The Roots of Terrorism
Compiled and Edited By
Shri Anand Shankar has done a timely service by collecting article of his own and of others who have written on the scourage of terrorism confronting India today. What is terrorism and how do we deter terrorist acts in our country?
Media coverage of every terrorist incident over the years has complicated the difficulties of defining terrorism because there is no distinction drawn in the media between pure terrorist acts and terrorism as a phenomenon. A common accepted definition of terrorism does not exist even amongst the various concerned anti-terrorism agencies across the globe. The definition of terrorism as a phenomenon hinges on three characteristics: the goals, the method, and the identity of the perpetrator of acts of terror.
Terrorism is a threat to our national security. A nation enjoys national security only if it does not have to sacrifice its national interests and legitimate aspirations to avoid violent conflicts, and also committed and able if challenged, to defend these interests by war if necessary. National security requires thus a nation’s determination to preserve certain interests are: nation’s integrity, political independence, and fundamental political institutions. Thus, India’s national security policy must concern preserving the nation’s territorial integrity, political independence, fundamental democratic institutions and ancient cultural values.
Terrorism is thus premeditated politically motivated and/or religiously-inspired violence perpetrated against non-combatant target population by clandestine agents, by intimidation to overawe the civilian population, to do or not do an act against their will and well being. It is a strategy of violence by the perpetrators to generate fear, disruption, and ultimately secure their nefarious objectives through capitulation of the civilian law-abiding citizens.
What is Terrorism?
U.S.Fed.Cr. Code Chapter 113b Part I of Title 18 defines terrorism briefly as: Life threatening acts to coerce civilian population or influence policy of a government by intimidation and affect its conduct.
India has had chequered history of combating terrorism. The earliest terror tactics in modern India were deployed in Bengal in 1946 by extremist Muslim leaders, Sunhrawardly and Jinnah, to terrorize Hindus to give in on the demand for Pakistan, The Congress Party claiming to represent the Hindus capitulated who were 75 per cent of the population and handed 25 percent of the territory of India on a platter to Mohammed Ali Jinnah soon thereafter. Things have not improved much since then. According to Union Home Ministry’s Annual Report to Parliament, it is stated that of the 35 States of today’s India,29 are afflicted by terrorism. There are about 25 terrorist attacks per month in the country. India is thus a seriously terror-challenged nation.
Although terrorism is certainly not a phenomenon of the twentieth century, its growth since 1968 has been greatly enhanced by three specific innovations of the 20th century. First, the invention of television with instant satellite relay which had suddenly given small unknown groups the possibility of a worldwide publicity manifold. The fact, that most terrorist incidents have taken place in the democratic states may in part be due to the availability of this instant publicity.
With the freely available media, small groups of terrorists can achieve heavy leverage against powerful opponents by focusing large publicity on politically small events. The impace is mostly psychological and meant for media coverage.
Second, the incredible sophistication of modern weapons and its proliferation have enabled small number of criminal minded persons to do great harm. The erstwhile Soviet Union was largely the suppliers of these weapons starting with AK-47. In 1973, for example, the Italian police nabbed five Arab terrorists who were setting up SA-7 missiles in a rented apartment four miles from Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport. These missiles were intended for use against an Israel Civilian airliner. The SA-7 is a Soviet heat-seeking, precision guided missile. It can be carried comfortably on a man’s back and can destroy a plane at altitudes of up to 6,500 feet. United States intelligence sources have reported that SA-7 missiles have surfaced in almost all Arab countries and some African nations, including Mozambique. Libya had obtained from the USSR large quantities of RPG-7 rockets which weigh under ten pounds, can be hand carried and can destroy a tank, a speaker’s platform, or a limousine. In this connection, the IRA is known to have used RPG-7 rockets against armored British military vehicles and police instillations.
Third, easy communication through internet and cell/satellite phones enabled active co-operation between various terrorist groups. The pilgrims at Lord Airport in Israel were massacred by Japanese Red Army (JRA) members acting for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The terrorists who raided the Vienna OPEC meeting were made up of elements from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a PLO group, and the Badder-Meinhof gang (Rote Armee Fraktion, RAF), the West German anarchist group.
Within India, the LTTE, PWG, ULFA, Naxaliies, Nepal Maoists, Al Qaeda are all coordinating their terrorist activities and training.
Since Independence, during the last six decades, the British imperialist-inspired Dravidian Movement founded by E.V.Ramaswamy Naicker, in the name of rationalism, tried to debunk as irrational the Hindu religion, and terrorized the Hindu priestly class, i.e., the Brahmins, for propagating the Hindu religion. The goal was to make Tamil Nadu State secede from India. The movement’s organizational arm, the Dravida Kazhagam (DK), had even venerated Ravana for fifty years to spite the Hindu adoration of Rama and vulgarize the abduction of Sita to create the psychology of separateness. These DK semi-literatures belatedly learnt that Ravana was himself a Brahmin and a pious bhakta of Lord Shiva too. The DK have now abandoned praising Ravana, and have instead become agents of the anti-Indian LTTE, which terrorist organization has specialized in killing Hindu Tamil leadership of Sri Lanka.
