The myth of terror-free ‘New India’

In a recently-made speech at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) national convention, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that India has not experienced a single major terror attack since Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government in 2014.

“We have not had one major terrorist attack in this country after 2014. There are of course disturbances on the border but the Indian Army has made sure that every attempt to come into this country is eliminated even at the border,” she said.

Her remarks invited strong criticism from the Opposition, with former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram tweeting, “Will the defence minister take the map of India and locate Pathankot and Uri?”

Chidambaram was referring to the two major terror attacks that took place in Pathankot and Uri in 2016.

While in Pathankot, seven soldiers and six militants were killed in an attack on the Air Force station, 17 soldiers were killed in an attack on the army base camp in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir.

According to the data presented by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to parliament, there was a “major terrorist attack in the hinterland (i.e. the rest of the country)” in both 2015 and 2016.

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Defence Ministry put internal security issues into four categories:

  • incidents in the Indian-administered Kashmir region
  • insurgency in the north-eastern states
  • left-wing extremism in various areas
  • terror attacks in the hinterland

The data also includes incidents in the other three categories as well, but it has used the term “major” only in the last category.

According to the South Asian Terrorism Portal (SATP), an NGO, a major attack is “any incident with three or more fatalities – civilian or military.”

It was reported by BBC, that incidents saw a declining trend from 2009-2014 (when Congress was in power), whereas there has been a rise in the number of incidents under the current BJP government.

Also, Kashmir recorded 451 deaths in terror-related incidents, the highest in a decade.

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