Mass protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) continued nationwide while solidarity protests erupted following attacks on students in capital New Dehli; operations against Maoists in Chhattisgarh state (centre east) persisted. Suspected members of right-wing student group with ties to ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 5 Jan attacked students and teachers at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi, injuring 39; no arrests made by 29 Jan despite over 40 complaints submitted. Attack sparked solidarity protests across country; police 9 Jan suppressed student-led protest in capital demanding resignation of JNU vice-chancellor for alleged role in attack. State govt for Uttar Pradesh (India’s largest state) 10 Jan began implementing CAA; officials reported 32,000 people from 21 of 80 state districts already identified for citizenship. Supreme Court 22 Jan refused to put a stay on CAA, said it will set up a five-judge constitution bench to hear 144 petitions challenging constitutionality of act; Court gave four weeks to govt to respond to petitions. Election Commission 28 Jan served show cause notice to Union Minister Anurag Thakur for raising controversial slogan during rally for Delhi state elections. Man 30 Jan arrested in Delhi for shooting at anti-CAA protesters in Jamia Millia University, injuring one. As of 27 Jan, four Indian states had passed resolutions against CAA implementation; Union finance minister said 19 Jan that states do not have power to refuse implementation, that it would be “against the constitution”. In Chhattisgarh, police 14 Jan said suspected Maoists murdered brother of former rebel who joined district police. Officials 20 Jan reported security forces killed Maoist rebel in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district. Villagers 25 Jan killed a Maoist rebel in Janturai village, Odisha state; police said rebels had demanded villagers not to observe Republic Day. 644 militants from eight illegal groups 23 Jan surrendered to local authorities in Assam state; half belonged to National Liberation Front of Bengalis. Large quantity of explosives 29 Jan seized in Orissa from trader suspected of links with Maoist rebels. 1615 cadres of all four factions of National Democratic Front of Bodoland 30 Jan surrendered in Assam.
Their recent dialogue process provides the best chance yet for bilateral peace and regional stability, but Pakistan and India must still overcome serious mistrust among hardliners in their security elites.
India needs to push Sri Lanka harder towards steps that will avert a return to violent conflict on the island.
When the third round of the normalisation talks concludes in July 2006, India and Pakistan will be no closer than when they began the process in February 2004 to resolving differences, including over Kashmir.
The agreement between Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, and India's new prime minister, Manmohan Singh, to continue talks on all contentious issues including Kashmir has inspired optimism about reduced tensions in South Asia.
For half a century Kashmir has been the major issue of contention between India and Pakistan.
With tensions in Kashmir and the confrontation between Pakistan and India appearing to cool in recent weeks, it would be easy for the international community to focus its attention elsewhere.
Reciprocal airstrikes by India and Pakistan have been accompanied by shelling, troop reinforcements and small arms fire. In this Q&A calling for restraint between the nuclear-armed neighbours, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director Laurel Miller notes that the airspace violations alone were the worst for 50 years.
A 14 February suicide attack by Pakistan-based militants was their bloodiest strike in Indian-administered Kashmir in over three decades. In this Q&A, our Asia Program Director Laurel Miller warns that even a limited Indian retaliatory strike could spark a sharp escalation in conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Originally published in Política Exterior
Originally published in The Hindu