SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW
Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 5, No. 4, August 7, 2006
and assessments from SAIR can be freely published in any
form with credit to the South Asia Intelligence Review
South Asia Terrorism Portal
Guest Writer: Amantha Perera
Lecturer, Sri Lanka College of Journalism, Colombo
The four year old ceasefire
in Sri Lanka is tottering at the brink of collapse as
the special Norwegian Peace Envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer tries
to convince both parties to pull back from mutual hard-line
stances and return to negotiations.
The week of July 31 – August 6, 2006, saw the worst few
days of violence with Government forces and the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
engaged in full-blown confrontations south of the eastern
Trincomalee harbour. The trouble commenced on July 20
when civilians living in the Government controlled Kallar
area complained that water had been cut off from an irrigation
canal that flows through territory controlled by the Tigers.
The Government accused the Tigers of deliberately closing
down the sluice gates at Mawilaru, denying water to 15,000
families and 30,000 acres of paddy land. The two sides
exchanged at least two letters on sorting out the water
mess, but eight days after the closure, Government troops
moved into the area to wrest control of the sluice. Before
the operation was launched, hardliners in Colombo, including
Buddhist monks, tried to march to the sluice gates. They
were prevented by troops commanded by Maj. Gen. Nanda
Mallwarachchi, who assured them that water would be provided
soon, and then came the military operation.
The operation to reach the sluice, however, has proved
much more arduous than first anticipated. Though the distance
to the gates from the last Government controlled point
is about 5 kilometres, a week after the operation commenced
the canal still remained dry and bloody fighting continues.
Military sources said that the Tigers had put up stiff
resistance and the open terrain itself made progress difficult.
The advancing troops were provided with air cover and
artillery fire as well and the latest reports said that
two tanks had been moved into the theatre. In fact the
Sri Lankan Air Force bombed targets in Tiger areas in
the northern and eastern parts of the island, including
a political office and a suspected airstrip in an apparent
attempt to put pressure on the Tigers.
The latter, on their part, opened up several other fronts.
On August 1, 2006, 18 soldiers were killed when the bus
they were traveling in was caught in a Claymore mine attack
on the access road to the Kallar canal. They were on their
way to bolster troop strength.
The same afternoon, a troop transporter with 800 soldiers
on board was attacked by a flotilla of Tiger suicide boats
numbering into the 20s as it was approaching the Trincomalee
harbour. The troop carrier Jet Liner however escaped the
attack and reached the harbour safely. Naval crafts providing
security for the carrier sunk three Tiger boats and damaged
another two. Thereafter, the Tigers shelled the naval
base close by from their positions south of the Trincomalee
bay. Several 122 mm artillery shells fell on the camp
and four naval ratings were killed when the bus they were
in caught fire. The exchange of fire lasted for more than
In the early morning of August 2, 2006, the Army reported
that its camps in Kattaparichchan, Selvanagar and Mahindapura
had come under attack. The camps lie at the border of
Army controlled areas south of the Trincomalee harbour.
The Tigers claimed that they were in control of the camps.
Later on it transpired that the camps were intact, but
that the Tigers had infiltrated the area and were carrying
Several hours after the assault on the camps, the coastal
town of Muttur came under Tiger attack. Once again, both
sides claimed that they were in command. The Tigers had
been able to infiltrate into the town and occupied some
Government buildings for some time. The Government launched
a full blooded assault to reclaim total control and artillery
and multi-barrel launchers opened up from the northern
side of the harbour. A main Tiger base in Sampur at the
southern part of the bay and other areas further east
were targeted by a barrage of shelling that continued
for three days..
While the two sides fought for the control of the town,
civilians fled in hordes. At least 10,000 have been made
refugees by the fighting and aid agencies like the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that hundreds had
been stranded on the roads leading from Muttur and were
running low on food and water. At least several hundred
were trapped in the town itself. Fifteen died when a shell
landed in a school that they had sought shelter in and
another 20 were killed due to shell fire while fleeing
the town according to ICRC. The entire 24 kilometre stretch
of road from Mahindapura to Muttur has suffered damage
due to shelling..
