December 29, 2016 2:48:26 am
The state Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) is attempting to deradicalise 16 youths, found spreading extremist ideology on social media, by holding sessions explaining the outcome of getting involved in terrorist activities.
The ATS has not initiated any legal action against the youths, as they were not found involved in any act of terror, despite trying to influence others to take up conflict against “non-believers”. The youths hail from Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Allahabad and Lucknow. Officials have also involved family members, close relatives and friends of the youths in the process.
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“We are keeping a close watch on their movements and making contact on a regular basis. Our effort is to ensure these youths remain in mainstream society,” said IG, ATS, Aseem Arun.
Official claims to have managed to convince five of them to get married and be with their families.
Arun said the youths, who belong to families mostly in different businesses, are between 21 and 28 years old. They were detected over the last eight months during exercises by intelligence agencies which were keeping watch and scanning certain suspected chats and messages on social media sites, including those run by militant groups. Some youths were found chatting to handlers of these sites, he added.
In the process of identifying those who were following and were active on such sites regularly, ATS picked out 16 and started regular vigil on them. Some of these youths are students while others look after family businesses. A few months ago, ATS officials contacted them and interacted with their family members.
“We briefed the family members about the activities of these youths and ask them to keep a watch on their activities. In some cases, when youths refused to listen to family members, the agency contacted close relatives and friends to intervene. We are trying to deradicalise these youths by explaining the outcomes of getting caught in terror activities,” said another official.
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