Threat of Terrorism in India

APR 29

Mains   > Security   >   Development and Extremism   >   Terrorism

WHY IN NEWS:

  • India is ranked eighth on the Global Terrorism Index 2020 that measures the impact of terrorism.

DEFINITION OF TERRORISM

  • The term terrorism is very broad and there is no one definition of the term.
  • Different organisations have come up with their own definition of what constitutes terrorism.
  • As per the definition by the United Nations:
    • “Any criminal acts intended to provoke a state of terror in the general public or a group of persons for a particular purpose are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.”

STATISTICS

  • India:
    • The number of terrorist attacks in India has increased by 14%, peaking in 2016.
    • In 2018, India ranked 3" in the countries with the greatest number of terrorist attacks.
  • Global:
    • Deaths from terrorism fell for the fourth consecutive year after peaking in 2014
    • Largest falls occurring in Iraq and Somalia on the back of the defeat of ISIS in Iraq, and US-led airstrikes on Al-Shabaab.
    • Afghanistan has replaced Iraq as the most affected country by terrorism.
    • Lone wolf attacks accounts for 70% of all terrorism deaths in the west, from 2006 to 2014

CAUSES OF TERRORISM:

  • Political
    • Terrorism was originally theorized in the context of insurgency and guerrilla warfare, a form of organized political violence by a non-state army or group.
    • They choose terrorism because they don't like the current organization of society and they want to change it.
  • Strategic
    • Terrorism, in certain cases isn't a random or crazy choice, but is chosen as a tactic in service of a larger goal.
    • Hamas, for example, uses terrorist tactics, but not out of a random desire to fire rockets at Israeli Jewish civilians.
    • Instead, they seek to leverage violence in order to gain specific concessions related to their goals vis-a-vis Israel and Fatah.
    • Terrorism is typically described as a strategy of the weak seeking to gain advantage against stronger armies or political powers.
  • Religious:
    • Experts began to argue in the 1990s that a new form of terrorism fueled by religious fervor was on the rise.
    • They pointed to organizations such as Al Qaeda, Aum Shinrikyo (a Japanese cult) and Christian identity groups.
    • Religious ideas, such as martyrdom were seen as particularly dangerous. However, as thoughtful studies and commentators have repeatedly pointed out, such groups use selectively interpret and exploit religious concepts and texts to support terrorism.
    • Religions themselves do not "cause" terrorism.
  • Socio-Economic
    • Socio-economic explanations of terrorism suggest that various forms of deprivation drive people to terrorism, or that they are more susceptible to recruitment by organizations using terrorist tactics.
    • Poverty, lack of education or lack of political freedom are a few examples.

TYPES OF TERRORISM

  • Ethno-nationalist Terrorism:
    • Terrorism motivated by ethnic-nationalist and separatist aspirations ( Ex: insurgent groups in North East India).
  • Religious terrorism:
    • Motivated largely by religious imperatives and it embraces different means of legitimization and justification compared to other terrorist groups, and these distinguishing factors make religious terrorism more destructive in nature.
    • Ex: Jaish-e-Mohammed, ISIS, Indian Mujahideen etc.
  • Ideology oriented terrorism:
    • Left-wing terrorism
      • Violence against the ruling elite mostly by the peasant class.
      • Leftist ideologies believe that all the existing social relations and state structures in the capitalist society are exploitative in character and a revolutionary change, through violent means, is essential.
      • Ex: Communist Party of India (Maoist)
    • Right-wing terrorism
      • Right-wing groups generally seek to maintain the status-quo or to return to some past situation that they feel should have been conserved.
      • They may force the government to acquire a territory or to intervene to protect the rights of an 'oppressed' minority in a neighbouring country
      • Ex: Hindutva right-wing extremism, white supremacist violence in Europe etc.
  • State-sponsored terrorism
    • Some countries (such as Pakistan) have embraced terrorism as a deliberate instrument of foreign policy
    • One distinction of state sponsored terrorism from other forms of terrorist activity is that it is initiated to obtain certain clearly defined foreign policy objectives rather than grabbing media attention or targeting the potential audience.
  • Narco-terrorism:
    • The attempt by narcotics traffickers to influence the policies of the Government by systematic threat or use of violence.
    • For ex: Drug cartels in Latin America

