Terrorism in India
A common definition of terrorism is the systematic use or threatened use of violence to intimidate a population or government and thereby effect political, religious, or ideological change. Terrorism in India, according to the Home Ministry, poses a significant threat to the state. Terrorism in India are basically two types external and internal, external terrorism emerge from neighbouring countries and internal terrorism emulates from religious or communal violence and Naxalite–Maoist insurgency. Terror activities involve either Indian or foreign citizens.
The regions with long term terrorist activities today are Jammu and Kashmir, Mumbai, Central India (Naxalism) and the 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.
Terrorism in India has often been alleged to be sponsored by Pakistan. After most acts of terrorism in India, many journalists and politicians accuse Pakistan's intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence of playing a role. Recently, both the US and Afghanistan have accused Pakistan of carrying out terrorist acts in Afghanistan.
- 1 Chronology of major incidents
- 2 Western India
- 3 Jammu and Kashmir
- 4 Northern and Northwestern India
- 5 Northeastern India
- 6 South India
- 7 In popular culture
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Notes
- 11 External links
Chronology of major incidents
Mumbai has been the most preferred target for most terrorist organisations, primarily the separatist forces from Pakistan. Over the past few years there have been a series of attacks, including explosions in local trains in July 2006, and the most recent and unprecedented attacks of 26 November 2008, when 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.
- 13 July 2011 - Three coordinated bomb explosions at different locations, killing 26
Terrorist attacks elsewhere in Maharashtra:
- 13 February 2010 - a bomb explosion at the German Bakery in Pune killed fourteen people, and injured at least 60 more
- 1 August 2012 - four bomb explosion at various locations on JM Road, Pune injured 1 person
Jammu and Kashmir
Northern and Northwestern India
The existence of certain insurgent groups, like the CPI-ML, Peoples war, and MCC, is a major concern, as they frequently attack local police 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, children, and the elderly) who are killed in massacres. The state police is ill-equipped to take on the AK-47s and AK-56s of the militants with their vintage 303 rifles. The militants have also used landmines to kill ambush police parties.
The root cause of the militant activities in the state is huge disparity between the 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 until 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 a 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 the 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 through mass killings. The police remained a mute witness to these killings, as they lacked the means to take any action.
The Ranvir Sena has now 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.
In recent years, with better law enforcement, these attacks, by various caste groups, have diminished.
The Sikhs form a majority in the Indian state of Punjab. During the 1970s, a section of Sikh leaders[who?] claimed that because of various political, social, and cultural issues, Sikhs were being cornered and ignored[how?] 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 Sikh nation.
The insurgency intensified during the 1980s, when the movement turned violent and the name Khalistan resurfaced, wanting independence from the Republic of India. Led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale who, though not in favour in the creation of Khalistan, was also not against it, they began using militancy to stress the movement's demands. Soon things turned extreme with India alleging that neighbouring Pakistan supported these militants, who, by 1983-84, .
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 74-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 the Golden Temple itself. According to Indian government sources, 83 army personnel were killed and 249 were injured. Militant casualties were 493 killed and 86 injured.
During the 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 catalysed 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 (for example, 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.
2011 High court bombing
The 2011 Delhi bombing took place in the Indian capital Delhi on Wednesday, 7 September 2011 at 10:14 local time outside Gate No. 5 of the Delhi High Court, where a suspected briefcase bomb was planted. The blast killed 12 people and injured 76.
2007 Delhi security summit
The Delhi summit on security took place on 14 February 2007 with the foreign ministers of China, India, and Russia meeting in Hyderabad House, Delhi, India, to discuss terrorism, drug trafficking, reform of the United Nations, and the security situations in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.
2005 Delhi bombings
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 in 2005. It was followed by 5 bomb blasts on 13 September 2008.
2001 Attack on Indian parliament
Terrorists on 13 December 2001 attacked the Parliament of India, resulting in a 45-minute gun battle in which 9 policemen and parliament staff were killed. All 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.
2005 Ayodhya attacks
The long simmering Ayodhya crisis finally culminated in a terrorist attack on the site of the 16th century Babri Masjid. The ancient Masjid in Ayodhya was demolished on 5 July 2005. Following the two-hour gunfight between Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists based in Pakistan and Indian police, in which six terrorists were killed, opposition parties called for a nationwide strike with the country's leaders condemning the attack, believed to have been masterminded by Dawood Ibrahim.
2010 Varanasi blasts
On 7 December 2010, another blast occurred in Varanasi, that killed immediately a toddler, and set off a stampede in which 20 people, including four foreigners, were injured. The responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Islamist millitant group Indian Mujahideen.
