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INTERNAL CHALLENGES

Thin Thread Of Naga Peace Talks Feeling The Stress

Govt should prepare for unintended contingencies such as a split within NSCN-IM due to talks collapsing.

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According to a July 10, 2020, report, the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM) has accused present Interlocutor for Naga talks and Governor of Nagaland R. N. Ravi of “mishandling of Naga political issue”. It described Ravi as the “wrong person” to lead the Naga peace process and stated:

For all-purpose, Ravi [Governor R.N Ravi] is undoing his credibility as Interlocutor to Indo-Naga political talks. There is a trust deficit on his role as interlocutor as he is desperately on the roll to undermine the Naga issue.

Earlier, in a statement released on June 28, 2020, the NSCN-IM said that Ravi’s attempt to equate ‘Naga issue’ as a ‘law and order’ problem had become untenable and added:


Any Indian Interlocutor who represents the Government of India needs to prove himself as a man who stands committed to solve the longest political conflict in Southeast Asia. But if he finds pleasure to handle the Naga issue as a ‘law and order’ problem he is not the right person to solve the long-standing Indo-Naga problem. Such an Indian Interlocutor will rather complicate and prolong the process which is not the desire of both the Indians and the Nagas.

Significantly, on June 16, 2020, Ravi wrote a letter to Nagaland Chief Minister (CM) Neiphiu Rio about the incidents of extortion in the State, asserting, “the law and order in the state have collapsed”:

Law-abiding citizens – be they daily wage earners, petty vendors, businessmen, shop-keepers, owners of restaurants or government servants are made miserable by rampant extortions and violence by the armed gangs.


Though Ravi did not name NSCN-IM, the group itself had justified extortion as ‘taxes’ in its June 28, 2020, statement, arguing:

Taxes have been the source of sustenance that has brought the Naga political movement this far… legitimately acknowledged by earlier Interlocutors and Indian authorities…

Meanwhile, Nagaland Police on June 26, 2020, released extortion-related arrest data in the State (since 2016). At least 1,238 militants were arrested (by State Police, Assam Rifles, Central Armed Police Forces) till June 2020 in 863 registered cases.

These included: 361 NSCN-IM militants arrested in 247 cases; 267 Unification faction of NSCN (NSCN-U) militants arrested in 197 cases; 263 NSCN Yung Aung faction (NSCN-YA) militants arrested in 198 cases; 187 Naga National Council/Federal Government of Nagaland (NNC/FGN) militants arrested in 148 case; 91 NSCN Reformation faction (NSCN-R) militants arrested in 63 cases. 59 militants from groups based in other States were also arrested in Nagaland in 30 cases of extortion.

Some of the recent cases involving NSCN-IM included:


  • July 4, 2020: Nagaland Police arrested five NSCN-IM militants – ‘captain’ Tenyenseng Seb (51), ‘second lieutenant’ Somingam Shang (32), ‘private’ Somirin Tangkhul (21), ‘captain’ Bopai Konyak (34), and ‘sergeant major’ Nagawangbou Wijunamai (29) – from Tseminyu subdivision in Kohima District on charges of extortion.
  • July 4, 2020: Assam Rifles and Nagaland Police arrested six persons from Green Park in Dimapur District in connection with an extortion racket. Those arrested include NSCN-IM militants – ‘treasurer’ in the ‘prime minister’s office’ of NSCN-IM ‘colonel’ Rayilung Nsarngbe and ‘private’ Lamci Iralu – and another four accomplices: Zingring Mung, Zingshonggam Muinao, Rabi Pame and Vimal Kumar Jain.
  • June 20, 2020: One NSCN-IM militant was arrested along with recoveries (extortion money) from Model village of Dimapur town in Dimapur District.

On June 11, 2020, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a charge sheet against NSCN-IM kilonser (minister) Alemla Jamir aka Mary Shimrang aka Atula Tonger and Masasasong Ao in a terror funding case. Jamir is the wife of former ‘Naga Army chief’, Phungting Shimrang, who is learnt to have crossed over to China in November 2019 along with two other associates.

