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INTERNAL CHALLENGES

Naga Peace Talks And The Last Mile Pain

Naga groups have put more focus on recruitment of new cadres.

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On September 20, 2020, Khango Konyak ‘president’ of his own faction of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K2) revoked the expulsion of Isak Sumi. A ‘deed of reconciliation’ was signed between the two leaders – Khango Konyak and Isak Sumi.

On September 12, 2020, NSCN-K2 ‘president’ Khango Konyak had expelled ‘ato kilonser’ (Prime Minister) Isak Sumi for “act against the ‘government’ – nepotism, tribalism”.

Khango Konyak and Isak Sumi have now reportedly put aside their differences for the sake of the ‘impending’ solution to the Naga problem. The ‘deed of reconciliation’ was the result of interventions by other members of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).  Apart from NSCN-K2, six other Naga militant groups constitute the NNPGs. These include: the NSCN–Neokpao-Kitovi (NSCN-NK), NSCN-Reformation faction (NSCN-R), Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN), Naga National Council (NNC)-Parent Body, Non-Accordist faction of NNC/National People’s Government of Nagaland (NPGN/NNC-NA), and Government Democratic Republic of Nagaland /NNC-NA (GDRN). The NNPGs were included in talks with GoI on September 27, 2017, in an effort to widen the Naga peace talks.


On September 19, 2020, Chairman Khango Konyak had held meetings along with the NNPGs and the Government of India (GoI) interlocutor for Naga talks R.N. Ravi. In this meeting the interlocutor had asked the NSCN-K2 leadership to sort out its differences.

Meanwhile, the major Naga group NSCN-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) continued to maintain its tough stand.

On September 18, 2020, in a joint council meeting of the NSCN-IM held in Camp Hebron, it was unanimously decided that the group’s standing demand for a separate flag and constitution needed to be a part of the final settlement in the ongoing Naga peace talks with the Centre.


The NSCN-IM in its resolution stated:

“The house unanimously adopted the resolution to reiterate the stand of NSCN that the Naga national flag and Yehzabo (constitution) must form a part of the Indo-Naga political solution in order to qualify the Naga deal as honourable and acceptable. Besides, the house also resolved that the Government of India and NSCN must seek a final agreement based on the historic Framework Agreement of August 3, 2015.”

On September 11, 2020, the ‘convenor’ of the ‘steering committee’ of NSCN-IM, Hutovi Chishi, while claiming that the “Indo-Naga political talks” had reached a critical state, also insisted that the “Naga solution cannot be brought at the cost of compromising our historical and political rights”. He dismissed earlier agreements like the 1960’s 16-Point Agreement and the Shillong Accord of 1975 signed between the GoI and Naga groups, alleging they were “nothing but political flattery to suppress the legitimate Naga political movement.” The 1960 agreement led to the formation of Nagaland and in the Shillong Accord of 1975 the NNC accepted the Indian Constitution.

However, on September 15, 2020, a 15-member NSCN-IM delegation led by its ‘president’ Q. Tuccu and ‘vice president’ Tongmeth Wangnao, arrived at the national capital Delhi, purportedly to participate in peace talks. Reports indicate that NSCN-IM, led by ‘ato kilonser’ Thuingaleng Muivah, had been holding ‘informal’ parleys with Intelligence Bureau officials since August 2020 and these had gained momentum in recent weeks.

The series of talks between top Intelligence Bureau officials and NSCN-IM is taking place after differences with R.N.Ravi had e come out in the open and the Centre reportedly asked Ravi to maintain a low profile. An unnamed senior government official told the media, “Over the last six years R.N. Ravi, in his capacity as interlocutor, had been talking to various Naga groups. But in the past 10 or 11 months, things have not been going well.”


The differences between Ravi and the NSCN-IM came out in the open in June 2020.  Significantly, on June 16, 2020, without naming the NSCN-IM, Ravi asserted that “armed gangs” were engaged in “rampant extortions and violence”, adding that “the law and order in the state has collapsed”.

The NSC-IM, meanwhile, cited two instances – the October 31, 2019, deadline set by R.N. Ravi and the acrimonious exchange between the two sides during the peace talks on January 30, 2020 – as the reason behind rising differences

On August 11, 2020, NSCN-IM made two copies of the August 3, 2015 framework agreement public. One, which the group claimed as ‘original’, and the other in which R.N. Ravi had allegedly “craftily deleted the word new from the original” when he shared it with Naga Civil society and NNPGs. The one page ‘original’ agreement shared by NSCN-IM talks about “sharing the sovereign power” and provides for an “enduring inclusive new relationship of peaceful co-existence of the two entities”.

