Internal Security Trends and Incidents

Internal Security Trends and Incidents

Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) in India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Left-Wing Extremism

Six Maoists including four women cadres were killed morning in an “exchange of fire” with a joint team of Telangana and Chhattisgarh police in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.

What is Naxalism?

  • The term ‘Naxal’ derives its name from the village Naxalbari of district Darjeeling in West Bengal, where the movement originated in 1967 under the leadership of Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal.
  • It refers to the use of violence to destabilize the state through various communist guerrilla groups.
  • Naxalites are far-left radical communists who derive their political ideology from the teachings of Mao Zedong.

History and evolution

  • Russian Revolution: Naxalism in India, like any other leftist movement around the globe draws its ideological basis from the Russian revolution.
  • Overthrowing Tsarist Regime: Lenin successfully fought against the Czarist Rule through a combination of peasant movement and an armed struggle.
  • Marxian ideology of class struggle: The prime intent was to bestow power in the hands of the exploited and marginalized and enforce societal control over governance and nation building.
  • Neo-Marxism: After the success of the Lenin-led revolution in Russia, the intellectual class in many countries got inspired. Prominent amongst them were Fidel Castro and Mao Zedong.

Root cause of origin in India

  • Corporate exploitation: Since Eastern India is rich in natural resources including forests, minerals and mines, tribal face exploitation and harassment from government and corporate bodies targeting to extract those resources.
  • Tribal alienation: Tribal communities have been systematically alienated from their traditional rights over natural resources after independence.
  • Livelihood losses: Tribal livelihood is at stake due to depletion of natural resource base.
  • Forceful displacement: Forceful displacement from their homeland destroys their traditional governance system.
  • Absence of governance: In such exploited areas, the absence of governance becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy since the delivery systems are extinguished through killings and intimidation.
  • Foreign provocations: Many of LWE outfits are supported by external forces inimical to India and the Maoists consider such alliances as strategic assets.

Other factors:

  1. Oppression and HR violations by Security Forces e.g. AFSPA
  2. Violation of Constitutional Protections under PESA and FRA
  3. Prevalence of Acute Poverty

Impact of LWE

  • Romanticism without a cause: Some sections of the society, especially the younger generation, have romantic illusions about the Maoists, arising out of an incomplete understanding of their ideology of Class –Struggle.
  • Extreme violence: Their doctrine glorifies violence as the primary means to overwhelm the existing socio-economic and political structures.
  • Destruction of governance mechanism: LWEs aims at creating a vacuum at the grassroots level of the existing governance structures by killing lower-level government officials, police personnel of the local police stations and the people’s representatives of the PRIs.
  • Radicalization of youths: After creating a political and governance vacuum, they coerce the local population to join the movement.
  • Urban-Maoism: Many extremists have facilitated mass-mobilization in semi-urban and urban areas through ostensibly democratic means often led by well-educated intellectuals.

Outcomes of perpetrating LWE

The Leftist organizations skilfully use state structures and legal processes to further the Maoist agenda and weaken the enforcement regime through:

  1. Recruitment of ‘professional revolutionaries’
  2. Raising funds for the insurgency
  3. Creating urban shelters for underground cadres
  4. Providing legal assistance to arrested cadres and
  5. Mass- mobilization by agitating over issues of relevance/ convenience

Govt initiatives for LWE affected areas

  • Aspirational Districts: The MHA has been tasked with the monitoring of the Aspirational districts programme in 35 LWE affected districts.
  • HRD measures: Building of schools under the Eklavya model.
  • Road Connectivity Project for LWE affected areas (RRP-II): This aims for improving road connectivity in LWE affected States. Under this, 9279 km of roads and 392 bridges are sanctioned.
  • Naxal Surrender Policy: It aims to wean away misguided youth and hardcore naxalites who have strayed into the fold of the naxal movement and cannot find a way back.

SAMADHAN doctrine: It encompasses the entire strategy of government from short-term policy to long-term policy formulated at different levels. SAMADHAN stands for-

  • S- Smart Leadership
  • A- Aggressive Strategy
  • M- Motivation and Training
  • A- Actionable Intelligence
  • D- Dashboard Based KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KRAs (Key Result Areas)
  • H- Harnessing Technology
  • A- Action plan for each Theatre
  • N- No access to Financing

Way forward

  • Indian counterinsurgency has to work with a dual objective of defeating the insurgents militarily and fully quell the insurgent impulses. This will need institutional overhauls.
  • States must do more to synergize their efforts by launching coordinated operations, thereby denying Maoists any space for maneuverability.
  • On parallel grounds, it is also important to segregate the population from the insurgents both operationally and ideologically.
  • The conflict over the distribution of resources can be mended with economic development.


With inputs from:


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A holistic review of internal security challenge and response to them is needed


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 3- LWE challenge

The article highlights the issues facing India’s internal security architecture and suggests the restructuring of roles and capacity building to address the challenge.

Recent setback to internal security (IS) capability

  • The COMBING OPERATION by local and central police forces in the Tekulguda region of Bastar went terribly wrong and resulted in the death of 22 security personnel.
  • This tragic incident is a major and embarrassing setback to the IS (internal security) capability of India at many levels and highlights the challenge that LWE (left-wing extremism) continues to pose. 

