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l January 2004 l

The Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

l Vol 3, No 8 l

S P O T L I G H T

2003: India's war on terror

Special Report


Every possible effort was made by India during the year to strengthen measures for maintaining internal security and law and order in the country. Considering the problem of cross-border terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir, special efforts were made to check infiltration of militants from across the border.

As a major success Shah Nawaz Khan alias Ghazi-baba, the mastermind behind the December 13th attack on Indian Parliament and also on the Jammu & Kashmir Assembly was killed by the Border Security Force in an encounter in Central Srinagar on October 30, 2003. The Pakistan Based Terrorist leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad was killed along with his accomplice.

The implementation of the Economic Package announced by the Prime Minister, the year before also generated healing touch to the people of Kashmir. The State Government with the back-up from the Centre launched several people’s friendly programmes for employment generation and developing the tourism industry.

The Inter-State Council meeting at Srinagar in August, 2003 (such a meeting held for the first time outside Delhi) and addressed by the Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihar Vajpayee, the Dy. Prime Minister, Shri L.K. Advani and participated by several Union Ministers and State Chief Ministers was an important step to instill confidence in the people. The conduct of the meeting and participation of various agencies reflected the near normalcy position in the troubled State of Jammu & Kashmir. This 8th meeting of the council also rounded up the discussion on the Sarkaria Commission Recommendations. The way is now clear for the Council to take up other important issues.

The Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was further amended by an Enactment of Parliament for providing Review Committees both at the Centre and the States for fully safeguarding against its possible misuse.

On the naxalite problem in States like Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharastra, West Bengal and some portions of Uttar Pradesh, the High Power Centre headed by the Union Home Secretary held several meetings in places like Hyderabad and Bhubneshwar. In its last meeting at Bhubneshwar an important decision was taken to deploy the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on a permanent basis in States where the naxalite problem is of greater concern. The CRPF Battalions being deployed in such areas will be specially trained keeping in view the area specific concern.

Police Reforms:

After considering the request from several States to raise the Centre’s share of funds for Police modernisation, it was decided to divide the States in three categories A, B, C and accordingly the Centre’s Share was raised to 75% for "A" Category, 60% for "B" Category and 50% for "C" Category. The funds for modernization has already been raised from Rs.200 crores to Rs.1000 crores annually.

North-East Insurgency:

Government of India, the State Government of Assam and the Bodo Liberation Tigers reached a Memorandum of Settlement for the creation of an autonomous self-governing body to be known as Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) within the State of Assam. The settlement not only ushered in bright hopes for the Bodo people but over 2500 Bodo Militants surrendered with their arms and ammunition on December 6, 2003 at Kokhrajhar (Assam) following a follow-up Agreement on the Constitution of the BTC with 46 Members having substantive power for Legislation and Local Governance. The Dy. Prime Minister and Home Minister, Shri L.K. Advani attended a special function on the occasion and addressed the surrendered militants. They are being rehabilitated suitably.

On the external front India finally scored a point when the Royal Bhutan Army launched a major operation against the ULFA, NDFB and the Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO) to flush out these militant cadres from its soil. These groups had long since set up training camps inside the Bhutanese territory and carrying out insurgency in India. The RBA almost demolished all the 30 camps of these Indian insurgent groups with a heavy hand during the fortnight long operation launched in the middle of December, 2003. This major action was in keeping with India’s continuous demand to flush out these insurgents from the Bhutanese soil.

Multi-Purpose National Identity Cards:

The Government during the year launched a pilot project for issuing Multi-Purpose National Identity Cards to citizens. The project was launched in a few selected sub-districts in various districts of 13 States namely Jammu & Kashmir, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tripura, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Delhi. The pilot project initiated in April 2003 is likely to be completed in a year’s time covering approximately a population of 29 lakhs. Then onwards the MNIC project will be taken up on a country-wide basis for the entire population. This will also facilitate preparation of a National Register of Citizens. The Centre has also asked the states to launch a special drive for detecting and deporting foreign nationals over staying in India.

Extradition of Criminals:

India signed extradition treaties and agreements for mutual legal assistance with a number of countries to facilitate deportation of criminals who generally take shelter in those countries after committing heinous crimes here. The Union Home Ministry also organized a very important International Conference on Fugitives with the purpose of evolving a well coordinated mechanism for extradition of these fugitives.

Parliament Passes Important Bills:

Parliament passed some very important Bills introduced by the Government which have far reaching impact on the system of Good Governance keeping in with the wishes of the people. They are: 1) The Right to Information Bill, which was for long debated; 2) The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2003 which provides for duel citizenship for persons of Indian Origin who are settled abroad. This was a long standing demand particularly from the NRIs; 3) The POTA was further amended for providing review committees both at the Centre and the State level to facilitate review of appeals by affected persons; 4) Constitution Amendment Bill passed to include Bodo, Dogri, Maithili and Samthali in the 8th Schedule taking the official languages in the country to 22.  

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