Terrorism and the Indian State – Lessons of History

Over the last few weeks, the decision to hang Yakub Memon for his role in the Mumbai blasts of March 1993, the terror attack on a police station in Gurdaspur, Punjab, followed by the capture of an alleged terrorist in the course of an attack on a convoy of the Border Security Force near Udhampur, Jammu, have turned the spotlight once again on terrorism.

Our people have suffered immensely from terrorism. No more can it be said that terrorist acts are restricted to Assam, Manipur and Jammu & Kashmir. The people of Punjab, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Malegaon, Ajmer, Coimbatore, Bengaluru and other places have been the victims of repeated acts of terrorism. Trains, buses, market places, temples, mosques, courts — all have been the scene of such terrorist attacks.

It is but natural that the people of our country want to see an end to this senseless violence. For this, we must first correctly identify the chief beneficiary and organizer of terrorism in our country.

As in the case of earlier terrorist attacks, the government, the major TV channels, as well as the principal opposition parties have blamed Pakistan for being behind these terrorist attacks in our country. This conveniently serves to divert attention from the failure of the state in protecting the lives of the people. It enables the state to justify draconian measures attacking the rights of people, in the name of putting down terrorism. People are asked to support repressive measures, fascist laws, etc.

Later investigations have revealed that several major terrorist acts that have taken place in our country have been falsely blamed on Pakistan.  The attacks on the Samjhauta Express, the Malegaon blasts, the Macca Masjid and Ajmer Sharif are some examples. Investigations have also revealed that hundreds of innocent people have been unjustly tortured and jailed for long years for this or that terrorist act, only to be released later for want of evidence.

Converting political problems into law and order problems

The Gurdaspur terrorist killings have once again brought to light the whole period of the eighties and early nineties when state terrorism in the name of fighting individual terrorism became the preferred method of rule in our country. The intelligence agencies have spread the story through the media that they are allegedly concerned that this could be marking a new phase of K-2 terrorism, meaning “Kashmir-Khalistan terrorism sponsored by Pakistan”. It is being speculated that Pakistan may be “sending signals to sleeper cells of Khalistani groups” to allegedly revive militancy in that state. Police are following the movement of “suspicious people” in villages of the Punjab.  It brings back memories of the unbearable conditions that prevailed in the eighties and early nineties, when youth were picked up on a daily basis, tortured and murdered after being accused of being terrorists.

The Army attack on the Golden Temple in June 1984 in which thousands of innocent men, women and children were brutally killed, followed by the assault on numerous other Gurudwaras in Punjab in 1984 was unbridled state terrorism. It was justified on the basis that Sikhs were planning to launch a war to murder all Hindus in Punjab. This was proven later on to be nothing other than a monstrous lie. In November of the same year, thousands of Sikhs were brutally murdered in broad daylight in the streets of Delhi and other towns.

In those days, terrorist groups in Punjab pulled out Hindus from buses and shot them to death. Bombs were regularly planted in two wheelers in Delhi and other places, killing innocent people. A climate of anarchy and terror was created in Punjab, Delhi and other places.

Subsequent revelations, including from top police officers in charge of Punjab, have shown that in a number of cases, men of the Punjab police in civil dress themselves carried out the massacre of Hindu passengers after pulling them out of buses. It has also been revealed that thousands of youth were simply picked up from their homes, tortured, murdered and their bodies thrown into canals.

Punjab and India were facing a crisis at that time. It was a crisis of the capitalist course of development and of the state of the Indian Union.  The specific role assigned to Punjab in the capitalist strategy of the big bourgeoisie was as the producer of wheat and rice for the country; and this had turned Punjab into the most advanced agrarian economy with no large-scale industry, leading to lakhs of hardworking Punjabis emigrating to different countries abroad. The people of Punjab felt discriminated at the hands of the central state. The demand for more powers to the state of Punjab had been raised by the Akali Party in its Anandpur Sahib Resolution. The Central government refused to address the economic and political problems of Punjab. Instead, it fanned communal hysteria and set Hindus and Sikhs against each other by deliberately giving a communal color to the demands of the Akali Party. It distorted the demand for autonomy and treated it as a demand for secession. The response of the Indian state revealed its thoroughly colonial and imperialist character.

Caught in the pincers of terrorism and state terrorism, the struggle of the people of Punjab was brutally divided and crushed. Right through the eighties, every act of terrorism carried out in Punjab, Delhi and other places was used to whip up anti-Sikh and anti-Pakistan hysteria, and justify the brutal suppression and murder of innocent people of the Sikh faith. These terrorist acts served to divert the anger of people from the organizers of the massacres of people in Delhi, Punjab and other places to “Sikh terrorists” allegedly sponsored by Pakistan.

