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Report No. 173

Chapter II

Security Situation in The Country

In its Working Paper the Law Commission had set out the following facts and figures in paragraphs 1.2 to 1.15 in chapter I. They read as follows:

"1.2 The law and order situation for some years has continued to remain disturbed in several parts of India. Militant and secessionist activities in Jammu and Kashmir and the insurgency-related terrorism in the North-East have been major areas of concern. Bomb blasts in different parts of the country, including those in Tamil Nadu, constituted another disquieting feature. There has been extensive smuggling in of arms and explosives by various terrorists groups. The seizures of these items, which represent but a small percentage of the total quantities brought in indicate the kind of sophisticated arms and explosives being brought into the country illegally. The security situation in some states/regions of the country is indicated below.

1.3 Jammu and Kashmir: There have been 45,182 incidents of terrorist violence in J&K since 1988 and upto March 1999. In this violence, 20,506 persons have lost their lives. 3421 incidents of violence took place in Jammu and Kashmir which included 2198 cases of killing in 1997 alone. 5523 incidents and 2858 killings took place in 1996. In 1998, there were 2213 killings.

There were numerous cases of abductions, robberies, extortions, explosions, incidents of arson and killings. Civilians remained the major victims of violence (1333 killed in 1996, 864 in 1997 and 416 in the year 1998 upto June). Security forces personnel, `friendly militants' and political activists were the priority targets of the militants. There has been an increase in the number of casualties among security forces.

1.3.1 The militants are found to be well trained. Most of them are of foreign origin. Mercenaries and fanatic fundamentalist terrorists from Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan and other countries are being inducted increasingly into this movement. According to several reports, one of the prime targets of international terrorist leaders, like Osama Bin Laden, is Kashmir. The terrorism in India has thus become a part of international terrorism and India one of its prime targets.

Their targets are security forces personnel, political activists, `friendly militants', suspected informers and their families, as also Hindus residing in isolated pockets. They indulge in acts of demonstrative violence, mainly with the help of explosives; induction of more and more sophisticated weaponry, including anti-aircraft guns and RDX. They have extended the arc of terrorism to the Jammu region, particularly Rajouri, Poonch and Doda districts.

1.3.2 The militancy in Jammu and Kashmir has left a large number of Hindu families homeless and they had to migrate to other places outside the State.

1.4 Punjab: The State remains vulnerable to sporadic terrorist actions by the remnants of the militants, numbering about 300, who appear to be under pressure to revive the separatist movement. The militant bodies are funded and equipped mainly by overseas activists.

1.4.1 The need for high level of vigil in order to checkmate any attempts at revival of terrorism in the State, hardly need be overemphasised.

1.5 North-Eastern Region Militant activities of various insurgent and extremist groups and ethnic tensions have kept the conditions disturbed in large areas of the North East.

1.5.1 In Assam, ULFA, Bodo and Naga militancy shows an upward trend in 1998, accounting for 735 incidents (603 killings) as against 427 incidents (370 killings) in 1997. This trend has continued in the first eight months of 1999, which has witnessed 298 incidents (208 killings). Nalbari, Nagaon and Kamrup districts remain the worst affected and Lakhimpur, Dibrugarh, Goalpara and Jorhat districts moderately affected by ULFA violence.

1.5.2 The Bodo militants were responsible for 178 incidents (215 killings) in 1997, as against 213 incidents (260 killings) in 1996. Bodo militants were also responsible for 10 explosions (22 deaths) in 1997. During 1998, an upward trend has been evident.

1.5.3 The NSCN(I) and its satellite, the Dima Halam Deogah (DHD) in NC Hills and Karbi Anglong districts and the NSCN(K) in Golaghat, Jorhat and Sibsagar districts also indulged in violent activities. There was a `ceasefire' agreement (July 25, 1997) between the NSCN(I) and the Government of India.

1.5.4 Overall militancy in Assam showed an upswing in 1998, accounting for 735 incidents as against 427 in 1997. The upward trend has continued in the first eight months of 1999. Police, security forces personnel and uncooperative businessmen have been the main targets of the outfits.

1.6 In Manipur, despite large scale security forces operations, there has been a sharp rise in the overall violence, involving Naga, Kuki and Valley extremists, as also ethnic groups resulting in several deaths.

