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India IS Review: PFI, Naga Accord, J & K Polls

Updated: Oct 24, 2022

A review of the important internal security trends in India in the past few weeks which includes ban on the Popular Front of India and possible fallout, prospects of a Naga Accord as the NSCN and NNPGs are in Delhi in talks with the centers interlocutor and early indicators of elections in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir after visit of the Home Minister Mr Amit Shah to the region--

PFI Ban Under UAPA: What Next?

After simultaneous raids at multiple locations by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on September 22 and mass arrests of activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) the organisation was banned under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) notified on September 28 that the PFI and its associates or affiliates were banned.

Significantly in a nuanced move to separate the radicals from their political roots, Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), seen as the political arm of the PFI was not banned by the MHA.

The SDPI is now planning demonstrations across Tamil Nadu. Seminars and discussions have also been planned to mobilise the pubic particularly youth. These may expand to other states.

What shape this new direction that SDPI is taking remains to be seen? Obviously the activities will remain under close observation of the intelligence agencies.

What Next?

At the same time foreign organisations and terrorist groups are seeking to attract the radicalised members of the PFI who have not been caught in the NIA dragnet. These are expected to be operating underground through sleeper cells. Tracking their activities will assume importance to proactively prevent a terrorist incident.

Political engagement of the sections of society that were attracted by the PFI and the SDPI through its ideology of radicalism and softening their extremist views is also essential for which grass roots groups will have to be mustered apart from a sophisticated information campaign countering the radicalisation narrative.

This will remain a long process but may have to be undertaken nonetheless soonest if not already on the radar of national security managers.

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Naga Group Join Hands, Accord Before Elections?

Two delegations of Naga political groups including the NSCN IM are in Delhi for talks with central interlocutor Mr A K Mishra.

There is a glimmer of hope that a Naga accord may be in the offing prior to Christmas, the principal festival for the Nagas.

One of the factors that is adding to expectations is the frustration of the Naga people at large devoid of a solution which may manifest in lack of participation in the State elections to be held in 2023. NSCN IM is also facing the heat of the public ire.

At the meeting with the Core Committee on Naga Political Issue (CCoNPI), Home Minister Amit Shah, advised the Nagaland delegation to impress upon the NSCN (I-M) on signing the final agreement.

Accord Possibility

Union Home minister Amit Shah has put the ball back in the court of the state legislators over the latter’s plea for securing early solution to the Naga political issue.

With the NSCN IM and the NNPGs united in their approach the Central interlocutor will have a challenge in achieving a breakthrough. Much will depend on whether the NSCN IM is willing to walk back on the demand for a separate Constitution and flag.

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J & K UT Election Early Trends

Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir is now poised for elections. These are likely to be held before March next year.

While the Election Commission is to promulgate the electoral rolls by November 15, which will remain contentious given the possibility of inclusion of large number of non locals that is feared by political parties in Kashmir, shaping of the electoral space for advantage has commenced.

Last week Union Home and Cooperation Minister Shri Amit Shah was in the UT and inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of 240 development projects of about Rs. 2,000 crore in Srinagar after a similar action in Baramulla.

Mr Shah in his address, has attempted to woo the people in the hills of Pir Panjal and Chenab. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has completed a huge task of ensuring that democracy reaches every village of Jammu and Kashmir Shah claimed.

Combined with domination in Jammu, the BJP expects to emerge as the largest party in the UT elections and thus is not forming any pre poll coalition.

The Opposition

Opposing the BJP will be the People Alliance of Gupkar Declaration, mainly the National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party – both based in the Valley with some influence in the hills, break way Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and the Indian National Congress amongst others such as the newly formed Apni Party.

Launching his regional party in September named as the Democratic Azad Party (DAP) — former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad sought to unite the people of the Valley and Jammu region.

In case plans for a majority fail than the BJP hopes to take the assistance of some of these groups while ensuring that the Chief Minister is from the Party and from the Jammu region.

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