Terrorism has existed in one form or another in many societies for centuries. It is the methods, means and weapons that account for differentiation of various manifestations of terrorism. Terrorism does not refer to the goals of an activity or an organization but to the means by which theses goals are pursued. State terrorism is carried out by state actors and is characterized by widespread and systematic use of violence, in violation of international humanitarian laws or human rights law against dissenting voices and domestic opposition groups. In contrast, state sponsored terrorism involves terrorists act by non-state actors, operating with overt or covert support of a state .
Terrorism according to Brain M. Jenkins and Joseph Dowling, involves the unlawful use of force or violence, both sporadic and random, resorted to by some individuals against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives or for seeking retribution of some real or perceived grievances, and it has been broadly recognized that terrorism is an international problem which cannot be solved by any single country alone.
Terrorism has been practiced throughout the history and throughout the world. In democratic countries, the people can express their views without any fear. If the genuine grievances are not looked into, the people have other democratic and non-violent, means available to them to focus attention of the government. However in recent years some people have started resorting top terrorism to pre4ss their demands often it is innocent and the helpless who become its victims.
DEVELOPMENT OF THOUGHT:
Terrorism is a world wide phenomena and yet there is no internationally accepted definition of it. Broadly it is defined as an organized system of intimidation and violence especially for political purpose.
Terrorism started its grow5th on the international horizon in the 1960’s fueelled by the early success of the PLO which introduced airline hijacking as an international weapon to further their cause. This was followed by kidnappings, assassinations and so on by the groups like the Iranian Mujahedeen, the American ASALA, the German Bader Mein hof, Italian red brigade and the Japanee red army which have forged links and alliances to perpetrate terror worldwide. There is also the IRA in Britain and the LITTE of Sri Lanka which has been responsible for the deaths of Rajiv Gandhi and the Premadasa.
Terrorism has become endemic in India since early 1980’s. it has been nurtured nd planted by external agencies, especially Pakistan, in the sensitive states of Kashmir and Punjab where the concept of regional autonomy has been exploited by Pakistan. The North Eastern states with its outfits like the ULFA and the NSCN are also indulging in kidnapping and other terrorist activities. However it is the March 12, 1993 serial bombing of Bombay which has really introduced the face of international terrorism to India.
CAUSES OF TERRORISM
Political frustration, religious and racial fanaticism and economic backwardness are the main causes of terrorism. External powers encourage terrorism in order to create instability in certain regions. Terrorists are extremists who believe in the cult of violence and who want to coerce governments into agreements on certain issues. They indulge in hijacking, shooting, arson etc.
There are serious conceptual issues in any understanding and analysis of terrorism. Some of them are:
First of all, 11 September no doubt has irrevocably changed the definition of terror but the threat posed by terrorism and various forms of low intensity conflict for domestic order and international stability, on the one hand, and the question of definition and the issue of an international regime, on the other, predated the terror strike on 11 September and the current global campaign to contain it. Necessarily, questions have been raised regarding the distinctions drawn between one form of terror that occasions international campaign and action and other, less spectacular but nonetheless deadly manifestations of terrorism in various parts of the world.
Secondly, their remains the question of the roots of terrorism. General underdevelopment, relative deprivation, lack of democratic structures and practices, failure to address the grievances of the ethnic groups and marginalized sections of the society, and above all intolerance and antagonism are breeding grounds of terrorism. Terrorist activities may be conducted in the name of ‘National Liberation Struggle’ and struggle for ‘National self determination’. These are increasingly conducted in the name of the religion too. Mostly these are a reflection of failure to deliver good governance and unwillingness on the part of the nation states to understand sovereignty as responsibility, and not merely as authority.
Thirdly, an important consideration is the ‘globalizing’ nature of terrorism. Globalization represents elimination of time and distance barriers and makes it possible to access and avail information, technology and communications. These characteristics of globalization has helped the perpetrators of terrorists acts, allowing them to cross state frontiers, acquire weapon and equipment, transfer funds, communicate and network with each other. In the absence of international control of arms trafficking and due to economic globalization, access to “Black market” ensures ready availability of weapons and military equipment.
CHEMICAL WEAPON TERRORISM
So far as chemicals weapons are concerned, the effects of chemical weapons agents on human physiological processes can result in death, temporary incapacitation or permanent damage. Chemical warfare agents are synthetic, super toxic poisons that are inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Invisible nerve agents such as Sarin can kill in minutes by respiratory paralysis; while persistent nerve agents, such as VX, can contaminate buildings and people, causing disruption and chaos in the affected area.
Resort to chemical terrorism in recent times made by the Japanese religious cult Anum Shinrikyo, whose members released the nerve agent Sarin in Tokyo subway killing 12 people and injuring more than a thousand.
BIOLOGICAL WEAPON TERRORISM
A biological weapon consists of biological agents and delivery systems. Biological weapons agents are reproductive microorganisms and toxins of biological origins that are produced for non peaceful purposes and whose effects on physiological processes can result in death, temporary incapacitation or permanent damage. The effects of Biological Weapons agents can vary greatly. Some pathogens are not contagious but can cause fatal diseases like Anthrax.
The use of Anthrax can also prove deadly as has been demonstrated by its use in letters posted in envelops in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the New York city world Trade centre on September 11, 2001.
A thereat that terrorism currently presents and one that has been seriously underrated, is the potential for agroterrorism, i.e., attacks on a society’s agricultural infrastructures. Such attacks could be accomplished by the introduction of the animal or plant pests or the cultivation production of pathogenic bacteria, fungi, parasites, protozoas, viruses, or other toxics products for the purpose of causing poultry, livestock, crop, soil or human disease, poisoning or death.
According to US department of defense, the threats of an agroterrorist attack on American farms that feed American cities is no longer considered a remote possibility
Another important issue is the question of an international regime against terrorism. An impressive expansion of positive law in the field of counter terrorism legislation has marked the twentieth century. However, ambiguity in the definition of terrorism remains. State can use the term arbitrarily in order to be in agreement with their propaganda and foreign policy goals. It has not been possible to clear the semantic confusions and make valid distinctions between a ‘terrorist’ and a ‘freedom fighter’, between a terrorist organization and a ‘national liberation movement’ or to achieve a balance between anti terrorism policies and human rights, etc. the identification of the difference between terrorism and movements of national liberation as well as the clarifications of the right of the self-determination are closely related to the conduct, effectiveness and success of an anti–terrorism regime. There has been piecemeal international legislation addressing aspects of terrorist activities but no international consensus has evolved that takes a macro view of the threat represented.; part of the problem is the unequal development of national societies and the decentralized nature of the consensus building processes in the world. But a more important problem is the use of the terrorism as an instrument of state policy, whether in relation to the neighboring states or to contain domestic dissent. International consensus and approval of a common definition of terrorism would substantially facilitate the struggle against terrorism. What is required is a general anti terrorist convention, away from the bunch of destructive conceptual and semantic confusions and controversy so that no terrorist activity remains unpunished.
It is only by improving social, economic and political conditions and by fostering the forces of democracy and secularism peace and stability that the battle against violence, fratricidal conflict and terrorism can be won.