Mumbai: “We have not had one major terrorist attack in this country after 2014, Let us remember that, remind our people that this country has lived a peaceful five years,” defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national convention in New Delhi on January 12, 2019 .
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at BJP National Convention in Delhi: We have not had one major terrorist attack in this country after 2014. This govt under the leadership of PM Modi has ensured one thing that there shall not be an opportunity for terrorists to disturb peace. pic.twitter.com/qWehbpZkFd
— ANI (@ANI) January 12, 2019
Fact: Sitharaman’s claim is false.
As many as 391 major incidents–involving more than three killings in a single incident–of terrorism were recorded by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), a terror database of the Institute for Conflict Management, a New Delhi-based non-profit, from 2014 to 2019 in India which killed 1,912 and injured 829 people as of January 13, 2019.
From 2014 to 2019 (January 13, 2019), 4,397 fatalities from terrorism and insurgency were recorded by SATP in India.
Source: South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP)
Note: In 2019, as of January 13, 2019, one incident was recorded in which three persons were killed and one injured.
“The year 2017 also witnessed a 6.21% increase and 166.66% increase in the number of terrorist incidents and fatalities of civilians respectively in comparison to the corresponding period of 2016,” according to the 2017-18 annual report of the home ministry on the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
“However, there is 2.44% decrease in casualties of security forces in comparison to the corresponding period of 2016. During the year 2017, 42% more terrorists have been neutralized in comparison to the corresponding period of 2016.”
“From the year 2014 till 31.12.2018, there have been 1,213 incidents involving terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir,” according to this reply by the home ministry to the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) on January 8, 2019.
“In these incidents, 183 civilians lost their lives and 838 terrorists were neutralised. During this period, six incidents involving terrorists were reported from other parts of the country in which 11 civilians lost their lives and 7 terrorists were neutralised.”
FactChecker.in identified seven ‘major terrorist attacks’ since 2014 to disprove the claim of the defence minister.
Attack 1: Manipur army convoy ambush (June 4, 2015)
Eighteen soldiers were killed and 11 were injured in Chandel district of Manipur when a Naga militant outfit National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Khaplang (NSCN-K) ambushed their convoy, The Indian Express reported on July 5, 2015.
The army later conducted counter operations against the insurgent group. “…the Indian army engaged two separate groups of insurgents along the Indo-Myanmar border at two locations, along the Nagaland and Manipur borders,” according to this army press release on July 25, 2015.
Today’s mindless attack in Manipur is very distressing. I bow to each and every soldier who has sacrificed his life for the Nation.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 4, 2015
Attack 2: Gurdaspur firing (July 27, 2015)
Three terrorists dressed in army uniform opened fire at a bus and then attacked the Dina Nagar police station in Gurdaspur, Punjab. Subsequently, five bombs were found planted on the Amritsar-Pathankot line on a rail-bridge near Parmanand railway station, five kilometers away.
“In this terror attack, three civilians, three home guards and one police officer lost their lives,” home minister Rajnath Singh said in his statement to the Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliament) on July 30, 2015.
“In addition, 10 civilians and seven security force personnel were injured.”
Attack 3: Pathankot attack (January 2, 2016)
A group of terrorists attacked the Air Force base in Pathankot, Punjab. “The terrorists were successfully prevented from damaging the strategic assets of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and were neutralised by the Indian security forces,” according to this reply to the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) by the defence ministry on February 26, 2016.
“While seven defence personnel lost their lives, 25 defence personnel were injured.”
“Whether in Paris or Pathankot, terrorist attacks on democracies are attacks against fundamental values of liberty, freedom and universal brotherhood,” former President Pranab Mukherjee said on February 3, 2016 on the occasion of the inauguration of the Counter-Terrorism Conference-2016.
“Terrorism is a global threat which poses an unprecedented challenge to all nations.”
Attack 4: Uri attack (September 18, 2016)
Four heavily armed terrorists opened fire at an administrative base of one of the units of the Indian army at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir.
“There have been a total of 17 army fatal casualties,” according to the Director General of Military Operations’ (DGMO) statement to the media on September 18, 2016.
“Of these, 13-14 casualties have been due to tents/ shelters having caught fire when terrorists fired incendiary ammunition along with automatic fire of small arms.”
“It is the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir in two decades,” the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported on September 18, 2016.
Eleven days following the attack, on September 29, 2016, the Indian army conducted surgical strikes against suspected terrorists in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
“Based on receiving specific and credible inputs that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along Line of Control to carryout infiltration and conduct terrorist strikes inside Jammu and Kashmir and in various metros in other states, the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes at several of these launch pads to pre-empt infiltration by terrorists,” Director General Military Operations Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh had said in a joint briefing to the media on September 29, 2016.
“This is the first time New Delhi has officially acknowledged a military strike in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)–cross-LoC operations in the past have never elicited any official response,” The Indian Express reported on September 30, 2016.
The incident was the basis for the 2018 movie Uri – The Surgical Strike.
There was a 64% rise in terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir over three years to 2017, providing some perspective to the BJP decision to call off its three-year alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party, IndiaSpend reported on June 19, 2018.
Attack 5: Sukma ambush (April 10, 2017)
Two companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were ambushed with heavy firing by armed Maoists while providing security for road construction in Sukhma, Chhattisgarh which resulted in the death of 25 CRPF personnel and six being wounded.
“According to reports, 90 CRPF jawans were part of the road opening party when they were attacked by the Maoists,” The Times of India reported on April 24, 2017.
“First, naxalites sent villagers to trace our location, then almost 300 naxalites attacked us,” CRPF constable Sher Mohammed, who was wounded in the attack, told ANI.
“We also fired and killed many… I shot three-four naxalites in the chest.”
May those injured in today's attack in Chhattisgarh recover at the earliest.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 24, 2017
Attack 6: Amarnath Yatra attack (July 10, 2017)
Militants attacked a bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag killing seven and injuring 21 pilgrims, according to this reply to the Rajya Sabha on August 2, 2017
Later on, one injured yatri succumbed to injuries.
Pained beyond words on the dastardly attack on peaceful Amarnath Yatris in J&K. The attack deserves strongest condemnation from everyone.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 10, 2017
Attack 7: Sukma ambush (March 13, 2018)
Nine CRPF personnel were killed and two were injured after Maoist extremists triggered an improvised explosive device in Sukma, Chhattisgarh targeting a mine protected vehicle of the CRPF, according to this reply to the Lok Sabha dated April 3, 2018.
My heartfelt condolences to the families of those personnel who lost their lives in Sukma blast. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured jawans. I spoke to DG @crpfindia regarding the Sukma incident and asked him to leave for Chhattisgarh.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) March 13, 2018
(Anmol Alphonso is an intern with IndiaSpend and FactChecker.)
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