Terrorists aim at achieving political power by overthrowing and destroying the democratic and lawful governments. They try to create disturbance and unstable conditions on a vast scale to achieve their own political ends. They are trained, inspired and financed by very powerful national and international vested interests. They receive deadly weapons and ammunition from these powers and create havoc. This ugly and dangerous sociopolitical phenomenon called terrorism knows no limits of land, time, race, religion or creed. It is spread worldwide and is becoming more and more popular among the politically frustrated groups, religious fundamentalists and misled factions in the society.
They indulge in all sorts of anti-social and anti- government activities to achieve their narrow, sectarian and unholy aims. Sometimes, the terrorists may have very good objectives but then they resort to violence as they are unable to participate in the democratic process because of their various inherent weaknesses.
Terrorism in India is not new, but it has increased very rapidly in the last few years. Terrorism in India should be looked upon as an integral part of our colonial legacy. The British followed the policy of ‘divide and rule’ and ultimately divided the subcontinent into two nations, which later grew into three after the independence of Bangladesh. Post-independence and post-partition violence and terrorism was unprecedented. This partition on the basis of religion, faith and community has sown seeds of hatred, violence, terrorism, separatism and communal divide and will continue growing and flowering for a long time.
The rise of extremism arid terrorism in our north-eastern states of Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur, and Assam, etc. is also part of our colonial legacy. The long colonial rule never attempted to bring the tribals of these states into the mainstream of the nation. Rather, a feeling of hatred, alienation and disharmony was created in their hearts. Consequently, they felt neglected after independence and could not take part in the democratic process of the country. They were misled by a false sense of losing their ethnic identity and independence, and decided to take to terrorism and violence. They were helped in their futile armed struggle by neighboring countries, who never liked to see India as a united, powerful, and successful democracy. This emergence of terrorism in our north-eastern states also reflects the lack of will and proper efforts on the part of our political leaders and the government to bring these big groups of tribals into the national mainstream and the democratic process.
Besides socio-political and economic aspects, psychological, emotional and religious aspects are also involved in the problem. All these create strong feelings and extremism. The unprecedented spate of terrorism in the recent past in Punjab can be understood and appreciated only in this background. The demand for a separate Khalistan by these alienated sections of the society became so strong and powerful at one point in time that it put our unity and integrity under strain. But ultimately good sense prevailed, both on the government and the people, and electoral process was started in which the people participated wholeheartedly. This involvement of people in the democratic process, coupled with strong measures adopted by security forces, helped us wage a successful battle against terrorism in Punjab.
Terrorism, as a means to achieve socio-political aims in Punjab got much support from Pakistan by way of supply of arms and ammunition, training and finance. The people in power in Pakistan have always been hostile to India because of their own political compulsions. They have been trying their best to stabilized and disturb the society in India. They train and equip terrorists with arms and then smuggle them into the country. Poverty, unemployment, and lack of education, etc. among the people further worsen the situation. Under various political, communal and economical pressures, they succumb to the temptations and discard the democratic process, finding it unsuitable for improving their miserable lot.
Terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir is of this nature. Widespread poverty, unemployment, neglect of youth, peasants and working class and emotional alienation are some of the main reasons of extremism in the province. The hostile forces across our borders are also helping it a lot. The emergence of Bangladesh as an independent state with India’s help was too much for Pakistan to tolerate. Smarting under this humiliation, the leaders of Pakistan spare no pains to destabilize and disturb peace in the Indian sub-continent.
The series of bomb-blasts in Mumbai and other cities of India were planned in Pakistan and executed with their financial help. Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir has caused deaths of thousands of people, including innocent civilians, defence and security personnel during the last five years. It has also caused loss of property worth several cores of rupees in the state. In spite of loud and vociferous denouncement of terrorism and extremism in various international forums by the Pakistan government, militants, fundamentalist and terrorists are being trained there in secret and well-established camps run by the ISI and other such groups and agencies. These extremists have found a very safe sanctuary there.
It has been established beyond any shadow of doubt that Pakistan-trained militants and extremists had their hand in the 2001 crash of the U.S. World Trade Centre in New York. Such activities certainly boomerang and now Pakistan finds itself in the grip of terrorism. During the year 2002, over one thousand people have been killed in terrorist activities in the city of Karachi alone. The communal, fundamentalist and sectarian clashes, violence and militancy among the Mohair’s, Sunnis, Shias and other such groups is now very common there. The roots of organised and large scale terrorism and violence in Pakistan are quite deep and widespread.
Terrorism is a global problem and as such it cannot be solved in isolation. What are needed are international co-operative efforts to fight against this global menace. All the governments of the world should simultaneously and continuously crack down on militants and terrorists. The global menace can be reduced and eliminated only by close co-operation between various countries. The countries from where militancy springs should be clearly identified and declared as terrorist states. It is very difficult for any terrorist activity to thrive for long in a country unless there is strong external support to it. Terrorism achieves nothing, solves nothing and the quicker this is understood, the better.
It is sheer madness and an exercise in futility. In terrorism there cannot be a victor or vanquished. If terrorism becomes a way of life, the leaders and heads of states of the various countries alone are to blame. This vicious circle is their own creation and only their combined and pooled efforts can check it. Terrorism is a crime against humanity and should be dealt with an iron hand and the forces behind it should be exposed. Terrorism adversely affects the quality of life and hardens attitudes.
In the ultimate analysis, all terrorist groups are criminal. They do not distinguish between good and evil; neither do they spare anybody, not even women and children. For example, Jadish-e-Mohammed, a terrorist outfit active in Kashmir, has been most ruthless and rapacious. It began as a support organisation for Afghan Mujahedeen in the beginning of 1980s. It is now operating worldwide under different names. Their professed aim is to establish Islam throughout the world, through jihad. They train their cadres in making bombs, explosives, hurling grenades and using light and heavy weapons. They have a large number of hideouts in the valley of Kashmir. The man, who made the bomb that blew off the New York World Trade Centre, belonged to this group. They find the whole world, including India, a fair game for their terrorist acts.