STEPS TAKEN TO COUNTER TERRORISM

  • International initiatives:
    • Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
      • It is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog
      • FATF has developed the FATF Standards, which ensure a co-ordinated global response to prevent organised crime, corruption and terrorism
    • The Christchurch Call to Action
      • Initiated by the governments of France and New Zealand, along with top social media companies, after the Christchurch Mosques attacks in New Zealand.
      • India recently signed it
      • It is collective, voluntary commitments by Governments and tech companies (online service providers) to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online and to prevent the abuse of the internet.
    • Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT)
      • Set up in 2017 by Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube
      • It is dedicated to disrupting terrorist abuse of members' digital platforms.
    • Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism
      • In 1996 >> India had moved a Resolution in the UN by the name of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (UN CCIT).
      • But it still remains inconclusive
    • Terrorist Bombings Convention 1997
      • It is a United Nations treaty designed to criminalize terrorist bombings
    • Nuclear Terrorism Convention, 2005
      • It is a United Nations treaty designed to criminalize acts of nuclear terrorism and to promote police and judicial cooperation to prevent, investigate and punish those acts
    • Global Counterterrorism Forum
      • International forum of 29 countries with an overarching mission of reducing the vulnerability of people worldwide to terrorism by preventing, combating, and prosecuting terrorist acts and countering incitement and recruitment to terrorism.
    • Tech Against Terrorism
      • Launched and supported by the United Nations Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate.
      • Aims at supporting the tech industry to tackle terrorist exploitation of the internet, whilst respecting human rights.
    • Aqaba Process
      • It is a multi-national forum established by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to enhance global coordination in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.
  • Steps to combat terror financing in India:
    • Strengthening the provisions in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967
      • To combat terror financing by criminalizing the production or smuggling or circulation of high quality counterfeit Indian currency as a terrorist act and enlarge the scope of proceeds of terrorism to include any property intended to be used for terrorism.
    • A Terror Funding and Fake Currency (TFFC) Cell has been constituted in National Investigation Agency (NIA)
      • To conduct focused investigation of terror funding and fake currency cases.
    • Advisory and guidelines on terror financing:
      • An advisory on terror financing has been issued in April 2018 to States/ Union Territories.
      • Guidelines have also been issued in March, 2019 to States/ Union Territories for investigation of cases of high quality counterfeit Indian currency notes.
    • Training programmes
      • Training programmes are regularly conducted for the State Police personnel on issues relating to combating terrorist financing.
    • FICN Coordination Group (FCORD)
      • Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) network is one of the channels of terror financing in India.
      • FCORD has been formed by the Ministry of Home Affairs to share intelligence/information among the security agencies of the states/centre to counter the problem of circulation of fake currency notes.
    • Measures taken to check the smuggling and circulation of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) in the country:
      • Security at the international borders has been strengthened by using new surveillance technology, deploying additional manpower etc.
      • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between India and Bangladesh to prevent and counter smuggling and circulation of fake currency notes.
      • Training programmes are conducted for the Police officials of Nepal and Bangladesh to sensitize them about smuggling/ counterfeiting of Indian currency.
    • Indian banknote demonetization of 2016:
      • One of the aim of demonetization was to cut the terror financing
    • Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015:
      • It aims to curb black money, or undisclosed foreign assets and income and imposes tax and penalty on such income >> hence in turn cut the channel of terror finance
    • Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002:
      • It aims to prevent money-laundering and to provide for confiscation of property derived from money-laundering
  • Institutional measures:
    • Counter Terrorism and Counter Radicalization (CTCR) Division
      • It is set up within MHA.
      • It deals with matters relating to policy and operational issues on terrorism.
    • National Investigation Agency (NIA)
      • Constituted under the NIA Act of 2008 as a central counter terrorism law enforcement agency.
    • Multi Agency Centre (MAC)
      • It is created as a multi-agency intelligence coordination mechanism for counter terrorism, with the mandate to share, collate and disseminate terrorism related inputs on a day-to-day basis.
    • National Security Guard
      • It is raised in 1984 to combat terrorism.
      • Recently the 4 NSG hubs have been established at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and Hyderabad for rapid response to terrorist attacks.
  • Recent legislative measures:
    • Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019
      • Allowing the Centre and States to designate individuals as terrorists and seize their property.
    • National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Act, 2019
      • To allow NIA to probe terrorist acts against Indians and Indian interests abroad.
      • It also seeks to allow NIA to investigate cases of human trafficking, counterfeit currency or bank notes, manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, cyber terrorism etc.

BEST PRACTICE:

  • De-radicalization policy of Maharashtra:
    • It aims for integration of boys and girls from the minority community into the mainstream of development
    • It facilitate a positive change in them and increase their role in social development
    • For schools, the policy says the school education department should draft such chapters in the syllabus that teach the essence and “true teachings” of every religion

PRACTICE QUESTION:

Q. Combating terror financing and counter radicalization is an imperative of any counter-terrorism strategy. Critically analyze the steps taken by the government of India in this regard.

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