To counter the threat of radicalisation of local youth by the Islamic State (IS), police chiefs and home secretaries of 12 states have been advised to adopt a “measured approach’’ in which “arrest is not the first option”.
Sources revealed that during a meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary L C Goyal in New Delhi on Saturday, a major element of the strategy formulated to deal with the threat was on running community outreach and de-radicalisation programmes to wean away youth identified as IS sympathisers from extremist ideologies.
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The meeting was also attended by representatives of central intelligence and security agencies. Ways to streamline institutional mechanisms for real-time information sharing were also discussed. The meeting also looked at the modalities of analysing suspected social media platforms run by IS sympathisers.
“Simply registering an FIR and prosecuting an IS sympathiser is not the way to deal with the issue, as it would lead to further resentment. The idea is to ensure, at the grassroots level, that youth from the minority community do not feel isolated. Community outreach initiatives will be carried out by the police, and community leaders will be roped in for the effort,” said a source.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has, so far, adopted a cautious response to incidents of IS radicalisation, with security officials wary of providing more fuel to recruiters through an intensive crackdown on sympathisers. During Saturday’s meeting, cases of radicalisation of youth by IS in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana came up for discussion.
“Rather than immediately opting for registration of an FIR against a youth and prosecuting him, a more nuanced and measured approach is required. If the assessment in a case is that there is scope for de-radicalisation, then counseling sessions will be arranged for the youths and their families,” said an official.
According to the MHA, “it was decided to strengthen the capacity building of the police officers in states through training programmes, to be organised by central intelligence and security agencies.” The meeting was called to “sensitise the states about the existing and emerging threats to the internal security situation in the country,” it said.