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Terrorism in India

Terrorism in India ... same old topic that has been in discussions for over 15years (actively) or more. While terrorism is not new to India, and various new cities have seen terrorist attacks off late. These cities have never been thought of earlier that they could be the targets for the terrorists. Looking at the recent attacks in Jaipur, Delhi, Hyderabad and other cities, it is clear that these attacks are aimed to make sure the presence of the terrorist groups by having "some" impact on the minds of people.

India is one of the world's most terror-prone countries, with a death toll second only to Iraq, according to a report last year by the National Counterterrorism Center in Washington. India is at constant war with separatists and Maoists rebels. But when it comes to Islamic extremism, New Delhi has always blamed foreign influence—usually Pakistan's. With reason: the militants fighting for Kashmir's independence have extensive links to Pakistan or Bangladesh, where they've set up camps and been nurtured by local intelligence services. More than a dozen Islamic separatist groups have been fighting since 1989 for independence for Jammu and Kashmir, India's only Muslim-majority state, in a conflict that has killed about 50,000 people.

The government has been scrambling to defend its record, right from the Prime Minister to acknowledge "vast gaps" in intelligence on terror networks operating in this large, fractious country. The latest attacks have drawn attention to a larger and more dangerous problem: a feeble criminal justice system. There is no witness protection and not enough police officers, while suspected terrorists and criminals are regularly executed by law enforcement authorities rather than tried in a court of law.

India's fight against terror is also complicated by a political landscape in which parties vie for the loyalty of Hindu and Muslim voters. In addition to radical Islamist groups blamed for the bombings, there are some other radical religious organizations, accused most recently of carrying out deadly attacks on minorities in several states, not to mention Maoist insurgents and ethnic separatist guerillas in the northeast.

So far there have been 15 terrorist attacks in India for the past 3 years claimed by the radical Islamic groups. Some of the recent bomb blasts in 2008.
On October 1st, a series of bombs have exploded in Agartala on the Muslim holiday of Eid al Fitr. This killed atleast 2 people, injuring over 100 people.
On September 27th, a bomb blast in the Mehrauli area of Delhi, killing one person, injuring more than 15 people. Mohammed Arif Sheikh, described as the founder of the Indian Mujahideen (IM), was arrested along with four others by the Mumbai Police in this incident.
On September 13th, 5 serial bomb blasts in busy market areas of Delhi have killed 18 people.
On 26th July, Ahmedabad, the western industrial city was struck with the first attack on busy streets killing 52 people. This has involved about 22 small bombs in various areas.
On 25th July, seven bombs went off in Bangalore killing two people standing at a bus stop..
On 13th May, seven bomb hit markets and crowded streets in Jaipur killing 67 people.

Perhaps the most striking feature of the recent attacks is that they have not led to the typical finger-pointing at Pakistan, as in the past. In fact, Indian officials have spoken plainly about home-grown jihadi groups, though they may be trained or aided by organizations based across the border.

A group calling itself Indian Mujahedeen claimed responsibility for the recent attacks, sending chilling e-mail warnings to the Indian news media just minutes before the attacks. Composed in English, they combine the rhetoric of global radical Islam with distinctly Indian grievances, including attacks on Muslims in Ahmedabad in 2002. The police have said the group is probably tied to a banned radical organization called the Students Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI.

With elections approaching, the political parties are not ready to take any risk with any groups, as it would adversely affect on them. The most they can do is to condemn the attacks, and promise that they will probe into that. Soon after the September 13th attacks, the police responded by stepping up security in bazaars, combing Muslim-majority areas and, engaging in a dramatic shootout with a young man they described as the mastermind of the three most recent blasts. There are a lot of contraversial stories around this incident that the police did not get the order to shoot in right time, which results the death of a brave Indian army officer. This went into a big contraversy on the central government, to lose such a braver officer.

It is very much subjective to mention the response from K.S.Subramanian, who is a former IPS officer and author of Political Voilence and the Police in India, to the queries on Delhi blasts of 13th and 27th September - “IT does not require supreme deductive skills to understand that the Indian internal security establishment is in a state of confusion vis-a-vis investigation’s into the terrorist blasts. Over many years, the level of success in terms of prosecution has been very limited in cases relating to terrorist incidents and the pressures from the political establishment has increased continuously on account of this. Various segments of the Indian police system as well as the police departments in different States seem to have got into an indecorous competition amongst themselves in their attempts to deal with the political pressure. The country has been presented with a ludicrous exhibition of the same in recent days. It is time that the Union Home Ministry took serious note of this and came up with a detailed analysis of the failures and foibles in order to evolve effective guidelines that would streamline the functioning of the internal security establishment.”

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's recent interview in the Wall Street Journal showed a different voice, which was never expected from that country. He has declared that India is no longer his country's arch-enemy. Indeed, he says, "India has never been a threat to Pakistan". This may or many not be have the truth, but India can now take this opportunity to have a dialogue with Pakistan. This is very crucial for both the countries, to focus on many important things.

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