Homeland Security

How to Encounter Social Terrorism
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 03 May , 2016

While the country is still trying to comprehend the security dimension of the problem, terrorists have off late started hitting where it matters the most (the social fabric) and it is the biggest strength of a multicultural society. The problem created by shouting anti-India slogans was not merely a problem of sedition but was an outcome of high level meticulous planning of the masterminds as how to dodge the security and intelligence apparatus by creating social unrest among the academicians and students. 

Security and national integrity ought to be rated at the top most priority and should not be discussed in public forum by sometimes the so called self-claimed experts of multidimensional issues. No sweeping comments, no laxity to be allowed as it would only expose the difference of opinion and provide an opportunity to engulf entire country into high tension zone on account of socio-political and economic differentiation.

It is time of an essence and high time we realized that concepts such as nationalism and patriotism are highly sacred and to be given at most importance in nation’s life above everything.

The concept of liberty and its relationship with security and safety appears to in the midst of a major transformation, largely on account of rapidly changing nature of discourse and argumentation.

The recent debate on the issue of right to freedom of speech and expression of thought granted by Article 19 and the limitation posed under Article 19 (2) on the other created a brigade of intellectuals supporting one side of argument or another. These debates are not going to yield substantial results and this would certainly turn a highly pious sentiment of patriotism into a some sort of competition wherein one is trying to score over other to prove points.

Our country is known for embracing value and approaches that have shaped the creative urge of many communities. However, we all acknowledge the challenges that are posed by the increasing tentacles of transitional phase.

During the last few years, our problems have become more varied and intense. Gradually, people are getting exposed to the nuances of the socio- economic, political and international issues even in lesser known areas. The inquisitiveness about the new ideas among people can very well be seen in their expressions and ideas displayed during debates. Some of these discussions explore our domestic underpinnings with new focus on the role of social democratic ideas and values in the ongoing process. These are indeed interesting since they are helpful in providing leeway for generating academic argumentation that goes beyond the dictates of powerful syndicates within system.

Freedom of expression of thought is the key here, with greater emphasis on non-hierarchical and egalitarian ways of structuring social relationships in a manner consistent with our inherited core values. It is good to preserve one’s identity for maintaining our unity in diversity. But at times such efforts of preservation of identity, whether cultural, linguistic, regional or religious damage the deep layers of our socio-political system. It is apparent from the kind of threat we are encountering so often.

…difference of opinion among students and academicians has been turning very vocal and unexpectedly radical particularly on highly sensitive issues such as separatism, autonomy, naxalism and terrorism.

The bigotry perpetuated by glorification of self claimed cultural discourses as the sole receptacles of genuine faith has in past ripped off the unity of Yugoslavia and Soviet Union one after another. Theological experts must be shuddering at the inglorious urge of the starting a new paradigm.

The recent debates on different television channels has all of a sudden led to mushrooming of a number of experts and harbingers of pluralism, freedom of speech and even nationalism. There appeared to a kind of competition in proving one’s worth for political parties. It is time of an essence and high time we realized that concepts such as nationalism and patriotism are highly sacred and to be given at most importance in nation’s life above everything.

While the country is still trying to comprehend the security dimension of the problem, terrorists have off late started hitting where it matters the most (the social fabric) and it is the biggest strength of a multicultural society. The problem created by shouting anti-India slogans was not merely a problem of sedition but was an outcome of high level meticulous planning of the masterminds as how to dodge the security and intelligence apparatus by creating social unrest among the academicians and students.

Security and national integrity ought to be rated at the top most priority and should not be discussed in public forum by sometimes the so called self-claimed experts of multidimensional issues. No sweeping comments, no laxity to be allowed as it would only expose the difference of opinion and provide an opportunity to engulf entire country into high tension zone on account of socio-political and economic differentiation.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University has always been a place of high learning and debates. Truly a University of Top Notch level although academic differentiation in view points has been the strength of the University ever since the beginning. But during the last few years or so, difference of opinion among students and academicians has been turning very vocal and unexpectedly radical particularly on highly sensitive issues such as separatism, autonomy, naxalism and terrorism. These problems have created havoc in the past and still doing so.

Secessionist activities are result of various issues that plague the region due to a long period of disturbance and quagmire created by miscreants in past and misinterpretation of religion by some powerful syndicates.

