The threat of indigenous terror

Asma Mujahid
For years, there has been a perception among Indians that Pakistan is behind every terror attack and this was also shared by the police and the intelligence agencies while sane voices within India have always pointed towards over 200 major insurgent groups and militant organizations who are made up of Indians and are fighting for the cause of independence, autonomy and justice in various cases.
India has long suffered violence from extremist attacks based on separatists and secessionist movements, as well as ideological disagreements. Over the past five decades, it has been up against different types of militancy: Left-wing extremists, separatists and religious. The left-wing extremist groups that have engaged in terrorist activity include the People’s Guerilla Army (PGA), People’s War Group (PWG), Maoist Communist Centre (MCC), Communist Party of India (Maoist) and Communist Party of India (Janashakti). The separatist groups are engaged in northeast India, Punjab and the Indian held Kashmir (IHK).
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.
India has erected an impenetrable force along its borders with Pakistan and the Line of Control in Kashmir. Yet, for each security failure of 7 million strong Indian military forces in Kashmir, it finds an easy scapegoat in form of “cross-border terrorism” from Pakistan. On the other hand, the poor Kashmiris’ in IHK have been suffering all kinds of brutality at the hands of Indian Security Forces for the last many decades.
In Kashmir, the Indian Security Forces are employing harassment, torture and rape of women as a regular tactic to suppress the freedom movement of the Kashmiri people. Apart from sexual harassment and molestation, the miseries of Kashmiri women further aggravated after the killing or disappearance of their husbands, sons and fathers as this thing increased their economic problems side by side with the social insecurities.
There are hundreds of half-widows whose husbands disappeared in custody of Indian troops, leaving them to fend for themselves. In the hope that their husbands might come one day 90 percent of the half-widows didn’t remarry. It is shameful that the ratio of Indian troops in the occupied Kashmir is the largest ever soldiers to civilian ratio in the world. Ironically, human rights are violated on large scale in the so-called world’s largest democracy. To crush the Kashmiri Liberation movement, India has employed various techniques including black laws. Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act 1990 (TADA) and Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1990, (AFSPA) are enforced in Kashmir despite the fact that they contravene the Indian Constitution and international law.
These laws violate the basic human rights such as right to life, the right to liberty and security of the person and the right to remedy. Kashmir is not the only state of India, wherein a freedom movement is continuing since independence. If truth be told, virtually each state of India has some militant group or the other. Naxilite movement and the uprising for freedom in seven north-eastern states, also known as seven sisters, are the hotbed of violence. Manmohan Singh, the Indian Prime Minister articulated with distress and anguish in 2009 that Naxilite movement is the biggest internal security threat for India. Yet, security apparatus of India continues to keep the eyes closed from inner-self insofar violence and terrorism are concerned.
Of late, 94-pages report on India was released by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), independent and bipartisan wing of the US Congress prepares periodic reports on issues of interest of the US lawmakers, on September 1, 2011, a copy of which was made public by the �Federation of American Scientists (FAS). The report said, even more recent are overt signs that India is home to militant Hindu nationalist groups intend on launching domestic terrorist attacks.
In September 2008, seven people were killed by two bomb blasts in Maharashtas Malegaon, a hotbed of Hindu-Muslim communal strife. Adding that by years end police had arrested nine members of a Hindu Terrorist Cell in connection with the bombing, including an active Army Lieutenant Colonel and a Hindu nun with links to the main opposition BJP.
In late 2010, Hindutva extremist Swami Aseemnand confessed to involvement in a number of terrorist attacks previously blamed on Islamic militants, including the 2006 bombing of a Muslim cemetery in Malegaon that killed 37 people and the 2007 bombing of the trans-border Samjhota Express, a train linking Delhi and Lahore, Pakistan, that killed 68 people, most of them Pakistani civilians, CRS said. It further notes that the confessions were an embarrassment for law enforcement agencies that had arrested Muslim suspects, and gave credibility to analysts who identify Hindu militancy as a threat to India’s security.
Ironically, India has always acted like a bad boy who comes out in the street crying over the slaps or strikes of none but himself. Since independence in 1947, India has been firing its blame-gun towards Pakistan blazing the shots of culpability for terrorism and violence inside India. But now it is a time for India to look at its indigenous threat of terror in a realistic manner and hopefully this shall go a long way in addressing the malady.
India has remained in a long denial that cross border terrorism was at the core of terror threat faced by India. It is because of this anomaly the country’s 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.

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