Wednesday, June 24, 2009

India has most number of domestic terror groups

24 Jun 2009, 0644 hrs IST, Kartikeya, TNN



MUMBAI: The CPI (Maoist) swells the list of indigenous terror groups operating on our soil to 27, making India home to the largest number of domestic terrorist organisations in the world. On Monday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) named the CPI (Maoist) as 34th terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act; seven of these are transnational terror groups.

CPI (Maoist) joined ranks with Ulfa and SIMI and lesser known entities such as Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council of Meghalaya, Kanglei Yaol Kanba Lup of Manipur and Akhil Bharat Nepali Ekta Samaj, which though virtually unheard of are considered deadly enough by the government to be designated as terrorist organisations.

Of the seven transnational terror groups, only two —al-Qaida and LTTE — are truly global names. The other five are Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Harkatul Mujahideen, Al Badr, Jamat-ul-Mujahid and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) which are all Pakistan based terror outfits fighting Indian security forces in Kashmir.

"I am not surprised that we have so many local terror groups," said Prakash Singh, former director-general of Border Security Force (BSF). "Since Independence we have seen the rise of a new terrorist movement in every decade, whether it be the Naxals, militants in Punjab, terrorists in the North East or in J&K. It is failure of governance that has led to this situation," Singh said.

Going by number of organisations that other countries currently designate as terrorist, they too feel threatened by a number of groups. But none of them have as many home grown extremist groups as India does. The list runs into more than 40 in both US and Canada but includes only international names such as Hezbollah, Hamas, FARC, Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional, Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) etc — none of which operate directly on their soil.

Amongst developed countries, only UK has a significant number of terror groups breeding close to home in form of nine Irish militias such as the Ulster Freedom Fighters and the Irish Republican Army.

"India is a large country with such great diversity and so many grievances. This complexity leads to growth of radicals who survive on extremist ideology and terror. Developed countries have not had to deal with problems like ours that breed extremism," said intelligence affairs expert B Raman.

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