Details about Anti-terrorism Laws in India

India is reporting an increase in terror attacks in the last two decades. Bomb blasts in cities such as Jaipur, Ahmedabad, and Bengaluru, as well as the notorious terror attacks in Mumbai and Pune outraged every Indian.

No civilised nation can allow such barbaric inhumanity in any form. The only way to reduce such activity is through anti-terrorism laws like the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002

India faces numerous challenges in managing its internal security. Terrorist activity has increased to cross-border terrorist activities and insurgent groups in various parts of the country.

Although many anti-terrorism laws are enacted in India, they are frequently challenged because they violate people’s fundamental rights. The post-anti-terrorism legislation in India has praised the legislation for effectively ensuring the speedy trial of people accused of indulging in or aiding terrorism in India. The barbaric terror attacks of September 11, 2001, highlighted the need for stringent anti-terrorism laws.

Meaning of terrorism

The term terrorism is derived from the French word Terrorisme, derived from the Latin verb ‘terrere’ (to cause to tremble). Jacobins cited the rule while imposing a Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. After the Jacobins lost power, the term ‘terrorist’ came to be pejoratively used.

In modern times, ‘terrorism’ refers to killing innocent people by a private group to create a media spectacle.

In November 2004, United Nations Security Council defined terrorism as any act “intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants to intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organisation to perform or refrain from performing any act”.

Acts of terrorism are legally distinguished from criminal acts committed for other reasons in many countries.

Terrorism has now become a global challenge.

Terrorist groups and organisations use modern means of communication and technology to expand their reach and methods, such as communication systems, transportation, sophisticated weapons, and other means to strike and threaten people at will.

The Indian criminal justice system, such as the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), was not designed to deal with such heinous crimes. Therefore, special anti-terrorism laws were enacted to harshly punish enemies of humanity.

What is the Global Terrorism Index?

The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) is a comprehensive study that examines the effect of terrorism in 163 countries accounting for 99.7% of the world’s population.

The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) creates the GTI report using data from Terrorism Tracker and other sources.

The GTI generates a composite score to provide a numerical ranking of countries based on their terrorism impact. The GTI assigns a score to each country on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 representing no impact from terrorism and 10 representing the greatest measurable impact from terrorism.

Given the significant resources committed to counter-terrorism by governments worldwide, analysing and aggregating the available data are critical for understanding its characteristics.

One of the GTI’s primary goals is to investigate terrorism and contribute to a positive, practical debate of the future of terrorism and ensure required policy.

Cause of terrorism in India

The primary causes of terrorism in India include:

  • Political cause
  • Economic cause
  • Cross border cause
  • Religious cause
  • Ethnic cause

Political cause

In Assam and Tripura, the government failed to control the large-scale illegal immigration of Muslims from Bangladesh. The immigration of refugees into Assam and Tripura affected the local populations of Bengali migrants. As a result, the increase in migration became a threat to greater political and societal integration. As countries try to limit the increase of migrants into their territory, as migration is closely connected with border control. Therefore, terrorism in India has increased drastically.

Economic cause

Economic factors include the lack of land reform, rural unemployment, exploitation of landless labourers. These economic grievances and gross social injustices have given rise to ideological terrorist groups such as Maoist groups operating under various names.

Cross-border cause

Every sovereign state pursues the course of action that they perceive to be its national interest. At the highest level, a nation’s vital interests would include territorial integrity, state sovereignty, and the security of its people.

Non-state actors are effectively challenging all three of these in India. While most non-state actors have emerged from indigenous narratives, some have been promoted, propped up, or supported by nation-states hostile to India.

Internal conflict has erupted in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), parts of Northeast India, and the hinterland of the country.

Religious cause

The major form of terrorism in India is a form of religious terrorism. Groups or individuals whose motivation is typically rooted in religious tenets commit religious terrorism.

Terrorist acts have been committed on religious grounds throughout history to spread or enforce a system of belief, viewpoint, or opinion. Terrorist activities are primarily attributable to radical Islamic, Hindu, Sikh, Christian, and Naxalite movements.

Ethnic cause

This cause is primarily seen in northeastern states such as Nagaland, Mizoram, and Manipur due to feelings of ethnic segregation, which has given rise to terrorist groups such as the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and others.

Earlier laws on anti-terrorism in India

  • Terrorist Affected Area (Special Courts) Act of 1984: The primary purpose of enacting this act was to establish special courts that dealt solely with terrorism-related cases.
  • National Security Act of 1980: The act replaced the National Security Ordinance. It was the first time a specific law dealing with terrorism was enacted. This act is said to have been followed by the Maintenance of Internal Security Act, which was discredited during an emergency.
  • Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) of 1985: The act was the first known enactment that directly addressed terrorism and methods to tackle it. The act criminalised the actual perpetrator behind the concealment and laid rules for detaining terrorists.

Current anti-terrorism laws in India

Since 1937, the League of Nations and the United Nations Organization have attempted to define a unanimous definition of terrorism through various conventions to legislate a uniform anti-terrorism law.

Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the United States and the United Kingdom enacted effective anti-terrorism legislation.

President Bush signed the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001 on October 26, 2001, to deter and punish terrorists in the United States and around the world.

National Investigation Agency Act,2008

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is a new federal agency established by the Indian government to combat terrorism in India.

The agency has the authority to deal with terrorism-related crimes across states without requiring special permission from the states. The provisions of this act relate to investigation affecting the powers of the State Governments and prosecuting any scheduled offence.

Unlawful Activities(Prevention) Act,1967

The Unlawful Activities(Prevention) Act,1967 UAPA was created to address organisations and activities that questioned India’s territorial integrity, and its scope was strictly limited to threats to India’s territorial integrity.

The act is a self-contained set of measures for declaring secessionist organisations illegal, adjudication by a tribunal, control of unlawful organisations’ funds and places of business, and sanctions for their members.

The UAPA Act has always been approached holistically, and it falls under the scope of the central list in the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.

Criminal Procedure Code,1973

The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, has been altered. Although modifications are not necessarily the result of terrorist activities, they affect the accused and seek relief for victims of such attacks.


Before India’s independence in 1947, terror activities were aimed at causing fear among the British rulers rather than harming the general public. So we do not label these freedom fighters as terrorists, but as acts of defiance against a foreign rule. However, after 1947, terrorism with ulterior motives has resulted in innocent people losing lives. However, the scope of terrorism has grown in the current scenario. Today’s terrorist hotspots include Jammu and Kashmir, Mumbai and Central India.

The introduction of the National Investigation Agency Act (NIA), 2008, as the first step toward effective treatment of terrorism-related offences, is the most significant recent development. The federal, state, and municipal governments are all responsible for combating terrorism. This act envisions a partnership between the federal government and the states for investigating terrorism cases.


What is the use of the global terrorism index (GTI)?

The Institute by Global Terrorism Index (GTI) presents a comprehensive overview of significant global trends and patterns in terrorism during the previous 14 years.

Present anti-terrorism laws in India?

National Investigation Agency Act, 2008 (NIA), Unlawful Activities Prevention Act,1973 (UAPA) and Criminal Procedure Code,1973 are some of the anti-terrorism laws in India.

How to prevent terrorist attacks?

To reduce the possibility of a terrorist attack by keeping an eye out for suspicious situations, such as an unattended bag or someone who appears to be concerned about a building's security.

Main causes for terrorism in India?

Cross-border incited terrorism and religious causes are the leading cause of terrorist attacks in India.

What role does international law play in counter-terrorism?

A state's rights and obligations under international law are superior to any rights or duties that may exist under national law.

Criminal Law