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Sravan asked: What is the difference between insurgency, militancy and extremism?

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  • Vivek Chadha replies: The difference between insurgency, militancy and extremism often tends to take the shape of the context in which it has been used and therefore, its implied meaning becomes more relevant than the actual one.

    Purely from a definitional point of view, the Indian Sub Conventional Doctrine defines insurgency as “an organised armed struggle by a section of the population against the state, usually with foreign support. Possible causes of an insurgency including ideological, ethnic or linguistic differences; or politico-socio-economic reasons and/or fundamentalism and extremism. Interference by external forces may act as a catalyst to provide impetus to the movement.” There can be other definitions, though this essentially gives an idea of an insurgency.

    Militancy is a condition which experiences the use of violence, being combative or predisposed to fight.

    Extremism is a state wherein a person or an organisation holds extreme political or religious views.

    If one were to compare these terms, an extremist may not necessarily be committing a crime under law. A number of groups, political and religious, fall under this category, for instance, the separatists in Kashmir and Maoist supporters. Militants can include any individual or group which takes to violence. This need not only include terrorists and insurgents, but also religious groups which take to violence to further their beliefs. An insurgency may have within its fold both militant groups supporting it as also extremists who propagate its ideology.

    Posted on July 28, 2014