Dialogue  April-June 2008 , Volume 9 No. 4

The Media in India and Terrorism*



Terrorism has come to define 21st century.  It poses a multi-dimensional threat to all that is best in the contemporary civilization inspite of its many fatal flaws.   In India, terrorism is a threat to the harmony, unity, peace and prosperity.  It disfigures India’s democratic institutions and culture; it is a drain an India’s human and material resources. This article is an attempt to join the debate as to how far has the print media in India responded in regard to the threat of terrorism during the past four decades?  Has it enabled the people to understand this phenomena in order to actively cooperate and contribute to the fight against terrorism.
    The article is divided into four parts; (a) terrorism in general; (b) a birds eye view of incidence of terrorism in India; (c) India’s print media and terrorism with reference to: (i) the news coverage; (ii) data and information about terrorism; (iii) editorial comments; (iv) feature articles; (d) a retrospective view of terrorism with reference to areas of darkness of the perception and treatment of terrorism in India.

*The task of writing meanignfuly on this subject, terrorism in India and media, during the past nearly four decades is too forbidding to be undertaken by me.  It needs high level of competence which I donot posses. However the persuariveness of the soft-spoken editor of the journal has been irresistible. I also thought that since I developed on interest in terrorism; two decades ago, while covering, terrorist onslaughts in Punjab during 1984-1991 for “The Week”, Cochin, and “Sandesh”, Ahmedabad, I might try to use editor’s request to undertake the exercise of self-education and to reflect about my understanding of terrorism and share it with the readers of this journal.
**Former Editor, Eminent Journalist and Columnist.


Terrorism : General

        India is well-known for the rich heritage of non-violence from Lord Buddha to Mahatma Gandhi.  The Indian people have cultivated and practised long-range tolerance, catholicity and unity in diversity and pluralism.                                                                                                        

    But India has also traditions of violence and intolerance, bigotry and authoritarianism.  In fact, violence is as much well embedded in India’s collective psyche as is non-violence, and on many occasions, particularly in the past one hundred years Indians have suffered from paroxysms of massive overt and covert violence.  For example, sixty years ago a blood stained Independent Indian State was born in the wake up unprecedented violence, which had an abiding impact on the collective mind of Indian people.  It also has determined the political culture of democratic India.                                                                                   

 The Indian people, particularly the politically educated ones are familiar with the term “terrorism” since the struggle for freedom in which besides the mainstream peaceful movement, there was (what the Britishers maliciously described as) a “terrorist” movement from 1906-1936 in which, for example, Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad and hundreds of patriotic youth dedicatedly participated.                                                  In contrast, there was the infamous, “Calcutta Killings” in 1946 in support of Jinnah’s Muslim League. These ‘Killings” were aimed at terrorising the British rulers, the Congress and the people to concede the demand for Pakistan which Mr. Jinnah’s Muslim League failed to get  accepted through negotiations.                                                     

     But terrorism as a worldwide political phenomena is at least two and quarter century old.  It manifested itself immediately as a backlash of the French Revolution in 1789.  Described at that time as “Jacobiasim”, it targeted the aristocracy and the middle classes in France.                                  

  In the pre-second world war period of the 20th century several groups such as IRA in Ireland and Kluklux klan in America resorted to terrorist activities.  The former was religiously motivated and the later racist.                                                                                                                     

   There have been three major phases of international terrorism in the post second world war period.  The first, the Palestinians were forced out of newly-created state of Israel and they were scattered across West Asia.  This created the Palestinian Liberation Organization that masterminded the terrorist movement but abandoned terrorism in 1993.  But a radical Islamic group, the HAMAS, took over as the principal opponent of peace with Israel and against USA hegemony.                                      

   The second major phase, the one we witness today came as an aftermath of the Afghan Jehad to oust the Soviet Union from Afghanistan in the early 1980s.  Hundreds of Islamic radicals were packed off to Pakistan to be trained to fight the holy war with the encouragement and support of the United States, UK, China and Saudi Arabia.  Pakistan played a pivotal role in this war.  Thereafter, the “Afghanis’ veterans of this war returned to their respective countries and fanned the flames of Islamic fundamentalism. There was a spate of movements in Algeria, Sudan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.  Pakistani diverted the attention of ‘Afghanis’ towards Kashmir. The third instalment was ushered on September 11, 2001.  The attack of WTC in New York ushered twenty first century into the third phase global war against terrorism when on September 11, 2001 World Trade Centre in New York was attacked and raised to the ground.                                                      

