The UN Secretariat has defined terrorism as a violent act or attempts of such acts perpetrated by states or individuals or groups of individuals against groups of innocent national or state not involved in ongoing conflict, calculated to cause fear and panic in the general public. The words, terrorism, insurgency, civil war, revolution, extremism etc are used interchangeably.
Violence is common in all. Terrorism is an organized system of intimidation. It is broadly defined as violent behavior designed to generate fear in the community, or a substantial segment of it, for political purposes. It is a method whereby an organized group or party seeks to achieve its avowed.
Terrorist acts are directed against persons who, as individual agents or representatives of authority, interfere with the consummation of the objectives of such group. A terrorist is one who imposes the punishment meted out by his organization upon those who are held to interfere with the revolutionary program.
Characteristics of Terrorism
1. A technique of perpetrating random and brutal intimidation, coercion, destruction of human lives and property are used intentionally to obtain realistic or illusory goals. It is against the state or community. It is illegal and unlawful. It always has a political purpose. It always carries with it an element of intimidation. It contains arbitrariness in violence as victims are selected indiscriminately. It stops rational thinking. Masses suffer from feeling of helplessness. Objectives of terrorism
2. To cause or provoke the government to react and overreact so that they can demonstrate to the people that the government is repressive and unresponsive.
3. To compel the government to concede to their demands.
3. To mobilize mass support and to urge sympathizers for involvement in order to increase their support base.
4. Show of strength and to demonstrate the incapacity of the regime to protect the people so that people’s faith int eh security system is eroded.
5. To eliminate opponents and informers and to ensure obedience of the followers.
6. Publicity and magnification of their cause and strength.
7. To break internal stability and check growth
8. Morale building within the ranks.
9. Disorientation and psychological isolation of the people.
Causes of Terrorism
Major causes of terrorism are:
1. Sensitive and unresponsive attitude of the establishment,
2. Presence of corruption and inefficiency among the security forces,
3. Existence of an ideology that condone violence,
4. Worldwide improvement of communication technology which facilitates exchange of ideas and information among the terrorists,
5. Easy availability of arms and ammunitions,
6. Funding within and from outside the country for acts of terrorism,
7. Widespread publicity given to the terrorist activity
8. Inefficient intelligence network and failure of the criminal justice system which allows the terrorists to escape even after they are caught
9. Archaic laws and loopholes in them
10. Safe hideouts to the terrorists
11. General moral degradation, perceived injustice, inequality, discrimination etc.
12. Low level of economic and social development leading to high level of poverty and unemployment which forces the youth to act for terrorists for monetary gains
13. Lack of education among the youth and religious affiliation with the terrorists
Consequences of Terrorism
Terrorism leads to erosion of the credibility and legitimacy of the government and in the security system of the nation. It causes political unrest, political instability and uncertainty, sense of insecurity among the individuals prevail, loss of life and property, hampering of economic growth and social progress, misallocation of economic resources, low level of industrialization due to fear, mass level migration which creates demographic unrest and decreased tourism.
Terrorism is a multi – dimensional problem. Hence, the measures taken should be holistic in approach. Emphasis should be both on prevention and elimination of terrorism. A mix of long – term and short – term strategies should be focused.
A. Short – term Strategy (Protection): It involves nabbing, punishing and reforming the terrorists such as –
1. Strong and prompt punishment so as to instill fear in the mind of the terrorist and to boost the faith and courage of the citizenry in the system.
2. Modernization of the security forces and the intelligence network \
3. Plugging of the loopholes in the laws and if necessary making special laws to deal with terrorism
4. Setting up of special counter – terrorist forces that are well – equipped and well – trained to tackle the terrorists.
5. Encouraging and giving protection to the informers.
6. Streamlining and making the criminal justice system more efficient and prompt. Special tribunals to hear the cases of terrorists should be set up.
7. Creation of a village defence committees by boosting up the morale and confidence of the people and by providing them adequate training, skills and arms which would enable them to resist terrorist attack.
B. Long – term Strategy (Prevention): Long term strategy of countering terrorism is the identification of the susceptible group of youths and keeping constant vigil on their activities, generation of patriotic fervor through the use of mass media, providing employment to the misdirected youth so that they can afford a decent standard of living, highlighting the national identity, use of media in order to disseminate the menace of terrorism, use of surrendered terrorists as role models who can teach people of the pains and sufferings they have undergone and the support that he is now receiving from the government in rehabilitation, economic progress of the nation through rapid industrialization which would provide employment to the disgruntled youth and disseminating education which would help people in understanding the true nature of terrorism.