But some groups of NGOs saw activism as their primary means of reaching their goals, because they did not believe they could get the authorities to move in any other way. Perhaps the best-known example of an Indian NGO, as I read a while ago, is the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save Narmada Campaign), an organization that opposed the construction of a series of large dams in a large river valley of central India. The members of this NGO believed that large dams worsen water scarcity for the majority of the people in the long run rather than solve the problem, and they opposed the displacement it entails upstream of the dam.
Actually Arundhati Roy was not the leader of the NBA, it was Medha Patkar, though ARoy did get some photo op out of it. These NGO members were against the decision of a multi-state tribunal (since this was a conflict between state governments about water sharing) that would have displaced people without adequate compensation (or information), and the supreme court sided with them initially. Then it came to light that these same "concerned NGOs" in the NBA were physically attacking and intimidating the people who actually took compensation and were ready to move out of the area. At this point, it was clear that this was just agitation-propaganda being carried out with the explicit intent of stopping implementation of the decision of the inter-state tribunal with the larger goal of providing access to river waters to the people of three states --- this was clearly not in the public interest, and no govt. mitigation action was going to satisfy this group of "Civil society" rabblerousers. The SC decision was actually for the NBA, and then the govt. was told to deal with compensation for the displaced people, which they did, and after that the supreme court decision was favourable to the government. But as in all cases, these "civil society" NGOs are against any court decision that is not in the favor, even if it addresses their concerns, which about says that their motive has less to do with fighting for the public interest or even the sub groups that were being displaced by the dam. I mean, why harrass and intimidate people who accepted govt. compensation, if their initial complaint was the lack of compensation?
Medha Patkar was thrown in prison by the Gujarat govt. after this point when she blockaded work on the project and her NBA members indulged in thuggery, and so did the MP govt. in 2009. NBA was also caught committing perjury in the supreme court and was hauled up for it. Medha Patkar and ARoy seem to want to add "arrested for fighting the power for the sake of truth and justice" to their resume, because after the arrest, both of them seem to have moved on to other causes.
This is not to say the govt. did everything right or that no one was affected badly -- someone always is. But these NGOs goals do not seem to have anything to do with the public interest or the interest of the "downtrodden and displaced" which is their usual claim.
They want to lead not only the narrative, but overrule the interest of the public and elected state govts. via elected institutions that are trying to deal with complicated problems involving state rights and water sharing, which is messy enough without "civil society" working to sabotage their arbitrated decisions by pretending to speak for some sub-group and not being satisfied even after their complaints are heard and addressed.
Getting back to this topic of terrorism and soft power, if these "civil society" NGOs were allowed to meddle in matters of security, as they were during ManmohanSingh/Sonia regime, they are likely to screw the govt. and push for the interest of known terrorists. The cases of the underworld criminal who was involved in gunrunning and the case of Ishrat Jahan, who was known to be a LeT operative/suicicde bomber are perfect examples of what NGOs would do India.
Granted, there is the issue of extra judicial killings, but it was also the case that there was intelligence that proved both these examples involved individuals who were committed to assisting terrorism. But the NGOs did not just question the matter of extra judicial killings, they colluded openly with Sonia Gandhi's party that was running the central government, and actively slandering and lying and creating hatred for the entire Gujarat Public -- Ishrat Jahan and Sohrabuddin were just the means to an end, one of vilifying the state government and discrediting Narendra Modi and Amit Shah in the eyes of the public at large. These "civil society" NGOs NEVER accepted that both Ishrat Jahan and Sohrabuddin were involved in terrorism, as you would expect any honest NGO to do, if their intent was to put an end to extra judicial killing.
Even if "civil society" is considered "soft power", it is going to do nothing to combat terrorism in India - it is more likely that they will actively aid and abet terrorist activity by providing them cover and weakening any govt. action against terrorist groups and terrorists.