If Iraq is not considered as a war zone, India tops the world in the number of terror attacks it is subjected to.
It is time someone declared India as the foremost country in the world battling terrorism. More than 3,850 Indians have died in terror attacks in over 3,000 incidents since 2004. The United States and Britain, who see themselves as prime movers against terrorism are not even probably aware of the severity of the problem in India where lives are lost everyday to terrorism.
In the last decade, India lost over 53,000 lives to terrorism. In all its wars with Pakistan and China and other army operations, it has lost around 8,050 lives since independence. The enormity of the threats that terrorism poses is just too large to be missed.
India is Bleeding
As many as 4,000 people died in around 3,100 terror related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir, North East India and Left extremist related violence between January 2004 and March 2007. That makes India the second most deadly region in the world. If you do not consider the war in Iraq, then India would be worst country affected. The highest numbers of civilian victims of terror are in India. Over 47,500 people died in terrorist violence, which does not include Naxalites between 1994-07. Over 4,700 people died in Maoist violence during 2002-07.
| Memories of the recent serial blasts in New Delhi, Bengaluru, Jaipur, Ahmedabad are haunting security agencies. The question now is where they will strike next. There are terror warts all over India: Hyderabad, Chennai, Kochi, Bengaluru, Malegaon, Varanasi, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, New Delhi, Srinagar, Jammu, Varanasi, Guwahati, Shillong and the entire north east.
In an email written by terrorists responsible for the recent Delhi blasts, a picture of Qutubdin Ansari was used who was a tailor in Ahmedabad. This picture of Ansari was splashed all over the Indian media which had tears brimming in his eyes and his palms folded begging to be saved from rioters who killed hundreds in Gujarat. The caption in the email alongwith his picture read: Eye for an eye. It was more than clear that there would be a backlash of the 2002 riots in Gujarat. It brought shame to India as innocent Muslims were killed by rampaging mobs while the government looked on. The memories of the tragic fallout of that riot still linger within millions of Indians who were shocked with what happened. The wounds are so deep in Gujarat that it will take generations for it to vanish.
Of the 4,000 plus people who died in around 3,100 terror related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir, North East India and Left extremist related violence between January 2004 and March 2007, 41 per cent were from Jammu and Kashmir alone. Another 27 per cent resulted from Left extremism across as many as 14 states. The mainly affected states were Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Maharashtra, Orissa, West Bengal, Uttar Pr5adesh and Karnataka. The north-east was another hub of terrorist activity with almost 20 per cent coming from there.
In the last two decades, over 40,000 have died in the Kashmir conflict. Many thousands are missing. The families keep waiting for them but know that they may never return. This is one state where statistics of the proxy war that Pakistan is fighting do not make any sense. The people of Kashmir desperately want peace though they have forgotten what it means.
Though the Indian army has tried to stem the number of fatalities keeping a vigil on terror, cross border terrorism continues as infiltration continues in the darkness of the night from across the border.
It is a problem that has no easy solution.
| Lack of intelligence gathering is the major crack in India's fight against terror. Intelligence gathering is a specialized skill, which requires intensive training. With the exception of Andhra Pradesh, there is no branch that is designed to train ground level constables. This is very crucial as they work at the grassroots level and must know how to glean intelligence.
That is not all. Even the Intelligence Bureau director cannot decide who his State Intelligence Bureau chiefs are going to be as they are largely political appointees. So, there is little coordination between the information gathered between the top and the bottom. A lot of time, money and effort are wasted on gathering political intelligence for which ever party is in power.
|Anti-Terror Game Plan
India will have to draw out a detailed strategy to fight terror as it is on the upswing and there are absolutely no indications that it is going to taper off.
India immediately needs to:
- Allow wiretaps if they suspect terror in the making, but do not use it to intrude into lives of normal citizens.
- Increase border surveillance.
- Have professional custom investigators trained in terror tracking.
- Better coordination between banks and other financial institutions and regulators.
- Encourage banks to share data
- Increase video surveillance,
- Fast trials and tough sentences for the convicted.