India Shuffle: Maoist Report Censored, Al Qaeda vs LeT, Strikes Turn Violent

GOVERNMENT CENSORS MAOIST REPORT – Tehelka have managed to get hold of a crucial section from a report that the government didn’t want released. It’s from a report about the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act 1996, a piece of legislation which is supposed to give tribes more power to govern themselves and control their land. The chapter in question (which you can read here) shows how the abject failure to properly implement this Act has fuelled left-wing extremism. Typically, no one is accepting the blame. It’s all stupidly pointless – the government has released official reports before detailing their abject failings and how it contributes to the insurgency, although I suppose that was before their military strategy was also found to be a shambles. I’ll write about the missing chapter tomorrow.

AL QAEDA VS LeT IN INDIA – Praveen Swami discusses the announcement that Al Qaeda have turned their attention to India, which I mentioned the other day. He makes the interesting argument that this is a direct threat to Lashkar-e-Taiba – an attempt to muscle in on their territory at a time when they are being criticised for sitting on their laurels. He has these quotes from the Al Qaeda recording, which indicate that AQ feels the need to justify its entry into India along anti-Semitic lines:

“I bring you the good tidings,” he said, “that last February’s India operation was against a Jewish locale in the west of the Indian capital [sic., throughout], in the area of the German bakeries — a fact that the enemy tried to hide — and close to 20 Jews were killed in the operation, a majority of them from their so-called statelet, Israel. The person who carried out this operation was a heroic soldier from the ‘Soldiers of the Sacrifice Brigade,’ which is one of the brigades of Qaedat al-Jihad [the al-Qaeda’s formal name] in Kashmir, under the command of Commander Illyas Kashmiri, may Allah preserve him.”

MAOIST STRIKE TURNS VIOLENT – Around 13 are dead as the Maoists enforce their bandh across six states in response to the killing of senior leader Azad last week. They attacked the home of a Chhattisgarh Congress legislator, killing a relative and employee. Meanwhile, a mediator between the government and Maoists says Azad was in the middle of negotiations with Home Minister P Chidambaram when he died.

AUSTERE POLITICIANS – Prime Minister Manmohan Singh receives the lowest pay of any leader in the world, when measured against the country’s GDP per person, according to a table in The Economist. Of course, part of the problem in India is that politicians need to supplement their meagre income with a few things on the side, which is why the recent controversial bill to increase their pay should be passed.

VIOLENCE IN ASSAM – The National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) are accused of blowing up a train in Assam, where they are fighting for a separate state for the Bodo people, killing at least one.

THE BRITISH ARE COMING – The new Tory government has made India its top foreign policy priority, figuring that all those happy years together must surely mean they can go grovelling back for some money now its economy is in tatters. This has barely registered in India, although new PM David Cameron will try to remind them during a visit later this month. A lot depends on whether India allows foreign investment into the retail sector, which it is currently debating, but which it has shied away from repeatedly in the past.

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