Today in Terrorism: 29 October 2005

Obscure Pakistani terrorist group claims bombings in India on October 29, 2005

An obscure Pakistani Islamist terrorist group claimed a bombing in Delhi that killed dozens and wounded hundreds.

Do you ever wonder why terrorist groups choose the names they do? Some are clear references to historic events: the Greek leftist November 17 is named after a 1975 uprising in Athens. Others choose military epithets: army of this, soldiers of that, etc. Still some pretend that they have assumed the mantle of a state: Islamic State (ISIS) certainly did that and in truth it did control territory and run things like a government for a while.

Many terrorist outfits use the term ‘revolutionary’, for this is indeed what they are trying to do – overthrow a given order and replace it with something they see as better, or more just, or more representative or something. Of course, their definition of ‘something better’ may not coincide with anyone else’s (see the aforementioned ISIS version of an ‘Islamic society’).

One example of a little-known group that incorporated the notion of a revolution in its title was Islamic Inquilab Mahaz, or the Front for Islamic Uprising (or Revolution), a Pakistani terrorist organisation. It claimed a large bombing attack in Delhi, India on October 29, 2005 in which 59 people were killed and a further 210 wounded. The event was planned to hit busy markets on the eve of the Hindu festival of Diwali.

Indian authorities later arrested a suspect who “implicated himself” during his “sustained interrogation” and who claimed he had been a member of Hizb-ul Mujahedeen (Party of Jihadis), a terrorist organisation fighting Indian security forces in India’s portion of Kashmir, but had then joined the Pakistani-based Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (‘Army of the Pure’- pure what? Terror?). What all this reminds us is that claims or responsibility have to be carefully weighed.

A member of the group which said it was behind the blasts told police that the attack was meant as a “rebuff to the claims of Indian security groups” that militants had been wiped out by security crackdowns and the earthquake that devastated the insurgents’ heartland in the mountains of Kashmir. In other words, ‘we’re not dead yet’.

The violence in Kashmir has been going on for decades and stems from the awkward division of the former British colony in South Asia into Pakistan and India (Kashmir is predominantly Muslim whereas India is predominantly Hindu). India’s recent decision to reverse constitutional provisions that gave Jammu and Kashmir more autonomy than any other Indian state, and the subsequent curfew-like restrictions and deployment of more troops has not helped.

Is this any way to clamp down on terrorism or does a state of siege merely lead to more? I fear the Modi government in India is about to find out.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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