Slow legal system hampers India's counter-terrorism moves: US

Lalit K Jha

Washington, May 1 The United States today said that India's counter-terrorism efforts are hampered by its overburdened law enforcement and slow legal systems, even as it has done commendable job to fight the menace in the country.

Identifying India as one of the countries badly hit by terrorism, a US report on counter-terrorism said that the Indian court system is slow, laborious and prone to corruption; as a result of which terrorism trials can take years to complete.

"An independent Indian think tank, for example, assesses that the estimated 12,000 civilians killed by terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir from 1988 to 2002 generated only 13 convictions through December 2002; most of the convictions were for illegal border crossing or possession of weapons or explosives," said the India chapter of the "Country Reports on Terrorism 2008" of the US State Department.

Many of India's local police forces are poorly staffed, trained, and equipped to combat terrorism effectively.

Despite all these deficiencies, the report said India scored major successes, including numerous arrests and the seizure of hundreds of kilos of explosives and firearms during operations against the briefly resurgent Sikh terrorist group Babbar Khalsa International.