In the 1960s, the Christian missionaries inspired the Nagas to seek secession. The Nagas that wanted to further amputate the nation by seeking secession of Nagaland from the Indian nation. In the 1980s, the Hindus of Manipur were targeted by foreign trained elements. Manipuris were told: give up Hinduism or be killed. In Kashmir, since the beginning of the 1990s, militants in league with the Pakistani trained terrorists also targeted the Hindus by driving the Hindu pandit community out of the Valley, or killing them or dishonoring their women folk.
Globally today, the US, Israel and India are seen as the principal target nation for terrorists. And within India, the Hindus are the targets only because they are Hindus, while the leading terrorists are Islamic Fundamentalists.
Recognizing that in the targeting of Hindus, Muslim of India are largely just passive spectators. Islamic terrorists are beginning to engage in terrorist acts that could pit Muslims against Hindus in nation-wide conflagration and possible civil war as in Serbia and Bosnia.
Therefore we have to have a collective mindset as Hindus to stand against the terrorists. In this response, Muslim and Christians of India can join us if they genuinely feel for the Hindu. That they do would be credible if though they may be Muslims or Christians, they proudly declare that their ancestors are Hindus. It is not easy for them to acknowledge this ancestry because the Muslim Mullahs and Christian Missionaries would consider it as unacceptable since that realization of Hindu ancestry would dilute the religious fervor in their faith and also create an option for those who do so acknowledge, for re-conversion to the Hinduism. Hence, these religious leaders preach hatred and violence against the kafir and the pagan i.e. the Hindu to keep the faith of their followers. The Islamic terrorist outfits, e.g. the SIMI being the latest, has already resolved that Indi is Darul Harab, and they are committed to make it Darul Islam. That makes them free of any moral compunction whatsoever in dealing with Hindus. This mentality is at the root of Islamic terrorism in India.
But still, if any Muslim or Christian does so acknowledge his or heir Hindu legacy, then Hindus can accept him or her as a part of the Brihad Hindu Samaj, which is Hindustan. India that is Bharat that is Hindustan is a nation of Hindus and those others whose ancestors are Hindus. Even Parsi and Jews in India have Hindu ancestors. Others, those who refuse to so acknowledge or those foreigners who become Indian citizens by registration can remain in India, but should not have voting rights (which means thy cannot be elected representatives).
Four Lessons from History
Hence, the first four lessons from history to be learnt from re-centhistory, for tackling terrorism in India is that the Hindu is target and that Muslims of India are being programmed to slide into suicide against Hindus. It is to undermine the Hindu psyche and create fear of civil war that terror attacks are organized. And hence since the Hindu is the target. Hindus must collectively respond as Hindus against the terrorist and not feel individually isolated or worse, be complacement because he or she is not personally affected. This is an essential mental attitude, a necessary part of a virat Hindu (for fuller discussion of the concept of virat Hindu, see my Hindus Under Seige: The Way Out.,Haranand,2006).
Hence, to begin with, any policy to combat terrorism must first begin with requiring each and every Hindu becoming a committed or virat Hindu, or be ostracized as a ‘tankhiya’. If it is not enough commitment if one claims to be Hindu, or goes to temples, does pujas, and celebrates festivals. That is not sufficient to be a committed or virat Hindu. To be a virat Hindu one must have a Hindu mindset.
The second lesson for combating the terrorism we face today that we need to learn is: since demoralizing the Hindu and undermining the Hindu foundation of India in order to destroy the Hindu civilization, is the goal of all terrorists in India, we must never capitulate and never concede any demand of the terrorists. Terrorists are encouraged by appeasement but never satisfied by it. Therefore, no matter how many Hindus have to die for it, the basic policy has to be : never yield to any demand of the terrorists. That necessary resolve has not been shown in our recent history. Instead ever since we conceded Pakistan in 1947 under duress, we have been mostly yielding time and time again.
In 1989, to obtain the release of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s daughter, Rubaiyya who had been ‘kidnapped by terrorists, five terrorists in Indian jails were set free by the V.P.Singh’s Government. This made these criminals in the eyes of Kashmiri separatists and fence sitters as heroes, as those who had brought India’s Hindu establishment on it’s knees. To save Rubaiyya it was not necessary to surrender to terrorist demands.
However, in 1991, when Chandrashekhar was PM, I was his senior Minister handling the Law & Justice portfolio, Saifuddin Soz’s daughter was kidnapped by the JKLF. They too made the same demand (release of four terrorists in jail), but we refused. We also took some secret retaliatory action which made the JKLF frightened and hence Soz’s daughter was put on an auto rickshaw and sent home unharmed. This toughness was shown at a time when our government was tottering and to fall! The difference with the V.P. Singh’s Government was in our mindset it had become clear from day one of the kidnapping to the JKLF that we meant business as also that two can play the game of terror.
We also showed similar grit and guts when we received information that LTTE had established a parallel establishment in Tamil Nadu, with Karunanidhi’s connivance. Most of the senior bureaucrats of our government had warned that we risked bloodshed and rise of separatist Dravidian movement, sacked the Governor for inaction, and smashed the terror infrastructure in the State. Had we not done that then, Tamil Nadu would have been worse today than Kashmir. Thus toughness on both occasions was rewarded.
