Headline : Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed, Lakhvi, Dawood Ibrahim declared terrorists under new anti-terror law
India has declared Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, LeT’s supreme commander of operations in Kashmir Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, all based in Pakistan, as terrorists under the amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Earlier, only groups or organisations could be declared as terrorists but after the amendment, individuals could also be declared as terrorists.
The JeM chief was involved in attacks on the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly complex in 2001, attack on Parliament in 2001, attack on Pathankot airbase in 2016, attacks on BSF camp in Srinagar in 2017 and Pulwama attack on February 14.
Azhar was also designated as a global terrorist by the UN under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 on May 1, 2019, and was declared as a proclaimed offender by the special judge (POTA)
He was involved in various attacks, including Red Fort in 2000, a CRPF camp in Rampur (Uttar Pradesh), in Mumbai in 2008 in which 166 people were killed and the attack on a BSF convoy at Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir in 2015.
He was involved in Red Fort attack in 2000, Rampur CRPF camp in 2008, Mumbai in 2008 and on a BSF convoy at Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir.
Dawood ran an international underworld crime syndicate and was involved in perpetrating acts of terror, promoting religious fundamentalism, terror financing, arms smuggling, circulation of counterfeit currency, money laundering, narcotics, extortion and benami real estate business in India and abroad.
Dawood was also involved in assassination attempts on prominent personalities to create social disharmony and terrorise common man.
Dawood also executed a series of bomb blasts along with his associates in Mumbai in March 1993, which resulted in deaths of 257 people and injured over 1000 others apart from the destruction of properties on a massive scale.
All the four blacklisted terror masterminds are already tagged as ‘global terrorists’ under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 and are also subjects of Interpol red corner notices.
In August 2019, UAPA was amended to allow the government to ban individual terrorists if it believed they are involved in terrorism.
Notifying the names of the Pakistan-based terror masterminds in the Fourth Schedule to UAPA brings the Indian terror blacklist in sync with the UN list of designated terrorists.
This also conforms to FATF standards that require all member countries to ban those designated as global terrorists.
The ‘individual terrorist’ tag would help Indian agencies with investigation, prosecution and trial of cases registered against the notified terrorists.
The central government may designate an organisation as well as an individual (added in the recent amendment ) as a terrorist if it:
commits or participates in acts of terrorism,
prepares for terrorism,
promotes terrorism, or
is otherwise involved in terrorism.
Approval for seizure of property by NIA:
An investigating officer is required to obtain the prior approval of the Director General of Police to seize properties that may be connected with terrorism.
If the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the Director General of NIA would be required for seizure of such property (added in recent amendment).
Investigation of cases may be conducted by:
Officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or
Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.
Inspectors of the National Investigation Agency(added in recent amendment).
The NIA (which is under the control of the central government) can go to any state without taking permission from state police concerned for checking anti-terror activities.
Note: The designation of an individual as a global terrorist by the United Nations is associated with sanctions, including travel bans, freezing of assets and an embargo against procuring arms. However, the UAPA Bill does not provide any such detail.
Concerns regarding the UAPA Act:
The power of NIA (which is under the control of the central government) to any state without taking permission from state police concerned for checking anti-terror activities has been opposed fearing it would amount to encroaching upon the rights of the states.
The law it could be misused against political opponents and civil society activists who spoke against the government may be branded as “terrorists.”
Modern military battles cannot be fought by each service fighting independently.
The present Indian Armed Forces are colonial constructs and were configured primarily to serve the interest of their colonial masters during the great wars.
The restructuring of armed forces, therefore, is required necessarily as the future wars are going to be short intense affairs where all organs of the state are likely to be employed simultaneously.
Such a scenario would require unity of command, which is feasible only when the country has a unified command structure led by the CDS.
Office of CDS has been a long pending demand of the defence forces. It was also recommended by both the Kargil Review Committee led by K Subrahmanyam in 1999, as well as the Committee of Experts set up by Ministry of Defence under the chairmanship of General D B Shekatkar.
Earlier efforts at creating a CDS:
The Kargil Review Committee had recommended a CDS as well as a Vice Chief of Defence Staff (VCDS).
