Counter-Terrorism: Communists And Separatists Still At It


October 15, 2009: Islamic radicals are still the most common source of terrorism. While Iraq is still the scene of several thousand victims of terrorist violence a year,   Afghanistan is now the primary source of terrorist deaths, nearly all of them caused by Islamic radicals.

But there are several other sources of terrorist death. India is the biggest victim of non-Islamic terrorism. India suffers some two thousand terrorist deaths a year. It's widespread, with over a third of the 608 administrative districts suffering from it. Surprisingly, Islamic terrorism accounted for less than a quarter of the deaths. Most of that was in the northwestern state of Kashmir. The largest source of terror related deaths were militant leftist groups, who operated throughout eastern and southern India. Most of the remainder were caused by separatist tribal groups in the northeast, and  religious terrorism in India, mainly between Moslems and Hindus in northern India.

The war with Islamic terrorists from Pakistan, in Kashmir, has been going on since the 1980s, and has killed some 40,000 people so far. But in the last eight 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.) The deaths continued to decline, to under 500 a 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 Indian 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. For a long time, the government did 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 exhausted even the patience of the non-violent leftist politicians. So now the government is mobilizing larger forces to battle the Maoists.

The tribal violence in the northeast has been there for centuries. In the last few decades, the unrest 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. There is also a high level of criminal activity, and government corruption, which has created an atmosphere where nearly everyone in the region is unhappy with, 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, 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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