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Home > India > News > Report

The mind of a terrorist

May 21, 2008 16:31 IST
Last Updated: May 21, 2008 17:56 IST

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As 65 people died in the Jaipur blasts last week, an Indian soldier, who served three tours of duty fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir [Images], speaks about his encounters with terrorists in the line of duty, and what makes human beings kill innocent people without remorse.

To understand the mind of a terrorist, it has to be understood that he has to be fully motivated and the execution of his act has to be neat. Motivation requires weakness. It could be the weakness of religion. The people who are grooming him psyche him so much continuously till he is fully committed and convinced and says 'Yes I will do it!'

If a person is psyched to such an extent, he won't even think of his parents, forget about feeling any remorse for other innocent people. He has no sense of guilt then, this is the kind of motivation that has been inculcated in him.

These kinds of acts cannot be done without local support and it has to be planned for months. You may think a local will think twice before inflicting this act of terror on his own city, community etc but once a person is motivated, he is capable of any act of terror that is asked of him. He has been trained to kill.

Once he is convinced himself, he is on course. The task of the middlemen is to make the terrorist believe that what he is going to do is completely justified. They are made to believe that what they are doing is for themselves -- even causes like country or jihad get hazy here -- because that may not be the real reasons.

Another thing that is pounded into their mind is that the act has to be executed neatly. There is no room for error, because the terrorist knows that if he is caught, he will spend the rest of his life in prison or he will get killed.

The blasts that we have seen in public places are put in cycles, scooters, boxes � for this you don't need training. The experts make these bombs and pay people to plant these bombs. More expertise is needed in assembling these bombs -- from the shape, size of the box into which the bomb is placed, its position, desired destruction, whether the objective is to explode a building, or to kill people -- so that they can have the desired impact.

For any blast to take place, it requires a detonation for it to explode, and the power of initiation can be done in many different ways like through a mobile phone. That is why jammers are put to disable mobile connectivity soon after a blast so that remaining blasts can be prevented.

Explosives are coming into India just as the way weapons come into the country. We have such a long border, terror groups infiltrate the border and move RDX, TNT, cordex etc.

It is doubtful that terror acts like Jaipur are related to militancy. It appears as if it is planned very high up and shows signs of still being backed by the ISI (Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence Agency) To show the Indian government that we can still do it. It is psyche warfare, to show that it is not going to stagnate.

It is important to understand that these terror groups -- inflicting killings in other places in India -- are not only funded by Pakistan alone. Pakistan is not the only country funding them, there are other Muslim countries supporting this. Pakistan doesn't have that much money to give. Moreover, Pakistan cannot handle these militant groups any more, like it used to before. 'To hell with them' is the attitude of these groups towards Pakistan now.

It has been 18 years since militancy began in J&K. In the 1980s, it was about a jihad or holy war for Azad Kashmir. After a lull in the Afghan war, foreign terrorists were included in the ranks. There used to be educated doctors, teachers who would come to fight for the cause. But subsequently that stopped and only Pakistanis and locals constituted the ranks of militants.

Some Pakistani prisoners serving jail sentences were sent to India for two years. These were poor and were given Rs 2 lakhs to Rs 3 lakhs to go to India. Others were encouraged to wed Kashmiri women. Now there is a khidchi (pot pourri) of local misguided youth and Pakistanis that form militants groups. And frankly, they don't know what they are fighting for any more. People in the camps are getting tired -- 50 to 60 per cent want to surrender.

In 18 years, militant organisations have established their ways of functioning, funding, weapons, action, administration etc. But there is still a lull and credit has to be given to the Indian Army for this, but it also shows that the morale is down -- the cause has gone or it is no longer clear.

When militants are apprehended and interrogated, they often do not lie about where they are coming from, what they have done, what training they have received but their inputs are shallow when you ask them -- what next?

Earlier -- before 1995 -- communication between them was not very good, but later they were very well linked. The news of any capture would reach the group heads etc in no time. If captured in a surprise move by the Indian Army (and not during the course of a planned militant action where the bosses know of the operation etc), it can be of great help. Then it is a race against time about how much information I can get out of him.

Because when they are captured when they least expect it, they are in a state of shock. They think they are studs and being captured breaks that myth.

India should have a consistent, aggressive action plan to counter terrorism and militancy. We should be allowed to raid training camps on the border -- but that we can't do (until the government gives the go ahead). Imagine the havoc it would cause on the psyche of the cadres. They should be scared of us.

As told to Archana Masih