The struggle of the progressive forces of Punjab and India for unveiling the truth behind the massacres in Punjab, Delhi and other places, and punishing those guilty of organizing these massacres has continued for 31 long years. It can be concluded that the ruling class deliberately avoided dealing with the political problems and converted them into a “law and order problem”. They imposed terrorism on the movement and thus sought to justify unbridled state terrorism.

The ruling class and its state continue to deny that there is a political problem in Punjab.  They deny that there is a nation called Punjab — a nation which has been partitioned twice over, once on the basis of religion and a second time on the basis of language — and that the people of Punjab have legitimate national aspirations which cannot be denied. Apart from everything else, those fighting for justice for the victims of state terrorism are being falsely accused of trying to “revive militancy”. These developments are pointing to the possibility that given the growing discontent amongst the people of Punjab at their conditions, the ruling class might be preparing conditions for justifying intensified state terror, using terrorist acts as a justification.    

The people of Assam, Manipur, and other North Eastern states have been at the receiving end of terrorism and state terrorism, as well as sectarian killings for decades. The Manipuris, Nagas, Assamese, and other peoples of this region have been expressing their opposition to what they perceive to be a colonial and imperialist rule of the Central state and demanding their political rights. What is needed is the reorganization of the Indian Union as a voluntary union of consenting nations and peoples. The Indian big bourgeoisie, controlling the Indian state, has adamantly refused to do so. Instead, it has unleashed army rule over the people for decades on end. The Armed Forces have complete impunity through the AFSPA for the rapes and murders they repeatedly carry out. Numerous shadowy armed groups carry on their activities in the North East, adding to the climate of anarchy and violence. It has been admitted by senior retired intelligence officers that many of the armed groups in the North East have the patronage of the Indian intelligence services and the Army and they have been useful in dividing the people and disorienting their struggles.

The people of the Kashmir Valley have suffered immensely under the jackboots of the army. Tens of thousands of people have been killed over the past 25 years. The struggle of the Kashmiri people for their national rights has been declared to be “anti national”. It has been documented that the intelligence agencies of the state have organized, trained and armed various terrorist groups such as the Ikwan who carry out cold blooded murder of people, and dispose of their bodies in unmarked graves. The terrible plight of the Kashmiri people can be gauged from the fact that an organization called Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) has emerged in that state, to identify those missing in terrorist violence. The Indian state has consistently denied that there are political problems of Kashmir to be resolved. Instead, it has turned the state into an armed military camp, in the name of fighting “cross border terrorism”.

The Mumbai terrorist killings of 1993

The Mumbai bomb blasts of March 1993 in which over 256 innocent people died followed immediately upon large scale communal violence in that city in the weeks and months preceding it, in which over a thousand innocent people died. Earlier, in December 1992, the Babri Masjid had been demolished. All over the country, the atmosphere was thoroughly communalized, and large scale communal massacres had taken place in a number of towns.

This was a time the Indian bourgeoisie was caught in a severe crisis and trying to get out of it at the expense of the people. The old course of Nehruvian model of socialism had reached a dead end. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the bipolar division of the world posed new challenges. It had to reorient its economic policies and global strategy in the new conditions, to advance its imperialist goals. It was faced with mounting opposition from the workers and peasants, as well as from sections within its own ranks. The communal massacres, the climate of anarchy and violence, ensured that the opposition of the working class and toiling masses was diverted, disoriented and crushed. It also served to assert the dominant role of the monopolies and put down dissent within the bourgeois class.

Several people’s commissions have brought out how the Central government and various state governments supervised the demolition of the Babri Masjid, as well as the communal massacres that followed. As in the case of Punjab and the massacres of Sikhs of November 1984, no one has been punished for these communal massacres. The bomb blasts served the purpose of diverting the anger of people from the perpetrators of the communal massacres in Mumbai to “terrorists backed by Pakistan”. It cannot be ruled out that the bomb blasts could have been organized by the intelligence agencies of the Indian state through the underworld.

The 2002 genocide of people in Gujarat marked the beginning of a new phase of terrorism and state terrorism. The fascist POTA was promulgated in the wake of the parliament attack in December 2002, to be replaced by the UAPA in 2005. Hundreds of innocent Muslim youth have been murdered in fake encounters, such as the Ishrat Jehan encounter case in Ahmedabad, and the Batla House encounter case in Delhi. All over the country, youth have been falsely implicated, arrested, tortured and imprisoned under these fascist laws. Shadowy organizations such as the Indian Mujaheedeen have been created, and various terrorist attacks attributed to them. The security forces and intelligence agencies of the state carry out raids and arrests of anyone who questions state terrorism, or exposes the role of the state in state organized communal massacres. Over 80% of the nearly 7,000 people currently incarcerated in the jails under the UAPA are people of the Muslim faith, the remaining being people of the Sikh faith and those labeled as Maoist sympathizers.