1.6.1 The State witnessed a particularly high rate of security forces casualties - 111 personnel lost their lives in 92 ambushes in 1997 as against 65 killed in 105 ambushes in 1996. As against total 417 incidents and 241 killings in 1996, these groups were responsible for 742 incidents in which 575 persons were killed in 1997. In 1998, 250 persons were killed in 345 incidents. During 1999 (upto August), there have been 153 incidents claiming 100 lives.

1.7 In Nagaland, there was no let up by NSCN and its factions in its violent activities such as extortions, abductions and attacks on civilians, etc. In 1998, there were 202 incidents which claimed 40 lives. Upto August 1999, 10 persons have been killed in 126 violent incidents.

1.8 In Tripura, violent activities of the various tribal organisations like the ATTF and the NLFT, and assorted groups of lawless elements, continued. During 1997, there were 303 violent incidents, involving 270 deaths, as against 391 incidents (178 deaths) in 1996. In 1998, 251 persons were killed in 568 violent incidents. During 1999 (till August), 417 incidents of violence have been reported, resulting in 152 deaths.

1.8.1 The violence in all above cases mostly took the form of ambushes, looting, extortion, kidnapping for ransom, highway robberies and attacks on trucks/vehicles as well as attacks on the security forces personnel, government officials and suspected informers.

1.9 In Meghalaya, on the militancy front, the level of violence and killings by the HNLC and Achik National Volunteer Council remained almost unchanged. It is feared that in the North-East, certain development funds allocated by the Central Government have been siphoned off to fund insurgent groups. The insurgent groups in the North-East are also being helped across the country's borders with illegal arms. They were responsible for three deaths in 14 incidents in 1997 and 14 killings in 16 incidents in 1998 and 22 killings in 28 incidents in 1999 (till August 1999).

1.10 Religious Fundamentalist Militancy Religious militancy, which had first raised its head in 1993 with bomb explosions in Mumbai, continue to make its presence felt. In 1997, there were 23 blasts in Delhi and three each in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. In the year 1998, Mumbai witnessed three explosions just before the Parliamentary elections. Al-Ummah, the Principal fundamentalist militant outfit of Southern India, was responsible for 17 blasts in different areas of Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu February 1998).

1.10.1 A number of miscreants, including a few Pakistan nationals and Bangladeshis, who were responsible for the blasts in North India in 1997, were arrested. Investigations have provided ample evidence of a sinister game plan to undermine the internal security and integrity of the country. Efforts are being made to forge an alliance between Muslim militants and terrorists of Punjab and J&K. Bases in Nepal and Bangladesh, in addition to those in Pakistan, are being utilised for launching disruptive operations in India. Recruits are being picked up from amongst fundamentalist youth for undergoing training in Pakistan as a prelude to being inducted into Pakistan's proxy war against India. Weapons and explosives are being pumped into the country in large quantities, in pursuance of the above game plan."

Indeed, over the last few months since the Working Paper was released, the security situation has worsened. The hijacking of Indian Airlines flight, IC-814, the release of three notorious terrorists by the Government of India to save the lives of the innocent civilians and the crew of the said flight, the subsequent declarations of the released terrorists and their activities both in Pakistan and the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, have raised the level of terrorism both in quality and extent.

The repeated attacks upon security forces and their camps by terrorists including suicide squads is a new phenomenon adding a dangerous dimension to the terrorist activity in India. Even in the last two months, substantial quantities of RDX and arms and ammunition have been recovered from various parts of the country. Indeed, it is now believed that the plan for hijacking of the Indian Airlines flight was hatched and directed from within the country. After setting out the facts in paragraphs 1.2 to 1.15 in chapter I of the Working Paper, the Commission summed up the position in the following words:

"Some time back, the Union Home Minister declared his intention to release a white paper dealing with subversive activities of the ISI. The ISI-sponsored terrorism and proxy war has resulted in deaths of 29,151 civilians, 5,101 security personnel and 2,730 explosions. Property worth Rs.2,000 crores is reported to have been damaged. Almost 43,700 kg. of explosives, mostly RDX, had been inducted and 61,900 sophisticated weapons had been smuggled into India. It is estimated that security related costs in countering ISI's activities have totalled an amount of Rs.64,000 crores (Vide Economic Times, New Delhi, 21 December, 1998, p.2) - which could alternatively have been spent on better purposes like education, health and housing.



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