Terrorism can be defined as an intentional act of terror or violence on the part of clandestine individual/s, group or state actors to inflict death, injury or property damage, or induce fear among its victims. Terrorism seeks to take refuse in posturing of political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature.
Terrorism implies the use of violence to terrorize a population or government for certain political, religious or ideological purpose. The threat of terrorism has become a worldwide concern with several parts of the world reeling under frequent terrorist strikes. With little concern for human lives, terrorists continue to strike with impunity, leaving a trail of death and destruction, wherever they choose to inflict their blows.
Terrorism has emerged as a major threat to the unity and integrity of India. The masterminds of terror seek to achieve their objectives by creating an atmosphere of fear with a view to destabilize India. The major regions affected by terrorist activities in India include Jammu and Kashmir, east-central and south-central India (Naxalism) and the Seven Sisters (North-East).
Terrorism Spreading tentacles in India:
India has been tackling the menace of terrorism ever since its independence. Jammu and Kashmir has always been a troubled state with Pakistan using it as a means of waging a proxy war against India. The North-East region has been the hotbed of part insurgent-part terrorist movements. The nation also had to grapple with the pro-Khalistan movements in Punjab in the eighties though now the situation has returned to normal there.
Causes of Terrorism:
Political factors led to insurgency-cum-terrorism especially in Assam and Tripura. The governments of these states failed to control large-scale illegal immigration of Muslims from Bangladesh. It resulted in insurgent movements that raised the demand of economic benefits for the sons and daughters of the soil.
Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar are prime examples of economic causes behind terrorism. Against the backdrop of the absence of land reforms, rural unemployment, exploitation of landless labourers by land owners, etc, the economic grievances of people of the states multiplied, giving rise to ideological terrorist groups such as the various Marxist/Maoist groups operating under different names. They consider the ideology of Marx, Engel, Mao, Lenin as the only valid economic path. All of them resort to terrorist activities to reclaim social justice for the people.
In J&K, there is an unmistakable religious angle to terrorism. Pakistan has been making consistent efforts to cause religious polarization in the state. The state has various pro-Pak terrorist organizations such as Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen.
Agencies Fighting Terrorism in India:
National Intelligence Wings: Among them, mention can be made of Intelligence Bureau, an internal intelligence agency under the Ministry of Home Affairs; the Research and Analysis Wing, an external intelligence agency under the Cabinet secretariat; the Defence Intelligence, and the intelligence directorate generals of the armed forces.
Physical security agencies: Among them, we have the Central Industrial Security Force, which is responsible for security at airports and sensitive establishments, and the National Security Guards (NSG), a specially trained force, which is called in the wake of emergencies such as hijacking, hostage-taking, etc. Then we have the Special Protection Group (SPG), which is responsible for the security of the prime minister and former prime ministers.
Paramilitary forces: Not to be left behind, forces such as Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Border Security Force (BSF), assist the police in counter-terrorism operations in times of need.
The Army: The Indian Army has a significant role in India’s fight against terrorism. It has a permanent position in J&K, which is bearing the brunt of large-scale infiltration from Pakistan and the presence of divisive elements within the troubled state.
Funding of Terrorism:
Terrorist and insurgent groups in India receive funding from various sources such as Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI); religious, fundamentalist and pan-Islamic jihadi organizations in Pakistan; ostensibly charitable organizations in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia; the mafia group led by Dawood Ibrahim who operates from Karachi, Pakistan.
Sometimes, terrorists resort to extortions and ransom payments for releasing hostages, and collect contributions — voluntary or forced — from the people living in the area where they operate. Narcotics smuggling is another source of funding for terrorist organizations and they use informal hawala channel to transmit funds.
Terrorist Attacks in India:
Terrorists have struck time and again in India. Some of such incidents are as follows:
- 1985 bombing of an Air India flight from Canada to India, killing all 329 people on board.
- 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, which killed about 250 civilians.
- 2001 Attack on Indian Parliament on 13 December 2001, in which 9 policemen and parliament staff were killed, besides all five terrorists who were identified as Pakistani nationals.
- 2005 Delhi bombings on 29 October 2005, which killed more than 60 people and injured at least 200 others.
- 2006 Varanasi bombings in which 15 people were reported to have been killed and as many as 101 others were injured.
- 2006 Mumbai attack, when two of the prime hotels, a landmark train station, and a Jewish Chabad house, in South Mumbai, were attacked and sieged.
- 2007 Hyderabad bombings, where two bombs exploded almost simultaneously on 25 August 2007.
- 2007 Mecca Masjid bombing in Hyderabad which left 15 people dead in the immediate aftermath.
- 2008 Bangalore serial blasts in which two people were killed and 20 injured.
- 2010 Varanasi bombing on 7 December 2010 that killed a toddler, and set off a stampede in which 20 people, including four foreigners, were injured.
- 2011 High Court bombing on Wednesday, 7 September 2011 at outside Gate No. 5 of the Delhi High Court, killing 12 people and injuring 76.
- 2013 Naxal attack in Darbha valley, Chhattisgarh, which killed 28 people.
- 2015 Gurdaspur attack in Dina Nagar, Gurdaspur, Punjab, killing 10 people.
- 2016 attack at Pathankot Air Force Station, killing 7 people.
- 2016 Pampore attack, claiming 8 lives.
- 2016 Uri attack that left 20 dead.
- 2016 Baramulla attack and 2016 Handwara attack at Rashtriya Riffles Camp.
Conclusion: Terrorism presents a grave challenge to the people and government of India. If we want to effectively deal with this menace, the entire nation needs to stand united to fight the perpetrators of terror. All political parties need to rise above their partisan lines to give a befitting reply to terrorists and their masterminds operating from across the borders. India has to demonstrate that it is not a soft state but a capable nation with zero tolerance to any terrorist activities carried out by the enemies of the nation.