The case relates to the December 23, 2019, recovery of INR 7.2 million by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell from the possession of Alemla Jamir.

The December 23, 2019, NIA press release disclosing Jamir’s arrest had revealed that the funds were being taken by her as a cash courier from Delhi to Nagaland on the instructions of Icrak Muivah, wife of Thuingaleng Muivah, ‘general secretary’ of NSCN-IM.

Despite being in talks with the Government of India (GoI) since the signing of the ceasefire agreement on July 25, 1997 (which came into effect on August 1, 1997), and the signing of the 2015 Naga Framework Agreement, NSCN-IM has evidently remained deeply engaged in extortion and disruptive activities.

With little improvement in the ground situation and the talks between GoI and NSCN-IM hitting a roadblock, the Governor now appears to be seeking to reassert the state’s power. The talks have reached a deadlock on the issues of a separate flag and constitution.

The Governor’s letter appears to have galvanised the State Government into action.  On July 7, 2020, the State Home Department directed all administrative heads and heads of departments through an Office Memorandum to obtain information from all employees in a ‘self-declaration’ form, whether any of the employees have their family members and relatives in any of the underground organizations. The Office Memorandum further asked the heads of departments to submit the forms latest by August 7, 2020.

Meanwhile, expecting hard action from the Government, NSCN-IM’s ‘deputy army chief’, ‘major general’ A. Raman, warned of severe consequences:

I along with Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Phungting Shimrang, ‘major general’ Hangshi will retaliate and retaliate like never before. I, therefore, warn the Indian Government and their agencies to stop harassing people of my land if they don’t want to put the life of their own solider in danger. I also pray to my seniors in Hebron to take a serious note of my words and not be pet dogs of Indians.

Reports indicate that ‘major general’ Hangshi and some 100 other cadres have crossed over to China along with NSCN-IM’s former ‘army chief’, Phungting Shimrang.


It is likely that the present crackdown on rampant extortion by the militant groups will continue, in order to reassert State eroded by the operation of a ‘parallel government’. It is uncertain, however, whether these anti-extortion efforts will be sustained in order to achieve a larger objective of freeing the state of continuing criminal activities by the rebels or will be held out as a mere pressure tactic to force the conclusion of talks with the NSCN-IM.

In either event, the Government would also need to prepare for unintended contingencies such as a split within NSCN-IM due to talks collapsing, and resultant rise violence.

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

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

Maoists’ KKBN Division Fails To Take Ground In Odisha

The Maoist power is undeniably fizzling out in the ‘KKBN division’ and across Odisha.

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on July 23, 2020, two Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres, including a woman, were killed in an exchange of fire with the Security Forces (SFs) in the Srila Reserve Forest area under Tumudibandha Police limits in the Kandhamal District of Odisha.

Director-General of Police (DGP) Abhay disclosed, “The Police Forces fired in self-defence. After the exchange of fire ended, the SOG [Special Operations Group] and DVF [District Voluntary Force] spotted two bodies – a male and a female. Both were in Maoist uniforms. We also recovered one INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) assault rifle, one carbine, and two country-made firearms.”

The identities of the slain Maoists are yet to be ascertained.


On July 6, 2020, a CPI-Maoist cadre was killed in an exchange of fire with the SFs, again in the Sirla Reserve Forest area under the Tumudibandha Police Station.

According to an Odisha Police release, “On Monday at 6.30 p.m., Maoists opened fire from an advantageous position and lobbed grenades at SOG and DVF jawans [troopers]. Police party immediately took cover and asked Maoists to stop firing and surrender. Some police personnel sustained injuries.”

The body of a slain Maoist along with two country-made weapons was recovered from the encounter site. The identity of the slain Maoist is yet to be ascertained.


On July 5, 2020, four CPI-Maoist cadres were killed in an exchange of fire with DVF and SOG personnel in the Sirla Reserve Forest. Though the individual identities of the slain Maoists are yet to be ascertained, it was found that all of them belonged to the ‘Kandhamal-Kalahandi-Boudh-Nayagarh (KKBN) Division’. Arms and ammunition, including three Self-Loading Rifles (SLRs), one INSAS assault rifle, two country-made weapons, SLR 16, Maoist literature and other articles were recovered from the encounter site.

