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Mahesh Belavi asked: What measures India has taken to prevent Indians from joining the ISIS?

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  • Adil Rasheed replies: Indian Government has been taking several measures to protect impressionable minds, particularly the country’s youth, from the radicalisation and recruitment campaigns launched by the ISIS. In fact, it is ‘working out a cohesive strategy to counter attempts at radicalisation and recruitment, suitable in the Indian context’.

    Earlier this year, Home Minister Rajnath Singh chaired a meeting with security agencies to further map out such strategies. The meeting was attended by representatives from the states of Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and New Delhi.

    At present, if the law enforcement agencies in the country find an individual to be a highly radicalised person, they determine whether the person can be referred for de-radicalisation. The person receives counselling either by the police or scholars of the ideological or religious affiliation to which the individual belongs. The person’s activities are monitored to prevent recidivism. These measures are currently being pursued with diligence in the states of Maharashtra and Telangana.

    The media campaigns of the ISIS in social networks to attract supporters are also being analysed and public relations programmes are on anvil for the propagation of ‘moderate’ interpretations of Islam to counter the ISIS ideology of violent extremism.

    Other initiatives like an ‘extremist counselling hotline’, such as the one recently set up by Austria, has reportedly drawn the interest of Indian authorities. The viability of the United States’ counter-radicalisation programmes focused on community outreach and the United Kingdom’s Prevent and Channel programme is also being studied.

    In addition, Indian anti-terrorist squads continue to prevent people from travelling to Iraq and Syria in an attempt to join the ISIS. Late last year, three students were arrested at the international airport of Nagpur, while trying to leave the country to join the self-styled Islamic State. However, the fight against the growing ISIS menace is still ‘work in progress’ and there has been criticism in some quarters that efforts continue to lag behind the proverbial curve.

    Posted on October 26, 2016