Overview of Terrorism in India– USCRT 2017
An overview of terrorism in India as provided vide the US Department of State. Bureau Of Counterterrorism And Countering Violent Extremism, Country Reports on Terrorism 2017 is as per succeeding paragraphs.
Overview: The parts of India most seriously impacted by terrorism in 2017 included the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the northeast Indian states, and parts of central India in which Maoist terrorists remain active. India continued to apply sustained pressure to detect, disrupt, and degrade terrorist organizations’ operations within its borders. Indian leadership expressed resolve to prevent terrorist attacks domestically and to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorism, in cooperation with the United States and other like-minded countries.
Counterterrorism cooperation between India and the United States increased in 2017. The two pledged to strengthen cooperation against terrorist threats from groups including al-Qa’ida (AQ), ISIS, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), and D-Company. During a June 2017 summit, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi directed officials to establish a new mechanism for cooperation on terrorist designations. The first meeting of the bilateral Designations Dialogue was held in December. India welcomed the U.S. State Department’s June designation of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) senior leader Mohammad Yusuf Shah, also known as Syed Salahuddin, and the August designation of HM as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
2017 Terrorist Incidents:
On March 7, ISIS-inspired, self-radicalized terrorists attacked the Bhopal–Ujjain passenger train at Jabri railway station in Shajapur district in Madhya Pradesh state, injuring 10 passengers. Six persons were later arrested and a key suspect was killed when the police tried to arrest him.
On March 17, Maoists killed 25 security personnel in an ambush in Sukma, Chhattisgarh.
On July 10, alleged LeT terrorists killed seven Hindu pilgrims near Anantnag in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
On August 27, eight security personnel were killed when two JeM terrorists snuck into Pulwama town in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and targeted buildings used by the state Police Special Operation Group.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: India made no major changes to its counterterrorism laws in 2017. The Indian government continued to address terrorism-related activities through existing statutes, including the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) (1967), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Convention on Suppression of Terrorism Act (1993), and various state-level laws. The UAPA presumes the accused to be guilty if the prosecution can produce incriminating evidence indicating the possession of arms or explosives or the presence of fingerprints at a crime scene, regardless of whether criminal intent is demonstrated. State governments held persons without bail for extended periods before filing formal charges under the UAPA.
India’s state-level law enforcement agencies play a significant role detecting, deterring, and preventing acts of terrorism. These state agencies have varying degrees of capability. After the Mumbai attacks of 2008, state Anti-Terrorism Squads (ATS) were created to handle rapid, first-responder duties. At the central government level, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is the lead law enforcement investigation agency. The National Security Guard (NSG) retains the mandate for nationwide response. Despite its rigorous training, NSG’s rapid response capability is somewhat limited, due in part to its small staff relative to India’s large size. Continued weaknesses in intelligence and information sharing negatively impacted state and central law enforcement agencies. In 2016, India and the United States signed an arrangement to exchange terrorism screening information, and the Indian Multi Agency Centre/Intelligence Bureau continued work on implementation.
In an example of a significant counterterrorism law enforcement action, police arrested Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) leader Mohammad Idris from a central Kolkata hideout on March 8. Police believe Idris was involved in the July 1, 2016, Holey Artisan Bakery attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh. On November 21, local police arrested two Bangladeshi terrorists belonging to Ansarullah Bangla Team in Kolkata. The police stated the two planned to murder bloggers in Bangladesh and had come to Kolkata to buy arms.
In April, an Indian court sentenced two Indian ISIS financiers to seven years in prison, in the country’s first ISIS-related convictions. The two pled guilty to a criminal conspiracy to propagate ISIS ideology, recruit persons, raise funds, and facilitate the travel of those recruited to join ISIS in Syria. India detained an alleged AQIS facilitator in September. The case was pending in court at the end of 2017.
India participated in the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program and received training in internet, dark web, mobile device, and advanced digital forensics capabilities.