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh, declared on June 26, 2020:

“…while the back of the drugs mafia had been successfully broken, the war is still continuing, with narco-terrorists from across the border continuing to push drugs into Punjab, using drones and other routes.”

The Security Forces have demonstrated their capabilities in neutralizing narco-terrorist networks and have neutralized numerous attempts by cross-border operatives to push ‘composite consignments’ into Punjab.

However, given Pakistan’s incessant efforts to create turmoil in Punjab, the security agencies will have to step up vigilance to neutralize every attempt to destabilize the situation in the State.

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.

Dr Indrajit Sharma

Indrajit Sharma is associated with the South Asia Terrorism Portal at the Institute for Conflict Management, a New Delhi based think tank focusing on Conflict and Terrorism in South Asia. He holds an M.Phil. and a PhD in Security Studies from Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, India.

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INTERNAL CHALLENGES

Delhi, Bangalore Type Riots Were Planned For Hathras; ED To File Case Under PLMA

Criminal conspiracy and FOREIGN FUNDING is suspected by the ED (too).

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LUCKNOW (Uttar Pradesh):  The Uttar Pradesh police on Monday claimed that there was a “conspiracy” by some groups and individuals to instigate caste and communal violence in the state in the aftermath of the Hathras case. On Sunday, an FIR was registered against unidentified persons at the Chandpa Police Station in Hathras under several stringent sections of the IPC, including sedition.

According to sources, a website, justiceforhathrasvictim.carrd.co, which was created overnight, was said to be created with the sole aim of throwing the state of Uttar Pradesh — at least — into chaos by inciting ethnic riots. The site has been taken down and is currently unavailable.

At the time of filing this report, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was said to be considering filing a case against the (now defunct) website under Prevention of Money Laundering Act in the Hathras case. Criminal conspiracy and FOREIGN FUNDING is suspected.


ED Joint Director (Lucknow zone) Rajeshwar Singh while speaking to news agency PTI said that the central probe agency is examining a Hathras police FIR filed against the website.

The investigation agencies also discovered links of the Popular Front of India (PFI), the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), Amnesty International and foreign countries through the website.

The agency is also likely to examine the “ultimate beneficiaries” of the money collected by this web portal and the service provider (telecom company) can be asked to share the IP address or addresses from where the webpage was launched.

The ED will also seek technical help from the Computer Emergency Response Team of India (CERT-In) for analysing traffic on the website to obtain email ids and phone numbers used to buy the domain name. The web platform under the scanner has allegedly been developed by a US-based entity, as per officials.


Incriminating content such as fake videos, photoshopped images, doctored visuals was uploaded on the website to provoke riots and unrest in the country.

The content uploaded on the website included a detailed manual of the do’s and don’ts that the protesters should abide by during the riots. It also includes details of how to instigate riots and escape accountability. The manual touched upon several aspects, instructing rioters about the safety during a protest, what they should wear, what to bring with them to the protests, how to evade teargas and identification from the police and measures to be taken if they get arrested or detained by the law enforcement officials.

Most of the content of the website has been a copy-paste exercise from the provocative writing shared online by Black Lives Matters protesters in the United States of America. A bit like this pamphlet:

At least six FIRs have been lodged in Hathras, including one invoking sedition and criminal conspiracy, against persons and parties for allegedly trying to instigate the victim’s family, violating COVID-19 and Section 144 norms through illegal assemblies in and around the affected village, and for trying to spread caste discord through misleading statements, police said.

Additionally, 13 FIRs were lodged and five persons were arrested in Bijnor, Hathras, Saharanpur, Bulandshahr, Prayagraj, Ayodhya and Lucknow on charges of posting offensive statements over the incident on social media.

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