Strategic inadequacies

  • India has been dealing with three variants of the internal security challenge for decades.
  • These three are: 1) a proxy war and terrorism in Kashmir 2) sub-national separatist movements in the Northeast. 3) the Naxal-Maoist insurgency ( LWE) in the Red Corridor.
  • And these challenges have warranted different responses.
  • The first two strands have been reasonably contained.
  • LWE and the current Maoist movement has its genesis in poor governance, lack of development in the tribal belt and an oppressive/exploitative hierarchy of the state and society.
  •  In November 2005, then PM Manmohan Singh described the LWE challenge as the most serious security threat to India and exhorted the professionals to evolve appropriate responses.

Need for restructuring

  • One of the recommendations of the Kargil Review Committee (KRC) report was the restructuring of the role and the tasks of the para-military forces particularly with reference to command and control and leadership functions.
  • This critical component of restructuring the leadership of the central police forces (in this case the CRPF and BSF) has not been addressed, much less redressed.
  • By training, the police officer is expected to be a competent Superintendent and to maintain law and order.
  • This is not the skill-set that is relevant when an officer has to “command” and lead his men into insurgency operations.
  • In the current scenario, barring a few exceptions, many of the senior police officers (IPS cadre) who are introduced into the central police forces at senior ranks have little or no platoon/battalion experience. 

Consider the question “What are the factors making Left Wing Extremism such a persistent internal security problem for India? Suggest the measure to improve the internal security architecture in India.”


The political leadership of the country needs to act and complete the task of restructuring and capacity building to address India’s internal security challenge.

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Information war


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 3- Information war against India

Information war waged against India from across the border needs consideration. Three factors have triggered the war in the realm of information. This article examines the way in which it is perpetrated.


  •  Following three triggers are responsible for Pakistan’s information war.
  • 1) The Balakot attack of February 2019.
  • Balakot demolished Pakistan’s presumed nuclear equivalence that guaranteed that India would not retaliate against terrorist attacks
  • 2) The return of the BJP government in the May 2019 elections-which signalled that India would follow aggressive muscular policy.
  • 3) The August 2019 revision of Article 370.
  • The Article 370 decision demolished the centrepiece of Pakistan’s nationalism build on Kashmir.
  • The move also raised apprehensions about India’s plans for Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
  • These developments have forced it to shift the emphasis of its anti-India strategy from fomenting terrorism supported by an information war component to an information war supported by terrorism.

How the information war is waged

  • The ISI and the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) two main instruments for the furtherance of this policy.
  • The ISPR has, over the years, recruited thousands of youth, trained them in the mechanics of social media and used them to project anti-India themes.
  • The core Pakistani objective is to demolish “Brand India” by attacking its key components — an inclusive and secular society, democratic polity, decisive government, a developing economic powerhouse and strong foreign policy.
  • The expectation is that such a strategy would adversely impact India’s secular and democratic credentials, scare foreign investment and lead to questions about its international image.
  • The key platforms for this strategy are Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube and Facebook.
  • A large number of fake social media accounts, especially on Twitter, have been created.
  • The use of handles with phoney Middle Eastern identities is the latest addition to its bag of tricks.

Themes of information war

  • Internal developments and dissent in India have been manipulated, packaged and used to develop a narrative damaging India’s social fabric.
  • On J&K, the key themes are: Kashmir is a “disputed territory” awaiting solution under the UN resolutions; India needs to talk to Pakistan to resolve the issue and since India refuses to talk, there must be international intervention, the Indian Army is violating the human rights of Kashmiris.

Consider the question “Internet has made waging information war easier. Examine the threat posed by the information war to Indian polity. Suggest the measures to contain the threat emanating from the information war.”


Even though the Indian polity is strong, such persistent venomous attacks can temporarily damage our social fabric. We must not allow ourselves, wittingly or unwittingly, to fall prey to such machinations to polarise society, even temporarily.

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How IS regroups and its threat to India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 3- With the presence of sleeper cell in India and ability of IS to co-opt a local affiliate makes the IS a major security challenge for India.


IS has shown its ability to strike by regrouping and co-opting local affiliates be it the case of Ester Sunday attack in Sri Lanka or a recent attack on a  Gurudwara in Afghanistan. For India, the presence of sleeper cells and their links with the Islamic jihad group has internal security implications. We have covered an op-ed dealing with the Gurudwara attack and discussed the futility of the US-Taliban peace deal.

Security threat of IS to India and South Asia

  • In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, there was speculation about the degree to which al-Qaeda had been able to make inroads in India.
  • In recent years, the focus has shifted to the IS.
  • The creation of an IS-Khorasan (IS-K) in early 2015 with a visible presence in Afghanistan-Pakistan, seemed to suggest that the group is now targeting South Asia.
  • The recent terror attack on a gurdwara in Kabul (March 25) was also claimed by the IS. The IS released a photograph of one of a resident of Kasargod in Kerala
  • According to India’s leading terrorism think-tank SATP (South Asia Terrorism Portal), 99 persons from India were confirmed to have joined the IS in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

Question about the ” Over-ground worker” of the terrorist organisation was asked by the UPSC in 2019.

