History of Terrorism in India

The history of terrorism in India can be traced to Khalistan movement in Punjab in the eighties. After independence of India, the demand of separate state by Sikhs led to the formation Punjab. However, even after that there are many unresolved issues pertaining to the Chandigarh as state capital, sharing of river waters etc. It is further aggravated when terrorists demanded for separate ‘Khalistan’. The Khalistan issue resulted in Operation Blue Star in Amritsar, followed by assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, a series of political murders, and killing of thousands of Sikhs and other people in riots and terrorism related violence. Temporary peace was brought by Rajiv Gandhi – Longowal Accord in 1985, however, a month later Longowal was also assassinated. Later the conflict was resolved with government policy of discussions with dissident elements. Even now there are few isolated cases of violence. There are increasing fears that the movement might be revived. The 2015 Gurdaspur attack is considered as one such attempt of revival of the movement. The movement is largely supported from groups living abroad.

After Punjab, the terrorism started in late eighties in Kashmir region by anti-India separatist elements supported by Pakistan. The terror groups operated mainly from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). The terrorism in Kashmir was created by groups like LeT, JeM, Hizbul Mujahideen etc. They were trained and inspired by the Pakistan ISI. Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was formed in 1990. LeT is involved in Indian Parliament attack of 2001 and 2008 Mumbai attacks.

At the same time in India, in 1977, Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was formed in Aligarh to liberate Indian Muslims from western materialistic culture. In eighties and nineties, SIMI became extremist group with more radical posture. It was banned in 2001. The ban was revoked in 2008 by a special tribunal but again it was banned in 2008 by Chief Justice of India.

After the ban of SIMI, a new terrorist organisation Indian Mujahidin (IM) was formed. It has carried out many attacks against civilians of India. Government of India declared it as a terrorist organisation in 2010.

After 2005, there was also a growth of right-wing extremism in India in the form of Malegaon blasts (2006), Mecca Masjid bombing in Hyderabad, Samjhauta Express bombings and the Ajmer Sharif Dargah blast. These events led to the further radicalisation of Muslim based terrorist organisations.

The analysis of terror activities in India concludes that the targets are state capitals, financial hubs, tourist places, and religious places.

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