   Asia has been the major focus of global terrorism. It has the highest number of terrorism-related victims. The annual USA report1 says that the focus of global terrorism continues to shift from the Middle East to Asia.  The report designate North Korea as a “state sponsor of terrorism” for providing a safe haven to subversive groups. Asia’s terrorist hot spots include North Korea, Kashmir, Pakistan and Afghanistan, South Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.


Birds eye-view of incidence of terrorism in India

        “The genesis of terrorism,” in India according to Mr. L.K. Advani2, the senior most leader of BJP says, lies in the defeat of Pakistan in 1971 war.”  It is an expression of “failure and frustration of the military rulers in Pakistan.  This is understandable having realized that India can not be defeated in the war front, General Zia planned to “inflict million cuts” on India’s body politics and to bleed it.  General Zia launched a proxy war against India as per the well known “Operation Topical plan”.                           
     We describe below a few illustrative cases of incidence of violence related to insurgency and terrorism in India since 1974.

N.E. Region

        In North-East region insurgency is rooted in the unresolved problems of ethnicity since 1947.  Since then the sense of alienation of the people in N.E. have got intensified. This is reflected in the proliferation of the number of insurgent groups in N.E. Region3.  There are about 132, big and small, insurgent groups in N.E. Region — three in Arunachal Pradesh, four in Mizoram, 17 in Tripura, 22 in Assam, 43 in Manipur and three in Nagaland. During the period 2002-06 (upto 31.05.2006) there have been 5728 incidents in which the 4383 were killed as per data.  Terrorist killed 2075; civilians -1864 and security forces 444. The statewise break up of these incidents is 803 in Assam, 544 in Tripura, 482 in Nagaland and 1229 in Manipur4

Religious fundamentalism in South

        India has not remained unaffected by the winds of religious fundamentalism blowing about the world.  For example, fundamentalism  was not only confined to Punjab which witnessed  major manifestation of religious fundamentalism under Bhindrawala —for more than a decade from 1982.                                                                                                                               

     However, since early 80s, Hindu fundamentalism appeared time and again at national and regional level. For example, it surfaced in a big way in Tamil Nadu in early 80s.  The conversion of a Thevar girl in love with a Muslim youth in Meenakshipuram sparked off a wave of Hindu fundamentalism.  Many fundamentalist organisations, including Hindu Munnani and other front organisations of RSS became active in the field of conversions in the State, as well as in many parts of the country.  Throughout mid-80s, conversion (Shuddhi) movement was launched by militant Hindu organisations.  This in turn abetted Islamic activism.                       

     According to J. Jeyaranjan (a consultant with the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai) “The 1980s and 1990s were the period when the AIADMK was mostly in power in the State - but for a brief stint by the DMK.  What is of importance is the fact that this period witnessed slow and steady erosion of the secular politics of the Dravidian movement.                                                                                 

     There came up in Tamil Nadu a fundamentalist outfit, Tamizhaga Muslim Munnetra Kazhagm (TMMK). It made its presence felt in the minority dominated areas like Keezha Karai (Ramanathapuram), Mela Pelayam (Trinulvelli), Nagore (Nagopattinan) Maduram and North Arcot.                   

    The White Paper issued by the DMK government on terrorism traces commencement of Islamic Fundamentalism to 1984.  A BJP team comprising J.P. Mathur, Sushma Swaraj etc. visited Tamil Nadu and submitted a report on terrorism on July 29-30, 1995.  The report confirmed that many parties at the state level (including AIADMK) supported terrorist outfits.  The BJP report also said, “the political climate in the state is marked by influence of separatist Dravidian movement which is mostly anti-Hindu.  Any pro-Hindu nationalist activity is frowned by state parties like the Dravid Kadhgam, DMK and the MDMK.                                   