2006 Varanasi blasts
A series of blasts occurred across the Hindu holy city of Varanasi on 7 March 2006. Fifteen people are reported to have been killed and as many as 101 others were injured. No one has accepted responsibility for the attacks, but it is speculated that the bombings were carried out in retaliation of the arrest of a Lashkar-e-Toiba agent in Varanasi earlier in February 2006.
On 5 April 2006 the Indian police arrested six Islamic militants, including a cleric who helped plan bomb blasts. The cleric is believed to be a commander of a banned Bangladeshi Islamic militant group, Harkatul Jihad-al Islami, and is linked to the Inter-Services Intelligence, the Pakistani spy agency.
Northeastern India consists of seven states (also known as the seven sisters): Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland. Tensions exists between these states and the central government, as well as amongst the tribal people, who are natives of these states, and migrant peoples from other parts of India.
The states have accused New Delhi of ignoring the issues concerning them. It is this feeling which has led the natives of these states to seek greater participation in self-governance. There are existing territorial disputes between Manipur and Nagaland.
There is a rise of insurgent activities and regional movements in the northeast, especially in the states of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, and Tripura. Most of these organisations demand independent state status or increased regional autonomy and sovereignty.
Northeastern regional tension has eased of late with Indian and state governments' concerted effort to raise the living standards of the people in these regions. However, militancy still exists in this region of India supported by external sources.
The first and perhaps the most significant insurgency was in Nagaland from the early 1950s until it was finally quelled in the early 1980s through a mixture of repression and co-optation. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM), demands an independent Nagaland and has carried out several attacks on Indian military installations in the region. According to government officials, 599 civilians, 235 security forces, and 862 terrorists have lost their lives between 1992 and 2000.
On 14 June 2001, a ceasefire agreement was signed between the government of India and the NSCN-IM, which had received widespread approval and support in Nagaland. Terrorist outfits such as the Naga National Council-Federal (NNC-F) and the National Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K) also welcomed the development.
Certain neighbouring states, especially Manipur, raised serious concerns over the ceasefire. They feared that NSCN would continue insurgent activities in its state and demanded New Delhi scrap the ceasefire deal and renew military action. Despite the ceasefire, the NSCN has continued its insurgency.
After Nagaland, Assam is the most volatile state in the region. Beginning in 1979, the indigenous people of Assam demanded that the illegal immigrants who had emigrated from Bangladesh to Assam be detected and deported. The movement led by All Assam Students Union began non-violently with satyagraha, boycotts, picketing, and courting arrests.
Those protesting frequently came under police action. In 1983 an election was conducted, which was opposed by the movement leaders. The election led to widespread violence. The movement finally ended after the movement leaders signed an agreement (called the Assam Accord) with the central government on 15 August 1985.
Under the provisions of this accord, anyone who entered the state illegally between January 1966 and March 1971 was allowed to remain but was disenfranchised for ten years, while those who entered after 1971 faced expulsion. A November 1985 amendment to the Indian citizenship law allows non-citizens who entered Assam between 1961 and 1971 to have all the rights of citizenship except the right to vote for a period of ten years.
New Delhi also gave special administration autonomy to the Bodos in the state. However, the Bodos demanded a separate Bodoland, which led to a clash between the Bengalis, the Bodos, and the Indian military resulting in hundreds of deaths.
There are several organisations that advocate the independence of Assam. The most prominent of these is the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). Formed in 1979, the ULFA has two main goals: the independence of Assam and the establishment of a socialist government.
The ULFA has carried out several terrorist attacks in the region targeting the Indian Military and non-combatants. The group assassinates political opponents, attacks police and other security forces, blasts railroad tracks, and attacks other infrastructure facilities. The ULFA is believed to have strong links with the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), Maoists, and the Naxalites.
It is also believed that they carry out most of their operations from the Kingdom of Bhutan. Because of ULFA's increased visibility, the Indian government outlawed the group in 1986 and declared Assam a troubled area. Under pressure from New Delhi, Bhutan carried a massive operation to drive out the ULFA militants from its territory.
Backed by the Indian Army, Thimphu was successful in killing more than a thousand terrorists and extraditing many more to India while sustaining only 120 casualties. The Indian military undertook several successful operations aimed at countering future ULFA terrorist attacks, but the ULFA continues to be active in the region. In 2004, the ULFA targeted a public school in Assam, killing 19 children and 5 adults.
Assam remains the only state in the northeast where terrorism is still a major issue. The Indian Military was successful in dismantling terrorist outfits in other areas, but have been criticised by[which?] human rights groups for allegedly using[which?] harsh methods when dealing with terrorists.
On 18 September 2005, a soldier was killed in Jiribam, Manipur, near the Manipur-Assam border, by members of the ULFA.
