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Terrorism in India
Terrorism in India is primarily attributable to religious communities and Naxalite radical movements.
The regions with long term terrorist activities today are Jammu and Kashmir, Mumbai, Central India (Naxalism) and Seven Sister States (independence and autonomy movements). As of 2006, at least 232 of the country’s 608 districts were afflicted, at differing intensities, by various insurgent and terrorist movements.In August 2008, National Security Advisor M K Narayanan has said that there are as many as 800 terrorist cells operating in the country
Mumbai has been the most preferred target for most terrorist organizations, primarily the separatist forces from Pakistan.Over the past few years a series of attacks including explosions in local trains in July 2006, to the most recent and unprecedented attacks of 26 November 2008, where two of the prime hotels, a landmark train station and a Jewish Chabad house, in south Mumbai, were attacked and sieged.
Terrorist attacks in Mumbai include:
- 12 March 1993 - Series of 13 bombs go off killing 257
- 6 December 2002 - Bomb goes off in a bus in Ghatkopar killing 2
- 27 January 2003 - Bomb goes off on a bicycle in Vile Parle killing 1
- 14 March 2003 - Bomb goes off in a train in Mulund killing 10
- 28 July 2003 - Bomb goes off in a bus in Ghatkopar killing 4
- 25 August 2003 - Two Bombs go off in cars near the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar killing 50
- 11 July 2006 - Series of seven bombs go off in trains killing 209
- 26 November 2008 to 29 November 2008 - Coordinated series of attacks killing at least 172.
Armed insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir killed tens of thousands till date
Existence of certain insurgent groups like the CPI-ML, Peoples war and MCC, is a major concern as they frequently attack local policemen and politicians.
Poor governance and the law and order system in Bihar have helped increase the menace caused by the militias.
The State has witnessed many massacres by these groups.
The main victims of the violence by these groups are helpless people (including women, old and children) who are killed in massacres. The state police is ill equipped to take on the AK-47, AK-56 of the militants with their vintage 303 rifles. The militants have used landmines to kill ambush police parties as well.
The root cause of the militant activities in the state is huge disparity among different caste groups. After Independence, land reforms were supposed to be implemented, thereby giving the low caste and the poor a share in the lands which was till then held mostly by high caste people.
However, due to caste based divisive politics in the state land reforms were never implemented properly. This led to growing sense of alienation among the low caste.
Communist groups like CPI-ML, MCC and People's War took advantage of this and instigated the low caste people to take up arms against establishment which was seen as a tool in the hands of rich. They started taking up lands of rich by force killing the high caste people.
The high caste people resorted to use of force by forming their own army Ranvir Sena to take on the naxalites. The State witnessed a bloody period in which the groups tried to prove their supremacy by mass killings. The Police remained a mute witness to these killings as it lacked the means to take any action.
However now the Ranvir Sena has significantly weakened with the arrest of its top brass. The other groups are still active.
There have been arrests in various parts of the country, particularly those made by the Delhi and Mumbai police in the recent past, indicating that extremist/terrorist outfits have been spreading their networks in this State. There is a strong suspicion that Bihar is also being used as a transit point by the small-arms, fake currency and drug dealers entering from Nepal and terrorists reportedly infiltrating through Nepal and Bangladesh.
However, in recent years these attacks by various caste groups have come down with better government being practised.
The Sikhs form a majority in the Indian state of Punjab. During the 1970s, a section of Sikh leaders cited various political, social and cultural issues to allege that the Sikhs were being cornered and ignored in Indian Society, and Sikhism was being absorbed into the Hindu fold. This gradually led to an armed movement in the Punjab, led by some key figures demanding a separate state for Sikhs.
The insurgency intensified during 1980s when the movement turned violent and the name Khalistan resurfaced and sought independence from the Indian Union. Led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale who , though not in favor in the creation of Khalistan but also was not against it, began using militancy to stress the movement's demands. Soon things turned extreme with India alleging that neighboring Pakistan supported these militants, who, by 1983-84, had begun to enjoy widespread support among Sikhs.
In 1984, Operation Blue Star was conducted by the Indian government to stem out the movement. It involved an assault on the Golden Temple complex, which Sant Bhindranwale had fortified in preparation of an army assault. Indira Gandhi, India's then prime minister, ordered the military to storm the temple, who eventually had to use tanks.
After a seventy-four-hour firefight, the army successfully took control of the temple. In doing so, it damaged some portions of the Akal Takht, the Sikh Reference Library and some damaged to the Golden Temple itself. According to Indian government sources, eighty-three army personnel were killed and 249 injured. Militant casualties were 493 killed and eighty-six injured.
During same year, the assassination of Indira Gandhi by two Sikh bodyguards, believed to be driven by the Golden Temple affair, resulted in widespread anti-Sikh riots, especially in New Delhi. Following Operation Black Thunder in 1988, Punjab Police, first under Julio Ribeiro and then under KPS Gill, together with the Indian Army eventually succeeded in pushing the movement underground.
The ending of Sikh militancy and the desire for a Khalistan catalyzed when the then-Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto handed all intelligence material concerning Punjab militancy to the Indian government, as a goodwill gesture. The Indian government used that intelligence to put an end to those who were behind attacks in India and militancy.
The ending of overt Sikh militancy in 1993 led to a period of relative calm, punctuated by militant acts (i.e. the assassination of Punjab CM, Beant Singh in 1995) attributed to half a dozen or so operating Sikh militant organisations. These organisations include Babbar Khalsa International, Khalistan Commando Force, Khalistan Liberation Force and Khalistan Zindabad Force.
Three explosions went off in the Indian capital of New Delhi on 29 October 2005 which killed more than 60 people and injured at least 200 others. The high number of casualties made the bombings the deadliest attack in India of 2005. It was followed by 5 bomb blasts on 13 September 2008.
Terrorists on 13 December 2001 attacked the Parliament of India resulting in a 45-minute gun battle in which 9 policemen and parliament staffer were killed. All the five terrorists were also killed by the security forces and were identified as Pakistani nationals. The attack took place around 11:40 am (IST), minutes after both Houses of Parliament had adjourned for the day.
The suspected terrorists dressed in commando fatigues entered Parliament in a car through the VIP gate of the building. Displaying Parliament and Home Ministry security stickers, the vehicle entered the Parliament premises.
The terrorists set off massive blasts and used AK-47 rifles, explosives and grenades for the attack. Senior Ministers and over 200 Members of Parliament were inside the Central Hall of Parliament when the attack took place. Security personnel sealed the entire premises which saved many lives.