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Terrorism And The Society

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 4187 words Published: 3rd May 2017

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HYPOTHESIS: Terrorism is a forceful and unlawful method to achieve the desired goal. Its sole motive is to overthrow the existing law and order machinery. It is a deliberate use of violence against civilians and armed personnel and the state.


Before we get into Terrorism and it’s effects on Society, we must clearly understand what ‘terrorism’ means.

Terrorism isn’t a new term, and though it has been used since the beginning of recorded history, it is still relatively hard to define. It has been described both, as a tactic and a strategy; a crime and a holy duty; a justified reaction to oppression and an inexcusable abomination. It is quite obvious that a lot depends on from whose point of view the term is being explained. Terrorism is often an effective tactic for the weaker side in a conflict. Being asymmetric form of conflict, it is able to confer coercive power with many advantages of military force at a much lower cost. The small size and secretive nature of terrorist organizations are the reasons why they often offer opponents no clear organization to defend against or to deter.

Terrorism has, in some cases, been a method to carry on a conflict without the opponent realizing the nature of the threat, mistaking terrorism for criminal activity. Due to these attributes, terrorism has become increasingly common among those pursuing extreme goals throughout the world. But despite its popularity, terrorism can be a vague and hazy concept.

Terrorism is a criminal act that influences an audience beyond the immediate victim. The terrorists have a strategy. That is, to commit acts of violence that draws the attention of the local people, the government, and the world to their cause. The planning of their attacks is such as to obtain the greatest publicity and to choose targets that symbolize what they oppose. It is not the terrorist act itself that gives effectiveness to the act, but rather the public or government’s reaction to the act. For example, in the 1972 Munich Olympics, the Black September Organization killed 11 Israelis. Even though the Israelis were the immediate victims, the true target was the estimated one billion people watching the event on television.

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There are three basic perspectives of terrorism, namely, the victim’s, the general public’s, and the terrorist’s. The phrase “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” is a view that terrorists themselves would accept. They do not see themselves as evil. They believe themselves to be licensed soldiers, fighting for what they believe in, by whatever means possible. A victim of a terrorist act sees the terrorist as an offender, a felon, a criminal with no regard for human life. The general public’s view is the most unstable.

India has been affected more by terrorism than other countries. India has faced more significant terrorist attacks than most countries in recent times, and the attacks on the Mumbai commuter rail system makes the fact clear that the threat of terrorism still persists.

India, like other countries, has responded by enacting special antiterrorism laws. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the attacks soon thereafter on the Jammu & Kashmir Assembly and the Indian Parliament buildings, India enacted the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 2002 (POTA). POTA incorporated many of the provisions found the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act of 1985, an earlier law that remained in effect until 1995. While POTA was potentially repealed in 2004, cases pending at the time of repeal have proceeded. The government has preserved some of POTA’s key provisions by reenacting them as amendments to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967.

Some of the commonly agreed characteristics of a terrorist movement are:

1) Violence

2) Psychological impact and fear

3) Perpetrated for a political goal

4) Deliberate targeting of non-combatants

5) Unlawfulness or legitimacy


‘Colonial Continuities: Human Rights, Terrorism and Security Laws in India’ is an article written by Anil Kalhan. It examines India’s anti-terrorism and other security laws.

“POTA and other Indian antiterrorism laws have raised a host of human rights issues, some of which are similar to those raised by antiterrorism laws in other countries, including the United States. Such concerns include, overly broad and ambiguous definitions of terrorism that fail to satisfy the principle of legality”.

‘Global Terrorism and Major Indian Legislations’ as the name suggests is an article on terrorism that explains the meaning of global terrorism and how the Indian Government is trying to fight against terrorism by making laws etc. It examines how effectively provisions in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 can deal with offences related to global terrorism.

‘From Socio-economic imbalance to Terrorism-The Case of North East India’ is an article written by Siddhartha Mitra. It sheds light on the causation that has led to the association between high incidence of terrorist activity and the low level of affluence in the North East region.

“An imbalance is also created by the high level of literacy which facilitates the creation of discontented politically motivated terrorist groups as a reaction to the mentioned outcomes.”


The series of bomb-blasts in India, (Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai and now Pune) and the less publicized killings in Kashmir, Orissa, Assam, Gujarat, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, seems to be part of a pre-planned and calculated program of terror-generation by various fundamentalist groups. These disruptive forces must be resisted and while standing united as Indians, we should think of strategies and tactics for promoting peace and eliminating terrorism from India..

