Archive for ‘Insurgency’

30/07/2015

India hangs Yakub Memon for 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts | Reuters

India hanged Yakub Memon on Thursday for his role in the country’s deadliest bombings, which killed 257 people in Mumbai in 1993, after the Supreme Court threw out his final plea for a stay of execution.

Memon was convicted as the “driving spirit” behind the serial blasts in India’s financial capital Mumbai, then known as Bombay. He spent two decades in jail before going to the gallows on his 53rd birthday in a jail Nagpur.

The execution drew wide public support but has stirred controversy about whether the punishment adequately reflected the help Memon gave authorities in solving the crime.

Critics question whether Memon’s death serves India’s larger interests, saying it sends the wrong message to potential collaborators with justice agencies.

In the days before his execution, it emerged that Memon had helped Indian intelligence crack the case and establish a link to neighbour and arch-rival Pakistan over the bombings.

“It’s extremely sad that India has gone ahead, we had been hoping India will now call for a moratorium,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director for Human Rights Watch.

“But it’s very welcome that now there seems to be a growing debate around this in India.”

In a dramatic sequence of events, a Supreme Court panel held an unprecedented hearing in the early hours of Thursday, before rejecting Memon’s last-ditch plea for a 14-day delay in execution. Several previous pleas had also been rejected.

Police consider Memon’s brother, “Tiger” Memon, and mafia don Dawood Ibrahim to be the masterminds behind the attacks, intended to avenge the destruction of an ancient mosque by Hindu zealots in 1992. Both men remain in hiding.

Memon’s body was released for burial in Mumbai, with police deployed in riot gear to guard against possible street protests and security tightened at the family home.

via India hangs Yakub Memon for 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts | Reuters.

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29/07/2015

Why the Punjab Police Station Attack Was Waiting to Happen – India Real Time – WSJ

Six people were killed and at least seven injured in the Indian province of Punjab on Monday after gunmen dressed in military uniforms opened fire at a bus station and later turned their weapons on a police post.

According to Indian officials, security forces killed three of the attackers; three police officers also were killed in the violence in Gurdaspur district, which is close to the Pakistani border. The death toll could have been much higher; five bombs were reportedly found on train tracks nearby.

Many Indians and South Asia analysts, myself included, have feared for some time an eruption of the sort of violence that unfolded Monday. Reasons include:

* With most international troops out of Afghanistan, numerous militants that had been fighting foreign forces in Afghanistan could be looking for new targets—and might see ones in neighboring India.

* There was a resurgence in 2014 of anti-India militant leaders who had been quiet in recent years. These include Masood Azhar, head of the Jaish-e-Mohammed group, whose voice was heard in a recorded broadcast last year at an anti-India rally in Pakistan. Mr. Azhar had threatened to assassinate Narendra Modi if he became prime minister.

* The India-Pakistan relationship is at one of its lowest points in years. The Pakistani military controls its country’s relations with India, and army leaders are fundamentally opposed to the idea of peace with New Delhi. Mr. Modi’s conservative, Hindu nationalist government sees no reason to pursue full-fledged talks with Pakistan’s civilian government, which is more sympathetic to reconciliation but lacks the power to pursue it. This fraught environment offers useful pretexts for attacks.

It is not yet clear who staged Monday’s assault; some Indian officials have alleged the involvement of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani anti-India group responsible for the 2008 terror strikes on Mumbai. Lashkar-e-Taiba is known to have ties to the Pakistani security establishment. Notably, Islamabad has condemned the attack—a goodwill gesture made with the knowledge that, whoever staged the attack, someone in India would invariably accuse Pakistan.

Although Punjab province is close to the tense Kashmir region, terror attacks are unusual in Punjab. In decades past, it has been a hotbed of separatist—and at times violent—activity led by Indian Sikhs, though this movement—which many Indian commentators believe is supported by Pakistan’s intelligence service—has been quiet in recent years (grievances of the past, however, remain entrenched, I was told repeatedly while in Punjab last year). Some Indian commentators have questioned whether Monday’s attack marks a “revival” of the movement. Others wonder if Pakistani terrorists are simply opening new fronts beyond Kashmir.

If India concludes that the attack originated in Pakistan, the subcontinent could be in for some very turbulent times. Mr. Modi is not likely to be as restrained in the face of Pakistani provocations as his predecessor Manmohan Singh was.

Whoever was behind the attack, Monday’s death toll reminds us that amid talk of al Qaeda affiliates and Islamic State wreaking havoc across the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia’s subcontinent remains a dangerous–and nuclear-armed—place.

via Why the Punjab Police Station Attack Was Waiting to Happen – India Real Time – WSJ.

18/06/2015

China steps up controls in unruly Xinjiang as Ramadan approaches | Reuters

Some local governments in China’s unruly far western region of Xinjiang are stepping up controls on the Islamic faith followed by the Uighur people ahead of Ramadan, including making officials swear they will not fast.

An SVG map of China with the Xinjiang autonomo...

