Reasons for terrorism in India
By Mamoona Ali Kazmi
Voicing concern over the threats posed by indigenous terror groups recently, Home Minister P. Chidambaram has said: They are no longer fledgling outfits, but are experts in assembling and transporting bombs. The threat from them is pretty high.
India has long suffered violence from extremist attacks based on separatists and secessionist movements, as well as ideological disagreements. The precise number of groups orchestrating attacks in India is hard to ascertain because of the splintering movements, but the country faces violence perpetrated by dozen of extremist groups.
Over the past five decades, it has been up against three different types of militancy: Left-wing extremists, separatists and religious. The left-wing extremist groups that have engaged in terrorist activity include the Peoples Guerrilla Army (PGA), Peoples War Group (PWG), Maoist Communist Centre (MCC), Communist Party of India (Maoist) and Communist Party of India (Janashakti). The separatists groups are engaged in northeast India, Punjab and the Indian held Kashmir (IHK). In Assam, there are at least 35 known separatist groups. In Manipur, there is the Peoples Liberation Army. In Meghalaya, there is the Peoples Liberation Front of Meghalaya. Nagaland has at least three known insurgent entities; Punjab has 12; Tripura has 30; and Mizoram has 2. Then there is the Arunachal Dragon Force (ADF) in Arunachal Pradesh.
Apart from these, a new source of terrorism involving a radical Hindu fringe is also emerging in India; there is no doubt that hate against the Muslim minority in India has led to this type of terrorism. The Hindu extremist parties, including Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal, want the majoritarian transformation of India, whereby the primacy of just one community (Hindu) can be asserted over all the others. In other words, it was this agenda of extremist Hindus, which allowed them to engage in violent activities. They want India to be a full-fledged Hindu state with the superiority of Hindus over other communities. For this purpose, they usually employ three techniques: Banish all minorities out of India; or force them to convert into Hinduism; and if they do not accept these two conditions, then kill them to purge Bharat of the people other than the Hindus. Thus, all the dedicated Hindus are following these lines. In Assam, there is an ongoing campaign to label all the Bengali speaking people as foreigners in order to throw them out of India. Similarly, the movement of forced conversion to Hinduism is going on in different states such as Gujarat, Orissa and Karnataka. For instance, recently Hindus forced the people of Orissa and Karnataka to either convert to Hinduism or leave the Indian States. The third tactic of killing the minorities in case of dissent to the two other techniques is going on. Hindus from time to time had arranged the massacre of Muslims and Christians in different states. Since 1993, the Bajrang Dal cadre has been involved in bomb making; they were arrested in Madhya Pradesh in the same year and now there are cases from as far as Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Bal Thackeray, in the groups weekly magazine named Prabodhan, wrote: The Hindus should defend themselves from Islamist attacks by forming their own squads of suicide bombers.
In addition, the Naxal violence is escalating with each passing day. More than 5,000 people have died in Maoist-related violence since 2005. The Naxal/Maoist challenge has become so serious that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh described the menace as the single most serious internal security threat to the unity of the country. Of the 600-odd administrative districts, nearly one-third were in the grip of Maoists. West Bengal, Orissa, Karnataka, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and even Maharashtra together constitute what is known as the Red Corridor. The writ of the armed guerrillas runs in large parts of these states, especially in the remote forests and very poor rural areas. Therefore, the rise in the Naxal violence is a clear indication of the growing sense of alienation and oppression that has left a large section of the rural population systematically marginalised. Poverty, lack of land reforms, caste discrimination and oppression, and injustice have led the poor tribals to go berserk against the powers that be.
In the same vein, there are Muslims groups fighting against the discrimination faced by their community. The Indian mujahideen is described by the global intelligence firm called Stratfor as a relatively amateurish group that has been able to carry out low to medium intensity attacks. The members are mostly local Muslims. The group first emerged during a wave of bombings in north India in 2007; it has since then claimed the responsibility for bomb attacks in Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmadabad and New Delhi. The last attack they claimed was in 2010 in the western city of Pune, where a bomb blast at a tourist spot killed nine people. The demands of the Indian mujahideen, like some other groups in the country, have tended to be domestic. The group has declared an open war against India accusing the army of killing thousands of Muslims in Kashmir and also directing its ire at the Mumbai Police Anti-Terrorist Squad charging it of harassing the Muslims minority.
India is in a big mess; its internal decay is advancing at an alarming pace. The government's authority is being challenged by the extremist forces, which have become more assertive and are able to impose their will on the State. Truly, these problems and threats are of absolutely indigenous nature. The countrys security agencies have failed to evolve a clear and comprehensive strategy to combat homegrown terrorism. So, instead of blaming Pakistan for every ill that takes place in India, New Delhi should take steps to tackle terrorism in an efficient manner. Also, it is foolish to think that a country, with diverse cultures, many separatist movements and extremist Hindus, has terror threats only from Pakistan and not from within.