According to partial data collated by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), the ‘KKBN division’ – covering the Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Boudh, and Nayagarh Districts of Odisha – has accounted for at least eight Maoist-linked fatalities (one civilian and seven Maoists) in the current year, thus far (data till July 26, 2020).

During the corresponding period in 2019, the ‘division’ had recorded four fatalities (three civilians and one Maoist), and another three fatalities in the remaining period of 2019, to take the year’s tally to seven (five civilians and two Maoists).

The first-ever fatality in the ‘division’ was registered on February 15, 2008, when 14 Police personnel and two civilians were killed, and four Policemen sustained injuries, when around 500 heavily armed CPI-Maoist cadres carried out a coordinated attack targeting a Police Training School, the District armoury, and District Police Station near Daspalla in the Nayagarh District. Three Maoists were also killed in the incident.

Since then, the ‘division’ has accounted for a total of 94 fatalities, including 43 civilians, 21 SF personnel, and 30 Maoists (data till July 26, 2020), including the fatalities recorded on February 15, 2008. During this period (February 15, 2008, and July 26, 2020), Odisha has recorded a total of 760 fatalities (324 civilians, 171 SF personnel, 265 Maoists).


Thus, the ‘KKBN division’ alone accounted for 12.36 per cent of total Maoist-linked fatalities in the State.

A cursory look at the fatalities in the ‘KKBN division’ suggests that SFs, after suffering a major jolt on February 15, 2008, succeeded in putting immense pressure on the Maoists. While the overall ratio of fatalities in the ‘division’ stands in favour of the SFs at 1:1.42, it improved dramatically between 2013 and 2020, at 1:26.

The last SF fatality was recorded on June 4, 2017, when a SOG trooper was killed and six were injured in a CPI-Maoist ambush near Khamankhol under Baliguda Police Station limits in the Kandhamal District.

Moreover, since February 15, 2008, SFs have arrested at least 59 Maoists from the ‘KKBN division’, and mounting pressure resulted in the surrender of another 17 (data till July 26, 2020). In addition, combing operations by the SFs resulted in the recovery of arms and ammunition on 59 occasions between February 15, 2008, and July 26, 2020.

Most recently, on July 2, 2020, SFs busted a CPI-Maoist camp in the Samarbandha Forest area under Phiringia Police Station limits in Kandhamal District and recovered 15 kilograms of explosives containing urea, gunpowder and other substances, 28 detonators, digital multimeters, bags, blackcaps, rechargeable batteries, camp equipment, Maoist banners, posters and literature.

Despite SF successes, however, civilians continue to suffer, though significant improvement have been recorded between 2013 and 2020, as the SFs have come to dominate the region. 20 civilian fatalities were recorded during these seven years and seven months, as compared to 22 fatalities in the preceding four years and 11 months (approximately) between February 15, 2008, and December 31, 2012.

The ‘KKBN division’, spread over a geographical area of 22,562 square kilometres, offers crucial strategic advantages to the Maoists. The forest cover in the ‘division’ is 11,604 square kilometres, i.e., about 51.43 per cent of the total area. The ‘division’ is situated to the south of the state, and is mostly surrounded by currently Maoist-affected or erstwhile Maoist-affected Districts of the State.

To the south, the ‘KKBN division’ shares its borders with Gajapati, Koraput, Nabarangpur and Rayagada; to the north, with Angul, Bolangir and Subarnapur; to the east with Cuttack, Ganjam and Khordha; and to the west, with Nuapada, as well as Raipur in Chhattisgarh State.

The ‘KKBN division’ was once a stronghold of the Maoists. Unsurprisingly, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Boudh, and Nayagarh, along with another 11 Districts (Angul, Bargarh, Bolangir, Deogarh, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Rayagada, Sambalpur, and Sundargarh) out of the State’s 30 Districts, were among the 90 Districts in 11 States listed as LWE-affected by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) on February 5, 2019. Of these 11 Districts, Koraput and Malkangiri, were among the ‘30 worst Maoist-affected’ Districts, across seven states in the country, according to the UMHA.

