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TERRORISM | Internal Security

What Is Terrorism? | TERRORISM | Internal Security 

  • Terrorism is commonly understood to refer to acts of violence that target civilians in the pursuit of political or ideological aims. In legal terms, although the international community has yet to adopt a comprehensive definition of terrorism, existing declarations, resolutions and universal “sectoral” treaties relating to specific aspects of it define certain acts and core elements.
  • UN Definition: Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for a particular purpose are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.
  • European Union: uses a definition of terrorism for legal/official purposes which provides that terrorist offences are certain criminal offences set out in a list comprised largely of serious offences against persons and property which, “given their nature or context, may seriously damage a country or an international organisation where committed with the aim of: seriously intimidating a population or unduly compelling a Government or international organisation to perform or abstain from performing any act, or seriously destabilizing or destroying the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structures of a country or an international organisation.”
  • US Department of State Definition: Terrorism means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.
  • In India the 8th report of ARC-2 uses the following working definition of terrorism, same as one widely used by Western nations as well as the United Nations, proposed by Schmid and Jongman in 1988. Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators. Threat and violence-based communication processes between terrorist organization, victims, and main targets are used to manipulate the main target (audience(s)), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought.

Classification Of Terrorism | TERRORISM | Internal Security 

State-sponsored Terrorism: State-sponsored terrorism or warfare by proxy is as old as the history of

  • military conflict. One distinction of state sponsored terrorism from other forms of terrorist activity is that it is initiated to obtain certain clearly defined foreign policy objectives rather than grabbing media attention or targeting the potential audience. Given this character, it operates under fewer constraints and causes greater casualty on the target. In a cost-benefit analysis, state-sponsored terrorism is the most effective means of terrorism from the perspective of the perpetrator. State-sponsored terrorism was widely employed in Central Asia in the nineteenth century.
  • Political terrorism – is used by one political faction to intimidate another. Although government leaders are the ones who are intended to receive the ultimate message, it is the citizens who are targeted with violent attacks.
  • Criminal Terrorism, which are terrorists acts used to aid in crime and criminal profit.  ( TERRORISM | Internal Security ) 
  • Ideology Oriented Terrorism: Any ideology can be used to support the use of violence and terrorism. Ideology oriented terrorism is generally classified into two: Left-wing and Right-wing terrorism.
    • Left-wing Terrorism- Violence against the ruling elite mostly by the peasant class motivated by what are called leftist ideologies have occurred time and again in history.
    • Right-wing Terrorism – Right-wing groups generally seek to maintain the status-quo or to return to some past situation that they feel should have been conserved. Sometimes, groups espousing rightist ideologies might assume ethnic/racist character too. They may force the government to acquire a territory or to intervene to protect the rights of an ‘oppressed’ minority in a neighboring country (i.e. the Nazi Party in Germany).
  • Religious Terrorism : Present-day terrorist activities around the world are motivated largely by religious imperatives. According to Hoffman , the practitioners of terrorism motivated either in whole or in part by a religious imperative consider violence as a divine duty or a sacramental act. It embraces different means of legitimization and justification compared to other terrorist groups, and these distinguishing factors make religious terrorism more destructive in nature
  • Ethno-Nationalist Terrorism: Terrorism motivated by ethno-nationalist and separatist aspirations became prominent only after the Second World War and dominated the terrorist agenda around the world for more than 50 years until religious terrorism came to occupy the center stage. Ethnic terrorism can be defined, as deliberate violence by a subnational ethnic group to advance its cause. Such violence usually focuses either on the creation of a separate State or on the elevation of the status of one ethnic group over others. Tamil Nationalist groups in Sri Lanka and insurgent groups in North East India are examples of ethno-nationalist terrorist activities.

Categorization Of Terrorism In India | TERRORISM | Internal Security 

India currently faces different types of terrorism, includes:

Externally sponsored terrorism:

  • Terrorism sponsored by external actors for disrupting the peace of the Nation, it dates back to 1947 and still continues. Eg:
  • Pakistan intelligence backed the Khalistan movement in Punjab.
  • The insurgency movements in J&K was directly funded and trained by the intelligence of Pakistan.
  • On the Eastern borders,
  • China has been involved with the northeast insurgency groups like the ULFA, PLA, UNLF etc. aiming the separation of the northeast from India.

Hinterland terrorism:

  • It refers to terrorism in the interior areas which are usually away from the coast. These areas are often disadvantaged compared to other regions in terms of development. Eg: insurgency in the Naxal-hit areas.

Urban terrorism:

  • Urban terrorism is the targeted use of terrorism in urban populations in order to cause the most harm, injury, death, or property damage. Since urban areas have significantly higher population densities than rural areas, targeting those areas can maximize the effect of the terrorist attack.
    • Eg: The wave of terrorism witnessed in Punjab, it was unleashed in cities like Amritsar, Jalandhar etc.