    Further, there were strong signals since November 1997 about the growing Muslim militancy.  The intelligence agencies had repeatedly warned the state police authorities and the state government. Inspite of these warnings, no solid action was taken.  In fact, serious explosions took place on February 8 in a rice mill owned by a Muslim in Tanjore.  Investigations of this explosion revealed that arms and explosives were manufactured in the rice mill and distributed to other parts of the state.                     

    In mid-1992, a relatively minor incident in South-West Kerala brought to light the antagonism between ISS and IUML.  An unknown person (acting on behalf of IUML) attacked the leader of ISS and injured him seriously.  Since then (1992), the ISS got galvanized into a militant youth force and emerged as a major player in Kerala Muslim politics.                      

   Police sources confirmed that it suspected hide-outs of religious extremists existed in Thrissur, Palakkad, Malapuram and Kozhikode.  In fact, many activists of Al Uma, which allegedly mastermind Coimbatore blasts escaped to Kerala.

ISI Factor

        The activities of ISI in Assam have been mainly the following: (i) promoting indiscriminate violence with the help of local militant outfits; (II) creating new militant outfits along communal and ethnic lines and instigating ethnic and religious groups; (iii) sabotage of oil pipelines, railways and roads; (iv) promoting fundamentalism and militancy among local Muslims youth in the name of Jehad; (v) supply of explosives and arms; (vi) promoting communal tension.                                                                 

    Eleven organization fully supported by ISI in every respect (funds, training, arm and armaments as well as explosive ammunition etc.) functioned in Assam.5 for Assam is not an isolated care of ISI activities in India. Mr. L.K. Advani, the Union Home Minister described ISI activities as “war by other means”, in various parts of the Indian sub-continent from Manipur in the North-East to Mumbai in the West and from Kashmir in the North to Coimbatore in the South.  The enemy’s methods in this ‘war’ have been terror, subversion, incitement of sectarian hatred, violence, fanning separatism etc. It is far more comprehensive than conventional war.


Cost of  terrorism

        The cost of terrorism in India has been heavy - economic, human, political, psychological, social and democratic culture and values.  For instances, the assassination of Mrs. Indira Gandhi and that of Mr. Rajiv Gandhi; and scores of armed personnel and member of police force who sacrificed the life on duty. During 1980-2001, lives lost were 45,182, out of which 24,000 were armed personnel. According to another estimate, 12000 uniformed and 52,000 to 70,000 civilians were killed.                                         

    In Punjab terrorism cost 80,000 crores and J&K cost one lakh crore. In the wake of rising terrorist actively since 1997 expenditure on the para-military forces (which are of seven types) have been rising.  The strength of the para military forces in 1997-98 was 5.80 lakh, while in 2003-07, it was 7.13 lakh.  The cost on the forces in 1997-98 was 4,486 crore but in 2007-08, it is 16,084 crore. Terrorism in India has uprooted lakhs of people and this led to mass-scale migration of people from one state to another.  During terrorism in Punjab 17,000 migrated to H.P. and Haryana, U.P. Rajasthan, Delhi and J&K. From J&K 22,048 families migrated to Delhi (19.338), U.P. (500), Maharashtra (288) Haryana (924), Chandigarh (143) and Punjab (354).                                                                                                                                 

     As regards psychological impact of chronic political violence on common people, specially women, children and youth it has yet to be assessed properly. The number of people of age group 30-35 admitted to mental hospital in Srinagar, J&K during 1972 was 1,700; during 1992, it was 17,000 and in 2003, it was 32,000.                                                                           

    “The Kashmiri language does not have a word for suicide... Kashmir is known for the lowest rates of suicides in the whole of India... It is 0.50 per every lakh of people.6 But for the last few years there has been a spurt in suicides, After a drop in violence, the hidden trauma of life in a conflict zone is leading to an alarming increase in suicide cases across the valley.

