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US slams Indian laws on terrorism

One report also lauds India for improving tactics, writes S Rajagopalan.

india Updated: Apr 29, 2006 10:44 IST

India’s fight against terrorism is “hampered by its outdated and overburdened law enforcement and legal systems”, says the US State Department's annual country reports on terrorism. But the report also praises India for improving its “tactics against terrorists and making significant arrests.”

While listing India as one of the worst victims of terrorism in 2005, it says militants staged “hundreds of attacks on people and property”. Unlike previous years, the report does not provide country-specific data on the number of incidents and casualties, but its South Asia section talks of increased activity by terrorist groups in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

While commending Pakistan for “significantly increasing the effectiveness of its counter-terrorism operation” by capturing or killing hundreds of terrorists, the report retains a host of Pakistan-based outfits including Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Tayyeba on the list of “Foreign Terrorist Organizations”. Indian outfits, the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and the Communist Party of India (Maoist), figure on a companion list “Other Groups of Concern” after being under the State Department's scanner last year.

The report highlights the continuing activities of LeT and JeM in Jammu and Kashmir that also included attacks on politicians. “Hundreds of non-combatants were killed, most of were Kashmiri Muslims."

Apart from the terror let loose by separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir, the report focuses on Maoists in the “Naxalite belt” in eastern India and ethno-linguistic nationalists in the North-East. Civilian fatalities in J&K, however, have continued a five-year decline, it says.

The report mentions that the growing sophistication and lethality of “Naxalite terrorism” may pose a significant long-term challenge.