Terrorism has become a worldwide phenomenon with its many faces and manifestations. State-sponsored terrorism presents its worst form. Pol Pot in Cambodia let loose such a terrorism which killed millions of Cambodians. In India terrorism has been there in many States. Terrorists do not hesitate in using even the most cruel methods of violence and do not spare even women and children.
In Punjab it has been Pakistan sponsored terrorism. It has been in control in Punjab but still not eliminated. Poverty, unemployment, deprivation and illiteracy make a good breeding ground for militancy extremism. In north-eastern States of India the terrorism has been on the rise and nothing effective has been done to check it. The tribal’s of these States have been victims of long neglect, deprivation, economic backwardness and alienation. Similarly People’s War Group (PWG) has been very active in Andhra Pradesh and has won support, sympathy and participation of the rural public in Telengana.
Problem Of Terrorism
The problem of terrorism need to be tackled on many fronts. It is a global menace and requires global cooperation between powers of the world to check and eradicate so devastating a phenomenon as terrorism. The biggest threat that the nation-state faces today emanates from terrorism which is widespread geographically and diverse ideologically. Modern terrorism thrives on its ability to hit where it hurts the most. The practitioners of modern terrorism believe the world ‘is beyond redemption. Irishterrorists, the Italian and Japanese Red Brigades, the Baader-Meinhoff gang in Germany, Islamic and Jewish fundamentalists have all sought to spread their ideology by the sword. Terrorist’s use of explosives, machine-gun fire or other sophisticated use of arms has interrupted the prayers of dozens of worshipers of all religions and cut short the journey of bus, rail and air passengers.
Terrorism has many faces, faces and dimensions. It may be regional, national or global and international in scale. Then it may be regional, communal, political, state-sponsored or foreign in origin. It is found worldwide in one form or the other. The development of very fast means of transport, communication and very sophisticated automatic weapons, have given terrorism new dimensions, depth and immensity. With the globalization, economic integration and cooperation of the nations, the terrorism too has become unlimited and can be transported and transplanted to any part of the world easily. It is a cult of violence, killings, murders, arson and destruction to perpetrate terror, fear and demoralis1ation among the masses.
It is in its worst form when it is state-sponsored. Then dictatorial and military rulers resort to violence, killings and shootings of people on suspicion or any other pretext and suppress human rights to make the public obey their unjust, discriminating dictates and administration. For example, Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, let loose the reign of terror in Cambodia between 1970 and 1975 and millions of its citizens were killed by its trigger-happy troops in uniform. Similarly, the Communist Government in China suppressed and killed people in thousands when they demand political reforms, liberalization and freedom from tyranny in 1989.
In Tiananmen Square alone outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, the main place of students demonstration, about 5,000 young students were shot dead and another 10,000 injured. In Tibet as well, the followers of Dalai Lama and Buddhism are tortured and prosecuted by the government troops and administrators. The people there are being forcibly sterilized and their brains are being systematically washed. Dalai Lama himself fled Tibet and sought refuge in India to escape state-sponsored terrorism, violence and persecution. Now, he has his Government-in-exile at Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh. Terrorism in India is widespread and there seems no end to it, at least for the present.
The way it has been spreading in States like Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland, etc. and spilling-over other states alarmingly, is a matter of great concern. The trigger-happy terrorists and extremists have been using all kinds of violence and automatic weapons and bombs to terrorize people and the administration. Their strategies include killings, murders, bomb-explosions, destruction of houses, looting of banks, disruption of road, and rail transportation and other means of communication, desecration of religious places, hijacking and kidnapping, arson and looting.
They rape women and do not even spare innocent children. In retaliation, sometimes there is more terrorism, blood-shed, violence and destruction. In the cross-fire between terrorists and the government, the innocent citizens suffer the most because then the opponent forces become totally blind and lose discrimination. The militancy and terrorism and Punjab has been sponsored by neighbor Pakistan. The Pakistan’s ISI has been supervising and financing the terrorists in the Punjab and adjoining States of Haryana and Rajasthan. It has misled the many young people in the name of religion and separate and independent state of Khalistan. The extremists are trained and armed in Pakistani camps and then smuggled across the border into India.
They explode bombs, loot banks, ransack homes, hijack, buses and planes and kidnap people. The militancy and terrorism in Punjab has been curbed and controlled to a large extent but it has not been eliminated. The then Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr. Beant Singh, himself was killed in an terrorist attack. In recent days there has again been a spurt in terrorist activities in Punjab. In the Bhatinda train blast in July, 1997, the fourth in the series of bomb-explosions, 38 lives were lost. The extremists have been striking at soft targets.
According to the intelligence reports, Prakash Singh Badal himself was under threat from the terrorists. Again, terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir has been Pakistan- sponsored. A number of terrorist outfits have been active there supported, trained, armed and sneaked into the State by Pakistan. The extremists have given a communal colour to the violence and militancy and thousands of Kashmiri Hindus and Pandits have fled the State.