Close intelligence cooperation within and beyond South Asia

  • Last October, the NIA disclosed that it had arrested 127 IS sympathisers from across India since 2014, and the highest number of 33 were from Tamil Nadu.
  • The arrests by NIA were made throughout the country and not from a specific region.
  • This degree of spread is testimony to the close watch the Indian security agencies are maintaining concerning the IS.
  • One may conjecture that close intelligence cooperation has been established within and beyond South Asia.
  • The pattern that now obtains is that countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan have their own internal surveillance in place to monitor the activities of the IS-K.

Ability of IS to regroup and ally with a domestic affiliate

  • The IS has demonstrated a proclivity to re-group by co-opting or merging with credible domestic affiliates, even if they are little-known.
  • In Afghanistan, the IS-K has sought to position itself favourably in the factional tussle, and the Kabul gurdwara attack is seen as part of this murderous strategy.
  • Pakistan connection: Islamic terror groups in the Af-Pak region are deemed to be as credible as the support that they receive from the deep-state in Pakistan.
  • It is pertinent that the main accused in the Kabul gurdwara attack is Aslam Faroqi, a Pakistani national.


The ability of IS to co-opt a local affiliate makes it a credible threat for India where there is a significant presence of the sleeper cells. In the light of that threat India and the other affected nations will have to strive individually and collectively to foil such nefarious designs.

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[op-ed snap] Maoist rebellion: policy fade-out, policy fade-in


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 3- Threat of Left Wing Extremism and ways to deal with it.


When much is made of peace talks with rebels in Northeast India, avoidance of peace talks with Maoist rebels is strange.

States left to deal with the Maoists

  • Scale and extent of the problem: Officially in 2019, there are 11 states and 90 affected districts.
  • State subject: This is because policing and maintaining law and order are matters devolved to states.
  • The approach adopted to deal with the problem: According to MHA-
    • Capacity building: Primarily by capacity building of the state governments.
    • Areas of capacity building: Capacity building is to be carried out in areas of security and development. This will continue with the-
    • Better police training.
    • Better intelligence gathering.
    • Reinforcing police stations in conflict zones.
    • And recruiting locals into auxiliary forces.
  • Support by MHA: MHA will continue to provide the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and other paramilitaries under its command.
    • Support of NTRO: Intelligence gathering outfits such as the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO).
    • NTRO has in the past year increased drone surveillance over the densely forested Abujhmad area in southwest Chhattisgarh, which remains the main rebel hub.

The success achieved so far

  • Influence reduced to 90 districts: The policies so far has certainly contained the rebels across 90 affected districts.
  • Surrender and rehabilitation policy: Most Maoist-affected states in India have a surrender and rehabilitation policy.
  • Surrender policy along with search and destroy : Surrender policy rides in tandem with search-and-destroy missions that police and paramilitaries provide.
  • This pincer has massively depleted rebel leadership and ranks with regular killings, arrests, and surrender of its leaders and cadres.

Return of conflict displaced people

  • It is crucial for the conflict-displaced to return to their homes.
  • Issues related to return of displaced: Agencies discourage those returning from going back to their old home and instead are offered state-mandated enclaves.
    • No or little economic imperatives: Those returning are offered little economic imperative besides daily wage labour and scrambling for government handouts.
    • Some government jobs: For some, jobs are offered in
    • That is, in any case, the present for much of the 50,000 or so who did not manage to escape to Telangana and elsewhere.


  • The central government would do well to focus here and in beginning negotiations for peace.
  • The Left-wing rebellion, a reality for over 50 years, is difficult to end until poor governance is improved.


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Internet shutdowns in India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : Internet shutdowns in India

Nowadays, India is widely considered to be a world leader in cutting off access to the Net. Yet, there are no detailed official data on Internet shutdowns in India.

Shutdowns in India

  • The cutting off internet access to control restive populations is an increasing trend around the world with India at the lead.
  • Of the 196 shutdowns in 25 countries documented by Access Now in 2018, as many as 134 were in India, followed by Pakistan (12).

Why such shut-downs?

  • Worldwide, Internet shutdowns are typically used when there is civil unrest, in order to block the flow of information about government actions or to end communication among activists and prevent the spread of rumours and fake news.
  • Internet serves as medium for the transmission of information through pictures, videos and text that have the potential to cause civil unrest and exacerbate the law and order situation.
  • Shutdown helps prevent the “spreading of rumours and misinformation using social media platforms which can hinder peace and law and order”.

States with most shutdowns

  • Jammu and Kashmir: The erstwhile state has seen 180 Internet shutdowns since 2012, according to SFLC.
  • The most commonly offered reasons for cutting access have been “encounter between security forces and militants”, “massive search operations”, “gunfights”, and “attack on CRPF men”.

Legal mechanisms allowing shut-downs

  • Home Departments in the states are mostly the authorities that enforce shutdowns, drawing powers from The Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017.
  • The decisions are reviewed by a state government review committee. The central government also has powers under this law, but has not used it.
  • Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure has enabled many of the shutdowns in the recent past, especially until the time the telecom suspension Rules came into force in 2017.
  • It gives the District Magistrate, Sub-Divisional Magistrate or any other executive magistrate empowered by the state government the power to issue orders to “maintain public tranquility”.
  • Less frequently used is The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, whose Section 5(2) allows central and state governments to prevent the transmission of messaging during a “public emergency or in the interest of public safety”, or “in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state”, etc.

Economic cost to bear

  • Over the past five years, some 16,000 hours of Internet shutdowns cost the economy a little over $3 billion, according to estimates in a report by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER).