An SVG map of China with the Xinjiang autonomous region highlighted Legend: Image:China map legend.png The orange area is Aksai Chin, a part of Xinjiang which is claimed by India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The holy month, which begins this week, is a sensitive time in Xinjiang following an uptick in deadly attacks blamed by Beijing on Islamist militants over the past three years in which hundreds have died.

In recent days, state media and government websites in Xinjiang have published stories and official notices demanding that party members, civil servants, students and teachers in particular do not to observe Ramadan, something that happened last year too.

In Jinghe county near the Kazakh border, food safety officials decided last week that they would “guide and encourage” halal restaurants to stay open as normal during Ramadan, the government said on its website.

Those that do stay open would get fewer visits from food safety inspectors, it added.

Muslims worldwide observe Ramadan, during which many abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.

Other government institutions have given similar instructions.

via China steps up controls in unruly Xinjiang as Ramadan approaches | Reuters.

09/06/2015

Police kill 12 Maoist rebels in Jharkhand | Reuters

The police killed 12 Maoist insurgents on Tuesday in a shootout with a group suspected of planning to extort money from mining contractors in Jharkhand, a spokesman said.

Map of India showing location of Jharkhand

Map of India showing location of Jharkhand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Police, acting on a tip-off, tightened up security on the route to the mines. When the group approached a checkpoint in vehicles, the police got out and opened fire.

“We have recovered the bodies of 12 rebels from the spot. This is a big achievement for us,” police spokesman S.N. Pradhan said by telephone from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand.

Jharkhand is among a dozen states fighting a four-decade old Maoist insurgency that the last government described as the country’s biggest internal security threat.

The Maoists say they are fighting for the rights of peasants and landless labourers. They routinely call strikes, attack government property and target politicians and police, mostly across swathes of rural India’s east and south.

Among the dead in the one-hour gun battle was a rebel leader with a 500,000 rupee ($8,000) bounty on his head. Police said he was wanted for planting an explosive device inside the corpse of a police constable in an incident two years ago.

The police, who suffered no serious casualties, were still searching for 10-12 rebels who fled the scene. It was not immediately possible to verify their account independently.

($1 = 64 rupees)

via Police kill 12 Maoist rebels in Jharkhand | Reuters.

15/07/2014

One injured as explosion hits Xining airport car park in Qinghai | South China Morning Post

An explosion rocked the car park of Xining’s main airport today, state media reported. One person was injured by shrapnel, according to the authorities.

xining_blast-net.jpg

Police and bomb experts rushed to the scene within minutes of the blast and cordoned off the area around the busy Caojiapu (variably spelled as Caojiabao) airport.

One cleaner was hit when the object detonated in the lot just outside the terminal, the China West Airport Group said in a press statement at 4pm.

According to Chinanews.com, the staff was hit by a piece of glass and was sent to hospital.

Airport operations were not affected, the airport authority said. Cars in the parking lot were moved to other areas to clear the scene.

The Qinghai public security bureau and armed police are now conducting further investigation.

The explosives were concealed in a rubbish bin at the corner of the car park, according to the China Youth Daily.

A person surnamed Bao working for the public security bureau of Haidong prefecture near Xining told the South China Morning Post that the bureau’s command centre were not informed of the blast as yet, but that they would be sending staff to the scene.

“Airport police, anti-terror police, SWAT and paramilitary [officers] have cordoned off the site and are doing further investigation,” Bao said.

The Caojiapu airport is the busiest airport in the Tibet Plateau region. According to the airport’s figures, it handles four million trips a day.

Earlier in June, the airport held an emergency rescue drill – the largest held in the past 10 years – involving firefighters, medical emergency response teams as well as runway and airport maintenance teams.

Clearing explosives was part of the drill.

via One injured as explosion hits Xining airport car park in Qinghai | South China Morning Post.

16/05/2014

Islamic leaders join efforts against extremism – China – Chinadaily.com.cn

China’s top Islamic leaders urged the nation’s Muslims to resist religious extremism and oppose to terrorism after a number of violent attacks in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in March and April.

An SVG map of China with the Xinjiang autonomo...

An SVG map of China with the Xinjiang autonomous region highlighted Legend: Image:China map legend.png The orange area is Aksai Chin, a part of Xinjiang which is claimed by India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Around 80 religious leaders and scholars discussed Islamic doctrine by quoting the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad on Wednesday and Thursday in Urumqi, the region’s capital. On Thursday, Islamic leaders in China passed a proposal calling on all Muslims in the country to regulate their behavior, resist religious extremism and improve their moral outlook.

Abulitif Abdureyim, director of the Xinjiang Islamic Association, said governments at all levels in the region are resisiting religious extremism.

“The attackers who carried out the terrorist activities cannot go to heaven because they have violated the sayings in the Quran,” he said.

Wang Yujie, a professor of religious studies at Renmin University of China, said separatist forces are the main source of terrorism in Xinjiang.