Tripura witnessed a surge in terrorist activities in the 1990s. New Delhi blamed Bangladesh for providing a safe haven to the insurgents operating from its territory. The area under control of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council was increased after a tripartite agreement between New Delhi, the state government of Tripura, and the Council. The government has since brought the movement under control, and the government of Tripura has so far[year needed] succeeded to limit the terrorist activities.
- In Manipur, militants formed a separatist organisation calling itself the 'People's Liberation Army'. Its main goal was to unite the Meitei tribes of Burma and establish an independent state of Manipur. However, the movement was thought to have been suppressed after a fierce clash with Indian security forces in the mid-1990s.
- On 18 September 2005, six separatist rebels were killed in fighting between the Zomi revolutionary army and the Zomi Revolutionary Front in the Churachandpur District.
- On 20 September 2005, 14 Indian soldiers were ambushed and killed by 20 rebels from the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) terrorist organisation, armed with AK-56 rifles, in the village of Nariang, 22 miles southwest of Manipur's capital Imphal. "Unidentified rebels using automatic weapons ambushed a road patrol of the army's Gorkha Rifles killing eight on the spot," said a spokesman for the Indian government.
2008 Bangalore serial blasts occurred on 25 July 2008 in Bangalore, India. A series of nine bombs exploded in which two people were killed and 20 injured. According to the Bangalore City Police, the blasts were caused by low-intensity crude bombs triggered by timers.
2010 Bangalore stadium bombing occurred on 17 April 2010 in M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, India. Two bombs exploded in a heavily packed Cricket stadium in which fifteen people were injured. A third bomb was found and diffused outside the stadium
Andhra Pradesh is one of the few southern states affected by terrorism, although of a far different kind and on a much smaller scale. The terrorism in Andhra Pradesh stems from the People's War Group (PWG), popularly known as Naxalites.
The PWG has been operating in India for over two decades, with most of its operations in the Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh. The group is also active in Odisha and Bihar. Unlike the Kashmiri insurgents and ULFA, PWG is a Maoist terrorist organisation and communism is one of its primary goals.
Having failed to capture popular support in the elections, they resorted to violence as a means to voice their opinions. The group targets Indian Police, multinational companies, and other influential institutions in the name of the communism. PWG has also targeted senior government officials, including the attempted assassination of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.
It reportedly has a strength of 800 to 1,000 well armed militants and is believed to have close links with the Maoists in Nepal and the LTTE of Sri Lanka. According to the Indian government, on an average, more than 60 civilians, 60 naxal rebels and a dozen policemen are killed every year because of PWG led insurgency.
25 August 2007 Hyderabad bombings, two bombs exploded almost simultaneously on 25 August 2007 in Hyderabad, capital of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The first bomb exploded in Lumbini Amusement Park at 19:45 hrs IST. The second bomb exploded five minutes later at 19:50 in Gokul Chat Bhandar.
The Mecca Masjid bombing occurred on May 18, 2007 inside the Mecca Masjid, (or "Makkah Masjid") a mosque the old city area in Hyderabad, capital of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh located very close to Charminar. The blast was caused by a cellphone-triggered pipe bomb. Fourteen people were reported dead in the immediate aftermath, of whom five(official record:disputed) were killed by the police firing after the incident while trying to quell the mob.
The most recent 2013 Hyderabad blasts occurred around 19:00 IST. The two blasts occurred in the Indian city of Hyderabad's Dilsukhnagar. The simultaneous blasts occurred near a bus stop and a cinema.
Tamil Nadu had LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) militants operating in the Tamil Nadu state up until the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. LTTE had given many speeches in Tamil Nadu led by Velupillai Prabhakaran, Tamilselvan, and other Eelam members. The Tamil Tigers, now a banned organisation, had been receiving many donations and support from India in the past. The Tamil Nadu Liberation Army is a militant Tamil movement in India that has ties to LTTE.
1998 Coimbatore bombings
Tamil Nadu also faced terrorist attacks orchestrated by Muslim fundamentalists. For more information, see 1998 Coimbatore bombings.
In popular culture
Terrorism has also been depicted in various Indian films, prominent among them being Mani Ratnam's Roja (1992) and Dil Se.. (1998), Govind Nihlani's Drohkaal (1994), Santosh Sivan's The Terrorist (1999), Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday (2004) on the 1993 Bombay bombings, Fanaa (2006), and recently Sikandar (2009) on Terrorism in Kashmir. Raj Kumar Gupta's Aamir (2008) and Amal Neerad's Anwar (2010) are other examples.
- Bombay Blasts
- Communalism (South Asia)
- Saffron Terror
- Islamic terrorism
- List of films about terrorism in India
- List of terrorist organisations in India
- List of massacres in India
- Operation Blue Star
- Pakistani state terrorism
- Terrorism in Kashmir
- Sikh Extremism
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