    Leftwing extremism:

    • It is an ongoing conflict between Maoist groups, known as Naxalites or Naxals, and the Indian Government. Deprivation, land alienation and exploitation of the underprivileged and the tribals have repeatedly been the reason for a popular uprising in the country even prior to independence.

    Religious terrorism:

    • Religious terrorism in India includes acts of violence by followers of one religious group against followers and institutions of another religious group, often in the form of rioting.
    • Eg: Radical Islamic groups, Hindu right-wing extremism, Sikh militancy etc.

    Cyber terrorism:

    • A criminal act perpetrated by the use of computers and telecommunication capabilities resulting in violence, destruction and/or disruption of services to create fear within a given population with a goal of influencing a government or population to conform to a particular political, social or ideological agenda.
    • “ According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, “ Cyber terrorism is any premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs, and data which results in violence against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.”

    Nuclear terrorism:

    • Nuclear terrorism is an offence committed if a person unlawfully and intentionally uses any way radioactive material with an intention to cause death or serious bodily injury, or with the internet to cause substantial damage to property or to the environment.

    Growth Of Hinterland Terrorism | TERRORISM | Internal Security 

    • Hinterland terrorism is the terrorism that is spread all across the hinterland of the country. Such terrorist acts have been taking place all over India without any specific reason. Yet, if we look back and analyse, there appears to be a sequential, well planned, well-motivated growth of terrorism in India.
    • After failing in two conventional wars against India, especially post the humiliating defeat in 1971, Pakistan adopted the path of sub conventional war/proxy war by supporting terrorist activities in India since the last three decades with the motto of bleeding India with a thousand cuts.
    • The seeds of present terrorism were sown in the Khalistan movement in Punjab in the 1980s. This proved to be the deadliest terrorist movementin India. It was to create a buffer sovereign state between J&K and rest of the country
    • After Punjab, Pakistan targeted Kashmir in the late ‘1980s’ and tried to takeadvantage of anti-India separatist sentiments in a section of Kashmiripopulation, and it continues to do so, till date. Terrorism in Kashmir was basically operated by Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK) based Islamist terrorist organisations created, trained, inspired and directed by ISI, like LeT, JEM, Hizbul Mujahideen, etc.
    • Meanwhile, SIMI was formed in Aligarh in 1977 with its motive to liberate Indian Muslims from western influence and make them follow Islamic code of conduct. In the 1980s and 1990s, SIMI became a highly militant and extremist group and took a more radical posture. Therefore, it was banned under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in 2001.
    • The Ayodhya incidents of 1992 also saw the rise of reactionary terrorist activities all over India, especially in Mumbai (1993 Bombay serial blasts). This provided a big opportunity to ISI to carry forward its designs of spreading terrorism and communalism in India.
    • The 21st century saw the formation of Indian Mujahideen (IM) after the ban on SIMI. It was to project to the outside world that terrorism in India was a purely indigenous development, arising out of ill-treatment of Muslims and not sponsored from across the border. Doctored videos of Gujarat riots were used by ISI to mobilise, recruit and radicalise the youth.
      • The ISI has always tried to take advantage of communal incidents like the Ayodhya issue and the Gujarat riots for inciting young Indian Muslims. The increasing efforts of ISI to exploit communal sentiments have ensured that the Muslim community remains vulnerable to mobilisation, recruitment and radicalisation. In recent times, there were reports of Lashkar-e-Taiba recruiting young Muslims in riot affected Muzaffarnagar district.
      • We saw reactionary right-wing extremist activities in 2006-07 in the form of bomb blasts in Malegaon, Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad, Ajmer Sharif and Samjhauta Express. Initially, investigating agencies of various state police had allegedly implicated innocent Muslim youth in these cases. This resulted in heavy resentment in Muslims and gave another boost to radicalisation of Muslim Youth by ISI, LeT, SIMI and IM etc.
      • The Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) of Bangladesh was also found to be involved in many terrorist attacks in India.
      • Hinterland terrorism is also sometimes assisted by neighbouring countries through the borders; hence it can be referred to as trans-national terrorism, given its obvious inability to take on India in a conventional war. Terrorists are provided training, infrastructure and weapons in Pakistan and then infiltrated into India through LoC or through Nepal.

      Reasons For Spread Of Terrorism

      • Under development, alienation, exploitation, discrimination led to discontent among certain section of people.
      • Regional disparity.
      • Easy use of technology such as mobile phones, computer, pager etc in the encrypted mechanism for the conduct of terrorism.
      • Targets of terrorism are not concentrated on a particular place such as religious location but rather it is more widespread (financial, commercial, tourist or software centres) in order to catch more attention at national and international level.
      • Use of social media and communication to radicalize and recruit young people for conducting acts of terrorism. ( TERRORISM | Internal Security
      • Competition for scarce resources and intolerance among the population.
      • Some countries support terrorist groups and internationally recognize them as freedom fighters. The terrorist of one country is considered a freedom fighter for another country.
      • The link between terrorism and organized crime to earn easy money and smuggling.

