Mumbai: “All the facts checks and all the details taken,.it is true that between 2014 & today vis-a-vis 2004 and 2013, except for Kashmir…has there been any terrorist/minor bomb attack anywhere else in the country? Let’s talk on facts (sic),” defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on February 25, 2019, in Bengaluru.
Defence Min Nirmala Sitharaman earlier today in Bengaluru: All facts checked, it is true that between 2014 & today vis-a-vis 2004 & 2013, except for Kashmir, has there been any terrorist/minor bomb attack anywhere else in the country? Let's talk on facts. pic.twitter.com/7TacLkA4Tr
— ANI (@ANI) February 24, 2019
Her statement is false.
As many as 9,125 “terrorist/insurgent/extremist incidents”–from Jammu & Kashmir (1,708), North-east (2,442) and the “hinterland” (6)–were reported between 2014 and 2018, according to a Lok Sabha reply on February 5, 2019. Left-wing extremism was reportedly behind 4,969 of these incidents.
Of the total number of incidents in the period, 81% or 7,417 were not from Jammu & Kashmir. These 7,417 incidents resulted in 3,068 casualties.
Between 2004 and 2013, the period Sitharaman uses in her comparison, 37,796 “terrorist/insurgency/extremism incidents” were reported in India, government data show.
As many as 39 terrorist incidents were reported in India’s hinterland between 2006 and 2018, data compiled by FactChecker from government responses in parliament show. Of these, six were reported between 2014 and 2018, and 33 between 2006 and 2013.
The graph below lists “terrorist/insurgent/extremist incidents” between 2004 and 2018, the period covered by the defence minister’s statement. The figures for hinterland, however, could not be located for 2004 and 2005.
Source: Lok Sabha: July 21, 2009; Lok Sabha: November 24, 2009; Lok Sabha: August 6, 2013; Lok Sabha: December 10, 2013; Lok Sabha: December 1, 2015; Lok Sabha: February 5, 2019; Ministry of Home Affairs Annual Report: 2006-07; 2008-09; 2010-11; 2012-13; 2013-14
Excluding J&K, 704 explosions between 2014 and February 2019
Six terrorist attacks–three in 2014 and one each in 2015, 2016 and 2018–have been reported in the “hinterland” between 2014 and 2018, according to the Lok Sabha reply on February 5, 2019. As many as 29 deaths were reported in these attacks which include seven terrorists, 11 civilians and 11 security force personnel.
While the above reply indicates that no incident was reported in 2017, a blast was reported in the Bhopal-Ujjain Passenger train on March 7, 2017, in which 11 passengers were injured, government informed the parliament on March 29, 2017. The National Investigation Agency filed a chargesheet against four men said to be associated with Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, India Today reported on August 8, 2017.
Excluding Jammu & Kashmir, there were as many as 704 explosions from 2014 to February 15, 2019, according to the data available on South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP). These explosions led to almost 300 deaths and more than 930 injuries.
Of the 298 dead, 185 deaths were of the security forces and 79 and 30 were of civilians and extremist respectively. (Four of the deaths were unspecified).
As many as 174 improvised explosive device (IED) blasts took place in India in 2018, which claimed 108 lives, down from 244 incidents in 2017, killing 61, The New Indian Express reported on February 17, 2019, citing a National Bomb Data Centre report.
“Jammu and Kashmir has seen a steady increase in IED blasts and other bombing incidents over the last five years, with 2018 witnessing a 57 per cent jump in such incidents while two other major theatres of violence–Left Wing Extremism-hit areas and North East–saw the number of such incidents going down,” the news report said.
In 2016, 337 such IED blasts were reported in India in which 112 people were killed.
Correction: An earlier version of the story erroneously said that the defence minister’s statement does not acknowledge the terror attack at an Air Force base in Pathankot, Punjab. We regret the error.
(Raibagi, a data analyst and a graduate of computational and data journalism at Cardiff University, is an intern with IndiaSpend and FactChecker.)