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Terrorism Information


Introduction


Terrorism in India, according to the Home Ministry, poses a significant threat to the people of India. Terrorism found in India includes ethno-nationalist terrorism, religious terrorism, left wing terrorism and narco terrorism


The regions with long term terrorist activities have been Jammu and Kashmir, east-central and south-central India (Naxalism) and the Seven Sister States. In August 2008, National Security Advisor M K Narayanan has said that there are as many as 800 terrorist cells operating in the country. As of 2013, 205 of the country’s 608 districts were affected by terrorist activity. Terror attacks caused 231 civilian deaths in 2012 in India, compared to 11,098 terror-caused deaths worldwide, according to the State Department of the United States; or about 2% of global terror fatalities while it accounts for 17.5% of global population


What groups are involved in terrorism in India?

There are scores of insurgent and terrorist groups operating in the country. Those recognized by the U.S. State Department as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) or other "groups of concern" are:


  Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), whose name means "Army of the Pure," is a militant Islamist group operating in Pakistan as well as in Jammu and Kashmir. The group reportedly received funding from Pakistan's intelligence services until 2001, when the United States designated it an FTO and Pakistan froze its assets. LeT, which has ideological, but unconfirmed operational ties to al-Qaeda, aims to win sovereignty for Jammu and Kashmir and spread Islamic rule across India. The group is blamed for some of the most high-profile terrorist attacks in India, including the July 11, 2006 bombing of the Mumbai commuter rail.


  Jaish-e-Muhammad, meaning "Army of Mohammed," is another Pakistan-based terrorist group operating in Jammu and Kashmir. Founded in 2000 by the former leader of the now- defunct group Harkat-ul-Ansar, Jaish-e-Muhammed seeks to drive India out of Jammu and Kashmir and transfer control of the region to Pakistan.


  Harakat ul-Mujahadeen (HuM), or the "Islamic Freedom Fighters' Group," was founded 1985 as an anti-Soviet group fighting in Afghanistan. When Soviet forces withdrew in 1989, the Pakistan-based HuM shifted its focus to Jammu and Kashmir. HuM seeks to battle "anti- Islamic forces" and its members have helped carry out operations as far away as Myanmar, Tajikistan, and Bosnia.


  The Communist Party of India (Maoist)* was formed by a merger of Naxalite groups 2004 after talks between the Indian government and the leftist militants broke down. The group seeks to establish a "revolutionary zone" of control extending from the Nepalese border down to the southern part of Andhra Pradesh that would ultimately become a sovereign state.


  Harakat ul-Jihad-I-Islami (HUJI) was founded in 1980 to fight Soviets in Afghanistan but has since concentrated its efforts in Jammu and Kashmir. HUJI, which is based in Pakistan and Kashmir, primarily attacks Indian military targets, but it is believed to be linked to the abduction and slaying of five Western tourists in Jammu and Kashmir in 1995.


  Jamiat ul-Mujahadeen is a small group of pro-Pakistan Kashmiri separatists operating in near Pakistan. It is thought to be responsible for a pair of 2004 grenade attacks against political targets in India.


  The United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) has sought to establish an socialist state in Assam since its founding in 1979. In the 1990s, ULFA's attacks on political leaders, security forces, and infrastructure provoked a harsh response from the Indian government, causing it to lose some support among the residents of Assam. The U.S. State Department reports a December 2003 attack on a ULFA base by Indian forces caused the group's numbers to drop from more than 3,000 to several hundred.


Why is India the target of so many terrorist attacks?


India is embroiled in a number of low-intensity conflicts throughout its territory. Many terrorist incidents are the products of these clashes. The regions most affected are:


  Jammu and Kashmir Located at the northern tip of India's territory, this state has been the focal point of a territorial dispute dating back to 1947—when British colonial rule ended—involving India, Pakistan, and China. India claims the entire region as its sovereign territory, though it controls only about half of it. A third of the land is controlled by Pakistan, and China controls the remainder. The quarrel between India and Pakistan has touched off a number of military showdowns. Since the late 1980s, the region has been home to a number of militant groups seeking independence for the region. Experts say these groups have extensive support networks in Pakistan, and some accuse Pakistan of using these insurgent groups to wage a proxy war in the region. Over the last decade, this conflict has been linked to some two-thirds of all fatalities from terrorist attacks in India.


  Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh state along the Bay of Bengal coast has endured a number of attacks linked to a group known as Naxalites. Named for the town of Naxalbari where their movement began in 1967, Naxalites are revolutionary communists. Though not all are militant, Human Rights Watch estimates some 10,000 are members of armed militias, which continue to wage a low-intensity insurgency that claims hundreds of Indian lives every year. In areas under Naxalite control "people's courts" prosecute individuals deemed "class enemies" or "caste oppressors." The U.S. State Department reports Naxalite terrorism "is growing in sophistication and lethality and may pose a significant long-term challenge." Indian officials have reportedly organized vigilante groups to help oppose Naxalite influence, and human rights groups have criticized the government's methods. Over the years, the Naxalite influence has spread to thirteen of India's twenty-eight states. The swath passes through the woods and jungles of central India, where the group takes refuge and recruits from the region's impoverished population. The states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Orissa have witnessed high levels of Naxalite activity, but Chhattisgarh witnessed the most Maoist-related violence in 2006 with more than 360 deaths.


  Northeastern states. Violence has plagued several states in northeast India ever since the country now known as Bangladesh was partitioned off in 1947. Fighting has been particularly bad in the states of Assam and Nagaland, which over the years have received a large influx of immigrants. Shifting demographics in an area already prone to tribal friction have helped touch off a number of religious and cultural conflicts. Poverty is endemic in the region, and many groups are demanding independence, citing neglect and discrimination on the part of the Indian government as grounds for separation. Militant groups like the United Liberation Front of Assam have targeted politicians and infrastructure in an attempt to force out government influence.



Some Indian states such as Karnataka and Maharashtra have other laws, Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA) and the Karnataka Control of Organized Crime Act, that are used to try suspected terrorists. The MCOCA was also extended to Delhi in 2002. Some lawyers have alleged that MCOCA is even more draconian than POTA and has often been misused by the investigative agencies. Other states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are also seeking similar anti-terror laws.