Terrorism is a persistent global threat that knows no border, nationality or religion. The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) has documented over 170,000 terrorist incidents in the last 50 years.
Almost 63 countries recorded at least one death from a terrorist attack and seventeen countries recorded over 100 deaths from terrorism in 2019.
Afghanistan is the worst affected country due to terrorism, overtaking Iraq which was the worst affected country in 2018. The list of countries most affected by terrorism include: Nigeria, Syria, Somalia and Yemen. Both Afghanistan and Nigeria recorded over 1,000 deaths each.
The largest increase in deaths from terrorism occurred in Burkina Faso, which recorded 593 deaths — a 590 per cent increase over the previous year. The rise was mainly driven by three groups: the Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS), Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam-wal Muslimin (JNIM) and the Burkina Faso branch of Ansar al-Islam.
South Asia suffered the most on account of terrorism in 2019 for the second year in a row with more lives being lost due to terrorism than anywhere else in the world.
Sri Lanka recorded the second-largest increase in 2019. On April 21, 2019, Sri Lanka was rocked by eight deadly blasts in churches and hotels in and around Colombo, where large groups of people had gathered for Easter. The series of coordinated bomb blasts by the Islamic suicide squad left more than 300 people killed and at least 500 injured. ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack, with the perpetrators pledging allegiance to former ISIL-leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
India witnessed 558 terrorist attacks and 277 deaths from terrorism in 2019. Compared to other countries in the top ten list of most affected nations, India faces a wide range of terrorist groups. The Maoist insurgents and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) are responsible for over two-thirds of deaths and almost half the total attacks.
As far as India is concerned, Jammu and Kashmir was the most affected Region due to terrorism and accounted for 103 deaths in over 165 attacks. The three most active groups in Kashmir include Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Chhattisgarh was the second most affected region in India with 53 deaths and 85 attacks by Maoist Extremists.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs in India, terrorism poses a significant threat to the people of India. India faces a wide range of terror from Islamic terrorism, separatist terrorism, and left-wing terrorism. The 8th report on terrorism in India published in 2008 defined terrorism as the peacetime equivalent of a war crime. This description is similar to one provided by the United Nations’ in 2000
Terrorism in India has a long history. There are over 800 terrorist cells operating and 205 out of the country’s 608 districts are affected by terrorist activity in India. They have to an extent successfully created an atmosphere of tension amongst the citizens. Terrorist attacks create a sense of doubt in the minds of foreign investors and make them think twice before investing in a terrorist prone area like J&K or North East. Instead, they opt for safer alternatives. This leads to a big blow to the business and economy.
As terrorist attacks cause loss of life and property, the replenishment takes up a lot of capital. It also results in a lot of potential doctors, engineers, and artists leaving the country to settle abroad for a safer environment.
List of terrorist groups active in various states
The government has identified 65 terror groups active in the country, out of which a maximum of 34 are in Manipur. Available intelligence inputs show that militants/terrorists active in India are often supported and funded by their parent outfits based abroad, particularly in Pakistan which among other facilities provides them shelter, training, weapons and finance. Many of these are also listed and banned by the United States and European Union.
Jammu and Kashmir has five active militant organisations including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizbul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Harkat-e-Mujahidden and Al Badr. Babbar Khalsa International, Khalistan Zindabad Force and Khalistan Commando Force are the three militant groups active in Punjab whereas LeT, IM, HM, HuJI, and Al Badr are active in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi.
In the North-East, Assam has 11, Meghalaya four, Tripura two, Nagaland four, Mizoram two and Manipur 34.
Anti-Terrorism Day is observed on 21 May every year. The day marks the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who was assassinated on 21 May 1991.