  • The Internet is pretty much a basic human right, even if not legally defined as such, for most parts of the world — without access to the virtual world, a very large number of vital human activities simply stops.
  • Internet shutdowns leave people without access to information and other services that could be the difference between life and death.
  • It is in recognition of the Internet as a human right that the United Nations in 2016 passed a non-binding resolution condemning countries that disrupt Internet access to its citizens.

With inputs from: Scoopwhoop

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Gujarat terror law


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Definition of "Terrorist Act"

Mains level : Curbing terror related activities in India

The Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Act which received President’s this month comes into effect on December 1.

An edge over MCOCA

  • The anti-terrorism law, which three Presidents had returned to the state, draws heavily from The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), 1999, with two significant differences t.
  • The checks on interception of communication that are part of the Maharashtra law are missing in the Gujarat law; and the definition of “terrorist act” in the GCTOCA also covers “intention to disturb public order”.
  • These differences make the Gujarat law tougher and broader in scope than MCOCA.

Interception in MCOCA

  • Five MCOCA sections (13, 14, 15, 16, and 27) deal with the interception of communication.
  • The law states that the interception, if approved by the competent authority, cannot be for more than 60 days and that an extension would require permission.
  • The application for extension must include a statement of the results of the interception thus far, or a reasonable explanation for the failure to obtain results.
  • Extension, if granted, cannot be for more than 60 days.
  • The law provides for a panel to review the orders of the competent authority, and stipulates a prison term of up to a year for unauthorized interception or violation of the rules of interception.
  • The analysis of the utility of the interceptions must be submitted to the Maharashtra Assembly within three months of the end of the calendar year.

Who can intercept the calls?

  • A police officer of the rank of SP or above is required to supervise the investigation and to submit the application seeking authorisation for the interception of electronic or oral communication.
  • The law specifies various details that the application must mention.
  • Interception is allowed only if the investigating agency states that other modes of intelligence gathering have been tried, and have failed.
  • The competent authority shall be an officer of the state Home department, not below the rank of Secretary to the government.
  • In urgent cases, an officer of the rank of Additional DGP or above can authorise interception, but an application must be made to the competent authority within 48 hours of the ADGP’s order.

How is GCTOCA more powerful?

  • The Gujarat law deals only with the admissibility of evidence collected through interception, and do not mention the procedure for intercepting communication.
  • Its section 14 mirrors a corresponding section of MCOCA, and adds: “Notwithstanding anything contained in CrPC, 1973 or in any other law for the time being in force, the evidence collected shall be admissible as evidence against accused in the court during trial of case.”
  • “Any other law” is not defined.
  • GCTOCA also has no provision similar to the annual report mandated in the MCOCA.

Definition of ‘terrorist act’

  • The Gujarat law’s definition of a “terrorist act” is similar to the one in the repealed Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), 2002, but includes “an act committed with the intention to disturb public order”.
  • A prosecutor in Gujarat said that the widening of the definition “allows, say, the Patidar agitation to be described as an act of terrorism, allowing stricter punishment”.
  • This prosecutor underlined that The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967, India’s main central anti-terror law, “does not allow an agitation of such form or scale (to be called) ‘terrorism’, and is instead covered under IPC sections, (and) the law of sedition, (which) is not effective enough for stringent punishment”.
  • The Gujarat law defines a terrorist act as “an act committed with the intention to disturb public order or threaten the unity, integrity and security of the State or to strike terror in the minds of the people or any section of the people”

Argument for Gujarat law

  • The government could, while framing the Rules, introduce the checks and balances that are absent in the Gujarat terror law.
  • In case this is not done, there is also the provision where the court can ask the state government to frame Rules to this effect.
  • The constitutional validity of the law can be challenged on a “case-specific” basis.
  • With respect to GCTOC, there is a competing interest of law and order versus privacy. However, only time will tell how communication interception is used, and is interpreted.”
  • The definition of “terrorist act” was “very wide” — however, there were mechanisms built into the law to limit it.
  • The first check is the registration of FIR that can be done by an officer of rank SP or above. Ordinarily, if the power to register FIR is given to a sub-inspector- or inspector-level officer, it can be misused.
  • Secondly, assuming that the FIR is registered with a political motive, there is the provision that after submission of chargesheet, sanction from the state government is required before the court takes cognizance.
  • While the GCTOC Act does grant power to the executive with respect to the investigation process, there were similar provisions under previous laws TADA and POTA, both now repealed.

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Explained: Central Adverse List


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the List

Mains level : Mechanisms to curb anti-state activities

  • The Centre has removed from its blacklist — or the Central Adverse List as it is officially known — names of few foreign nationals involved in anti-India activities.

The Central Adverse List

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs maintains a list of individuals who supported the Khalistan movement in 1980s and 90s but left India to take asylum in foreign countries.
  • Many of the listed fled India to escape the authorities, acquired foreign nationality and took asylum outside India.
  • This list included the name of “hardliners” who were in favour of a separate state and had opposed the Operation Blue Star. However the list is not restricted to Punjab or the Khalistan movement.
  • The list has names of those individuals who are suspected to have links with terrorist outfits or have violated visa norms in their previous visit to India.
  • The list also includes the names of those persons who have indulged in criminal activities or have been accused of sexual crimes against children in their respective countries.

