Human rights are considered to be the basic fundamental rights of an individual, be it a citizen of any nation. Once an individual is present as a human in the world there are some basic rights that cannot be denied to them on any cost. One such right is the right to life. Every individual present on the world has the right to live. Terrorism is an act of grave hurt to this absolute right of an individual. Thus, studies and legislations concerning counter – terrorism are very important to tackle the issue of terrorism in the world.


There have been many attempts to provide a comprehensive definition of terrorism by the United Nations. The International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism defined terrorism as, “any….. act intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian, or to any other person not taking an active part in hostilities in a situation of armed conflict, when the purpose of such act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act.”

The UN General Assembly defined terrorism as, “criminal acts intended to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes.”

The Indian Law is also not silent on the offence of terrorism. The new penal code i.e., The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 defines a terrorist act in section 111. The Parliament of India has also passed a separate legislation to control the acts of terrorism in India namely, Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2000. The Act makes provisions for preventing the acts of terrorism in India. It also deals with terrorist activities that take place within the land of India. The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 also defines a terrorist in detail.

A basic definition of terrorism thus that may be provided is, “the killing of ordinary people for political purposes.”


With any act of harming any person be it for a specific purpose or a general purpose, the main harm comes to the basic human rights of the individuals being affected. These are harmed during the act of terrorism and also when actions against such acts are taken. Similarly, when a war takes place lives of both the sides are affected. Thus, terrorism or even counter – terrorism harms the lives of the ordinary people. Parties that are in conflict that is, the state and terrorist both remain safe to some extent but the lives of the common people are at risk during any such encounter.

However, the sate performs two main obligations: first, to protect the citizens from any greater harm and second, to compensate the victims of the conflict that arose due to the acts of terrorism. Main aim of working of the state is to protect its citizens to the utmost and provide them security against any other such acts that may include acts other than terrorism like war crimes.


The crime of terrorism, as discussed above, harms the innocent civilians of the state to the most extent. To be very specific, these civilians include women, youth, the elderly generation of the society. Soldiers also form a major part of the victims of the offence of terrorism.


Women being the vulnerable section of the society in terms of war crimes are very likely to be caught as the victims of these conflicts. Terrorists not only kill them but sometimes brutally rape these individuals as well.


Youth of the nation is the most important section of the society. Being always ready to die for the nation they suffer much damage due to such acts of terrorism. Not only this, youth also engages in protesting against such acts and participating in activities preventing terrorism that also lead them to the path of sacrifice for the nation.


Soldiers of the nation are the biggest part of the society that suffer harm to life due to the acts of terrorism. These are the first people that combat with terrorists just to ensure safety of the general public.


Terrorism in India and over the world is a point of great concern. This leads to loss of human life and a grave hurt to human rights that should be provided to the individuals in an absolute manner. Indian laws are although working towards preventing terrorist acts in the nation however, a more robust strategy towards  implementation of these laws is also the need of hour so that minimum loss is caused to the nation in terms of lives and territory.

Contributed by – Ishita Saxena

(Symbiosis Law School, Noida 2023-28)

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