terrorism

The government of India may take a lesson or two from the latest report of the Institute for Economics and Peace as it tackles the spiraling out of violence in Kashmir and other parts of the country.

The latest Global Terrorism Index prepared by the institute shows that 93 per cent of all terrorist attacks between 1989 and 2014 occurred “in countries with high levels of state sponsored terror – extra-judicial deaths, torture and imprisonment without trial.”

At least 85 civilians have died with over 13,000 injured ever since security forces tightened their clampdown in Kashmir to quell popular upsurge following killing of Hizbul Mujaheedeen commander Burhan Wani in July.

Kashmir remains completely shut down since then as the army, paramilitary forces and police chose the ‘iron hand’ method to quell the unrest. Use of pellet guns as well as bullets has resulted in injuries of over 13,000 civilians apart from the deaths. Thousands have been imprisoned even as return of normalcy is nowhere in sight. A staggering number of people have “disappeared.”

The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) is considered the most reliable and comprehensive study, which analyzes impact of terrorism in 163 countries. Produced annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace it is based on data from the Global Terrorism Database collected by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START)-, a Department of Homeland Security Centre of Excellence led by the University of Maryland. The report influences government policies across the globe.

According to the GTI, 93 per cent of all terrorist attacks between 1989 and 2014 occurred in countries with high levels of state sponsored terror – extra-judicial killings, torture and imprisonment without trial.

“Socio-economic factors such as youth unemployment, militarization, levels of criminality, access to weapons and distrust in the electoral process are the most statistically significant factors correlating with terrorism,” the report said. “Only 0.5 per cent of terrorist attacks occurred in countries that did not suffer from conflict or political terror,” the report went on to add.

GTI observed that in India, Maoist violence claimed more lives than violence perpetrated by Islamic jihadi groups. “Two Maoist communist groups claimed responsibility for 176 deaths in 2015, which constitutes 61 per cent of all deaths. Police are the largest target group of Maoists, accounting for a third of deaths, followed by private citizens who are targeted in around 20 per cent of deaths. Majority of Maoist attacks occurred in the provinces of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha.

“The two deadliest Islamist terrorist groups in 2015 in India were Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen. Lashkar-e-Taiba was responsible for 22 deaths in 2015. Hizbul Mujahideen has been responsible for fewer deaths since its peak in 2013. The group was responsible for 30 deaths in 2013, which fell to 11 the following year and to seven deaths in 2015.”

“India’s north east region has for the last three decades seen continual ethno-political unrest from ethnic secessionist movements. The deadliest of these groups in 2015 were the Garo National Liberation Army which killed ten people and the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) which killed five.”

Commenting on the overall global terrorism picture, GTI observed that Pakistan continued to see declines in its levels of terrorism due to infighting within the largest active group, the Tehrik- I- Taliban Pakistan  as well as to the operations of the Pakistan Army in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

The report said that although 76 countries improved their GTI scores compared to 53 countries that worsened, the overall global GTI score deteriorated by six per cent since last year as many moderately affected countries experienced record levels of terrorism.

The 2016 GTI report observed a 10 per cent decline of terrorism related violence since 2010. “This decline in terrorism deaths is mainly attributed to a weakened Boko Haram and ISIL in both Nigeria and Iraq due to the military operations against them. However, expanded activity by both of these groups in other countries is posing new threats in other parts of the world.”

According to the report, Boko Haram expanded into Niger, Cameroon and Chad, increasing the number of people they have killed by 157 per cent. Meanwhile ISIL and its affiliates were active in 15 new countries, bringing the total number of countries they were active in to 28.

“While the weakening of ISIL and Boko Haram in their central areas of operations in Iraq and Nigeria is positive, this change has coincided with two key negative trends which have driven up terrorism in the rest of the world. The first is ISIL’s shift in tactics to transnational terrorism, not just to other parts of the Middle East but to Europe as well. The second key negative trend is Boko Haram’s extension into neighbouring West African countries which has led to Cameroon and Niger rising to 13th and 16th in the GTI.”

In Europe, ISIL’s transnational tactics in combination with lone actor attacks increased violence to its highest levels ever. This increase was seen in many OECD countries resulting in a 650 per cent increase in deaths to 577 in 2015 from 77 in 2014. ISIL’s role in this increase was significant as more than half of the 577 deaths were in connection to this group.

According to the GTI report terrorism in 2015 cost the global economy US$89.6 billion.

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