Emphaising that religious radicalisation is a serious security threat and if not checked in time “it will turn into terrorism”, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said that some of these “agents” of radicalisation may be “operating in the name of NGOs”.
The minister said that some of these “agents” even get foreign funding. “So it is necessary to closely monitor their foreign funding and utilisation,” he said.
Addressing Chief Secretaries and Directors-General of Police (DGPs) of the north-eastern states, Singh said it was essential to identify those responsible for attempts to spread radicalisation because the region was especially vulnerable.
“Some of these agents are operating in the name of religion, while some others are operating in the name of NGOs, or (in the garb of) carrying out development programmes for individuals, socio-cultural uplift and education,” he said during a review meeting on the security scenario in the north-eastern states. National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and other top security officials were part of the meeting.
“If we talk about the future security threats, radicalisation has come as a huge security challenge. Radicalisation is a transnational phenomenon,” he said.
Singh also expressed concern over proliferation of illegal arms in the region and asked the DGPs to launch organised campaigns against arms smugglers.
Although most of the Northeast is now free from militancy, Singh said, proliferation of illegal arms needs to be tackled. “Illegal arms in such large numbers leads to more crimes. I urge the DGPs to launch an organised campaign against illegal arms traders,” he said.
He said arms, narcotics and fake Indian currency notes are being smuggled in through the international border abutting the Northeast. “These borders are practically un-policed. There is a need to set up more police stations…(to) check cross-border crimes and bring a sense of security among people who live in these remote areas,” he said.
The Home Minister said that there had been a significant improvement in the security situation in the Northeast in last few years. “Most of the areas are now free from insurgency and militants have been losing support even in the few pockets where they had influence,” he said.
Singh pointed out that prosecution in criminal cases and the conviction rate overall is pretty poor in the north-east Indian states. “In one state, the prosecution rate is just 5 per cent, against the all-India rate of 86 per cent,” he added. Asking police chiefs of these states to pay special attention to the low conviction rates, he said if this trend continues, people’s faith in the criminal justice system will erode. He added that poor investigation is the main reason for the high acquittal rates.