Purpose of the list

  • This list is constantly used by all Indian Missions and Consulates to stop the individuals named in it from entering India.
  • This is done by not granting visa to such persons. It is a step taken by the Indian government to maintain internal security.
  • The list is also used to keep serious offenders outside India as somebody may commit a crime in his native nation and then apply for an Indian visa to escape prosecution.

Who maintains this list?

  • The list is maintained by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs with inputs from all the state governments. Various intelligence agencies constantly review this list and add new names to it.
  • Central intelligence agencies as well as the state-level intelligence contribute to the information determining the inclusion of a person in this list.
  • Since law and order is a state subject, the state police is also utilized for intelligence gathering in order to update the list.

What does the recent action mean?

  • The 312 names of particular religious community members whose have been removed can now visit India and meet their families here.
  • Most of these nationals have remained outside country since the 1980s and have not visited their families since then. Majority of these people are aged.
  • With this decision of the government, they will now get access to consular services as well as an Indian visa.
  • This list had a multiplier effect in denying visas as the family members of the persons on this list were also denied visas to other countries. Such a practice will no longer be carried forward.

Was there any judicial judgement on this list?

  • There was no direct judicial pronouncement on this list but the Punjab and Haryana High Court on May 29, 2001 had directed the GOI to issue a passport to a Khalistan supporter.
  • According to the HC it was a violation of fundamental rights to deny him entry into India.
  • This gains significance as the government will finally allow entry of persons excluded from that list.

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Explained: Amendments to the UAPA


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UAPA Act

Mains level : Curbing terror related activities in India


  • The Unlawful Activities Prevention Amendment (UAPA) Bill is an anti-terror legislation that seeks to designate an individual as a “terrorist”.
  • Both houses of the parliament cleared the changes to the existing law.
  • However Opposition parties and civil liberties lawyers have criticised the Bill, arguing it could be used to target dissent against the government, and infringe on citizens’ civil rights.

Who is a “terrorist” in the UAPA Bill?

  • The words “terror” or “terrorist” are not defined in the UAPA Bill.
  • Section 15 of the UAPA defines a “terrorist act” as any act committed with intent to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security, economic security, or sovereignty of India or with intent to strike terror or likely to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country.
  • The original Act dealt with “unlawful” acts related to secession; anti-terror provisions were introduced in 2004.

Designating a terrorist

  • The Bill seeks to empower the central government to designate an individual a “terrorist” if they are found committing, preparing for, promoting, or involved in an act of terror.
  • A similar provision already exists in Part 4 and 6 of the legislation for organisations that can be designated as a “terrorist organisation”.

How individuals are declared terrorists?

  • The central government may designate an individual as a terrorist through a notification in the official gazette, and add his name to the schedule supplemented to the UAPA Bill.
  • The government is not required to give an individual an opportunity to be heard before such a designation.
  • At present, in line with the legal presumption of an individual being innocent until proven guilty, an individual who is convicted in a terror case is legally referred to as a terrorist.
  • While those suspected of being involved in terrorist activities are referred to as terror accused.
  • The new Bill does not clarify the standard of proof required to establish that an individual is involved or is likely to be involved in terrorist activities.

What happens when an individual is declared a terrorist?

  • The designation of an individual as a global terrorist by the United Nations is associated with sanctions including travel bans, freezing of assets and an embargo against procuring arms.
  • The UAPA Bill, however, does not provide any such detail.
  • The Bill also does not require the filing of cases or arresting individuals while designating them as terrorists.
  • According to MHA officials, the consequences will be prescribed in the Rules supplemented to the law once the amendment Bill is passed.

Removing the terrorist tag

  • The Bill also seeks to give the central government the power to remove a name from the schedule when an individual makes an application.
  • The procedure for such an application and the process of decision-making will also be decided by the central government.
  • If an application filed by an individual declared a terrorist is rejected by the government, the Bill gives him the right to seek a review within one month after the application is rejected.
  • Under the Bill, the central government will set up the review committee consisting of a chairperson (a retired or sitting judge of a High Court) and three other members.
  • The review committee will be empowered to order the government to delete the name of the individual from the schedule that lists “terrorists”, if it considers the order to be flawed.
  • Apart from these two avenues, the individual can also move the courts challenging the government’s order.

What are the other major changes proposed in the UAPA Bill?

  • The existing UAPA law requires an investigating officer to take prior permission of the Director General of Police of a state for conducting raids, and seizing properties that are suspected to be linked to terrorist activities.
  • The amendment Bill, however, removes this requirement if the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
  • The investigating officer, under the Bill, only requires sanction from the Director General of NIA.
  • Central agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are required to obtain prior permission from the state government since law and order is a state subject under the Constitution.
  • The existing UAPA law specifies that only officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police of the NIA shall have the power to investigate offences under the UAPA law.
  • The Bill seeks to allow NIA officers of Inspector rank to carry out investigations.

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[op-ed snap] In hate crime fight, a voice still feeble


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Mob Lynching - law, its flaws, requirements and case studies


At a time when India is reeling under hate lynching, it is sobering to remember that it took the United States Senate 100 years to approve a bill to make lynching a federal crime. Over 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in the U.S. Congress since 1918, but all were voted down until the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act of 2018 was approved unanimously in 2018.