   A detailed study7 entitled, ‘Muslim Suicide—Experience from Kashmir Valley’ conducted by 12 psychiatrists of the Government Psychiatry Hospital, Srinagar shows that all types of suicidal behaviour are common. Studied 14, 830 case files say: “Kashmir, being a predominantly Muslim society, had expected the lowest rates of suicide in the whole of India” but the situation has changed for the worst.  Suicidal behaviour has become one of the commonest emergencies in medical casualties of Kashmir...”8


Media and terrorism in India

        Since its birth, two and a quarter centuries ago, the print media in India has mirrored to a considerable extent the hopes and aspirations, fears and anxieties, interests and concerns of the people.  It has been associated with all struggles and movements and causes aimed at promoting their welfare.                     

What has been the response of the media to terrorism in India? We have relied for our material on a few national dailies and periodicals9 from 2001-2008. We have also relied on our own coverage of terrorism in the Hindi belt as correspondent of a few regional papers in 1980’s and 1990’s. This data has been grouped under the heads (a) news coverage and related background information; (b) feature articles; (c) editorial.


        The coverage of the terrorist events in almost all newspapers has some standard features viz, details of time and place of the events; the nature of explosion; the casualties and deaths, damage to public property, the immediate response of the police and administration, the visits of the VIPs to the hospitals to console the victims and their kith and kins, announcement of compensation to the victims or their families;  the messages of sympathy from top leaders and their reassurances that the culprits will be punished without fear or favour; determination of the government to leave no stone unturned to fight terrorism to the finish; calling upon people to defeat the nefarious intention of the terrorists, and exhorting people to maintain unity and harmony and to be patient, because terrorism is a global phenomena... The “event” is flashed on the front page - either banner line or more than four column leads; there are photographs of the victims, of the police investigating the location or the shattered buildings and broken pillars.                                                 

    Then there is background data of the past events in colourful tabulated year-wise statistics of occurrences of terrorist events, the names of terrorist cells, their objectives, base, leader, recruitment, funding, major strike, their training programmes, etc.  Sometimes the newspapers give minute details of the training such as how to knuckle up, wield knife and sword; how to take life by sequencing the opponent or how break the head.                                                                                      

    Sometimes there is data on terrorism in other countries - viz. the laws and safeguard against abuse and polices and integrated laws; doubling or trebling of border guards, customs and investigators; enhanced coordination between banks and other financial institutions and regulators; easier sharing of data banks; surveillance, mandatory maintenance of telephone records, designation of terrorist crime and, above all, fast trials and tough sentences for the convicted.  Firewalls between intelligence agencies, police, customs, immigration, airport security, border guards, white collar crime investigators and narcotics control are being brought down. Joint command centres and shared radio frequencies for emergency management.                                                        

      If the Parliament is in session, when the terrorist event takes place, another package of ritualistic response is unfolded — call for a debate in the house, noisy protests and demonstrations on the floor of the house, which sometimes ends up in the adjournment of the house.  And if the house does debate the event, another ritualistic response is unfolded in speech of the members based on newspaper reports, exhorting the Govt. to nip the evil with the help of strong laws and firm action and better intelligence service etc.                                                                                The follow up of the event is equally standard, if not ritualistic: (a) editorial comments and the statements of political leaders; (b) publication of feature articles by well-known experts, defence analysts, administrators, politicians, academics on the event or terrorism in general. Depending on the political persuasion there is criticism of the Govt. policies and their lack of determination or compliments to the Govt. for their fine work.


        No coverage of terrorism is complete without editorial comments. The editorial columns criticise and endorse the Govt. policies and actions; they pontificate, they warn, exhort and sympathise and express regret about the people’s woes; they inform, explain and elaborate their hunches on terrorism and terrorists. Their is concern for a national security, national pride and nations future, and harmony and unity. They express fears and apprehension and unhappiness about terrorism. It is accepted the epicentric of terrorism in India is outside India. The media in India does not have a clear concept of terrorism.  For them, it is catch- all term to cover: (1) Naxalism; (2) Insurgency; (3) proxy wars; (4) terroristic events. The entire discourse is focused on Pakistan and Bangladesh10.                                                                                                 The following specific elements reflect the nature of editorial comments: (i) immediate causes of terrorism; (ii) the criticism of the policy of the Indian Govt. and its implementation; (iii) suggestion regarding legal, administrative strategic measures to deal with terrorism and to prevent it.                                                                                                                 

Some times the editorials put the political leader wise.  Here below is an example.                                                                                                                           

When Parliament was attacked on December 13 a call for retaliation against Pakistan was demanded by M.P.’s  from across legislature spectrum, who spoke about taking the battle right into enemy territory. They gave reason that attack by terrorists on Indian citizens is an attack on India.. “Our anger should to directed against those who have planned and financed them.  (Times of India, 29.8.2007). Obviously, our political brains did not have thought about the course they were advocating as if hot pursuit is all that simple. 

