Militant vs Terrorist
The use of the words militants and terrorists has risen too much, and people are confused as to whether an act of violence has been committed by terrorists or militants. This is because of no universally accepted definition of terrorist, also because in places where armed struggles against establishment are going on, those who indulge in violence object to the use of the word terrorist for them. They urge media to use the word militant for them as if they are serving a militia of a government. To find differences between these two words terrorist and militant on the basis of usage by media is impossible because even media has soft leanings towards a cause or a banned group that takes up arms to revolt against a state or administration. This article attempts to throw light on these two words and try to find out their differences.
The word militant refers to a man in combat mode, to a soldier in action. However, the word has come to mean a person who is a member of an organization, and is trying to achieve the objectives of the organization, mostly political. A militant brings to mind images of a person armed with ammunition and ready to take part in a combat. The word is often used to describe members of an organization that is supportive of use of violence to achieve political goals. The word is both a noun as well as an adjective. When used as a noun, it refers to a person who is a warrior (in derogatory terms) and indulges in violence to achieve the objectives of his organization.
The word terrorist is the most hated word in the world and brings to mind images of a person wearing a mask, firing indiscriminately, killing innocent people. Though the world does not agree upon a universally acceptable definition of terrorism, at least everyone (in the wake of 9/11 in the US and 26/11 in India) today agrees that any act of violence leading to destruction of property and loss of innocent lives is an act of terrorism and the person indulging in such act or actively helping a person to perform the act is a terrorist. Even those who are charged with supplying money and material for such heinous crimes against humanity are termed as terrorists.
A terrorist makes use of violence to create terror in the minds of establishment. He chooses innocent civilians and government installations as hi9s targets to create publicity for his act and to draw the attention of the world to his plight or the cause towards which he is engaging in such acts. A militant, though he too uses violence and killings does not use his acts to create terror to garner publicity. He is only interested in change of the guard to help fulfill his political agenda.