Hindu Vivek Kendra
A RESOURCE CENTER FOR THE PROMOTION OF HINDUTVA
   
 
 
«« Back
Will you please define terrorism?

Will you please define terrorism?

Author: Prakash Nanda
Publication: Organiser
Date: October 25, 2009
URL: http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=314&page=2

Introduction: Wrong diagnosis will strengthen Maoists

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seems to have a soft corner for Maoists. Like the typical "human rights jhola-wallas", he thundered at an election meeting in Maharashtra on October 11 that "Maoists are not terrorists" and that he would be happy to talk to them. How will the Prime Minister define terrorism, if they are not terrorists? As a good doctor cannot treat a patient without the proper diagnosis of his disease, how can he and his government deal with Maoists if he is not sure of their crime?

The Prime Minister invariably cites the usual factors of underdevelopment, corruption in bureaucracy, police atrocities and exploitation of Vanvasis and poor people contributing to the growing influence of Maoists. But that is one part of the story.

In imposing their so-called "bandh" in Bihar and Jharkhand on October 12 and 13, the Maoists shot dead officials of the public sector undertakings, set ablaze a railway station and took the employees hostages there, blew up railway tracks and a portion of an inter-district state highway, torched many trucks, blasted a tower of a private telecom and destroyed some newly block offices. Few days earlier, they had beheaded, a la Taliban style, police officials in Jharkhand and Maharashtra, whom they had taken as hostages in order to force the government to release some of their detained comrades.

All these are recent events. Also add the little older incidents of seizing the town of Lalgarh in West Bengal, killings of thousands of innocent Vanvasis in Chhattisgarh, hijacking a train with 300 passengers in Jharkhand, deliberately initiating the communal riots between Hindus and Christians in Orissa by killing the social activist, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, who had done exemplary work among Vanvasis in the state; and practising many a caste riot in Bihar, riots that have taken the lives of thousands of innocent civilians and destroyed public properties, including schools, worth thousands of crores. No wonder, why for the last three years Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had been saying that "the Naxalites/Maoists pose the gravest threat to the internal security" of the country. The Home Minister P Chidambaram is threatening strong actions against these forces, whom the governments of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh openly brand as terrorists of worst type. Even the armed forces of the country have sought permission from the government to take appropriate counter-measures against the Maoists if attacked in the areas of the latter's strong presence.

And yet, Prime Minister Singh seems to have a soft corner for Maoists. Like the typical "human rights jhola-wallas", he thundered at an election meeting in Maharashtra on October 11 that "Maoists are not terrorists" and that he would be happy to talk to them. How will the Prime Minister define terrorism, if they are not terrorists? As a good doctor cannot treat a patient without the proper diagnosis of his disease, how can he and his government deal with Maoists if he is not sure of their crime?

For his benefits, let us see whether the universally accepted definitions and understanding of terrorism apply to the Maoists or not. While it is true that "one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter" has often haunted the debate on terrorism for decades, we propose to cite those definitions accepted and used in the United Nations (UN), of which India is a leading member:

UN Resolution language (1999): 1. "Strongly condemns all acts, methods and practices of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, wherever and by whomsoever committed. 2. Reiterates that criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other nature that may be invoked to justify them." (GA Res. 51/210 Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism).

UN Security Council Resolution 1566 refers to terrorism as "criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act".

On March 17, 2005, a UN panel described terrorism as any act "intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act".

The UN General Assembly Resolution 49/60 titled "Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism," adopted on December 9, 1994, contains a provision describing terrorism. It says: "Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them."

Any honest and sincere readings of the above resolutions in the world body, which India has never opposed, make it amply clear that the Maoists are nothing but terrorists. In fact, to refresh the memory of the Prime Minister, it may be recalled that while presiding over a task force of nine Maoist-hit states on February 23, 2006, none other than the then Special Secretary to the Union Home Ministry AK Mitra had asserted: "Maoist problem is not a simple problem of law and order. This is a terrorist (emphasis added) and inter-state problem."

The Prime Minister invariably cites the usual factors of underdevelopment, corruption in bureaucracy, police atrocities and exploitation of Vanvasis and poor people contributing to the growing influence of Maoists. But that is one part of the story. He invariably forgets the other part, which is that as is the case in Kashmir and many parts of the north-east, people are supporting the so-called revolutionaries in the "Red Corridor" in eastern/central India not out of love and reverence but because of terror and fear. Maoists and their leaders are flourishing because money, important for them to procure sophisticated weapons, is no longer any problem. Most Maoist leaders have over the past two decades acquired large properties in the urban areas with the money that flows to them through extortion, which, according to one estimate, yields around Rs 3,000 crore annually. And those exhorted are not only contractors, businessmen, doctors and engineers but also poor labourers and farmers, who are forced to part with a substantial portion of their earnings. They raise funds through extortion or by setting-up parallel administrations to collect taxes in rural areas where local governments and the Indian State appear absent. This is not all. Smuggling of contrabands and wood as well as poppy cultivations also enrich their coffers.

And what is worse, the Maoists have strengthened their links with the notorious terrorist groups outside the country, including the LTTE and ISI. In a series of articles, the weekly Blitz of Bangladesh has already exposed how arms are secretly distributed amongst the members of small communist groups as well as some of the Islamist groups in Bangladesh and how Nepalese Maoists are conspiring to re-begin notorious activities of Naxalites in Indian West Bengal. According to the paper, "Several analysts are seeing hidden cooperation between Al Qaeda and Nepalese Maoists, which helped Maoists in attaining such landslide victory in Nepal. There is reportedly a hidden agreement between the two in allowing Al Qaeda outfits in the South Asian region [in Nepal] to operate without any legal obstacles. Now, after the victory of Maoists, it is anticipated that activities of Al Qaeda and other Islamists terror groups will greatly increase. It is also learnt from several sources that, Al Qaeda is patronizing Maoist operatives in Nepal as well as spread of extremist Islamism in the South Asian region under the garb of Communism. International community needs to look into this extremely important issue forthwith and fix appropriate strategies in combating rise and spread of Maoism, Communism or Islamism, for the sake of regional and global security."

It may be recalled that Maoist groups in India took the initiative in forming in 2001 Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations of South Asia, better known as CCOMPOSA, in some secret locations in the jungle of central India. Its members are Naxalite or Maoist outfits from Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. In August 2006, CCOMPOSA held its fourth conference in Nepal. Obviously, with Maoists emerging as the most important political force in Nepal (thanks to India under Manmohan Singh, but it is a different story), their fraternal counterpart in India have become more powerful. Recently, a truck loaded with more than 1000 kg of explosives and a large number of detonators was apprehended on Bihar-Nepal border.

If all these acts do not make Maoists terrorists, what else do, Mr Prime Minister? By all means, you talk to them, but for the country's sake, first defeat them. The Maoists have waged a war against the country. Talks now could at best lead a truce. But then truce is no substitute for a lasting peace.


Back                          Top

«« Back
 
 
 
  Search Articles
 
  Special Annoucements