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Terror Spreads Far & Wide:STATES REVIEW SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS, by Insaf,19 July 2006 Print E-mail


New Delhi, 19 July 2006

Terror Spreads Far & Wide


By Insaf

Mumbai’s killer blasts have triggered overdue introspection and soul-searching by the State Governments on the sensitive issues of security and intelligence. Outwardly, everything looks honky dory. Yet the situation is far from reassuring.  In fact, an authoritative assessment shows that the internal security scenario across the country is alarming, requiring urgent handling of three main sources of threat: militant outfits operating from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal; banned terrorist outfits at home like the ULFA and CPI (Maoists); and local frustrated people, described by intelligence agencies as the “sleepers”.  All the three sources, especially in the States bordering Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh have now joined hands under the command and control of outside agencies like the ISI of Pakistan.

The Mumbai blasts trail is veering to the India-Bangladesh border through the north-eastern States, leading to a terror chain. The grilling of two Maharashtra-based youths detained in Agartala, Tripura, revealed that they were part of a group of eleven Islamic preachers. They were rounded up by the police from a remote mosque.  The Naxalites, now called the CPI (Maoists), too are not only continuing their violent activities in as many as 13 States, but have stepped up their activities in the tribal-dominated States of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.  Despite the Centre’s repeated efforts to strengthen security forces in the Naxal-hit States, the dreaded outfit continues to strike. On Monday last, the Naxals massacred 31 men, women and children in Chhattisgarh. They even engaged a CRPF unit at their camp for two hours.

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Crucial Naga Talks July 28-29

Peace talks between the Centre and the Naga rebel group, NSCN (I-M) have now entered a crucial stage.  For the first time in five years, they are being held on a monthly basis, leading to significant progress in May and June.  Much is now expected in the next round at Bangkok on July 28-29.  With the Prime Minister firmly holding by his stand that the borders of the States cannot be redrawn without the consent of the concerned States, the NSCN(I-M) leadership appears inclined to give up its demand for Nagalim (greater Nagaland) and instead opt for a separate Constitution, on the lines of the Jammu & Kashmir Constitution.  The Group of Ministers, headed by Oscar Fernandes, alongwith the Centre’s interlocutor K. Padmanabhaiah, seem to be in favour of enlarging the scope of Article 371-A which gives special status to Nagaland.  Bangkok could well mark a possible breakthrough next weak.

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Madhya Pradesh Towards Progress

Madhya Pradesh has pulled out of the sick State syndrome.   Incredibly enough, it is now among the ten leading States in industrialization and infrastructure development. Industrial investments proposed in the State last year totaled Rs.73,608 crore and, importantly, the implementation of the proposed projects was as high as 72 per cent, according to a recent survey by the Tata Services. Several new roads have been constructed benefiting 4103 villages.  Many schemes have also been drawn up to attract investment in the industrial sector. These include provision of cheap land and labour resources, peaceful industrial environment and availability of unrestricted power.  All this has made Madhya Pradesh a model State for industrial investment.

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Punjab Congress Prepares For Poll

The ruling Congress in Punjab and its Chief Minister Amarinder Singh have started hectic preparations for the Assembly polls about six months away.  The CM, who will lead the poll campaign, has taken a policy decision that the party would field a large number of new faces.  For the sitting legislators, the criteria for the party tickets would be their performance during the last five years.  Importantly, all those who had been critical of the Government policies in the past participated in the Punjab PCC meeting last week and promised to work unitedly for the success of the Congress candidates. Amarinder Singh has also taken steps to look into the plight of the farmers, which would be the main poll issue.  He has sought a 25 per cent hike in the minimum support price (MSP) for wheat and paddy this year.

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Raje’s “Historic” Visit To America

Rajasthan Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje’s recent visit to the United States, described by her as “historic”, has proved to be successful beyond expectations.  Besides the super deal which Raje signed with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, as reported in this column last week, for a massive Information Technology (IT) promotion plan, the Chief Minister has roped in the Rajasthan Association of North America (RANA) to invest in the State in a big way. At an international conclave in New York, RANA’s delegation evinced keen interest in the development of the State and assured Raje of their full and active cooperation. Raje has also signed an agreement with the “North Shore”, reportedly the biggest hospital in the US, for the establishment of a similar hospital in Rajasthan. A delegation of the Hospital would soon visit the State.

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Mayawati Off Poll Block

In U.P., which goes to the Assembly poll along with Uttaranchal and Punjab early next year, the BSP supremo Mayawati is the first to take off the poll block.  Even as her main rival, the ruling Samajwadi Party and Chief Minister Mulayam Singh are busy consolidating their vote banks, Mayawati has gone one step further by finalizing the first list of 300 of the BSP candidates. This list has two significant features. One, it includes five Samajwadi Party and 13 BJP MLAs who cross-voted in favour of the BSP in the recent Rajya Sabha election. These MLAs have shifted their loyalty on the ground that the Mulayam Singh Government had failed on the law and order problem and that the BSP was the only option for the people.  Two, the list includes considerable number of Brahmin and Muslim candidates. 

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Kerala Seeks Central Aid

Kerala’s new Left Democratic Front Government has demanded from the Centre a Vidarbha-like relief package which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has offered for the farmers in the western region.  Chief Minister Achuthanandan rushed to New Delhi the other day and sought Rs.2,000 crore for the farmers in four hardest-hit districts of the State.  In his first meeting with the PM after assuming charge as the CM, Achuthanandan made out a case for the relief package.  The CM also urged the Centre to include Idukki among the 31 districts identified in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala for grant of a rehabilitation package to ease the plight of farmers. In his detailed wish-list, Achuthanandan also sought an additional Rs.991-crore Central assistance over the next five years for rehabilitation and reconstruction of the ravage-prone coastal areas of the State.

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Delhi’s Power Woes

Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s much trumpeted and highly appreciated “Bhagidari Scheme” (Citizen-Government partnership in governance) is slowly losing its popularity.  The reason?  Unscheduled and prolonged power cuts by the private power distribution companies. The privatization move, which was criticized even by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), has actually brought much trouble for the ruling Congress Government.  Besides, prolonged power cuts, inflated bills and fast-running meters have added fuel to the fire. In fact, an NGO, People’s Action has written to the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, demanding a CBI probe into the power privatization deal, described as a “sell out” of the erstwhile Vidyut Board to private power distribution companies. ---INFA

(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)


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