However, with the security situation improving rapidly, the Odisha State Government recommended to the UMHA to remove the names of five LWE-hit Districts from the Centre’s consolidated list of CPI-Maoist-affected Districts, for which the State receives funds under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme. On July 10, 2020, DGP Abhay, disclosed,


The UMHA has been urged to take off the names of Angul, Boudh, Sambalpur, Deogarh, and Nayagarh Districts, as the Maoist violence has been on the wane in the State and more rebels are also laying down their arms because of an intensified bid by the Security Forces to crush the internal rebellion.

The Maoist power is undeniably fizzling out in the ‘KKBN division’ and across Odisha. It is now up to the Governments – the Centre and State – to expand the necessary administrative, developmental and security outreach in the Districts of the ‘division’, as well as other LWE-affected regions of the State, to bring about more comprehensive normalcy and lasting peace.

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.

Deepak Kumar Nayak

Deepak Kumar Nayak is a research assistant at Institute for Conflict Management and is involved in research and documentation of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) and insurgency in Northeast of India.

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CHANGE ON THE GROUND

J&K Approves Re-Allocation Of Nearly 2,000 Posts For Kashmiri Hindus (‘Pandits’)

The recruitment will be conducted only on the basis of written or skill tests for suitable candidates.

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NEW DELHI: The Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Council on Wednesday approved re-allocation of nearly 2,000 posts for Kashmiri Pandits who want to settle in the Valley, PTI reported. This was done under the prime minister’s package for the community.

The administrative council, which met under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today, approved the re-allocation of 1,997 number of unfilled supernumerary posts for recruitment of registered Kashmiri migrants and non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits, who are willing to serve and settle down in Kashmir under the prime minister’s package,” a government spokesperson said.

This re-allocation is part of the 3,000 posts announced in 2015. So far, only 806 applicants have been selected and 1,997 positions remain vacant.


The Administrative Council (AC) which met under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, today approved the re-allocation of 1997 number of unfilled supernumerary posts for recruitment of registered Kashmiri migrants and non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits, who are willing to serve and settle down in Kashmir under the Prime Minister’s Package.

The Administrative Council also approved conducting the recruitment only on the basis of written test/skill test, without viva-voce, for the selection of suitable candidates through the J&K Services Selection Board within six months of the referral of posts by the Department of Disaster Management, Relief, and Rehabilitation & Reconstruction.

The re-allocated posts include posts of Sub Inspector Commercial Taxes and Assistant Compiler in Finance Department (997), Field Assistant, Field Supervisor (Mushroom) and Assistant Store Keeper in Agriculture, Production & Farmers Welfare Department (150), and Depot Assistant in Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department (300), and Class IV in Revenue Department (550).


In order to fast track the recruitments, the posts have been allocated with simpler recruitment rules based on Graduation based; Higher Secondary based and Matric based qualification criteria.

The decision of re-allocation of the unfilled posts is aimed at accelerating the recruitment under the PM’s package and the benefits of employment to Kashmiri migrants and non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits.

Earlier:

Kashmir Valley’s largest group of the community, the Kashmir Pandit Sangharsh Samiti on Tuesday claimed that it was being harassed and their concerns were not being addressed by the local administration.

In a statement released, the group said, “Disaster Management Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (DMRR&R) Department is punishing left out (Non-Migrant) Kashmiri Pandits – Kashmiri Hindus for staying back in Kashmir Valley. Since abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A we the Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandits – Kashmiri Hindus living in Kashmir Valley are facing harassment and isolation at the hands of Relief Department. Despite multiple directions from Hon’ble High Court and recommendations from the Central Government through the Ministry of Home Affairs, Relief Department is playing with the life and security of the Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandits – Kashmiri Hindus living in Kashmir Valley.”


The group’s chief Sanjay Tickoo announced that he would begin a fast-unto-death until their demands were met.

The association’s main demands included 500 government jobs, which it said were promised to the community during a High Court ruling in 2016.

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