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Maharashtra to soon roll out policy to combat terror threat

The Maharashtra Chief Minister even held a brainstorming meeting with various government departments regard this last week.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
November 30, 2015 3:12:39 am

Soon after reports of some Muslim youth from Maharashtra being attracted to the ideology of Islamic State came to the fore, senior Home Department officials have confirmed that the Devendra Fadnavis government is in the final stages of rolling out a policy on deradicalisation, the main objective of which will be to dissuade Muslim youth from adopting extremist ideology.

The counter-radicalisation strategy will focus on bettering education, healthcare and civic amenities in minority-dominated areas to counter the threat posted by the Islamic State and other fundamentalist groups. Even as the Centre is working on a countrywide deradicalisation programme, Maharashtra is readying its own blueprint to combat the menace.

The Maharashtra Chief Minister even held a brainstorming meeting with various government departments regard this last week. In an acknowledgement of the development backlog in minority-dominated regions, the government’s policy, revealed sources, talks of increasing public spending in such regions and making coordinated efforts towards bettering water supply, sanitation facilities, healthcare, and transportation infrastructure in minority dominated belts of the state including Melagaon, Meraj, Bhiwandi among others. It further states that the goverment must take steps to “increase access to modern education” in Muslim-dominated backward belts to complement education in madrassas.

The government is also planning new scholarships to arrest the high drop-out ratio in these regions’ schools. There is also a plan to construct hostels in every district in the state, for young Muslim girls interested in pursuing higher education. The government is also planning to take steps to ensure that women doctors from the community are available in taluka-level government healthcare facilities in such pockets, an official said.

While the home department will coordinate the counter-radicalisation efforts in the state, a senior BJP minister said that the policy’s implementation will also involve authorities from urban development, education, higher education, women and child development, labour, and minorities departments among others. Incidentally, sources confirmed that the minorities department had earlier objected to a suggestion in the policy document that Muslim youth were vulnerable in the face of radicalisation attempts. The government dropped this mention later to avoid a controversy.

The policy is now meant for youth from all vulnerable sections and will have a special focus on Muslim-dominated belts, a BJP minister said.

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