Over the last couple of years, Islamic terror-related issues have been escalating in southern and western part of India. Terrorist outfits are not only targeting security forces and government establishments, but aiming vital economic and strategic assets.
At least 67 people have died and many sustained burn injures in the fire triggered by bomb blasts in Delhi- Attari Samjhauta Express on February 18, near Deewana in Panipat in Haryana. The bi-weekly train literally means 'Understanding,' a symbol pf Friendship, connects New Delhi to Pakistan's city of Lahore. The attacks took place ahead of Pakistani Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri’s visit to New Delhi for talks with his Indian counterpart on Tuesday. Kasuri is scheduled to co-chair the India-Pak Joint Commission in New Delhi.
Following the high profile assassinations of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB (erstwhile Soviet Union’s secret service-Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti) agent in November 2006, the British investigators found that Litvinenko’s killers used polonium-210, a rare radioactive element worth over $10 million to poison him.
The Maoists (also known as Naxalites) in India are emboldened by the recent success of their Nepalese counterpart, who emerged as a legitimate power center after a decade of protracted people’s war. The effects are already visible in Bihar, the neighboring Indian State. Despite convoluted security arrangement by the Bihar Police, partial successful of the Bandh (general strike) on Oct. 30, 2006, by the Maoists indicated that they are capable enough to strike at their will.
The recent Havana initiative by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh depicts a marked shift in India’s Pakistan policy. Manmohan Singh at Havana had announced on the sidelines of the NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) summit that India and Pakistan are proposing to handle the threat of terrorism jointly. This novel concept of resuming formal peace negotiations with Pakistan (frozen after 11 July Mumbai train blasts) and setting up of a joint agency to tackle terrorism appears to be an ‘atypical’ step as compared to the earlier ‘cautious’ approach.
At least 37 people were killed and over a hundred injured in two powerful bomb explosions in the communal sensitive Malegaon town, located in the Nasik district of Maharashtra, on 08 September. Many of those killed and injured were minors.
The explosions occurred outside the Bada Kabristan (Large cemetery), a burial ground for Muslims where people gathered to offer prayers for their dead relatives on the occasion of Shab-e-Baraat (night of salvation). The second blasts took place near Noorani mosque.
Q.1: IS INDIA BECOMING A MAJOR TRANSIT POINT OF INTERNATIONAL ILLICIT DRUG TRADE?
Molly Charles: Yes, India has been a major transit point for Andean Cocaine and South African Mandrax. The Latin American connection for Cocaine is not very old, as Cocaine has been taking hold of the elite Indian only in the past few years. The cocaine market is encouraged by the fact that it is a drug that can be used occasionally, provided it is not adulterated. Researchers in other countries have documented occasional users of cocaine.
In comparison to the indiscriminate violence perpetrated by Islamic terrorists, the Naxal menace (also infamous as Left-wing Extremist or Maoist) has been plaguing India for quite some time as one of the biggest internal security challenges. The most affected Chattisgarh state has witnessed one of the worst ever massacre on 17 July when armed Naxalites attacked the Errabore Relief Camp in Dantewada district, killing some 30 unarmed civilians and injuring scores. The attackers have abducted more than 45 people in that fateful night.
On 11 July, India’s commercial hub, Mumbai (in Maharastra) and Jammu & Kashmir State witnessed series of bomb and Grenade attacks, perpetrated by suspected Islamic terrorists.
In Mumbai, over 170 people were killed, and over 400 people have been injured in a string of seven powerful blasts that targeted suburban trains. The toll is increasing every hour. The timing of the blasts coincided with the peak hour traffic when the commuters return from their work around 6 PM in the evening.
The recent illegal drug hauls in various parts of India and couple of high profile drug abuse cases involving people in power brought the spotlight back onto illegal drug issues in the country. India’s Anti Narcotics Bureau and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence have seized drugs ranging from Cocaine to Heroine and other opiates worth millions of dollars in the international market within the last few months. The fact is drug trafficking and illegal drug abuse have been taking place in the subcontinent for very long but have been relatively ignored.