A group of ministers headed by the then Deputy Prime Minister examined it and recommended CDS with a tri-service joint planning staff.
Accordingly, the Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (HQIDS) was created in 2001.
They failed as bureaucrats created hurdles:
Despite the importance of the office of CDS, political insecurities and bureaucratic stranglehold over the Ministry of Defence have prevented it from coming into effect.
In 2001, the bureaucrats succeeded in stalling the appointment of the CDS by creating the perception that it would be far easier for a CDS to stage a coup.
Consequently, an anomalous situation was created wherein the HDQIDS has been functioning without a head for the past 18 years.
Ineffective office of Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC) was created:
The VCDS was reconfigured to create the office of the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC).
The absence of the CDS has limited the ability of CISC to mediate between the three services.
More significantly, being lower in rank, he could not find acceptance as the sole adviser to the government in a rigidly hierarchical organisation like the military.
Making CDS effective:
Access to highest levels: For the CDS to be effective, he must have direct access to the defence minister and through him to the prime minister.
Non-rotational appointments: The post of CDS should not be a rotational appointment; the government must select one after interviewing top officials of the three services.
Also, to begin with, all defence land and capital budget must be put under the CDS and appointments in inter-service organisations must be made essential for further promotions.
The government may take inspiration from the US Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act and push the three services.
Despite the PM’s announcement, it is not going to be a smooth affair.
Bureaucratic resistance: The bureaucrats afraid of losing their salience will create bottlenecks.
Services resistance: On top of that, individual services, afraid of losing their turf, are bound to resist the CDS’s involvement in their affairs.
It should be followed by Integrated Theatre Commands
The mere creation of the office is not enough.
This will need to be augmented by restructuring of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and creating integrated theatre commands.
After the reorganisation of MoD and establishment of theatre commands, they should directly be responsible to the defence minister through the CDS for all combat operations.
Each service chief should majorly be responsible for equipping, organising and training of the forces.
The creation of the CDS will need to be followed up with further reforms to reconfigure the armed forces to meet India’s aspirations to be a global power.
Headline : Why the attack in Gadchiroli is significant?
The Maoist attack in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district led to the death of 15 Police personnel.
This attack in Gadchiroli is another significant event in the long history of Maoist violencein Gadchiroli, where the naxal movement began in 1980.
This district has been the hot-bed of naxal activities in Maharashtra with the Maoist violence claiming 418 lives in the past three decades.
The Maharashtra government has been building a narrative of asserting control over the district after their huge success of the encounter carried out inGadchiroli in April 2018 thatleft 38 alleged Maoists dead.
Now, the attack in the same district must have some signals to give.
Summary of the news
The Maoist attack in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district led to the death of 15 Maharashtra Police C-60 personnel and the driver of their private vehicle.
The attack was carried on with IED blast.
Failures attributed to the attack
Failure of intelligence: The Maoists are present in the area and the police claims to have active intelligence networks but still they were unable to identify this threat, which amounts to failure of intelligence.
Violation of Standard Operating Procedures: IED blasts cause damage when they hit forces travelling together and that is why in Maoist areas, forces are encouraged to travel on foot or on motorcycles with a gap between two bikes but as these police personnel were travelling together in a private vehicle, is against the Standard Operating Procedures.
Why this attack is significant?
Selection of difficult terrain: Gadchiroli has dense forests and rivers and sparse population, this has always been a difficult terrain for security personnel to control the district and operate in.
Location of Gadchiroli: It is at the trijunction of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and Telanagana, which facilitates the Maoists to cross state borders at their will, making it difficult for the state police to catch them.
Safe Area: Gadchiroli offers both a corridor for passage as well as a mostly safe holding area for Maoists due to lack of coordination between the connected state’s police.
Efforts of the state: Maharashtra’s efforts to connect to local adivasis and build local intelligence, has just helped them reduce hold of Maoists but it has not helped them tocarry out aggressive attacks.
Registering presence: After the April 2018 encounter, the Maoists would have felt the need to register their presence.
Logistics and Strategy: The comeback of Maoists after a year signals that they have now got their logistics in place and carrying out a low-cost strike with IED blast could be their strategy.