In recent years, China has seen a number of violent attacks on police, government organs and civilians. Most of the attacks have taken place in Xinjiang.

A national security blue paper said on May 6 that religious extremism was the major reason for 10 violent terrorist attacks last year.

via Islamic leaders join efforts against extremism – China – Chinadaily.com.cn.

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07/05/2014

In China’s Xinjiang, economic divide seen fuelling ethnic unrest | Reuters

Hundreds of migrant workers from distant corners of China pour daily into the Urumqi South railway station, their first waypoint on a journey carrying them to lucrative work in other parts of the far western Xinjiang region.

Uighur women stand next to a street to wait for a bus in downtown Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region May 1, 2014. REUTERS-Petar Kujundzic

Like the columns of police toting rifles and metal riot spears that weave between migrants resting on their luggage, the workers are a fixture at the station, which last week was targeted by a bomb and knife attack the government has blamed on religious extremists.

“We come this far because the wages are good,” Shi Hongjiang, 26, from the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, told Reuters outside the station. “Also, the Uighur population is small. There aren’t enough of them to do the work.”

Shi’s is a common refrain from migrant workers, whose experience finding low-skilled work is very different to that of the Muslim Uighur minority.

Employment discrimination, experts say, along with a demographic shift that many Uighurs feel is diluting their culture, is fuelling resentment that spills over into violent attacks directed at Han Chinese, China’s majority ethnic group.

The apparent suicide attack on the station, which killed one bystander, was the latest violence to hit Xinjiang, despite a pledge from China’s President Xi Jinping to rain “crushing blows against violent terrorist forces”.

via In China’s Xinjiang, economic divide seen fuelling ethnic unrest | Reuters.

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07/05/2014

Six wounded in knife rampage at Guangzhou Railway Station | South China Morning Post

At least six people were wounded in a knife attack at Guangzhou Railway Station yesterday, the third assault on civilians at train stations in two months.

guangzhou1-0507-re-net.jpg

Witnesses said four assailants began attacking passengers at random at about 11.30am.

Watch unconfirmed video: Suspected attacker caught by police after Guangzhou train station violence

One was subdued by police and a luggage handler after being shot by an officer. But police said later on social media that only one suspect was involved.

Witnesses also said one of the injured was a middle-aged Westerner, but Guangzhou police denied any foreigner was among the victims.

The police didn’t approach [the attacker] until they shot him twice in his chest HU ZHONG, LUGGAGE HANDLER

At least four people were taken to the General Hospital of Guangzhou Military Command, local police said. Three were in stable condition after surgery.

The attack comes less than a week after an explosion at a railway station in Urumqi – capital of Xinjiang , the vast western region home to ethnic minority Uygurs – left two attackers and a civilian dead and 79 wounded.

It also follows a March attack at a railway station in the southwestern city of Kunming , in which machete-wielding attackers killed 29 people and wounded 143 in what many in China dubbed the country’s “9/11”.

via Six wounded in knife rampage at Guangzhou Railway Station | South China Morning Post.

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01/05/2014

Explosions on Train in Chennai Kill One – India Real Time – WSJ

Two explosions on a train in the Indian city of Chennai killed one person and injured nine others Thursday.

Authorities believe two bombs were planted in two separate coaches of the Bangalore to Guwahati express train and blew up as it sat at the Chennai railway station in southern India.

“The police are already on the job, they are investigating what kind of bomb it was and what was the purpose,” Chennai Central station General Manager R.K. Mishra told reporters.

One of the bombs killed a 20-something woman that was sitting on the seat under which it was placed, Mr. Mishra said.

Two of the nine injured were hospitalized for serious injuries. Police and bomb squads have checked the train for more explosive devices, said Mr. Mishra.

“Initial investigation reveals that the blasts were low intensity,” said an official with the Indian Railways.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast in a region of India which is rarely a target of these sorts of attacks.

The explosions came despite heightened security as India votes in its massive, rolling general election. In Srinagar in the northern state of Kashimir two explosions targeting election rallies injured 14 people this week.

On April 12, a suspected landmine blew up a bus carrying poll workers in Chattisgarh, killing 14.

via Explosions on Train in Chennai Kill One – India Real Time – WSJ.

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19/04/2014

India struggles with rebel threats during election – Businessweek

Indians cast ballots Thursday on the biggest day of voting in the country’s weekslong general election, streaming into polling stations even in areas where leftist rebels threatened violence over the plight of India’s marginalized and poor.

Nationwide voting began April 7 and runs through May 12, with results for the 543-seat lower house of Parliament to be announced four days later. Among the 13 key states voting Thursday was Chhattisgarh, now the center of a four-decade Maoist insurgency that has affected more than a dozen of India’s 28 states.

With roadside bombings, jungle ambushes and hit-and-run raids, the rebels aim for nothing short of sparking a full-blown peasant revolt as they accuse the government and corporations of plundering resources and stomping on the rights of the poor.

via India struggles with rebel threats during election – Businessweek.

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