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Anant Narayan Padhy asked: What steps the Indian Government is taking to combat terrorism?

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  • Vivek Chadha replies: Before taking a look at the measures undertaken by the government to combat terrorism, it is important to understand the different levels at which terrorism affects society and the security of the country. Terrorism essentially instils an innate sense of fear in the everyday life of a citizen, thereby diluting the perceived control of the state over law and order and its ability to govern. This state of lawlessness creates conditions which help the terrorist group achieve its political aims. In order to achieve this, the spectre of fear has to be unpredictable, sensational and display the helplessness of the state in the face of loss of life and property.

    This is achieved in case of India by terrorist groups through underground modules all over the country. In the case of a group like Indian Mujahideen, support in terms of training, funding and logistics is provided by Pakistan. The modular nature of the organisation makes it difficult to establish a hierarchy and thus tracking its activities are much more difficult. Recruitment to such groups fuels on perceived sense of alienation and deprivation.

    In order to fight this kind of threat, the government functions against terrorism at a number of levels. First, there is a concerted effort to address the root cause of alienation which affects communities or sections of society. This is done by addressing genuine concerns and through awareness campaigns that dispel false propaganda. Second, intelligence agencies keep track of radicalisation attempts by overground workers and recruitment agents in order to stop this process at its inception. Third, human and electronic means are used to tap into existing networks and cells to pre-empt terrorist strikes and arrest leaders, both inside and outside the country. Fourth, international cooperation with other countries facilitates follow up on suspects and cases in progress. Fifth, laws are legislated to provide the necessary legal framework for speedy conviction of terrorists through fast track special courts. Sixth, specialist agencies like the National Investigation Agency (NIA) have been established which investigate and prosecute terrorism related crimes in special NIA courts.

    These are some of the measures undertaken to fight terrorism. However, the best defence against terrorism is to ensure that the people do not have the incentive to pick up arms against the country by providing them equitable political, social and economic opportunities.

    Posted on May 6, 2014