Feature articles

        The print media carry feature articles on terrorism written by a few press correspondents, who cover terrorist events, defence analysists, senior police officers and senior bureaucrats etc. Of late, thinking typle of corporate sector executives and NRI’s too have joined this debate. There are very few academics.  Some sort of political leaders (like Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi), have well known Jain Munni also with the image of being intellectuals written about terrorism.                                                

   There is no minimum common approach or understanding to terrorism as a phenomena.  For example, at one end of the spectrum is the Marxist perception which is too general to be of use to us.  It is said “only when social oppression and associated perception of injustice are erased in the final analysis the basis of terrorism can be removed.  It is conceded “India  probably has the largest variety of terror groups which defer any schematic classification. However, the immediate solution offered by Marxists is no different from non-Marxist and even RSS. For example, they say that the government should beef up national security and work for “political solution” to the long-standing problem that feed terrorism and an over all environment that does not foster terrorism”.                                                                                                                

   The RSS view is clear cut - total war on terrorism. Take the opinion of pro-RSS journals, say Organizer, New Delhi:  Terrorism is a passing phase... “A very trying, heart-wrenching and highly tiring nightmare.  It has reached its peak in the recent years.  But it will meet its end on the soils of the sacred land.  Goodness has to triumph because nature has a stake in it. “Here is another statement by a pro-RSS intellectual”. Only an inspirational leadership can combat terror: “The failure of the political class to forge viable strategy against terrorism can be attributed to crisis of leadership.

                                                                (vi)                                                          Areas of darkness

        A restorspective view of the coverage of terrorism by the media in India gives an impression that there is paucity of data on the role of the functioning of Indian political system viz., how it has contributed to the brith and growth of terrorism.  The approach to terrorism has been, by and large, Pak-centric, Hindi - belt Centric and law and order centric.                     

   It appears that the media in India as a whole, has not focussed attention of the people on some of the political structural and psychic roots of terrorism. The media has not raised these issues so that the government not ony adopts correcective and preventive methods but also formulates a comprehensive national policy on terrorism.                                              

    There are several areas of darkness in the coverage of terrorism in the media. These areas of darkness which are beyond the arc-lights at the media in India are: (a) terrorism and hi-technology; (b) terrorism and democracy, including freedom of press; (c) terrorism and secular nationalism.                                                                                                                  

     In India, violence in the form of terrorism, has its roots in (i) defects in governance and the party system and lack of adequate reasonableness and innovative skills to accommodate legitimate views of determined sections of population on the margins of Indian sub-continent (N.E. Region) and the people outside the mainstream; (ii) distortions in the functioning of democratic institutions, due to electoral politics, as reflected in terrorism within J & K; (iii) failure of the centre to practice genuine federalism and the compulsive inclination to partisan abuse of Article 356, (this is reflected in Punjab terrorism); (iv) failure of the secular forces to creatively face the onsluaght of communalism and fundamentalism and their inability to foster secular politics, education, secular values elsewhere—this is reflected in rise of fundamentalism.                      The media has ignored the following aspects of terrorism in India.  Take for instance, N.E. Region, in first stance, the coverage of this region is marginal. 

N.E. Region                                                                                                                

   Terrorism is N.E. Region is the result of alienation of India’s ruling classes from the people of N.E. Region since 1947. People in N.E. region had fought their own battles against British Rule in almost complete insulation.  National leaders at the time of Transfer of Power in 1947 took for granted the nationalism of people of N.E. region.                                   