Problem with lynching:

  • Hate lynching is designed as an act to terrorize an entire community. Though the number of murders seems small, these performative acts of violence succeeded in instilling intense fear among all African-Americans for decades.
  • Modern technology – video-graphing of mob lynching, widely circulating these images through social media, and celebrating these as acts of nationalist valor have instilled a pervasive sense of every day normalized fear in the hearts of every Indian from the targeted minority community. It is this which indeed makes lynching an ultimate act of terror.

Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court of India recently asked the Union government and all the major States to explain what action has been taken to prevent these growing incidents of lynching, including passing a special law to instill a sense of fear for law amongst vigilantes and mobsters.

Significant statutes

  • The Uttar Pradesh Law Commission (UPLC) took the initiative to recommend a draft anti-lynching law.
  • Ordinance introduced by the Manipur government last year
  • Impunity as a crime: Both the Manipur statute and the UPLC draft create a new crime of dereliction of duty by police officials, holding a police officer guilty of this crime if he or she “omits to exercise lawful authority vested in them under law, without reasonable cause, and thereby fails to prevent lynching”. Dereliction also includes the failure to provide protection to a victim of lynching; failure to act upon apprehended lynching; and refusing to record any information relating to the commission of lynching. This crime carries the penalty of one to three years and a fine.
  • The UPLC goes further to include also a new crime of dereliction of duty by District Magistrates.
  • The creation of this new crime was also the key recommendation of the Prevention of Communal & Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill. Only the creation of such a crime will compel public officials to perform their duty with fairness, in conformity with their constitutional and legal duties, to ensure equal protection to all persons, regardless of their faith and caste.
  • Both the Manipur law and UPLC recommendations also lay down elaborate duties of police officials in the event of lynching. These include:
    • taking all reasonable steps to prevent any act of lynching including its incitement and commission
    • making all possible efforts to identify instances of dissemination of offensive material or any other means employed in order to incite or promote lynching of a particular person or group of persons
    • making all possible efforts to prevent the creation of a hostile environment against a person or group of persons.
  • Both sensitively and expansively lay down official duties to protect victims and witnesses
    • a victim shall have the right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any court proceeding and shall be entitled to be heard at any proceeding in respect of bail, discharge, release, parole, conviction or sentence of an accused, and to file written submissions on conviction, acquittal or sentencing
    • require the Superintendent of Police to inform the victim in writing of the progress in the investigation
    • the victim shall have the right to receive a copy of any statement of the witness recorded during investigation or inquiry and a copy of all statements and documents.
  • UPLC goes further than the Manipur statute in laying down the right to compensation.
    • It places the duty squarely on the Chief Secretary to provide compensation to victims of lynching within 30 days of the incident.
    • It states that while computing compensation, the State government must give due regard to bodily, psychological and material injuries and loss of earnings, including loss of opportunity of employment and education, expenses incurred on account of legal and medical assistance. It also lays down a floor of ₹25 lakh in case lynching causes death.

Challenges with legislation:

  • Text of the United States bill records that at least 4,742 people were lynched in the U.S. between 1882 and 1968, but 99% of all perpetrators remain unpunished
  • Madhya Pradesh Cow Progeny Slaughter Prevention Act 2004 limits its scope only to cow-related lynching, and not lynching triggered by other charges. Its proposed amendments do not include any provisions to punish dereliction of duty, protect victim rights or secure compensation. All that it proposes is punishment for any act by a mob which indulges in violence in the name of cow vigilantism from six months to three years of imprisonment and a fine
  • Rajasthan has also tabled an anti-lynching bill. This prescribes higher punishments, an investigation by senior police officers, and mandatory compensation but not the critical elements of dereliction of duty or victim rights. Without these, they will make little difference on the ground.

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Internal Security Trends and Incidents

[op-ed snap] The Maoist challenge


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : Maoism is a challenge to internal security of country.


The IED blast that claimed the lives of 15 security personnel and their driver in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra on Wednesday is a grim reminder of the challenge the Maoist movement continues to pose to the country’s internal security.


  • The dead men belong to the C-60 force, an elite commando group of Maharashtra police, modelled on the Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh.
  • The attack comes a year after Maharashtra police gunned down 40 suspected Maoists in the same region.
  • Clearly, the Maoists want to sent out a message that they still posses the firepower to take on the security forces and establish territorial dominance.

1.A base in  a tri-junction – The geographical location and forested terrain has enabled the Maoists to establish a base in Gadchiroli, a tri-junction of Maharashtra, Telangana and Chhattisgarh.

Infiltration by police forces – However, the state police reportedly has infiltrated the Maoist organisation in the region and created its own network of informers.

Drop in activity in Maharashtra – Maoist actions in the region has drastically come down unlike in neighbouring Chhattisgarh, where in April an MLA was killed along with four security personnel.

False sense of security 

  • In fact, the success in containing Maoist activities may have given a false sense of security to the commandos, who ignored the standard operating procedure when they drove out, all of them in a single vehicle, to confront the ultras who had torched the vehicles of a road construction contractor in the area.
  • That they didn’t suspect any possible ambush on the way also points to intelligence failure.

Remarkable capacity to regroup – The Maoists have always shown a remarkable capacity to regroup and strike back even in places they have faced severe crackdown: For instance, they had killed an MLA and a former legislator in Araku Valley last year, when it was believed that the movement had been crushed in Andhra Pradesh.