      Agencies In India Against Terrorism

      There are a set of agencies responsible for fighting terrorism in India. A major agency utilized for gathering cross-border information is the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)- the external intelligence agency. The Intelligence Bureau (IB), a division of the Home Affairs ministry is responsible for collecting intelligence information inside India.

      • NIA: A central government investigative agency to probe terror attacks in the country, created by an Act of the Parliament of India on December 31, 2008, following the Mumbai Terror Attack of November 2008.
      • Creation of four new NSG hubs: the inadequate security forces was addressed by opening four new NSG hubs at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad.
      • Multi-Agency Centre (MAC): it is for counterterrorism whose mandate is to share terrorism-related intelligence inputs on a day to day basis.
      • NATGRID: National Intelligence Grid is an intelligence grid interconnecting certain agencies of the government of India to collect and share intelligence that could be used by the intelligence agencies of various departments.
      • CAPF: Centre Armed Police Forces are used extensively in Maoist areas, Kashmir and North-East.
      • Armed forces: it directly deals with the terrorism and insurgency problems in J&K and in north-east parts of the country.
        • Police force: The police is the first to respond to a terrorist attack in our country. They take over the situation until the designated special encounter terrorist forces reach the spot.

        Legal Framework Against Terrorism

        • AFSPA 1958: Armed Forces Special Power Act.
        • Arms act 1959: Laws relating to curbing illegal weapons.
        • UAPA 1967: Under this act, the definition of ‘Terrorist Act’ has been expanded to include offences that threaten economic security, counterfeiting Indian currency and procurement of weapons etc. As of now under section 35 of UAPA, there are 39 groups in the list of banned terrorist organization.
        • TADA 1985: TADA was the first anti-terrorism law enacted in India and it was repealed in 1995 due to its misuse. The law placed a restriction on granting bails and gave enhanced power for the detention of suspects and attaching the properties of the accused. Exclusive courts were also set up to hear the cases under the act.
        • POTA 2002: It was enacted in the wake of India Airlines flight hijack in 1999 and Parliament attack in 2001. Under this act, a suspect can be detained up to 180 days by a special court. This was repealed in 2004.
        • PMLA 2002: Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
        • NIA 2008: It plays the role of a national counter-terrorism law enforcement agency.


        What Is The Difference Between Terrorism, Insurgency And Naxalism? | TERRORISM | Internal Security 


        • An organized rebellion aimed at overthrowing a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict.
        • Is a movement with political aims
        • Ultimate goal of an insurgency is to challenge the existing government for control of all or a portion of its territory, or force political concessions in sharing political power.
        • Work in a very organized manner to continuously pursue the goals in longer terms
        • May adhere to international norms regarding the law of war in achieving their goals.
        • Unlike Terrorist, insurgents try to communicate with larger social settings in surrounding and justify their actions with ideological basis.
        • Generally abstain from sporadic violence rather their actions are response to specific action of State.
        • May engage directly with government forces in various manners such as guerrilla warfare etc. e.g. LTTE, Naxalites etc.


        • Terrorism does not attempt to challenge government forces directly, but acts to change perceptions as to the effectiveness or legitimacy of the government itself.
        • Strategy of terrorism remains to commit acts of violence that draws the attention of the local populace, the government, and the world to their cause.
        • The terrorists plan their attack to obtain the greatest publicity for their acts, choosing targets that symbolize what they oppose.
        • The effectiveness of the terrorist act lies not just in the act itself, but in the public’s or government’s reaction to the act.
        • More than immediate victims, Terror acts try to inculcate fear in the minds of the viewer e.g. in case of 9/11 attacks and 1972 Munich Olympics etc.
        • Does NOT attempt to control any terrain, as it ties them to identifiable locations and reduces their mobility and security.
        • Generally do not accept any limitation in their actions such as International law, moral constraints, sympathy towards weaker sections etc. ○ E.g. 1993 serial bomb blast in Mumbai; 9/11 attack on twin towers etc.


        • Naxalism is armed rebellion by locals against Indian and State government against what they call as oppression of tribes and rural dalit,lack of development and poverty in affected areas. The term ‘Naxal’ derives its name from a village called Naxalbari in the State of West Bengal where the movement had its origin. The technical term for Naxalism is Left Wing Extremism.
        • Insurgency is a generic term while Naxalism is name given to insurgency by far left radical communists who support Maoist political ideology.


        • Radicalization is a process by which an individual or group comes to adopt increasingly extreme political, social, or religious ideals and aspirations that reject or undermine the status quo or reject and/or undermine contemporary ideas and expressions of freedom of choice.



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