With this intention, I am attempting to elicit, compile and analyse people’s views and ideas on how best to deal with this imminent threat. My objective is to create a useful document that will reflect the perceptions of citizens on the causes of terrorism and the concrete steps required to be taken to promote peace.


The people answering the questions preferred to remain anonymous, I have interviewed eight people, asking them FIVE basic questions, being:

1. How can we fight against Terrorism?

2. Is the government in denial about Terrorism in India?

3. Do we all agree that Terrorism is he outcome of Religious Teachings?

4. How can we stop Terrorism?

5. Does our country need strong laws to fight terrorism?


1.The government should start a separate department like the CBI and the Defense and President of India should control this department. This department should have all the powers to arrest anybody who is a suspect. Media should be kept away from this department so that media leaks no information. And common man should not fear these attacks, it is easy to say but following is not easy.

2. A fight against terrorism can be combated only by developing a collective conscience of religious tolerance and a focus on “human rights conscience”

3.Make every body educated from childhood that terrorism will never lead to any solution.

4. 1) By countering and prevention of attacks or possible attacks by force when and where possible to the maximum extent. As terrorists by nature are afraid and they are trying to use their fear for work for them. Enlighten their fear to an extend that they would think twice before they take up weapons 2)By opening ways of peace at the same time and trying to find a solution for the future if possible, but then again this is a game not of today but the future. This requires planning. A well planned and well executed operation of peace or war seldom fail. 4) Provide social security and livelihood means to the youth of the country so that they do not take up anti-nationalism as a means fro daily bread. 5) Educate people, for a well-educated person is less likely to be fooled by the utopian ideas of terrorist campaigners.

5. First & foremost we have to possess a full fledged anti terrorist mind within ourselves. Where ever whenever we find any small activity of terrorism we have to raise our voice against it together, not alone & create a fear in the evil minds devil terrorists instead of being scared of their killing attitude & activities. This can only be possible if we stand united & with full support of police & govt. administration. To stop any such unsocial activities the whole country has to protest together & put an end to TERRORISM.

6. By eradicating the differences of castes, creeds, community, reservations, unemployment etc. from the society and by educating the youth about the self esteem, self-reliance, self-motivation, self-sufficiency, etc.

7. Educating one & all, then spreading awareness & with providing financial security to every one, we can definitely remove terrorism.

8. Terrorism is a problem and any problem can be finished if we identify its root and act on it. So far no one is able to achieve this because all of us are acting on Terrorism with a motive to kill the terrorist but this may be impossible. In fact we should find the cause for why are people joining the terror outfits and should solve their resentments. Terrorism should in fact be solved with talks and not weapons. They attack us and then we do and then do it again and the cycle goes on. So blood with blood is not the solution.


1. The Government is always in denial mood about terrorism. The politicians are utilizing terrorism for their political benefit. So for them it can be defined as agitation to facilitate their purpose of winning seats and form Govt. Long live Terrorism but deny that those are within the purview of terrorism so long they help to retain political power — this is the mood of the Government. It is clear from their activities.

2. Yes, as it could be seen by the fact that even after repeated terrorist attacks in Hyderabad, the Central Government has not finalized or even initialized a pan India Law dealing with such stupid acts. Also there is a desperate need for a more efficient Intelligence Agency.

3. This government is not at all serious about the terrorism. They don’t want to implement any good laws against the terrorist and also removed POTA. This indicates the bad game played by this government behind the scenes.

4. No. Rather Government has set up anti-terrorist squads across the country in strategic fields. In Police, Military everywhere they’ve these squads working. Further, what about Laws? Our Indian parliament passed many laws to deal with the situations. India is one of those countries, which are facing terrorism.

5. The Government is not in denial about terrorism. It has shown great activeness in the Kashmir issue. But the real thing is that the government is ignoring the maintenance of a spy system.

6. No. It is rather in a state of blissful ignorance. They know very well that the threat of terrorism is real and has been here for a long time. What the government doesn’t know now is that the general public is getting wise to this. They still peddle clichéd responses to such attacks in the belief that we, the new age Indian Citizens, are not aware of the reality. Vote bank politics is the prime culprit if you ask me. Everything in this country is being given the colour and shape of communalism and minority bashing. If loss of so many lives in recent times is not enough for the mandarins and politicos to kick into action, I only wonder what will be. The mere thought of it gives me a shudder.