The NSCN-IM claimed:

“It has been quite some time since Ravi was under NSCN’s scanner when he twisted the Framework Agreement and misled the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the steps taken to solve the Naga issue…The fact is that the Framework Agreement is outside the purview of Indian Federation/Constitution. But in his report furnished to the Parliamentary Standing Committee, he manipulated it in his own narrative that is far from the actual meaning as very unambiguously worded in layman’s language in the original copy of Framework agreement.”

The group reiterated its demand for Ravi’s removal as interlocutor.

Curiously, Ravi continues to negotiate with other groups. Ravi met NNPGs on September 10. When asked about what transpired during the meet, an NNPG source said, “The interlocutor told us the government wants all stakeholders, including the IM [NSCN-IM], to be a part of this (peace process); that it is best for everyone to come on board and sign the agreement. What the Centre can agree on, it has already agreed to, and what the Centre cannot give at this point, it cannot give (even in future).” The NNPG source quoting interlocutor Ravi, added, “There is nothing left to negotiate beyond what had already been decided in October [31] last year [2019]. All that remains is for NSCN-IM leaders to fall in line.” After the meeting, the NNPGs stated that “the Naga issue must be settled and the waiting period is over.”

Meanwhile, a new deadline of September 2020 was set by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for the conclusion of the peace talks. Unnamed Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) sources told Deccan Chronicle on August 27, 2020, that the Centre would not extend the deadline further, as almost all substantive issues had been finalised. The Centre, they said, had already told the Naga leadership what were the issues on which the Centre can agree or not, adding “no one can blackmail the government at gunpoint.” The UMHA source added, further, “The ball is now in the court of stakeholders, they can avail the opportunity to be a part of the historic Naga peace accord”.

The earlier deadline of [October 31, 2019] set by the PMO lead to unrest in the cadres and mid-level leaders in the militant ranks. In an interview to The Week on January 4, 2020, Lieutenant General Shokin Chauhan, the then chairman of the Ceasefire Monitoring Group (CFMG), stated:


“There are three issues that are affecting the armed cadre. There is restiveness, as they do not know what the future holds for them. Whether they will get jobs or not, or what kind of life they are going to live? Will their own leaders be able to help them? Will the security agencies and the people of Nagaland, from whom they have extorted money, go after them?

These issues started creating problems before October 31 [2019], the deadline set by the government for a final solution. Their own leaders had stopped talking to them. The Assam Rifles was getting aggressive in its patrolling. I had to call several meetings with the insurgent groups to calm their nerves and make sure they maintained the ceasefire. Still, many leaders, especially the mid-level ones, were extremely worried and came close to breaking the ceasefire especially when the security forces came close to their camps.”

However, NSCN-IM officials reject the idea of a deadline for the peace talks. Senior NSCN-IM deputy Kilo kilonser (home minister) Kehoi asserted:

“The important thing is whether we have understood each other and agree together. I don’t think there is any time limit set by the Government of India, and there should be no deadline again.”

A source in the NSCN-IM who wished to remain anonymous also stated:

“After the process of informal talks is over, decisions will be taken at the political level during formal talks with the government. There is no set time-frame for the resolution this time, but both parties are keen on settling the issue, and are looking at an agreement/solution at the earliest.”

Meanwhile, the Naga groups have put more focus on recruitment of new cadres. In his interview of January 4, 2020, Lieutenant General Chauhan, the then chairman, CFMG disclosed:

“The ceasefire ground rules clearly state that there cannot be any forced recruitment. All the groups sign these rules every year and, based on these ground rules, they state that they have been recruiting volunteers. Recently, in anticipation of the final accord, they resorted to massive recruitment. More than 800 youth are learnt to have joined National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Kitovi-Neopak); 80 to 100 youth joined the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) and the NSCN (Reformation), and around 50 to 100 youngsters have joined the group led by Khango Konyak. These figures take into account the large number of defections that have taken place…”

The fate of the ‘historic’ framework agreement signed with NSCN-IM is under question. At this moment, it remains to be seen whether announcing a new deadline will push the militant groups into an inclusive agreement with the Government or alienate them further.

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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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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