Unable to address underdevelopment – It could also be that the state had failed to address the deprivation and underdevelopment that in the first place created an enabling climate for the Maoists to build a base.


Influential militarist political group -The Maoist movement or CPI (Maoist), born out of splits in the communist movement in the 1960s, has reinvented itself many times to become an influential militarist political group.

Shift to tribals – Its cadre base too has shifted from peasants in the 1960s to tribals in the 1990s and thereafter.

Restricted to central India – However, a decade since the then prime minister, Manmohan Singh, described them as the gravest internal security threat, the ultra-left political movement is now restricted to pockets of Central India.

A focussed and co-ordinated effort by security agencies could further limit its footprint and finally end its violent run. That’s both a political and administrative challenge.

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Internal Security Trends and Incidents

[op-ed snap] Looking beyond Pulwama


Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Security challenges & their management in border areas

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: IED

Mains level: Shortcomings in India’s response to security threats and measures to tackle them


  • The death of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in a suicide bomb attack in Pulwama,  has shocked the nation, as it was unprecedented in recent times. An explosion of this magnitude was not ever presaged.
  • The CRPF has already ordered a court of inquiry into the lapses that may have led to the disaster, and to rectify the shortcomings.

Intelligence Failure

  • There has been an intelligence failure through the agencies claim to have sounded the security forces of a possible improvised explosive device attack.
  • Such information without any specifics could not have been acted upon with the seriousness it deserved.
  • Even an inkling of the possibility of an attack on the convoy could have put the road opening patrols and the officials manning the convoy on very high alert.
  • Intensive checking could then have been carried out of all vehicles so as to intercept and avert any mishap.
  • It seems, the intelligence feed was not given the attention and seriousness it warranted.

Operational Failures

  • Southern Kashmir has been the hotbed of terrorism with many young boys joining the militant ranks in recent months.
  • Intensive checking of vehicles and possible hideouts could have put breaks on their dirty mission that a long convoy of 78 vehicles with over 2,547 men had to move in the wee hours from Jammu is being questioned.
  • The convoy was split for better command and control and to avoid bunching, they are reported to have got close to each other on nearing Lethpora.
  • By no stretch of the imagination could any convoy commander have exercised proper command and control over the fleet and personnel extending over quite a few kilometres considering the mandatory distance that needs to be maintained between each vehicle as per the Standard Operating Procedure.

Measures  taken to enhance security

  • All civil vehicles need to be banned from plying on the highway when military/paramilitary convoys are on the move.
  • Ambulances and emergency service vehicles could be the sole exception to this rule.
  • While intelligence agencies need to beef up their sources, the security apparatus calls for a thorough review.
  • The J&K Police is already planning to install CCTVs all along the 400 km-stretch of the highway, right from the entry point to the state in Lakhanpur in Punjab to Sonmarg beyond Srinagar.

Proposed Measures

  • As a force multiplier, drones could also be pressed into service to hover along the highway and detect any suspicious movement of men or vehicles along the route.
  • Quick reaction teams deployed at vantage points along the highway could be rushed to spots where suspicious movements are noticed through real-time pictures and take remedial measures.
  • Similarly, the extensive use of sniffer and tracker dogs could lead to the recovery of explosives and even terrorists.
  • The Belgian Malinois dogs presently being used by the CRPF in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha have proved their mettle by way of being instrumental in the recovery of huge quantities of explosives in various operations.

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[op-ed snap] Stormy weather awaits India in 2019


Mains Paper 2,3: International relations| Security| Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora. Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic knowledge of India’s security challenge both at external and internal fronts.

Mains level: The news-card analyses the difficult external and internal situation that India might face in the year 2019, in a brief manner.


  • As India prepares for the general election this year, the country faces a difficult external and internal situation and it needs to remain alert to unexpected developments.

The World outlook looks gloomy in 2019

  • A global leadership vacuum is leading to chaos concerning rules governing the international order.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump’s utterances and actions are provoking strong counter-reactions, especially from China and Russia.
  • U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s attack on China, in October 2018, has signalled the beginning of a new Cold War.
  • Mr. Trump has threatened to pull out of a major arms control treaty with Russia.
  • Russia has also been talking of building stronger deterrence and Cold War 2 seems for real now.

Nations are today working at cross-purposes across the globe


  • Russia is vigorously pursuing its pivot to Asia and for greater influence in Eurasia.
  • It has deepened its partnership with China, and enhanced relations with Japan and South Korea.
  • Growing tensions in the Sea of Azov (following Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s ships) could well lead to a major conflagration between Russia and the West.


  • China is consolidating its position in Asia.
  • In addition to its strategic partnership with Russia, China has mended fences with Japan.
  • Its Belt and Road Initiative has become the most potent weapon in China’s armoury, with Vietnam and Japan endorsing this concept.
  • India finds itself increasingly isolated in Asia as a result.

Economic Challenge

  • Economic portents during 2018 for most of the world proved highly daunting.
  • The most challenging was the spectre of an all embracing U.S.-China trade war.
  • This had triggered highly unsettled conditions, and the situation was further aggravated by signs of a weakening Chinese economy.
  • At the beginning of 2019, it is amply evident that politics is conflicting with business across the world.
  • A decline in Britain’s financial assets and of the pound sterling following Brexit, as well as signs of increasing fragility of China’s economy, are newer concerns.
  • The likelihood of the U.S. moving into a period of slower long-term growth, one that is likely to continue for a fairly long time, is aggravating this situation.
  • India cannot hope to remain insulated from these trends.

