The Webster dictionary defines terrorism as “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal”. Terror does not have any colour, creed, caste or religion. It is simply violence to frighten people to toe a particular line or reduce them to submission. It has become a tool in the hands of unscrupulous people throughout the world which has come to be known as the International Terrorism. However, there have been many attempts worldwide to attribute it to certain religious groups especially in the Muslim world. The west has been using the term, the “Islamic Terrorism”. There is an impression created that Islam is the religion of terror and invariably Muslims are terrorists. This has happened after the 9/11 episode in which allegedly Muslims belonging to an organisation Al Qaeda were involved. In fact, the Americans themselves have been using clandestine violent means to achieve certain objectives throughout the world. The Russian exit from Afghanistan was achieved by creating and fully supporting Taliban, a violent organisation to fight a guerrilla war with them. Ultimately, the chickens came home to roost for the Americans and they had Al Qaeda hitting them in their soft belly in New York. Apart from that innumerable terrorist acts were initiated by them against American targets all over the world.
One of the basic requirements for the terrorism to flourish is to have discontentment among the people. The level of discontent has to be of such a degree that the people are either themselves ready to use violent means to avenge themselves or they are willing to support and shelter other people capable of committing violent acts against their oppressors. In the case of the sub-continent there are umpteen occasions were people are highly discontented and are ready to support violent means to avenge themselves. Kashmir is a classic example where the people have been ready to use violence or support those using it against the Indian security apparatus. However, due to their past history of spiritualism and non-violence, they are not inclined to support purposeless terrorist acts against the civilians. The other places where terrorist acts take place are the North Eastern States and the Naxalite areas. In those places also the people committing these acts call it a war of liberation or the Maoist Revolution and so on. Again, the basis is the general discontent with their present status.
So far, we had been hearing about the Muslim terrorism in India. It was for the first time that the Home Minister declared that India has “Saffron Terror” also. Saffron is the colour associated with Hindu Rightist parties like BJP, and other organisations professing extreme Hindu philosophy such as the RSS. For some strange reasons he called it “Saffron Terror” instead of straightaway saying that it was Hindu terrorism. Probably, he did not want to annoy the entire Hindu lobby, part of which supports the Congress party. He further declared that more than ten Hindus had been arrested by the law enforcing agencies for committing acts of terrorism against Muslims which were earlier attributed to Pakistan or indigenous Muslim Youth Organisation like SIMI. With the Home Minister’s public admission, it is established that the terrorist acts are not committed by Muslims alone as had been previously given out by one and all. It is a healthy development that the government admits existence of terrorists among other religious groups. It has also been debated that not all Hindus are terrorists and it is only the “Saffron” variety which is training terrorists and asking them to commit various violent acts. India has always been considered as the land of peace and non-violence. It is the land of Buddha. But the things seem to be changing now for various reasons especially those connected with the basic discontent of people as well as the extreme discrimination shown to lower strata of the population. However, attaching terrorism with colour is not the right approach. Following that theory we may call the Naxalite terrorism based on Maoism as “Red” terrorism. The Muslim terrorists will qualify to be called the “Green Terrorists”. The correct approach would be to denounce all terrorist acts regardless of colour, caste, creed and the religion. It also needs to be pointed out that there is something called the “State Terrorism”. These are violent acts committed by the State Security Forces against the civilian population in support of so called “State Security”, “National Interest” or even the maintenance of law and order. One has to boldly face the truth that terrorism is terrorism whether committed by non-state actors or by the State itself. If we want to eliminate terrorism, we have to take it head on without any reservations based on political or religious considerations. Now that the Home Minister has himself broadened the definition of terrorism, it is expected that it would be dealt with regardless of colour or the status of the terrorist be it from the non-state actors or the state itself!