By August 4, when the fighting was at its worst, all aid
agencies, including the ICRC, pulled out due to security
concerns. Even the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM)
was unable to get in. Its head, Ulf Henricsson, had to
turn back the next day as well, when he was warned that
the road was full of explosives and there was still the
threat of shells. By this time the Army was claiming that
it was in control of the town and had killed more than
200 LTTE cadres. The Tigers also claimed that they had
killed more than 100 Government troops. Independent verification
of the figures was impossible due to lack of access.
The Tiger leadership in Trincomalee announced that it
had withdrawn from Muttur voluntarily by August 4 midnight
after ‘achieving their objective’ of destroying selected
military targets in the town. The LTTE political head,
S. Ellilan, asserted that they had also taken into consideration
the humanitarian plight of the people as well.
While the fighting was raging on, Henricsson had stated
that the ceasefire had in effect been rendered null and
void in the areas of immediate conflict. The LTTE had
also given an assurance to the Norwegians that the sluice
gates would be opened on August 6, but when the SLMM went
to monitor the opening of the gates, the area had come
under mortar fire from the Army, and there is a continuing
delay on this.
That, however, is not the sum of the SLMM’s problems.
Hanssen-Bauer is in Kilinochchi to persuade the LTTE to
drop a demand that all European Union (EU) nationals serving
as monitors should be pulled out by end August. The LTTE’s
demand came in retaliation to the EU decision to impose
a ban on them as a terrorist organisation. Already, the
three EU nations in the SLMM, Sweden, Denmark and Finland,
have declared that they would be pulling out monitors
by month’s end, unless the LTTE changes its stance. This
would deplete the monitoring staff to 20 from it current
57. Henricsson warned that changes in the monitoring mechanism
could not be carried out by the August-end deadline, and
unless the Tigers scale down their demand, the SLMM would
be made dysfunctional. He also stated that no countries
were lining up to take up monitoring duties in Sri Lanka.
Hanssen Bauer is expected to spend two days in the LTTE
political nerve centre Kilinochchi on August 7-8, 2006,
in his attempt to convince the Tigers. Sources indicate
that he would impress on the LTTE that a hard-line stance
would risk further intentional isolation. In fact, the
Japanese have also hinted on a ban if the present status
However, there is little optimism regarding the success
of these moves, and Norwegian Embassy officials at Colombo
warned against expecting any miracles as Hanssen Bauer
prepared to leave for Tiger areas .
The peace process notwithstanding, war has returned to
Another Bangladeshi Destination
M. Amarjeet Singh
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management
immigration of Bangladeshis into Nagaland is emerging
as a major problem in the State, threatening to assume
proportions that have already disrupted populations and
peace in the Northeastern neighbourhood. Better economic
prospects and a shortage of local labour are compounded
by a critical absence of mechanisms to prevent such an
influx. Despite their serious demographic, economic, security
and political ramifications on a tiny state like Nagaland,
these developments continue to remain substantially outside
the realm of the security discourse in the country.
Nagaland does not share a direct land border with Bangladesh,
but illegal migrants are infiltrating into the State from
Assam, with which Nagaland shares a nearly 500-kilometre-long
Areas around Dimapur town and the foothills along the
Assam-Nagaland border have emerged as the prime targets
of migration, spreading gradually thereafter into other
distant locales. The very cosmopolitan nature of the Dimapur
area makes detection of illegal migrants a difficult task.
Worse, the illegal migrants are also in possession of
valid official documents like ration cards and voter identity
cards procured from the States of Assam or West Bengal,
where these are available against a small bribe. The fact
that Dimapur town and its surrounding areas are not covered
under the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system, which prohibits
all non-Naga outsiders (including Indian citizens) to
settle in the area, is visibly being exploited by the
immigrants before they trickle into other areas of the
Once in Nagaland, the illegal migrants manage to get absorbed
in widely available occupations, including agricultural
labour, domestic helps, rickshaw pullers, manual labourers
in construction sites and shop attendants. Besides, a
section among the locals patronize them by providing land
for cultivation and temporary settlements. Bangladeshis,
providing cheap labour, have become the preferred option,
rather than the relatively expensive and inadequate pool
of local workers.
