It is a rather curious case of Islamic State (IS) radicalisation. For the past few weeks, Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials in Delhi have been trying to convince a young Hindu woman, who recently graduated from a premier Delhi University college, that joining the IS is not a good idea.
The daughter of a retired Indian Army Lieutenant Colonel, the woman, in her mid-20s, went to Australia for three years for post-graduate studies. When she returned, she was reportedly a changed person.
Intelligence sources said it was her father who approached the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and reported her activities. He reportedly sought help from the NIA in counseling and de-radicalising her. The agency, in turn, got in touch with the IB which is now handling the matter.
A senior IB official confirmed the development to The Indian Express.
According to sources, a couple of months ago, the former Army officer stumbled upon some internet communication linked to the IS on his daughter’s computer. Further investigation by the officer reportedly revealed that his daughter was perhaps in touch with alleged IS recruiters and planned to travel to Syria to join the outfit.
The father then reportedly sought the NIA’s help. Sources said the woman perhaps planned to convert and then make her way to Syria through Australia. IB sleuths have already held a few sessions with her, said sources.
While the group of 10 youths who were recently deported from the UAE for allegedly indulging in IS propaganda included two Hindus, authorities said their case was very different — they came under the scanner due to their friendship and exchange of internet messages with some youth who were allegedly involved in IS propaganda.
The development comes at a time when the Indian establishment has begun to take the online radicalisation by the IS seriously, although its approach to those who are attracted to the outfit’s ideology is rather calibrated. Only last month, former home secretary L C Goyal chaired a meeting of DGPs from various states on the strategy to tackle IS radicalisation.
Australia has been facing massive problems on this front. Despite Muslims accounting for a mere 2.2 per cent of the total population, the country has seen many leaving for Syria to join the IS, as well as lone wolf attacks by teenagers in the name of the outfit.
According to a recent statement by then Australian PM Tony Abbott, at least 70 Australians were fighting in Iraq and Syria, backed by about 100 Australia-based “facilitators”.
Converts joining the war in Australia is also not a new phenomenon. In fact, one of the key recruiters for IS in Australia is a jihadi named Neil Prakash. A former Buddhist who now goes by the nom de guerre Abu Khaled al-Cambodi — referring to his Fiji-Cambodian descent — recently uploaded videos calling young Australians to launch lone wolf attacks in the country.