The worst capitulation to terrorists in our modern history was in the Indian Airlines hijack incident in December end 1999. The terrorists after hijacking an India Airlines flight from Kathmandu to Delhi, demanded money and release of three of the most dreaded terrorists held in judicial custody in Jammu jail (Maulana Masood Azhar, Omar Sheikh, and Ahmed Zargar). About 40 police persons had earlier died in various encounters to capture them. Yet in the call of saving the lives of 259 passengers in the IA Airbus parked in Kandhahar, the government released these terrorists even without getting court permission (required since they were in judicial custody). Moreover they were escorted by a senior Minister on the PM’s special Boeing all the way to Kandhahar as royal guests instead of being shoved across the Indo-Pakistan border.
Worst still, all the three after being freed, went back to Pakistan and created three separate terrorist organizations to kill Hindus. Mohammed Azhar, whom the National Security Adviser Brijesh Mishra had then described (on NDTV) as “as mere harmless cleric”, upon his release led the LeT to savage and repeated terrorists attacks on Hindus all over India from Bangalore to Srinagar. Since mid-2000, Azhar is responsible for killing of over 2000 Hindus. Omar Sheikh is in jail for killing US journalist Daniel Pearl and is in US custody, while the third, Zargar is engaged today in random killing of Hindus in Doda and Jammu.
The third lesson to be learnt is that whatever and however small the terrorist incident, the nation must retaliate not by measured and “sober” responses but by massive retaliation. For example, when Ayodhya Temple was sought to be attacked, or the Institute of Science in Bangalore was targeted, these were not big terrorist incidents but we should have massively retaliated. Our Intelligence agencies keep telling me in private that we have clinching proof of terrorist training camps in POK and Bangladesh, and Indian government also claims proof which has not been made public that there are 57 camps in Pakistani held territory and 36 camps in Bangladesh.
We could demand territory from Bangladesh for all those illegal Bangladeshis settled in India. After all, Partition was for those Muslims who could not bear to live with Hindus. And yet if Muslims have returned to live with Hindus, then the territory of Bangladesh should be reduced in proportion to millions of Bangladesis that have come to India and the Hindus pushed out since 1947. Strategically, northern one-third of Bangladesh above the line drawn from Khulna to Sylhet could then be annexed if Bangladesh does not take back its people.
The fourth lesson to learn is that more than the overt threat of the terrorists in India, the more sinister corrosion of our nation state occurs from within. This corrosion provides ‘a force multiplier’ to the terrorists. That is, the terrorists are able to leverage the influence of highly placed individuals in the government, media and academic, who have been compromised by the terrorists and blackmailed on sex, drug money and illegitimate favors, into collaborating with them. Take for example the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. He had been the Prime Minister, and the LTTE killed him because it claimed that he had to be punished for sending the IPKF to Sri Lanka. The dispatch of the Indian army was a government policy ratified by Parliament, and yet the LTTE arrogated to itself the right to hold Rajiv Gandhi responsible and to be murdered for it. In other words, the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi was a challenge to India’s sovereignty and self- respect itself, that a foreign terrorist organization can decide to kill because it does not like a policy of the government of India. Incidentally, the LTTE was a party to the decision to send the IPKF, but found soon enough the Indian army was not going to do the LTTE’s dirty work and hand over a Eelam to them on a platter. So they turned against India. So, it was perfidy too.
But instead of revulsion against the LTTE that any Indian patriot in government, media or academia would feel, we find that there are political parties, such as the DMK, PMK and MDMk which have no shame in stating that Rajiv Gandhi deserved to die. More surprisingly, the widow of Rajiv Gandhi, Ms. Sonia Gandhi finds nothing wrong with having political alliance with these parties which praise the killers of her husband. Furthermore, Ms. Gandhi wrote to the President that the four LTTE/DK criminals to be hanged on the orders of the Supreme Court (delivered on May 12, 1999), should be given a lesser sentence of life imprisonment even though the four criminals did not ask for mercy !! Is this her concept of zero tolerance for terrorism, or is there some mysterious reason why Ms. Gandhi wrote this letter ? And why is it that ever since the assassination till today Ms. Gandhi has not written a single letter to the President or raised in Lok Sabha demanding the immediate extradition of the LTTE supreme and Accused No.1 in the Rajiv murder case, V. Prabhakaran, or even carpet bombing of his hideout in Mullaitheevu or wherever in Sri Lanka ? Even the media and the academia does not write op-ed pages demanding action. Why does not the media raise the question of alliance of Congress with pro-LTTE parties with her ? What is behind this conspiracy of silence ?
One thing is for sure-terrorists in India of all hues and background have their compromised moles in the India’s Establishment, and hence no anti-terrorist policy can succeed unless these fifth column elements are weeded out. The IB/RAW/MI/CRPF all have files on them and so identifying them is no problem. The political support these traitors have to be withdrawn and some have to be made an example of. Hence, these four lessons are the core of a new strategy for deterring terrorism in India.
Dr. Subramaniam Swamy