Accurate estimates of the numbers of illegal migrants
staying in Nagaland are not easy to come by. Available
estimates vary between 75,000 and 300,000. Despite the
absence of a precise figure, these estimates underscore
the magnitude of the crisis in this tiny State, which
has a total population of barely two million. Surprisingly,
the Dimapur area alone is believed to have more than 100,000
illegal migrants. Way back in February 1999, the former
Nagaland Chief Minister and currently the Governor of
Goa, S.C. Jamir said that there were about 60,000 Bangladeshis
illegally staying in Dimapur.
The continuing influx of illegal migrants has created
a serious threat of destablisation in the State, with
migrants progressively usurping the economic base of the
Nagas. In major marketing areas of the State like Dimapur,
they have already secured considerable influence in trade
and commerce and this is expanding rapidly. Muslim migrants
today run almost half of the shops in Dimapur, the biggest
commercial hub of the State. In 2003, a local newspaper
editorial noted succinctly, “There is no denying the fact
that on any Muslim religious day, at least half of the
shops in Kohima and some seventy five per cent in Dimapur,
remain closed. The point is that this is a clear indication
of how much the migrants have been able to make an impact
A survey conducted by the Nagaland State Directorate of
Agriculture in 2003 revealed that about 71.73 per cent
of the total business establishments in the State were
controlled and run by ‘non-locals’ including both legal
and illegal migrants. According to the report, out of
the 23,777 shops in the State, the local people own only
6,722 shops (that is 28.27 per cent). While the report
made no effort to separately identify illegal migrants
among the shop owners, there is a large body of supplementary
evidence that suggests their sizeable presence. Illegal
migrants are also acquiring land and other immovable properties
in collusions with their local sympathizers. .
The impact of Bangladeshi migrants is also visible in
the unstable demographic profile of the State. With a
population of 19,88,636 under the Census of 2001, Nagaland
recorded the highest rate of population growth in India,
from 56.08 per cent in 1981-1991 to 64.41 per cent in
the decade, 1991-2001. Significantly, the population growth
was been uniform throughout the State. Several areas in
the Dimapur and Wokha Districts bordering Assam have recorded
exceptionally high population growth. Wokha district,
bordering the Golaghat District of Assam, recorded the
highest population growth of 95.01 per cent between 1991
and 2001, the highest figure for any district in the entire
country. Evidently, the silent and unchecked influx of
illegal migrants in the District, has played a crucial
role in this abnormal growth.
Migrants marry locals to secure legal and social acceptability
for their stay in the State. As a result, a new community
locally called ‘Sumias’ has emerged in some parts of the
State. These ‘Sumias’ are estimated in the several thousands
and are concentrated mainly in the Dimapur and Kohima
Districts. There are rising fears among locals that voters’
list are now being doctored to accommodate the “Sumias”
as well as other migrants. These apprehensions have been
further reinforced by the fact that, as the Census 2001
records, the population of Muslims in the State has more
than trebled in the past decade, from 20,642 in 1991 to
more than 75,000 in 2001. Illegal migrants are widely
believed to account for an overwhelming proportion of
this recorded increase.
Worried by such developments the vocal Naga Students’
Federation (NSF) has sought to impose restrictions on
Naga girls marrying illegal migrants. On August 10, 2003,
a Naga student leader said that the NSF has already imposed
a ban on Naga girls marrying illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
However, he also regretted the fact that the ban could
not be strictly implemented. On some occasions, the student
body also claimed to have ‘deported’ illegal settlers
from the State. Unfortunately, those deported reportedly
came back after a brief stay in neighbouring Assam. The
State Government has also claimed to have deported about
20,000 infiltrators between 1994 and 1997, but most of
them were again reported to have come back. In any event,
such claims of ‘deportation’ have little meaning as they
involve nothing more than dumping the illegal migrants
from one Indian State to another.
The presence of large number of foreign nationals has
also created a vulnerable constituency for exploitation
by hostile Bangladeshi and Pakistani Intelligence services.
