The word ‘terrorism’ comes from the French word ‘terrorisme,’ which is derived from the Latin word ‘terreo,’ which means ‘I fear’. The term was coined during the French Revolution, specifically concerning the ‘Reign of Terror’. Terrorism is a word that frequently appears in the news and is a broad term referring to various events and thoughts. Terrorism has a profound effect on the world. In particular, India has been a target of numerous terrorist attacks performed by diverse factions. According to the United Nations definition, any criminal act intended or calculated to instil fear in the general public, a group of people, or specific individuals for a specific purpose is in any circumstance unjustifiable, regardless of the political, intellectual, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious, or other justifications invoked.
Different Types of Terrorism
Although there are multiple kinds of terrorism, we may broadly categorise them as follows:
- Dissent Terrorism: Organisations that revolt against a country’s government. For instance, consider the LTTE in Sri Lanka.
- Left-wing/right-wing terrorism: Terrorist organisations with ideological leanings on the political spectrum’s far left or far right.
- Religious terrorism: Refers to terrorist organisations that are motivated by religious ideology. Consider ISIS.
- Criminal terrorism: Terrorist organisations that commit acts of terrorism for criminal gain.
Terrorism can also be classed according to its operation, for example, cyber-terrorism, bioterrorism, etc.
- Cyber-Terrorism: Terrorism and cyberspace collide. Terrorists have exploited cyberspace for various goals, including planning terrorist operations, recruiting sympathisers, spreading misinformation to radicalise individuals, and raising funds. Cyberterrorism is defined as any intentional, politically motivated attack on information systems, programmes, or data that results in violence. Additionally, cyber-terrorism is defined as “the use of computer network technologies to disrupt essential national assets (such as energy, transportation, and government operations) or to compel or frighten a state or civilian population.”
- Bioterrorism or Biological Attack: The deliberate discharge of viruses, germs, or other pathogens capable of infecting or killing humans, cattle, or crops. Following World War II, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union started building complicated biological weapons systems, and numerous governments continue to do so today. The European Union (EU), Russia, and China collaborate to ward off bioterrorism and biowarfare. The objective is to make it more difficult for terrorists to gain the resources necessary to develop biological weapons.
Terrorism in India
The current law enacted to combat all forms of terrorism is the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act. India is threatened by terrorism perpetrated by secessionists in Kashmir, the northeast, and, to a lesser extent, Punjab and left-wing radical groups in central, east-central, and south-central India.
India is among the world’s most terrorised countries. According to the Institute for Economics and Peace, India was the 7th most affected country in 2018.
According to the research, over 8000 people have perished in terror strikes in India between 2001 and 2018. Jammu & Kashmir is the region of the country most afflicted by terrorist activity. India is also ranked 8th in the Global Terrorism Index 2020 as most affected by terrorism.
Terrorist Groups Active in India
The following are a few of the prominent terrorist organisations operating in India:
- Jaish-e-Mohammed: This is a Pakistani terrorist group active in Jammu and Kashmir to capture the state. Additionally, the group has carried out multiple terrorist operations to advance its objective of the Valley.
- Lashkar-e-Taiba: This is an Islamist terrorist organisation based in Pakistan. Occupied Kashmir and parts of India’s Jammu & Kashmir. It is supported by Pakistan and has carried out several significant terrorist acts in India.
- Maoist: This terrorist organisation was founded by the merger of Naxalite groups following the 2004 talks between left-wing insurgents and the Indian government.
- United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA): This terrorist organisation is responsible for various terrorist acts in Assam, India.
Measures Taken by the Indian Government:
- The government established the National Investigation Agency following the terrorist attacks on Mumbai on 26/11. (NIA).
Since the late 1990s, India has been attempting to advance a global intergovernmental treaty dubbed the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) to combat terrorism.
India is also a FATF (Financial Action Task Force), an international organisation dedicated to developing worldwide standards for combatting money laundering and terrorist funding.
- India maintains a network of intelligence services such as the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the Intelligence Bureau (IB), and others tasked with combating terrorism domestically and internationally.
- Additionally, there is a National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), an integrated intelligence structure that connects the databases of the Indian government’s security agencies to collect comprehensive trends of information acquired by Indian intelligence services.
- The National Security Guard (NSG) is a paramilitary group tasked with counterterrorism and anti-hijacking missions.
Cross Border Terrorism
Cross-border terrorism occurs when a country’s soil is used to incite terror or commit acts of terrorism against its bordering countries. Factors that contribute to the success of cross-border terrorism are:
- Porous borders: These are not well-protected boundaries. Due to tough terrain and other circumstances, India’s borders with the majority of her neighbours cannot be completely sealed or wired.
- Non-state actors’ assistance: Border terrorism is fuelled by strained relations with surrounding countries. Financial backing, weapons, and training are offered to secessionist groups.
- Internal assistance: Often, terrorists get support from the local populace for various reasons, including philosophical or ethnic affiliation, fear, financial gain, and so forth.
The unlawful use of violence, force, and threat to destabilise the socio-political scenarios can be called terrorism. It is a broad term referring to various events and thoughts.India is among the world’s most terrorised countries. As per the Institute for Economics and Peace, India was the 7th most affected country in 2018.