At times it sounds great if one is off beat in academic discourse and argumentation it really sounds like intellectual with a difference yet none of us should ever support any view which divides or harms our country in any way.

It goes without saying that India is the most tolerant country of the world where people from divergence background live together in harmony.

We need to understand that the series of attacks on the Pathankot Air Force station have made the situation highly alarming .There have been more than 50 infiltration attempts during the last one year in which about 40 militants have managed to sneaked in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. Whenever there are attempts towards peace and negotiation between India and Pakistan establishment, the evil of terrorism resurfaces with gusto.

Secessionist activities are result of various issues that plague the region due to a long period of disturbance and quagmire created by miscreants in past and misinterpretation of religion by some powerful syndicates. Constant help from other side of border has added another dimension to the ongoing problem of insurgency and terrorism. The militants have been using POK and certain areas in Pakistan for procuring arms and training. To a large extent, militancy provides livelihood to terrorists who have nothing to loose except their lives for some money. Be it the case of Ajmal Kasab and a few others who were misled and driven to commit most heinous crime in Mumbai.

Although the central government has made efforts to find a solution to the problem plaguing the region by initiating talks with Pakistan and addressing the grievances of the separatists yet insurgent activities against the government and clashes between terrorists and Army have continued unabated.

We should be extremely cautious in handling the present crisis. The region’s provides an excellent base for the rebels to carry out guerrilla activities. Several security officials have died in controlling the terrorists onslaught for many years. These days, the new breed of terrorists seem to be reasonably confident of their access to vantage points. Moreover, their strategies have become more sophisticated and they are successful in acquiring more lethal weapons from across the border.

The criticism of the government’s policies by the insurgents has also got support from only a few locals who have been misled. The ongoing problem of bleeding and wounding India in Kashmir will gradually become pernicious.

The criticism of the government’s policies by the insurgents has also got support from only a few locals who have been misled. The ongoing problem of bleeding and wounding India in Kashmir will gradually become pernicious. This is bound to effect resources and problem of force deployment in region. Consequently, training and ground force exercise will become a tedious job to be sustained in the coming years. In addition, the geographical location of area has made it difficult for the Army to gain reliable intelligence. Moreover, the mobile members of the splinters terrorists driven by suicidal mission are trained in guerrilla warfare and get help from the border areas.

The role of the military and the security forces is crucial because their operations in terrorists and insurgency-affected areas require a combined approach of local support and excellent intelligence information network. The deployment of Special Forces in countering terrorist activities has become a reality in many countries. In this regard, the experience of different countries can help.

For Example the way the West German Police defeated terrorist faction, the way the French Army took measures to improve their anti-terrorist capabilities. The Italian Police too had to combat large-scale terrorist violence from new-fascist groups and the left wing challenges of the Red Brigades.

In India, attempts have been made to ensure implementation of anti-terror laws. But due opposition from various quarters, these Acts were allowed to lapse.

We have to learn from the West’s Anti-Terror strategies. For example, the United States Patriot Act, 2001, gave the country’s security agencies powers to acquire information about communication networks and properties of terror suspects. Under Britain’s Prevention of Terrorism Act, 1984, security agencies can detain and imprison terror suspects for one-and-a half months without framing charges.

In India, attempts have been made to ensure implementation of anti-terror laws. But due opposition from various quarters, these Acts were allowed to lapse. The Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Act, 1987, (TADA) was not extended beyond 1995. Similarly, the Prevention of Terrorism (POTA), 2002, was not extended beyond 2004. On the other hand, states such as Maharashtra and Gujarat have made attempts to enact separate criminal acts. The creation of National Investigating Agency was timely.

It will be beneficial to remember that law and order problem is different from the problem of terrorism.

We often make the mistake of treating both as same. Beside, we need to develop capability to anticipate security needs. This can be done by conducting specialised courses for monitoring security. The present government at the centre has done remarkable job as far as strengthening intelligence apparatus and coordination between local police and intelligence is concerned. Constant monitoring of situation is required all the time and this can be done by ensuring another layer of hidden security network. Intelligence and counter intelligence and a multilayered approach can help in controlling the menace.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Dr Sudhir Hindwan

Author is Chandigarh based professor of Political Science and an expert on strategic affairs.

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