   We know two attempts to initiate dialogue with top leaders of N.E. Region.  The first attempt was the meeting of Naga leader Phizo and Pt. Nehru.  It ended abruptly and left a bitter taste.  Mr. Phizo walked out of the meeting. After 20 years there was another “summit level talk” between Morarji Desai and Phizo in London. It also did not succeed.  


        During the period of terrorism in Punjab 1982-83, no attention was paid to the following facts in Punjab where terrorism can be traced to lack of commitment to real federation on the part of political parties in power, specially Congress in 1950 and 1960s.                                           

  It must be admitted that the birth of terrorism in Punjab was not a creation of a few fundamentalists led by Bhindranwalla and others.  The crisis, inter-alia, was a cumulative result of numerous lapses on the part of the centre.  It is also a reflection of deep frustration and resentment which had been accumulating in the mind of people during the 1960-84.  For example, the centre ignored the four modest demands of the Akalis.  In 1966 at the time of the second partition of Punjab the Congress leaders pitted fundamentalist leaders against the moderate Akalis. The Congress leaders abetted communal sentiments and religious bigotry with the help of state-power and resources in Punjab.  They resorted to the abuse of political privileges and patronage in Punjab. They allowed the administrative machinery and policy to be poisoned by communalism. This state of affairs continued till  1984 and the Centre did not take any political initiative and did not accept the legitimate demands of the Akalis viz, (a) transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab, refer the issue of Ravi-Beas water to a tribunal, implement the assurances regarding Articles 25 and to implement other religious demands it had already conceded; (b) make such provisions to enable the Sikhs in Punjab to enjoy a fair measure of political primacy independent of the political manoeuvreing of the centre and pan-Indianism of the Congress.                              The Blue Star operation in Golden Temple on June 5, 1984 dealt a blow to the faith of Sikhs in peaceful method of resolution of political differences.  It led to the revival of the demands of Khalistan or Azad Punjab.  It also stoked the fire of terrorism and lack of faith in Indian democracy.                                                                                                                    

    The idea of “Khalistan” is still tucked up in the subconscious mind of a section of Sikh fundamentalists.  It errupts occasionally in the form of terrorist acts.  Therefore, the people are not relaxed of Centre should learn from the pre-terrorist phase of Punjab politics.

Political culture and terrorism

        It is noteworthy that the legal aspects of terrorism in India has received considerable attention at the hands of political leaders, analysts and experts. But three equally, in fact more important, aspects of terrorism have not been given the attention it deserves: (a) the relation between democracy and terrorism, pluralism and terrorism with which UK and America are struggling and which was significance for a multi-cultural polity like India; (b) concentration of power and terrorism; (c) the relations between science and technology, and specially the cult of nuclearism with reference to proliferation of nuclear technology.  For example, attention need to be paid to implications and consequences of terrorism to the less visible distortions in the political culture of democracy in India.  For example, take the functioning of the vulnerable top political leaders say, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and a fledgeling leader belonging to Nehru - Gandhi dynasty, Mr. Rahul Gandhi.  The inter-action between the Congress workers and the two leaders is seriously impeded on account of the security cordon of the leaders which hinders free and full interaction between the people and the leaders.  This has unwholesome impact on the character of a democratic party.  It tends to insulate it from the people.                                                                                                

    It is true, on the whole, the measures adopted by the state to fight terrorism in India have not affected press freedom.  However, in the region, like North East since 1960 and Punjab during early nineties and late eighties, this was not so.  The representatives of terrorist outfits visited the headquarters of vernacular newspapers and censored news at gun points. In NE, there is a draconian law promulgated in 1960 with unlimited powers to armed forces. India’s democracy suffers from perniuas forces which want either to gobble up media or to gag media — both are difficult propositions for any media person with the salt.                        

