Terrorism, Technology and Juvenile

The literal meaning of terrorism is the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians with an object to fulfil a political aim. Legally, it is both mala prohibita, which means the crime that made illegal by legislation and mala in se, which means crime that is inherently immoral or wrong. There is no universal definition for terrorism. Various agencies interpret the term with different definitions.
Terrorism, Technology and Juvenile LAWESCORT
There are many reasons why the term “terrorism” is interpreted in various ways. The United Nations tries to give a definite definition to the term, but due to divergence in the opinions of its members, it fails to give a single, all-encompassing, legally binding criminal law definition of terrorism. However, the term terrorism excludes such kind of violent act which is committed by a nation state against the other, which is carried out with the help of properly uniform forces or the violent act done in case of self defense. Those do not come under the purview of terrorism. In the broadest sense, the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence to create terror among the people, or threaten the mass to achieve a financial, political, religious or ideological aim comes under the sphere of the term ‘terrorism’.
The definition of the term ‘terrorism’, which is put forwarded by Alex p. Schmidt, adopted by the Supreme Court in 2003 in Madan Singh vs. State of Bihar. Now, the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (prevention) Act (TADA) formulates the definition as follows:
Whoever with intent to overawe the Government as by law established or to strike terror in the people or any section of the people or to alienate any section of the people or to adversely affect the harmony amongst different sections of the people does any act by using bombs, dynamite or other explosive substances or inflammable substances or lethal weapons or poisons or noxious gases or other chemicals or by any other substance (whether biological or otherwise) of a hazardous nature in such a manner as to cause, or as is likely to cause, death of, or injuries to, any person or persons or loss of, or damage to, or destruction of, property or disruption of any supplies or services essential to the life of the community, or detains any person and threatens to kill or injure such person in order to compel the Government or any other person to do or abstain from doing an act, commits a terrorist act.

Terrorism in India includes mainly the following types;

  • Ethnological
  • Religious
  • Left wing
  • Narco
Terrorism is a threat to the development of physical as well as social well being. To prevent terrorism, Terrorist Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) was enacted in 1987. It acts as an anti-terrorism law, which covers the whole Indian Territory including the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Technology is the great invention of the mankind. But, the usefulness of technology is extent to how we are using it. Technology has both bad and good effects. On one hand, it is used as a tool to trace the terror attack, whereas, on the other hand, terrorists use as their own tool to spread terrorism. Despite lighter physical and border security, terrorism has been a complex problem faced by the Government and policy makers. With the emergence of the new technologies, the nature and mode of operation of terrorism has undergone a radical change giving rise to a new variety of terrorism called as Cyber-terrorism. According to U.S. National Infrastructure Protection Centre, Cyber terrorism has been defined as, a criminal act perpetrated by the use of computer and telecommunication capabilities, resulting in violence, destruction and/or disruption of services to create fear by causing confusion and uncertainty within a given population, with the goal of influencing a governmental population to conform to a particular political, social or ideological agenda.
It becomes the biggest threat to the world. They exploit the computerised system to achieve their aims. Earlier, when technology is on the back seat, terrorists had to go through cut-outs, dead drops, hidden messages and relatively slow and primitive devices, which results the risk of detection, delay or misunderstanding. But in modern times, telephone system offers quick and effective means of communication to both the citizens and terrorists. Comparatively, the cyber terrorist brings more disastrous result than that of the traditional one. Technology has made a virtual web, where all the major financial transactions are linked by computer networks. The network can be penetrated and causes more harm to the people by breaking the economic chain than that of causing harm through poison gas, bombs or bullets, as it will cover lesser number of people than through the computerised network. The cyber terrorists have much more ability than the traditional terrorist to disrupt the economic, health industry, because of the quality of quick spreading capacity and of the capacity to reach more people. The common way of cyber terrorism is to inflict computer viruses, computer worms, phishing and other malicious software and hardware methods and programming scripts.
In the following, we have narrowed down the reasons of being attractive means for modern terrorists to use cyber-terrorism as a tool to inflict harm among the mass of the people:
  • It is relatively easy and cheaper than the traditional methods.
  • It is more anonymous and therefore, perpetrators find it easy to evade detection or prosecution.
  • It has more potential to directly affect a large number of people at the same time.
The Government is greatly concerned regarding the potential damage, which is caused by cyber terrorism. The Government agencies such as, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are specially appointed to put an end to the cyber attack and cyber terrorism. A global consensus establishes effective bilateral and multilateral cooperation among nations, which would be helpful in promoting information and network security and would be an effective tool for prevention of cyber-crime.
Under section 2(k) of the Juvenile Justice (care and protection of Children) Act, 2000 defines juvenile as a person who has not completed the age of eighteen years.
There are following causes of delinquency:
  • Broken family
  • Peer pressure
  • Exclusion
  • Racial discrimination
  • Violence on TV, radio and Internet
  • Drug addiction
  • Alcoholism
  • Maternal drug use
  • Poor nutrition
  • Birth complications
  • Lack of stimulation and affection
  • Abuse/ neglect
  • Biological hereditary defects
  • Poverty
  • Modern way of life
  • Absence of recreation
  • Urbanisation and industrialisation
  • Slum dwelling etc
The people, below the age of 18 years, are vulnerable to the offences, mostly such offences, which are heinous in nature. Several times, it is the children who are trafficked or are commercial sex workers who get involved in trafficking. Before reaching the age of maturity, they are taken by the terrorist organisations and are trained for several years. Because of the sensitive nature of the children, they easily become the prey of such illegal organisations. The children, who are from slum areas, are mostly affected by such terror activities. They can be more easily driven towards the delinquent acts. Due to poverty, the parents never think twice before sending their child to such hell.
In India, under TADA, the terrorists are not categorised as major or minors. The Supreme Court is of the opinion that, to acquire ends of justice, the laws of the country needs to be interpreted in a proper manner. A hard core terrorist should not be granted lesser punishment because of his minor age. Muhammad Moin Faridulla Qureshi was a burning example of such viewpoint. The Supreme Court upholds his conviction for life, rejecting his plea to try him under the Juvenile Justice Act.

The landmark cases that deals with the convicted Juveniles under TADA and Juvenile Justice Act;

Case 1: Asfaq Vs State of Rajasthan and Others
On the basis of serial blasts which took place in five trains on December 6, 1993, the convict was awarded life imprisonment under TADA.
Case 2: Mohomed Moin Faridulla Qureshi vs State of Maharashtra
After the Bombay Bomb blast, petitioner was arrested in connection with the offence punishable under section 120-B, 148, 302,307, 149 of IPC and also under section 3(2)(3) of TADA. Court awarded the convict imprisonment for life under TADA rejecting his plea of trying him under Juvenile Justice Act.
Charity begins at home. As the child, under the age of 18 years is known to be under the age of vulnerability, so, not only the Governments, but also the public should be aware and should protect the child from such heinous activities. Parents should keep the child away from the pictures and videos which support violence. We all have to fight together to remove terrorism from the roots of our society.
Written by- Anjilina Kalita
J.B. Law College