Terrorism is a wide concept. It may be precisely defined as “any act or means of putting any individual or the entire human race at an alarm by the fear of danger to its very existence by any violent or terrorizing act.”
“Ahimsa paramdharama’, the mantra given by Gandhiji by which he ended 150 years of mighty British rule in India, today seems an archaic belief which no longer carries any utility.
Napoleon, the greatest name known of the French Revolution, finally settled with the view that the human spirit was above any sword.
Gautam Buddha and Lord Mahavira who lived lavish lives as kings abandoned their wealth and kingship to slake their thirst for peace.
Ashoka the Great, Mauryan king, holds the title of being the great not for the conquests he had made through bloodshed but for abandoning all forms of bloodshed for the purpose of peace.
But the poignant fact is that peace today has become a subject to be discussed in conferences and summits and all endeavors to have it have been futile as violence has made its way to establish its diabolic might. And the world seems to follow the magician who has mesmerized it with his magical spell and alas, blinded the entire human race perverting it from its true destiny.
Bloodsheds, massacres, kidnappings, etc., are on the rise and Mother Earth seems to be tired of grappling with the nasty malady.
Terrorism today has become a global problem though its existence was felt in India long before it attracted international attention. It has been more than a decade now that India is fighting terrorism on its own like a waif child where the rest of the world shut their eyes to all that was happening.
Kingpins of terrorism were the potent weapons of the powerful nations on the strength of whom, they plotted to keep a hold on the other nations but little did they realize that snakes are not to be tamed.
Till the late nineties, the impact of terrorism was felt only in some .Asian nations like India, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. Thousands of people were killed and lakhs wounded; killing became a diurnal activity in this part of the globe. Transborder terrorism, internal terrorism and communal -lots were putrefying the largest democracy from all sides and the rest of: his world sat viewing the dance of death as spectators.
The Talibani rule witnessed by Afghanistan is the most blatant slap on the face of the so- called civilized world, as also the terrorism existent in Sri Lanka. Here came the need of what the old Indian slogan said, “The deaf needs a bang to hear” and the bang did happen, the bombing of the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam, the US Embassy bombing in Africa on August 1998, bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Pakistan in 1995 and the destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11,2001 were enough to activate the deaf ears of the Super Powers of the world and they soon realised that they were reaping the harvest of what they had sown.
There began a new era of metamorphosis of views of the international community. The Super Powers, which had little to say on India’s plight, suddenly began to sense the great that mankind is subjected to. International conferences and summits were held which echoed slogans against terrorism.
There began spread hunt for dreaded terrorists even at the cost of thousands of innocent lives as it became very clear to the Super Powers that their pet has become hostile to the master and the best way to make it silent is to silence it forever. All had concerns for their own but in the so-called global war against terrorism; India still stands aloof in its fight.
Terrorism may be classified into two categories:
(i) External Terrorism
(ii) Internal Terrorism
All forms of cross-border terrorism are called external terrorism. Jammu and Kashmir, which decided to remain a part of the Indian Territory during the partition of India into two nations, India and Pakistan, after India’s freedom, has been the victim of external terrorism. The border State has been the target of the neighboring country since its demarcation as a State of India.
The demarcation has not suited the neighbors who harbors the intention of deceitfully entering into its neighbor’s land and capture it. The scapegoat of such intention has been the people of the State. Killing of innocents in the name of ‘Jehad’ or the Holy War knew no bounds. The indigent youth of Kashmir are brainwashed in the name of religion by a few nefarious minds incrementing them against their own land.
But the pristine concept of ‘Jehad’ seems to stand miles apart from the so-called ‘Jehad’ of the terrorist groups.
The second kind of terrorism is internal terrorism. Any form of disturbance or antisocial activity against a State by its own people is called internal terrorism. Such activities may be to fulfill a legal or illegal demand by illegal means. All forms of rioting, an activity of mafias or dons or taking up of arms against the State by any group individually or on the backing of any other State comes within the ambit of internal terrorism.
This type of terrorism is seen in the North Eastern States of India, once prevalent in Punjab. The 1993, Mumbai serial blasts are an instance of internal terrorism.
The most heinous act of terror against humanity known till date is the dropping of atom bomb on the two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. But even after such traumatic experiences of the past years man has not learnt anything and terrorist activities are still carried on undaunted.
Some of the incidents of terrorist attacks in recent years are:
(i) The destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
(ii) The attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001.
(iii) The simultaneous attacks on the Raghunath temple and Shivalaya temple of Jammu on November 24, 2002.
(iv) Terrorist bomb attack at Tavistock Square, London, England on July 7, 2005.
(v) Grenade blast inside the Jama Masjid in Delhi.
(vi) Serial blasts in Delhi on October 29, 2005.
(vii) The serial blasts at seven local railway stations in Mumbai on July 11, 2006.
(viii) The instances of grenade attack in the Kashmir valley, which has amounted to 123 in the year 2006 alone.
The causes of terrorism can be summarized as follows:
(i) The avoid desire of some nations to extend their territories and establish their supremacy and might over other nations.
(ii) Some indignant youths taking up arms against the State on the abetment by certain antisocial elements.
(iii) The indigent conditions or insatiable greed or desire to make quick money making certain sections of people engage in activities against the State.
(iv) Certain educated youths, who though holding high degrees, failing to make way to the job market, thus depressed, their minds becoming malleable and falling easy prey to the anti-State activists who use them against their States.
India has realized that the best way to put an end to cross-border terrorism is to maintain an amicable relationship with its neighbor.
Some of the steps taken by India towards this end are:
(i) The Delhi-Lahore bus service started in February 1999 in which the then Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee himself travelled to Lahore.
(ii) The initiative to hold an India-Pakistan cricket series after a gap of 15 years with intent to bring together the masses of the two nations.
(iii) The Srinagar-Muzaffarabadbus service flagged off on April 6, 2005.
(iv) The Amritsar-Lahore bus service began on January 20, 2006.
(v) The invitation for talks to some militant groups in Assam by the Central and State Governments to bring peace to the State.
The Secretary-General of the UN, Mr. Kofi Annan while addressing a conference on “Democracy, Terrorism and Security” held in Madrid (Spain) on March 10, 2005, suggested five approaches to tackle terrorism. They are:
The world community must dissuade disaffected groups from choosing terrorism as a tactic. The world community must deny terrorism as a means to carry out their attacks. State must be deterred from supporting terrorist groups. The weak States are exploited by terrorists as here they can hide from arrest and train or recruit personnel, States must, therefore, be capable to combat terrorism.
While tackling terrorism, the States should not violate human rights and the rule of law. For if they do so, they are handing out victory on a platter to the terrorists.
The vice of terrorism has crippled our nation. The need of the hour is a unified effort against it.
‘Wars have won territories, wars have won wealth but no war has ever been known to have won hearts, for the only way to win the hearts is through love and peace’.
“Peace means end of terrorism by an individual or a state.”
—Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.