     Terrorists mostly turn the heat on democracies — be it India or anywhere else in the world — India has been  ‘wounded deeply several times by terrorist strikes; had enacted TADA and POTA, both of which passed the test of legality in the Supreme Court.  But it had inserted certain safeguards to protect the innocent from harassment under the stringent anti-terrorism laws. But the Supreme Court in PUCL vs Union of India [2005 (9) SCC 580] said, “The protection and promotion of human rights under the rule of law is essential in the prevention of terrorism.  If human rights are violated in the process of combating terrorism, it will be self-defeating.” It continued, “Terrorism often thrives where human rights are violated, which adds to the need to strengthen action to combat violations of human rights. The lack of hope for justice provides breeding grounds for terrorism.  These two judgements direct the government to accord priority to the safety of citizens, which of course will take under its fold the protection of their human rights and meeting their basic needs.                                                                                   

     Another larger aspects of the impact of terrorism on the political culture have not been highlighted in the editorial feature articles. Terrorism is primarily a product of inadequate means of resolution of conflict by peaceful methods and negotiations.  There are a few centre of excellence for research in the area.  The universities are apathetic to this research. The media can emphasise this lacunae and create public opinion.                                                                                                                                       

    The relation between religion and terrorism has not been covered comprehensively in the media. The media concern is confined to protection of places of religious worship.  The larger issue which need attention is the “crisis of secular nationalism”.  How forces of secular nationalism can fight international Jehadi forces?  Unless there is credible strategy for addressing the crisis of secular nationalism, for filling the vacuum left by the demise of traditional religious authority, and for crafting a more reasoned but effective anti-imperial politics, jehad will continue to have its allure.

Terrorism and Technology

        One of the greatest worries for 21st century is that technological advances are shifting the battle in favour of terrorist. Hi-tech means are being used by terrorist groups all round.  They are involved in extensive use of cyber techniques (a) credit card frauds for fund raising; (b) recruitment of suicide squads and bombers and web-sites for converting youth.  There is a International edition of Encyclopedia of Jehad how to kill; how to use explosive devices, how to use mines and assassinate, how to use microwave beam to attack computers, and ignite garbage and airplanes, give irregular heart  heats and headaches or burning skin or eye damage. But the role of hi-tech in the facilitation and promotion of terrorism have received scant attention in the media.                           

      The editorials and feature articles give almost exclusive emphasis on a few aspects of terrorism, viz, (a) the need for effective laws, and administrative and intelligence set up; (b) background data and general information on terrorists and terrorist activities attributed to Jehadis.  Their approach is territory-centric vis-a-vis Pakistan and Bangladesh. They donot educate and inform and enlighten the readers on other significant aspects of terrorism which can enable the readers to give enlightened support and cooperation in fighting terrorism - both national and global.

National Policy on Terrorism

        The media has not contributed substantially to the process of creating public opinion in favour of evolving a national policy on terrorism. We donot have so far even an overall comprehensive assessment on terrorism. The first step should be to provide the country with an overall assessment of terrorist threats.  This is not a matter for the home ministry only but it involves the States, ministries of External Affairs, Defence, Information and Broadcasting and Finance, and intelligence agencies.                                                                                     


1.*Global Patterns of Terrorism, 2000" compiled by the US State Department. 
2. *A speech in Lok Sabha, December 15, 1999;                                            
3. *B.B. Kumar, “Ethnicity in N.E. Region (Document).                                 
4  .Ibid.                                                                                                           
5. Example; (1) Muslim Liberation Tigers of Assam, which is very active; (2) Islamic Liberation Army of Assam; (3) United Muslim Liberation Front of Assam; (4) United Reformation Protest of Assam; (5) Muslim Volunteer Force; (6) People’s United Liberation Front; (7) Islamic Sevak Sangh; (8) Harkat-ul-Mujahideen; (9) Harkat-ul-Jehad; (10) Adam Sena.                                                                              
6. M. Jalest “Now suicide start J&K “Indian Express” June 4, 2008.          

7.”Muslim-suicide - experience from Kahsmir Valley” a study conducted by 12 psychiatrist of the Govt. Psychiatry Hospital” Srinagar, Indian Express, June 4, 2008.                                                                                                                 
9.Pratap Bhanu Mehta, “The Hindu, Times of India, Pioneer, Statesman; Organises (Weekly), Mainstream: (Weekly).                                          
10.Prof. Bhanu Pratap Mehta, “The  Allure of Jehad” Indian Express, 2008.


Dialogue (A quarterly journal of Astha Bharati)

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