The threat has been further compounded with the emergence
of several Islamist extremist groups in the region, who
secure support from Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence
and the Bangladeshi Directorate General of Forces Intelligence.
The debate on migration from Bangladesh has been politicized
in the past, contributing directly to demographic destabilization
in Nagaland and the wider Northeastern neighbourhood.
Successive Central and State Governments have proved ineffective
in formulating workable measures to stop the flow of illegal
migrants into the country in general and the Nagaland
in particular, and this neglect is extracting an increasing
price in social, economic and security terms as time goes
by, and threatens to secure the dimensions of a major
internal security crisis in the foreseeable future.
Major Conflicts in South Asia
July 31-August 7, 2006
data compiled from English language media sources.
bans the Communist Party of India-Maoist: On August
6, 2006, the Jharkhand Government proscribed the Communist
Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist)
and all its frontal organisations in the State. Home Secretary
J. B. Tubid said in Ranchi that the ban on the Maoist outfit
became necessary as most of the cadres were either drawn
from the erstwhile Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) or People’s
War Group (PWG) before their merger with the CPI-Maoist.
This was learnt from most of the recently arrested extremists,
he said. The
Hindu, August 7, 2006.
Property worth Rs.116.7 million destroyed in Maoist violence
in 2006: According to Home Ministry officials, property
worth Rs.116.7 million was damaged by Maoists
in the first six months of 2006, almost double the figure
for the whole of 2005. A detailed break-up of the list of
Maoist-related incidents, compiled by the ministry, reveals
that Chhattisgarh was the worst affected among the 10 States
with property alone worth Rs.92.3 million destroyed. "Of
the 806 Maoist-related incidents till June this year, Chhattisgarh
witnessed 360 incidents, in which 190 civilians and 54 security
personnel were killed. The unfortunate part is that violence
is steadily increasing," said a senior ministry official.
Jharkhand witnessed 169 incidents, Andhra Pradesh, 104,
and Bihar, 63. In all these states, property worth Rs.15
million was destroyed till June in 2006. In 2004, property
worth Rs.64.7 million was destroyed due to Maoist violence
across the country and in 2005, the figure was Rs.57.1 million.
Times, August 4, 2006.
52 terrorist camps in Pakistan and PoK, says Union Minister
of State for External Affairs: The Union Minister of
State for External Affairs, E. Ahmed, informed the Lower
House of Parliament on August 2, 2006, that at least 52
terrorist training camps are operating in Pakistan and Pakistan
occupied Kashmir (PoK). He also said insurgent groups continue
to misuse Bangladesh territory for sanctuary, training camps,
transportation or arms and transit and was being supported
by intelligence agencies, both civil and military, of Bangladesh.
A list of 172 Indian insurgent group camps and 307 criminals
and insurgents was handed over in the Director General level
talks between Border Security Force and Bangladesh Rifles
in 2005, but Dhaka continues to maintain a "policy of complete
denial", the Minister added. Times
of India, August 2, 2006.
Union Government and NSCN-IM extend cease-fire in Nagaland
by one more year: The Union Government and National
Socialist Council of Nagaland – Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM)
extended the ongoing cease-fire in Nagaland by another year
following a meeting between the representatives of the two
sides in Bangkok on July 31, 2006. The current spell of
the truce ended on July 31. The agreement for the cease-fire
was signed by the interlocutor for the Naga talks, K. Padmanabhaiah,
and NSCN-IM General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah. The NSCN-IM
and security forces in Nagaland have been observing a truce
since August 1997, when they agreed to a cease-fire. The
Hindu, August 1, 2006.
cannot take a U-turn on Kashmir issue, says Hizb-ul-Mujahideen
chief Salahuddin: Urging Pakistan to intervene militarily
to resolve the Kashmir issue, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM)
chief Syed Salahuddin asserted that no political solution
was possible since India and the international community had
"wasted the opportunity by not responding to Pakistan President
Pervez Musharraf's CBMs," reported UNI. "On the Kashmir issue,
Islamabad cannot take a U-turn. Kashmir is an indigenous movement.
