Human Rights Issues

[op-ed snap] Terror in London: on London Bridge knife attack

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Tackling terrorism comprehensively

Context

The knife attack near London Bridge that killed two and injured three others is another reminder of the threat lone-wolf assaults pose to public security. 

Attack

    • The attacker was born in the U.K. to immigrants from Pakistan-held Kashmir. He was a convicted terrorist. 
    • He was released in December 2018 with conditions after serving half his jail term. 
    • He was attending a prisoner rehabilitation program. Wearing a fake explosive vest, he first threatened to blow up the building and then went on a killing spree. 
    • This is the latest in a series of terror attacks the U.K has seen in recent years. 
    • In 2017, terrorists had rammed a van into pedestrians on the Bridge and stabbed people in nearby bars and restaurants. 
    • In the same year, a van ran into pedestrians outside a London mosque and a suicide bomber killed 22 concert-goers in Manchester. 
    • Islamic State has claimed responsibility for this attack.

Issues underlying the attack

    • Radicalization is the primary problem.
    • It also points to security, intelligence, and systemic failures. 
    • The British intelligence is often credited for foiling dozens of terrorist attacks since the 2005 London train bombings that killed 56.
    • But less sophisticated, less coordinated, often lone-wolf attacks are on the rise. 
    • The attacker who was convicted in 2012 for being part of an al-Qaeda-linked plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange was sentenced under the imprisonment for public protection (IPP) program. It allowed the authorities to keep him, or convicts considered a threat to the public, in prison indefinitely. 
    • Under the automatic early release scheme, he was freed in 2018 with an electronic tag and supposed to be monitored. But the police still could not prevent the knife attack.

Way ahead

    • This demands to make policing more efficient and reviewing the early release scheme. 
    • What is needed is a good counter-terror plan to tackle both extremisms among youth and prevent lone-wolf attacks that often go undetected. 
    • State agencies need to work with civil society groups as well as community leaders and have deradicalization programs.
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