Attrition: A Large Bit of Iraq in India


January5, 2007: Next to Iraq, where over 10,000 people died last year because of terrorist violence, and Afghanistan, where there were over 3,000 deaths. India is the biggest victim of this sort of thing. In 2006, 2,765 people died from terrorist related violence in India. The violence was widespread, with 38 percent of the 608 administrative districts suffering from it. Surprisingly, Islamic terrorism only accounted for 41 percent of the deaths, and most of that was in the northwestern state of Kashmir. Another 27 percent of the terror deaths were caused by militant leftist groups, who operated throughout eastern and southern India. Another 23 percent of the deaths were caused by separatist tribal groups in the northeast. The remainder of the terrorism was from various other nationalist and political groups, although most of it was caused by Islamic radicals, often sponsored by groups in Pakistan.

The war with Islamic terrorists from Pakistan, in Kashmir, has been going on for over 18 years, andkilled some 40,000 people so far. But in the last six years, the government has managed to beat the terrorists down. In 2001, there were 4,507 dead in Kashmir. That has come down every year since, until 2006, when 1,116 died (a 36 percent drop from the previous year.) While the Islamic terrorists are popular in Pakistan (which believes that it should have gotten Kashmir when Pakistan and India were created in 1948), the Pakistani government is trying to back away from an effort which appears to have failed.

The leftists, who call themselves "Maoists" (after the Chinese Marxist, Mao Tse Dong), are fighting for social justice, and the establishment of a communist dictatorship. India has had leftist radicals for over a century, and these groups have become better armed, and more aggressive, over the past few decades. The government has not come down hard on the Maoists because non-violent leftist parties in parliament oppose that sort of thing. However, the growing body count caused by Maoist violence is exhausting even the patience of the non-violent leftist politicians. Maoist related deaths were up three percent, compared to 2005.

The tribal violence in the northeast has been there for centuries. In the last few decades, the unrest up there has gotten worse as land starved Indians move to the thinly populated northeast. On top of that, even more desperate illegal migrants from Bangladesh are also moving into lands the tribes consider their own. On top of that, a high level of criminal activity, and government corruption, has created an atmosphere where nearly everyone in the region is unhappy, and many are violent about it. However, the government has worked hard to work out peace deals with some of the tribal groups. As a result, terror related deaths in the region were down twelve percent, compared to 2005. However, because of the generally chaotic conditions in the region, peace is not likely to break out anytime soon.


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