Pakistan is a party to it. It is Pakistan's responsibility
to provide every kind of support to the movement – although
until now it has been giving it diplomatic, moral and political
support. We want Pakistan to initiate a military intervention
in Kashmir," he said, in an interview to The Friday Times
from Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
He claimed India has realised that militancy could spread
to other parts of the country if the Kashmir issue is not
resolved soon. "One year, five years, ten years or hundred
years... Time doesn't matter in freedom movements. India has
realised that if Kashmir is not resolved soon, militancy will
spiral out of Kashmir and spread to other parts of the country,"
he said. However, Salahuddin denied the group's involvement
in the Mumbai serial blasts of July 11, 2006. Terming India's
demand to Pakistan to hand him over as "absurd," he said that
"no law in the world can make anyone extradite me" and it
was impossible for the Musharraf Government to take a "u-turn"
on him. Daily
Excelsior, August 7, 2006.
US intelligence agent testifies in court on existence of
terrorist training camp in Balakot: A US intelligence
agency expert told a US Court during the last week of July
2006 that Pakistan is still running a terrorist training camp
at Balakot in the North West Frontier Province. Eric Benn,
a terrorism expert for Defence Intelligence Agency, told the
District Court in California that there was 70 per cent ‘probability’
that satellite images of a place near Balakot were that of
a militant training camp. Benn showed the jury satellite images
taken between 2001 and 2004 but he claimed that the facility
in question seemed to have expanded since then. “It may have
become less temporary and more permanent,” he testified. The
images showed a three kilometer trail linked to the main road
and dotted with several structures that seemed to reflect
a guard house, barracks with a tin roof and perhaps some mud
houses as well, the reports said. The Court is hearing terrorism
charges against two Pakistani-Americans, 23-year old Hamid
Hayat and his father Umer Hayat. Hamid’s sentencing has been
postponed by four months to November and his father Umer Hayat,
charged with lying to Federal authorities, is being retried
after the first round ended in a hung jury. However, in Islamabad,
the Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations,
Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, said the report was absurd. Dawn,
August 2, 2006.
people killed in escalating violence: At least 480 people
were reported to have died during various incidents of violence
during the week in Sri Lanka. Most of the violence has occurred
in the Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Jaffna Districts.
Fierce fighting between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
and Sri Lanka Army (SLA) occurred near the disputed Mavil Aru
sluice gates in the Kallar area of Trincomalee District, in
which 40 LTTE cadres and seven SLA personnel were killed. SLA
launched a military operation targeting LTTE positions as the
outfit kept the sluice gate of the Mavil Aru anicut (irrigation
channel) closed without allowing water to flow into thousands
of Sinhalese, Muslim and Tamil villages since July 20, 2006.
The campaign, named 'Mission Watershed', launched by the security
forces supported by air cover began on July 28, 2006.
Meanwhile, the LTTE killed over hundred civilians who were fleeing
the fighting in Muttur on August 4. Other reports said over
100 bodies of civilians lay scattered in Pachchanoor, where
the LTTE installed a road block until August 4-night.
Troops repulsed LTTE firing in the Kattaparichchan, Selvanagar
and Mahindapura areas of Trincomalee District on August 2, killing
40 LTTE cadres and injuring 50 others. Troops also foiled another
LTTE attack on a strategic jetty in the Muttur area of Trincomalee
District, killing at least 152 of the outfit’s cadres on August
4. Intercepted LTTE radio transmissions have reportedly revealed
that the outfit has lost 330 cadres during fierce fighting through
August 2-6.(Source: Reportage from the English language media)
Sweden announces withdrawal of peace monitors from SLMM:
Sweden announced on August 1, 2006, the withdrawal of its
monitors from the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), joining
Finland and Denmark, who announced their withdrawal on July
28. The Swedish Foreign Minister Jan Eliasson told Swedish Radio
that he saw no other option but for the Swedish observers to
leave the island, where fighting between Government troops and
the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
has escalated. He stated, "The Tamil Tigers have stayed staunchly
at their position not to have citizens of EU countries represented
in the observer mission. Unfortunately I reached the conclusion
that, when one of the partners no longer accepts the presence
of Nordic EU countries, it would be very difficult to remain
August 1, 2006..
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