7. Yes, I thoroughly believe that Indian politics is not taking ample measures to correct the state of terrorism in the country. We always think that North East is the worst affected area but the bigger picture that we are neglecting is the expansion of the red corridor. Yes, it’s the Naxalism that is now affecting India from within India. Other than the terrorism from outside, see the condition of the states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Our government is more busy on fighting over petty issues with Pakistan while they are not monitoring the internal insecurity and disrupt that is coming up strongly.

8. Government is doing their duty but still have to take some strong steps.


1. Terrorism is nothing but ignorance of religion.

2. No religion teaches terrorism, but people practice terrorism in the name of religion

3. I strongly disagree that terrorism is the outcome of religious teaching, as every religion teaches peace and a way of making this world a better place to live. Terrorism is due to some corrupt people who use religion as their mask.

4. No, I do not agree fully. Religious fanaticism could be one of the factors of terrorism but there are other factors as well. Now almost all backward tribes are coming up with their legitimate demands that their lands be returned to them and getting no positive response, the youth took to Arms. The creation of ULFA was also on the similar note. This is not an unknown fact that the entire North East Region has been being treated with the step motherly attitude and negligence from the Center. There is a limit of everything. 

Secondly Government’s failure to tackle the unemployment problem also added to the woes. Like this there are numerous causes that Terrorism finally got a shape and the blame goes to the ruling Govt.

5. It is not religion. It is power. Religion is just a reason behind the terrorism, No religion in this world preaches terrorism. Terrorists are just preaching their religion known to be terrorism.

6. No. Though it seems so, it is not so. No religion teaches hatred for other human beings. No religion teaches terrorism. All the religions teach love and brotherhood.

7. Actually terrorism should not be compared with any religion because terrorism has no religions. Terrorists do not believe in any religion but they just take the name of religion and do all terrorists activities everywhere. Hindu

8. This is one of many independent factors. But, look at LTTE, Naxalists, and Maoists all politically motivated hence aiming at only police and administration. This is no justification. They still stand cruel.


1.Spread love. What is the reason of terror? I think it needs great research and work. There is a big need to understand basic grounds and cause for it. And yes, our legal and political system is very important for it. Timely action and justice is very important.

2. Everyone should be a paragon of virtue, an ambassador of goodwill and a mentor of humanity. Try to follow the adage “Charity begins at home”. If you can cleanse your personal atmosphere, proceed to a larger section, the society and the community. Then move on to the Nation. If everyone makes a simple enough attempt, the society can be free of terrorism.

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3. Government has to give police and defense forces more power. Separate department should be there which monitors only terrorists and their activities. This action force will only attend the cases, which are related to terrorism and stop the terror in the country. This body will be only controlled by the President of India and Chief Justice of Supreme court, no other MP’s or ruling party has any say to this department. In this way one can bring down the terrorism to some extent.

4. There should not be any leniency towards these terrorist out laws and our security forces are to be given a free hand to engage them, and destroy them, for the crores of peaceful citizens of India to live safely without any fear. There should not be any political interference in this matter.

5. By not indulging politics & religion in the fundamental book of law.

6. Empower and educate people. Create more potent terror laws. Involve the media

7. Terrorism can be stopped by public awareness as well applying POTA.

8. Monitoring these groups closely for signs of illegal activity.


1.Our Law is already powerful. Anyhow, we have to seal the holes in it. The terrorism problem is not only in India, it’s happened all over the World. It’s against mankind. So we need strictly different approaches to eradicate this evil

2. Yes it does.

3. Stronger anti-terror measures are needed to combat homegrown militants.

4. We do not need a MISA, TADA or POTA. They are inhuman in nature. The present laws if used properly can deal with terrorism.

5. The existing laws are good enough. The problem is with the entire system. There has to be unbiased people working in our police, intelligence and defence department without a political agenda and without their own religious beliefs coming in the way of dealing with terror. Then and only then will we be able to wipe terrorism out, else we will push innocent victims towards terrorism.

6. We have very strong laws, but all the citizens and specially politicians must be faithful to the Nation to help solve the problem.

7. No. We do not require any more laws. Law cannot control terrorism. 
Instead it can be developed by better discipline. If you and me start to follow discipline, the question of TERROR will not appear 
in the minds of the people

8.Yes, we do need strong laws to fight terrorism.


