Data show 55% of these devices are set off in public places; in 2016, only 7% of the attacks were targeted at VIPs
New Delhi, 9 February 2017. Who are the primary targets of terrorists? VIPs? Security forces? Or ordinary people?
A detailed data analysis carried out by the National Security Guard, a counter-terror and counter-hijack force, show it is the unarmed civilians who often fall victim to IED (improvised explosive device) blasts set off by terrorists across India. The VIPs are the least targeted.
Between 2012 and 2016, anywhere between 49% and 72% of the attacks annually have been targeted at ordinary civilians. In contrast, attacks targeting VIPs were in the range of 1% to 7%.
In 2016, only 7% of the IED attacks were targeted at the VIPs. In comparison, 55% of all IED explosions across India in 2016 were targeted at public places. The remaining 37% were against security forces.
The Union government provides security to more than 300 VIPs. While the Special Protection Group provides security to the Prime Minister, the former Prime Ministers and their close family members, the NSG commandos guard those like Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
The Centre justifies VIP security in the name of “security threats”, which are assessments made primarily through the Intelligence Bureau. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal is a recent addition to the list of VIPs protected by the NSG.
The NSG report said that three VIPs each were targeted in Northeast India and areas affected by Left-wing extremism, one in Jammu and Kashmir and remaining 16 in the rest of India.
In all, 337 bomb-related incidents were reported in the country, the highest in five years.
The States affected by Left-wing extremism contributed the most number of IED blasts at 159, followed by the north-eastern States at 59 and Jammu and Kashmir at 31.
“In 2016, the most preferred targets of Maoists, insurgents and terrorists were public and security forces. Overall, there was an increase in incidents when specifically security forces were the target,” the report said.
In 2016, the number of IED blasts rose from six to 33 in Kerala and from 12 to 32 in Tamil Nadu. Chhattisgarh saw an increase from 39 to 60.
The report was shared with mediapersons on Thursday at an international seminar organised by the bomb data centre of the NSG.
The report said Jammu and Kashmir saw an increase in number of blasts after the Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with the security forces.
Type of explosives
“High-grade explosives were used in 83% of all IED incidents. Considerable quantities of low explosives, especially petrol bombs, also saw an increase. From none in 2015 to 12 in 2016,” the report said. The security forces remained the prime target in J&K.
Director-General, NSG, Sudhir Pratap Singh said the force had been organising seminars on counter-terrorism for the past 16 years and this year, representatives from 12 countries attended the conference.