The seeds of communal violence and extremism were really sown during the partition of the sub-continent into India and Pakistan. The terrorists groups in Kashmir mainly consist of some politically frustrated groups, religious fundamentalists and mislead youth of the society. Poverty, unemployment, deprivation and illiteracy have made the region a good breeding ground for militancy. The terrorists indulge in all sorts of anti-social and anti-government activities to achieve their narrow, sectarian, political and unholy aims but they are unlikely to succeed in spite of massive financial and other support from Pakistan. 2004 Lok Sabha campaign in J&K-the Jaish-e-Mohammed leaflet in Mitari village, lays out a seven-point code of conduct for local residents.
People’s Democratic party workers are “not to participate in the elections, or else face the consequences-which they understand”. Not only this-there has been scores of events of this nature in J&K. During the 2002 Assembly elections, 250 companies of the police and paramilitary forces had been pressed into service to hold the ground. Likewise, contrary to that what may happen this time (2004), and how many companies would be needed is a matter of great concem for the Election Commission. The rise of terrorism and extremism in our north-eastern States of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur etc. is part of our colonial legacy.
The long British rule never attempted to bring the tribal’s of these states into the main stream of the nation. Rather a feeling of separation, hatred, alienation and disharmony was created. Unfortunately even after 55 years of independence, our leaders and governments have failed to change the equation for better. Consequently, misled by a false sense of losing their ethnic identity and independence, they have taken to arms and extremism. Besides social-political and economic aspects there are some such other aspects as psychological, emotional and religious. As a result there has been no participation of the people of these States in the process of democracy and independence.
They have been haunted by insecurity, neglect and alienation and want separate and independent states. To achieve their ends they commit heinous crimes like burning, looting and destroying of the homes and houses of other ethnic groups, killing• government security personnel and soldiers. They explode bombs at public places and kill innocent people. They also resort to abduction and kidnappings. The Peoples War Group (PWG) has been quite active for a long time in Andhra Pradesh and now exercises control on a big part of the Telengana region.
The poverty and unemployment coupled with illiteracy and exploitation of the weak and vulnerable sections of the society have made these parts of the State fertile ground for insurrection and terrorism. No effective. steps were taken to improve the socio-economic conditions of the people and they were demoralized. In sheer desperation and misery they saw a ray of hope in the PWG movement and if the information is to be believed the militants have been delivering goods. The militant Naxalite outfits have been successful in winning the sympathy, favor and patronage of the down- trodden and long exploited masses who have always been at a receiving and at the hands of the corrupt government officials for many generations.
Large parts of Telengana are now under effective control and administration of the PWG. Simply banning an extremist group is not enough, the genuine grievances of the public need to be redressed at the same time. They need a healing touch besides social and economical developments and empowerment. Devaluation and decentralization of powers and economic resources at the grassroots levels to the panchayat raj institutions is the need of the hour. Militancy and terrorism can be checked and eradicated only with the support and active participation of the people of the area. The menace of terrorism needs to be tackled on many fronts. The cause of militancy and terrorism should be clearly and precisely identified and remedial steps taken.
There should be clear under- standing and cooperation between neighboring countries on the matter to check terrorism. Moreover, national security and intelligence need be kept quite fit and updated. In the ultimate analysis terrorism achieves nothing, solves nothing. It is sheer madness to take to arms when there are many other democratic and constitutional means available to solve problems in a democratic country like India. Pakistan should also understand that its militant activities and terrorism in India will not succeed. They have already started boomeranging and Pakistan itself is in the worst configuration of communal violence, frenzy, terrorism and bloodshed. Terrorism and its sponsors commit a crime against humanity at large and must be dealt with accordingly.
It is a global danger and can be eliminated only by close cooperation between various communities and nations of the world. All terrorist groups are criminals including even those who start with good intentions and objectives because sooner or later they degenerate into corrupt, criminal and anti-social groups. They become so blind in their over-ambition and misguided enthusiasm that they soon lose sense of balance and discrimination between good and evil. Most of the militant outfits have their origin in evil and sin. They are ruthless, rapacious and greedy and do not spare even children, women, old and weak people.
They do not hesitate even to abduct and kill foreign tourists and visitors. It creates an endless vicious circle. Terrorists become indiscriminate’ in their killings, shootings and violence. They have no religion, ethics, fellow-feelings and code of conduct. Terrorism drains a country of its valuable resources and enormous funds are spent in facing and checking it. It is said not in vain that prevention is better than cure.
Our political leaders are mainly responsible for the origin and growth of terrorism in India in most of the cases. There is still time that th1ey realize that national interest is above everything else and that unity and integrity of the nation is the hallmark of patriotism. Only patriotic feelings coupled with efforts in reduction of poverty, illiteracy, regional imbalances, and inequality among people can successfully face and fight the menace of terrorism.