From the above Survey we find, Terrorism is a great threat to our society in general. Different people have different opinions as to the ways in which terrorism can be countered. Everyone agrees that the law is essential to help control terrorism. Some believe that the existing laws are good enough as long as the Government does it’s duty and implements them properly, while others are of the opinion that stronger laws are required to fight terrorism. In the present day and age, people are aware that religion isn’t the CAUSE of terrorism. It is merely an excuse used by the terrorists. Many blame the corrupt practices of the government and other powerful persons for the rise in terrorist activities. The negligence and suffering experienced by the terrorists in their childhood, or even later in in life have, in the opinions of some people, lead them to commit such evils.

Terrorism poses a great threat to the law and order machinery of the state and leads to disintegration of society. The incidence of torture, extortion, murder, arson, kidnapping and mutilation, create an atmosphere of panic, fear and suspicion. Terrorists kill innocent, unarmed civilians. Life becomes uncertain.

Violence and organized crime cause social disharmony. There is an end to economic development and heavy expenditure has to be made by the government to meet the challenges of terrorism.

Facets of society, from freedom of religious expression to physical and political control over a region, are sought to be changed by terrorists. However, differences between societies results in different definitions of terrorism and great differences in characterizations of groups or individuals as terrorists. The pain, terror and sadness, the whole impact of terrorism has been difficult for people living around it and has invoked governments to raise their efforts to control terrorism.

After the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008, Indian Spiritual Guru, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said, “This terrorist attack has left Indians in the grip of fear and anxiety. In this situation, religious and political leaders need to show the country that we stand together against terrorism.”

In order to remedy terrorism, we must inculcate a broader perspective of life, more than race, religion or nationality. We must educate people in human values of friendliness, compassion, cooperation and upliftment. We must help cultivate confidence in achieving noble aims by peaceful and non-violent means and we must create spiritual upliftment that will help weed out destructive tendencies. Along with this, the government needs to be proactive, there is a need for collective public safety and security measures, stringent action has to be taken by the enforcement agencies, there is need for an apex body to collect, coordinate and analyze data and there is also need for a timely, actionable intelligence which can be provided by HUMINT. All this will not be possible without winning the public support to combat terrorism effectively.

‘Terrorism’ is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as the “unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.”

Terrorism is thus a forceful and unlawful method to achieve the desired goal. It’s sole objective is to overthrow the existing law and order machinery. It is a deliberate use of violence against the civilians and armed personnel and the state.


The Indian judiciary has been sensitive to the debate regarding the definition of ‘Terrorist Activity’. A pragmatic approach has been taken by the court to ascertain the elements of terrorism from the act allegedly committed by the accused, rather than going deep into a debate on what the exact definition of terrorism is. Even while public opinion was strongly against specialized statutes for tackling terrorism and the strong provisions of these statutes, the courts continuously upheld its constitutional validity, suggesting only some checks and balances. On the whole it can be summed up that Indian judiciary was an active partner in the country’s war against terrorism and has at all occasions risen above political and academic concerns to address the real issue of terrorism.


Since Independence in 1947, India has been the victim of various insurgencies and terrorism. The magnitude of attacks and their impacts have only increased over the years. Under these circumstances there is a need to include certain provisions to deal strongly and effectively with this issue in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the other major legislations like the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Incorporation of a separate chapter in the Indian Penal Code that defines terrorism and other related offences could be a great step forward. Stringent and deterrent punishment could also be prescribed for such offences.

The National Investigative Agency (NIA) Act, 2008 and the Prevention of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act 2008 are two effective legislations in this regard. One way of preventing these terrorist acts can be by reorganizing the entire Indian intelligence set up along the lines that the United States has done in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks.

Thus, I conclude my paper on Terrorism and Society with what the Honourable Supreme Court of India, in Mohd. Khalid v. State of West Bengal observed.

That is:

” Terrorism is one of the manifestations of increased lawlessness and cult of violence. Violence and crime constitute a threat to an established order and are a revolt against a civilized society. “Terrorism” has not been defined under TADA nor is it possible to give a precise definition of “terrorism” or lay down what constitutes “terrorism”. It may be possible to describe it as use of violence when its most important result is not merely the physical and mental damage of the victim but the prolonged psychological effect it produces or has the potential of producing on the society as a whole. There may be death, injury, or destruction of property or even deprivation of individual liberty in the process but the extent and reach of the intended terrorist activity travels beyond the effect of an ordinary crime capable of being punished under the ordinary penal law of the land and its main objective is to overawe the Government or disturb the harmony of the society or “terrorize” people and the society and not only those directly assaulted, with a view to disturb the even tempo, peace and tranquility of the society and create a sense of fear and insecurity.”


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