ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Who Is a Terrorist?

The Politics behind Labelling

Terrorism committed by states and their agents has been responsible for millions of deaths worldwide in the last two centuries. Yet the mainstream literature seems to be obsessed with terrorism perpetrated by non-state actors, and state terrorism remains an under-theorised and under-studied concept as compared to its non-state avatar. It is important, therefore, to critically look at the dominant discourse on terrorism; and the politics behind labelling someone as a terrorist needs to be interrogated thoroughly.

It was an ancien régime supported by the most powerful modern liberal democratic state of the world. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)— CPN(M)—was leading a spectacular resistance of the people against a medieval regime. The Nepali Maoists were declared “terrorists,” and their brutal suppression by the monarch’s Royal Nepali Army (RNA) became a part of the “global war on terror,” initiated by the United States (US) after the 9/11 attacks. To support the “war on terror,” was the most convenient way for the unpopular dictators in the Global South to gather legitimacy and support for their actions from the global hegemon, the US.

It was the year 2005. One day, the RNA surrounded our home, vandalised whatever furniture and utensils we had, and took away our family albums. My father was arrested a few months later and my mother moved in with my relatives. I was in the People’s Liberation Army and my brothers and sisters were pursuing higher education in the city. The only member of our family staying in the village home was my grandmother. However, the RNA did not spare even an old woman. They beat her mercilessly with the butts of their assault rifles, kicked her and left her unconscious. After the army left, the villagers took her to a hospital in Pokhra, a nearby city.

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Updated On : 12th May, 2021
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