India’s ties with Russia, Japan

  • Coming to India’s foreign policy concerns, relations with Russia and Japan could see a reset.
  • The strengthening of the Russia-China strategic relationship and the recent warmth in China-Japan relations could impact India’s relations with both countries.
  • Notwithstanding the warmth displayed in public by the leaders of India and Russia, and India and Japan, the character of our relations with these two countries could undergo a change.
  • What is evident is that India will need to expend a great deal of its diplomatic capital to ensure that relations do not decline to any considerable extent.

India’s relationship with China

  • Managing relations with China will be India’s top priority.
  • India-China relations are marked by a surface calm, but this masks an intrinsic struggle for influence in Asia and even beyond.
  • The Wuhan Spirit, notwithstanding, little has changed as far as India-China relations are concerned, except that there has not been any major Chinese incursion across the disputed India-China border.

China making in-roads in Indian Ocean region

  • In 2018, China had initiated certain moves to create a China-Myanmar Economic Corridor on the lines of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
  • The Chinese Navy is also poised to challenge India’s position in the Indian Ocean.
  • Chinese submarines already outnumber India’s here.
  •  China is preparing to outflank India by seeking control of the Kyaukpyu Port on the Arakan Coast in Myanmar, and planning a canal (the Kra canal), connecting the Andaman Sea with the Gulf of Thailand.
  • Together with China’s existing control over the Gwadar (Pakistan) and Hambantota (Sri Lanka) Ports, if China were to succeed in its attempts, it could give it a stranglehold across the Indian Ocean Region.
  • India’s capacity to counter such moves in 2019 appears extremely limited.

Consolidation of the ‘all weather friendship’

  • This year could also see a further consolidation of the ‘all weather friendship’ of China-Pakistan.
  • During 2018, Pakistan facilitated China’s involvement in Afghanistan (and also succeeded in co-opting Russia to be a party to talks with the Afghan Taliban).
  • The CPEC having weathered quite a few storms in 2018, seems well set to progress this further in 2019.

Indo-Pakistan relations and the Afghan Challenge

  • The prospects of India-Pakistan relations improving on the other hand, are extremely limited.
  • Cross-border terror attacks are likely to continue, as also sponsorship of terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed.
  • Where India will face even rougher weather is in Afghanistan where the Afghan state is perilously close to imploding.
  • India has been kept out of talks with the Afghan Taliban by all countries concerned, including the U.S., China, and Russia, apart from Pakistan.
  • This is making India’s position here highly invidious.

Mixed challenges for India in rest of South Asia

  • The outlook for India in the rest of South Asia is also mixed.
  • Towards the end of 2018, India could retrieve its position in the Maldives.
  • It also succeeded in re-establishing its influence in Bhutan.
  • The return of Sheikh Hasina as Prime Minister after the general elections in Bangladesh has been a welcome relief.
  • Yet, India will need to work harder in 2019 to check China from weaning away its neighbours, including Nepal as also Bangladesh, with offers of economic and military aid.
  • India will also need to use all its resources to assist Bangladesh to limit the influence of radical Islamist groups there.

Internal Security Challenge

  • Internal security, for the better part of 2018, remained on a relatively even keel.
  • There were fewer Pakistan-sponsored terror attacks, but this is hardly an index of what lies ahead in 2019.

Left extremist violence

  • Left extremist violence went up marginally in 2018, but the movement remained circumscribed within a core area in Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Jharkhand.
  • Ideologically, the movement has remained vibrant, and in 2019, both ideological and militant aspects will need deft handling.

Situation in Kashmir

  • In 2018, the situation in Kashmir sharply deteriorated, and the year witnessed some of the highest levels of violence since 1989.
  • There was again a sharp spurt in the number of security forces personnel being killed, alongside targeting of their families.
  • The deadlock between the Jammu and Kashmir administration and militants is unlikely to be resolved.
  • President’s rule has made little headway in sorting out the conflict-prone situation.
  • Militant outfits, the JeM and the Hizbul Mujahideen, appear energised by the turn of events and can be expected to become still more active.
  • More educated locals are joining militant ranks.
  • Disclaimers notwithstanding, the presence of the Islamic State is also in evidence.
  • The consequences of this as far as 2019 is concerned could be considerable.

Resurgence of ethnic sub-nationalism in the Northeast

  • This has been simmering for some time, but now threatens to boil over, following the enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
  • The Bill has given rise to fears that it would drastically alter the status quo in the region.
  • The Amendment has helped unite vast segments of people across the entire Northeast.
  • The divisive potential of the recently enacted Act, will have special resonance in an election year.
  • It will demand sensitive and careful handling in 2019.

Farmers’ and Dalit unrest

  • Two other issues that kept the nation on the edge in 2018, i.e. farmers’ and Dalit unrest, still remain unattended as 2019 begins.
  • Both can ignite fires, especially in an election year.
  • There is little evidence, however, that the causes for the unrest are receiving careful consideration.


  • Considering the difficult external and internal situation, peace in 2019 may prove elusive.
  • On the diplomatic front, India will need to be more dexterous.
  • The internal situation will require to be dealt with far greater understanding.

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