Terrorism in India, a roster of incidents

Terrorism is a global phenomenon, but still poorly understood.  What do terrorists hope to gain by random destruction?  How often does terrorism work?  Desite the many studies, it still remains a mysterious thing to me.

This post looks at terrorism in the world’s largest and one of its older democracies — India — in an excerpt from the always interesting The Gartman Letter (15 May 2008):

In fact there have been numerous terrorist attacks in India outside of Kashmir leading to hundreds of deaths. India is one of the most terrorist ravaged nations, and has been since at least 1989. While Islamic terrorism only came into focus in the US post Sept 11, India has been struggling with this menace for decades and had even handed over intelligence reports to the US (as far back as 1993) regarding terrorist training camps in Pakistan controlled Kashmir where the ISI (Pak Intelligence Agency) trains these terrorists and then send them over to India/Afghanistan. Unfortunately these were never taken seriously by the US pre-Sep11.

One of the biggest terrorist attacks in India took place in Mumbai on March 12, 1993 where a series of thirteen bomb explosions took place resulting in up to 250 civilian fatalities and 700 injuries. The mastermind behind the blast, “Dawood Ibrahim,” is still at large and widely believed to be under ISI protection in Karachi, Pakistan.

Of late, the Islamic Jehadist’s have been targeting the commerce and educational centers in India, most notable the Dec 28, 2005 attack on the prestigious Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore. Gunmen in black masks opened indiscriminate fire on delegates attending the International Conference On Operations Research Applications in Infrastructure Development. The idea was to attack the Silicon Valley of India in order to disrupt the economic progress.

A chronology of major attacks in India since 2001

Oct. 1, 2001 – Militants storm the Jammu and Kashmir state assembly complex, killing about 35 people.

Dec. 13, 2001 – More than a dozen people, including five gunmen, killed in an attack on parliament in New Delhi.

Sept. 24, 2002 – Militants with guns and explosives attack the Akshardham Hindu temple in the western state of Gujarat, killing 31 people and wounding more than 80.

May 14, 2002 – Militants attack an army camp near Kashmir’s winter capital, Jammu, killing more than 30, including wives and children of soldiers.

March 13, 2003 – A bomb attack on a commuter train in Mumbai kills 11 people.

Aug. 25, 2003 – Two almost simultaneous car bombs kill about 60 in Mumbai.

Aug. 15, 2004 – Bomb explodes in northeastern state of Assam, killing 16 people, mostly schoolchildren, and wounding dozens

Oct. 29, 2005 – Sixty-six people are killed when three blasts rip through markets in New Delhi.

March 7, 2006 – At least 15 people are killed and 60 wounded in three explosions in the north Indian Hindu pilgrimage city of Varanasi.

July 11, 2006 – More than 180 people are killed in seven bomb explosions at railway stations and on trains in Mumbai, blamed on Islamist militants.

Sept. 8, 2006 – At least 32 people are killed in a series of explosions, including one near a mosque, in Malegaon town, 260 km northeast of Mumbai.

Feb. 19, 2007 – Two bombs explode aboard a train bound from India to Pakistan, burning to death at least 66 passengers, most of them Pakistanis.

May 18, 2007 – A bomb explodes during Friday prayers at a historic mosque in the southern city of Hyderabad, killing 11 worshippers. Police later shoot dead five people in clashes with hundreds of enraged Muslims who protest against the attack.

Aug. 25, 2007 – Three explosions within minutes at an amusement park and a street-side food stall in Hyderabad kill at least 40 people.

May 13, 2008 – Seven bombs rip through the crowded streets of India’s western city of Jaipur, killing around 60 people in markets and outside Hindu temples.

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4 thoughts on “Terrorism in India, a roster of incidents”

  1. As if that weren’t enough, the Indians describe their worst threat not as Islamic terrorism but the Maoist insurgency often known as “Naxalites.”

    The Wikipedia article on Naxalites also has an extensive list of organizations that India lists as “terrorist.” Looking over that list, it’s amazing that the country not only survives but continues to grow and develop.

  2. New Update: India police sift for clues after deadly bomb blasts“, AFP (14 May 2008) — Excerpt:

    “Police sifted for clues Wednesday after seven near-simultaneous bomb blasts tore through crowded markets in the Indian tourist city of Jaipur, killing at least 80 people.

    “Police have detained one suspect over the attacks, which also targeted a packed Hindu temple, as schools and government offices shutdown Wednesday in a day of mourning across the western desert state of Rajasthan.

    “… More than 150 people were wounded in the explosions in Jaipur, known as the pink city because of its rose-hued hill top forts and palaces, and a favourite attraction for Indian and foreign tourists.

    “Police said seven blasts occurred within minutes of each other during the evening in crowded markets of historic Jaipur, about 260 kilometres (160 miles) from New Delhi. “It’s a terror attack. There was no (intelligence) report of this,” police director general A.S. Gill told reporters. Government officials usually blame Islamic militants based in Pakistan for such attacks, which have plagued India in recent years.

    “… India has been plagued by bombings across the country in recent years and routinely points the finger at foreign-based Islamic militant groups fighting New Delhi’s rule in the Himalayan state of Kashmir. Analysts say Islamic extremist groups are attempting to stoke sectarian tensions to derail an India-Pakistan peace process and damage the country’s booming economy.”

  3. The protagonists seek to embarrass the governments,that is I believe pretty much their raison d’etat.The modern State supposedly holds the monopoly on violence and security. Being unable to prevent their populace from becoming victims to the protagonists, the credibility of the government is at stake.

    Pretty much the “ends justifies the means” sort of strategy. Don’t recall that many terror organizations have actually won the “hearts & minds” of any populace in history so far. The Jews during Roman times, the Irish Republican Army, Al-Qaeda?

    The only successful terrorists as far as I know of are the Anarchists of 19th. century Russia. (One Peter Kropotkin was even blue-blood). But they probably never thought of themselves as perpetrators of terror. Then again,ALL terrorists believe themselves to be freedom fighters and revolutionaries.

    Was the one whom they called the “Son of God” not proclaimed “Enemy of the State”?

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