India Shuffle: Maoist Leader Dead, More Dalrymple, Price Rises

THE HINDU – A senior Maoist leader in Andhra Pradesh, known as Azad, has been killed by police following a two-three hour gun battle. He was a well-known spokesman for the party and a member of both the Urban Sub-Committee and South Western Regional Bureau.

WILLIAM DALRYMPLE – has a much longer version of the article I mentioned the other day in the New Statesman, which draws the ominous parallels between now and the British disaster in 1842. I would argue that the past two weeks will go down as the critical turning point where the consensus of informed opinion finally decided the war is irrevocably lost. Dalrymple has an interesting anecdote that sums up the problem:

the elders related how the previous year government troops had turned up to destroy the opium harvest. The troops promised the villagers full compensation, and were allowed to burn the crops; but the money never turned up. Before the planting season, the villagers again went to Jalalabad and asked the government if they could be provided with assistance to grow other crops. Promises were made; again nothing was delivered. They planted poppy, informing the local authorities that if they again tried to burn the crop, the village would have no option but to resist. When the troops turned up …  the villagers were waiting for them, and had called in the local Taliban to assist.

OUTLOOK – bemoans the lack of real protest against price rises in India, arguing that a more comfortable, credit-cushioned middle class and political class no longer offer the leadership they once did.

INDIAN EXPRESS – The government is trying to get its hands on radar that can penetrate the jungle for use against the Maoists. Apparently, the US, the British and the Israelis have not made the grade, so hopes are resting on Saab, and less reliably, on indigenous development by the Defence Research and Development Organisation. The DRDO are also working on a specialised drone, though fortunately only for surveillance it seems (at the moment).

WSJ – The Minority Rights Group International has an interesting-sounding report on the various ways in which minorities are being persecuted across South Asia. There’s a paywall around the report, but the basic gist seems to be that politicians are ultimately responsible for exacerbating latent frictions, which is always a good point to make.

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