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Islamist Terror is a Foreign Import

The principal defect of most contemporary assessments of terrorism is that they tend to be overwhelmingly influenced by the character and profile of the most recent terrorist outrage. A couple of Bangladeshis in a bombing and the ‘epicentre of terrorism’ is shifting to Bangladesh; a southward ‘spread’ of terror is derived from an attack in Bangalore; the 2002-03 Mumbai blasts demonstrate a ‘new strategy’ to target India’s ‘booming economy’.

With strong suspicions of the Students Islamic Movement of India’s (SIMI) involvement in the latest Mumbai serial blasts, concern is now being expressed regarding terror in India “becoming increasingly home grown”.

Since the early 1990s, Pakistan backed Islamist terrorists have struck repeatedly: in Tamil Nadu in 1993, 1997 and 1998; Mumbai in 1993, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003; Kerala in 1997; Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa in 2000, to list only some of the most prominent incidents.

While a significant number of Pakistani agents provocateur and terrorists have been involved, the bulk of leadership and cadre of the organisations executing these attacks has always been Indian. Apart from successful terrorist strikes, there has been an unremitting stream of arrests, seizures and encounters. An overwhelming majority of those arrested and killed have been Indian.

The ideology, the funding, the training, the weapons and explosives, the control mechanisms, the safe havens, principally originate from, or are located in, Pakistan. But sustained campaigns of Pakistani subversion in almost every concentration of Muslim populations across India have always found at least a few willing recruits on the extremist and criminal fringes of the community.

However, while significant numbers of Islamist terrorists in India are home-grown, Islamist terrorism certainly isn’t. The extremist Islam that inspires terrorists is irreconcilable with the spirit of Islam in India, and is rejected by all but a minuscule minority of Indian Muslims. Islamist terrorism is wholly an import from the deviations and distortions that have clouded the Pakistani vision and fortunes from the moment of that country’s birth in the carnages of Partition.

(Published in Economic Times, July 19, 2006)





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