Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, January 18th, 2021

Profile of Terrorism in South Asia

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Profile of Terrorism in South Asia

In South Asia, the number of fatal casualties in terrorist attacks is the highest in the world; internecine ethnic, communal and separatist conflicts pose a serious threat to stability and inter – state relations in this region. This part of the globe, in particular, witnessing multiple conflicts in which ideological, ethnic, communal and political issues are intertwined. Terrorism operates in this region under the façade of different terminologies and varies in its nature. It ranges from the practice of internal colonialism as manifested by contrast regional disparity as in Baluchistan, Pakistan, to demand for political independence by the Sri Lankan Tamils in the north-east of Sri Lanka; and brutal and massive human rights violations ranging from social discrimination and disenfranchisement as in southern Bhutan to economic alienation manifested in Naxalite movements in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar etc. The worst part is that the increasing coordination of the terrorists, insurgents and radical groups with their counterparts in neighbouring countries has added a critical dimension to the entire management of militancy or terrorism in South Asia. It is said that violence-social, political or physical, perpetrated by the State or the agents of the State against other States or its own peoples is the womb of terrorism, humiliation its cradle and continued revenge by the State, the mother’s milk and nourishment for terrorism.
Perceptions of terrorism
The term ‘Terrorism’ has recently been defined by Paul J. Smith, a security expert at the Asia-  Pacific Center for Security Studies, as a form of psychological warfare that is used to create extensive fear through the use of extensive force against non-combatant civilian military targets. It thrives in a milieu characterised by some festering and unresolved issue in an atmosphere of financial crisis and in situation where unlawful trade in narcotics and small arms. The possibility of proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) through the innovation of modern technology is more real today than it has ever been in human history. Weapons of Mass Destruction terrorism involves the most modern and the most extreme form of random violence. Nuclear, chemical and biological weapons are inherently terrifying; in most cases of their being used, the fear they would cause would dwarf the injury and death. Its dreadful nature creates its own dangers; of victims panic and try to flee, they spread contamination and disease still further. The effects of these weapons are also inherently random. The radius of injury depends on conditions that are impossible to control or predict with certainty. The use of these innovations for terrorist activities is limited only by the imagination of the terrorist. Everyone is a potential target and this creates a climate of fear and suspicion within a society.
Different scholars have tried to come to terms with terrorism depending upon their ideological moorings. Today terrorism is the new form of warfare then it is evident that politics for some states has become an offshoot of this deadly virus and has acquired its own autonomy. For example, Yonah Alexander, links terrorism with national security. To him, ‘terrorism is the use or threat of violence against random or civilian threats in order to intimidate or create generalised pervasive fear for the purpose of achieving political goals’. But Paul Wilkinson makes a difference between political terrorism and other forms of violence. He defined political violence as “the systematic use of murder and destruction, and the threat of murder and destruction in order to terrorise individuals, groups, communities or governments into conceding to the terrorists’ political demands”. While the United States’ Department of State defined it as a, “pre-meditated, politically motivated violence penetrated against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine State Agents, usually intended to influence an audience.” In the state of terrorism, nation found itself in a condition in which it is very difficult to provide security and the environment of development to its citizens in terrorist affected areas. In so many cases terrorists also run their parallel government in specific part of territory, in this situation governments face so many challenges for safeguarding territorial integrity and preserving sovereignty of the nation state.
Analysis of a terrorist
A ‘terrorist’ is a person who indulges in criminal acts with manifestly political motive without exhausting legitimate remedies at his disposal for the redressal of his grievances. His acts may be organised or unorganised, sporadic or widespread, commanding public support or hatred. The decisive element is that he indulges in criminal acts without invoking legitimate remedies for his alleged grievance or suffering.  The terrorist hypothesis is that the system itself suicides in response to the multiple challenges of death and suicide. Neither the system, nor power, themselves escape symbolic obligation and in this trap resides the only chance of their demise (catastrophe). In this vertiginous cycle of the impossible exchange of death, the terrorist death is an infinitesimal point that provokes a gigantic aspiration, void and convection. Around this minute point, the whole system of the real and power gains in density, freezes, compresses, and sinks in its own super – efficacy. The tactics of terrorism are to provoke an excess of reality and to make the system collapse under the weight of this excess. It indicates that terrorist actions are both the magnifying mirror of the system’s violence and the model of a symbolic violence that it cannot access. By using violence and terror, terrorists disturb communal harmony in society, create fear and suspicion between communities. That is why they pose and direct threat to maintaining domestic peace.
Latest forms of terrorism
In its latest manifestations, terrorism is violence for a cause and terrorists always want the world to know about their existence, their causes and the power they wield. From the ongoing discussions the theories of terrorism have been derived as the following: 01Terrorists are not born but created by particular sociological, economic and political conditioning  processes. 02. Terrorism is not based on reason and is nothing but a series of senseless and mindless actions to create fear. 03. It is deliberate and systematic assault on civilians to inspire fear for political ends. 04. It is a method whereby an organised group or party seeks to achieve its avowed aims, chiefly through the systematic use of violence. 05. It is a weapon of the weak employed against powerful opponent not with the aim to defeat but as an attempt to show itself as all powerful and a good force with a view to change the balance of power.
To conclude terrorism is not an act, but, it is a thinking in which some people think that political objectives could be achieved by illegitimate use of violence. Its motivations are also changing. A new breeds of terrorist including ad hoc groups motivated by religious convictions or revenge, right-wing extremists and apocalyptic and millenarian cults, appear more likely than terrorist of the past to commit acts of extreme violence. Religious groups are becoming more common and are more violent than secular groups.

Dr. Rajkumar Singh is Professor and Head of P.G.Department of Political Science, BNMU, West Campus, P.G. Centre, Saharsa-852201. Bihar, India. Email- rajkumarsinghpg@yahoo.com

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