The entire anti-national and anti-social course of globalization through liberalization and privatization, which has faced wide opposition from the working class and peasantry, has been carried out alongside the communalization of the polity, innumerable terrorist attacks, as well as fascisation of the entire life of society. Looking back, terrorism has been a convenient justification for unbridled state terrorism, for disrupting and disorienting all opposition to the exploitative and oppressive rule of the bourgeoisie.

The US and terrorism     

These days, there is a lot of propaganda about the ISIS.  The United States has branded it as a dangerous organization that is trying to establish world domination.

US imperialism is striving to ensure its domination over the whole world. It unveiled its plans to do so, at the very beginning of this century. It talks about ISIS wanting world domination, to hide its own aims. There is sufficient evidence to show that the US has itself spawned various terrorist organizations, including the ISIS to advance its aims.

The US intervened in the 80’s during the liberation war of the Afghan people against the Soviet social imperialist occupation forces to advance its own goals of domination of the region. It organized, trained and armed various terrorist groups to carry out its mission. These groups are responsible for spreading mayhem in many countries of the world, while the hand of their masters remain hidden. The US has proven to be a past master in destabilizing various countries, in order to bring them under its domination.

The US imperialists blamed the 9/11 attacks on a terrorist organization called Al Qaida. In fact the US state had unveiled plans for ensuring US domination of the world in the 21st century, in early 2001, before the 9/11 terrorist strike. This included redrawing the maps of West Asia, and Eurasia. The conquest of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, the US imperialist sponsored civil war aimed at regime change in Syria, and numerous other interventions in Asia, Africa and Europe have followed to achieve these imperialist aims.

US imperialism has launched the “war against terrorism” in the name of putting an end to this state of anarchy and violence created by the terrorist organizations spawned by its intelligence agencies. People of the Islamic faith have been declared to be terrorists, and carrying out regime change in various countries is justified. Within US, Britain and other imperialist countries, draconian fascist measures have been enacted in the name of counter terrorism, targeting the working class and toiling masses in general, and the people of Islamic faith in particular. Worldwide, the just anti-imperialist struggle of the Islamic peoples against US imperialism and its wars of conquest, in defence of national sovereignty, and in defence of their rights, have been denigrated and condemned as “terrorist” and “fundamentalist”.

The conquest of Asia remains central to US strategy for domination of the world in the 21st century. Keeping India and Pakistan at perpetual loggerheads, ever ready to go to war with each other, is a key element in this strategy. As long as India and Pakistan remain at loggerheads with one another, the US can play the role of “peacemaker”, arming both, inciting one against the other, and then sermonizing on “peace”. This is not in the interests of the peoples of India and Pakistan.

We must never forget that the British colonialists organized the partition of our country in August 1947, in order to ensure continued imperialist domination of South Asia and disorient and crush the struggle of our people for national and social liberation. Ever since, Anglo American imperialism has played India and Pakistan against each other, now appearing to favour one and now the other, in order to safeguard and advance its positions in South Asia. The ruling bourgeoisie of both India and Pakistan have repeatedly fallen into the trap of the Anglo American imperialists.

The Indian bourgeoisie is very excited about the developing strategic relationship with the US. It is forgetting the lesson of history that Pakistan too had, and continues to have, a strategic relationship with the US. At the present time, with the lifting of the embargo on Iran, and the plans for withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, US imperialism is seeking to retain its domination over Afghanistan with the assistance of Pakistan. This is not to the liking of India.

The track record of the US shows that it has been one of the principal sponsors of terrorism worldwide as part of its plans for world domination.


The principal sponsor of terrorism in our country is none other than the Indian state. The Indian state deliberately blames Pakistan for all the terrorist acts in India, in order to divert attention from its own role.

The Indian bourgeoisie, excited by the prospect of achieving its imperialist ambitions, is playing a dangerous game. The whipping up of chauvinist hysteria against Pakistan helps it in disorienting the struggles of the working class and toiling masses. Acts of terrorism provide it with justification for intensified state terrorism.

People must keep in mind that the Indian state is a state that has deployed its army to slaughter its own people, a state that has repeatedly organised communal genocides. Such a state is very capable of organizing terrorist killings of its own people, in order further the imperialist goals of the big bourgeoisie. People must unite and fight for a new state that actually guarantees security and prosperity for all, a state that is a beacon of peace in South Asia, a state that extends unconditional and full support to the anti-imperialist struggles of all peoples of the world.


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Punish the Guilty    Defeat Privatisation    Against Imperialist War    Aug 16-31 2015    Voice of the Party    War & Peace     Popular Movements    

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