Is it time to ban the ISIS in India? Haja Fakkruddin, Areef Majeed and now Mehdi Masroor Biswas- these are all specific cases to the ISIS, which one must remember has a global agenda. [@shamiwitness believes he has not broken any law]
When Mehdi Masroor walked into the police jeep in Bengaluru with no qualms and later told them that he believes he had committed no crime in India, it reflected a mindset and how confident some youth were about openly declaring support for the ISIS.
The youth who believe that the ISIS is fighting a cause and is not a terror outfit are proving to be extremely dangerous and if not acted upon will have a terrible effect in the days to come.
Fan boys of the virtual world:
The recent incidents have shown that several youth are being indoctrinated on the net and are joining the outfit. India has had a very different approach to the ISIS problem and has in many cases chosen to counsel the youth rather than punish them. To a large extent the government has seen success in this approach and has claimed that it has successfully managed to bring down the numbers.
However such approaches always do not work as there are a good number who exploit the loop holes in the law and continue with their work. For many radicalised youth the approach of India is not a concern. In fact many are not even thinking India specific and they have all become fans of the ISIS due to its global agenda.
They very firmly believe that after Syria and Iraq the ISIS would come to Afghanistan and implement their will in sub continent as well.
All these youth are fully aware that in the absence of a ban a very minor case can be made out. Although Section 125 of the Indian Penal Code does provide for punishment for waging war against a friendly nation, it still is not a great deterrent as building evidence in such cases is very difficult. The strongest case can only be made out in the form of the IT Act which again has not acted as a deterrent.
Bans have reduced activity by 80 per cent:
Former Chief of the Research and Analysis Wing, C D Sahay says that bans contrary to several arguments have acted as a major deterrent. While bans may not wipe out terrorism it does control at least 70 per cent of the problem. Take the case of the Students Islamic Movement of India which was banned. The ban ensured that they could not operate over ground.
Prior to the ban their activities were being carried out in the open. Their propaganda was public and it had become almost a movement. However the ban forced them to go underground which made matters very difficult for them. They were financially beaten as the fund flow was monitored and when things have to be done underground it is always very difficult.
In the case of bans there may not be 100 per cent elimination, but one must remember that there is 80 per cent diminision. Operating underground is always a deal breaker and many due to the fear of the law do stand back. In the event of a ban, aiding, abetting and facilitating all become a painful job and this acts as a large deterrent.
Global Islamic Council:
The ISIS is very unfortunately not restricted to a terrorist outfit anymore. For many youth who brazenly join them or tweet in their favour, the ISIS is becoming a way of life for them.
What India needs to worry about is that there is a stated agenda by the ISIS threatening to go global. If one looks at the map of the Global Islamic Council prepared by the ISIS, there is a clear indication that India figures in it. Where India is concerned there is increasing evidence to show that youth are leaning towards the ISIS. People like Masroor, Majeed and Fakkruddin ought not to become heroes as there are many who will derive inspiration. Moreover when these radicals watch these cases what they are quick to realize is that in the absence of a ban and lack of stringent laws, there is still a possibility to get away by openly supporting the ISIS.
A tough time for the agencies:
In the absence of a ban, the investigating agencies are having a tough time. They need to think several times even before they file a first information report. The provisions have to be well thought off and it is always a deal breaker when a person gets away for the want of provisions under the law.
There have been cases where the agencies have helplessly watched activities take place on the internet. We see many such youth openly declaring support, but then there are not many provisions available to book them.
The National Investigating Agency (NIA) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) have suggested to the Home Ministry that it is time to impose a ban on the ISIS.
Home Ministry's approach:
Sources in the Home Ministry say that the ban is being considered. However there are various other aspects that are being taken into consideration. There is a need for an enabling law to enforce such a ban. Laws such as TADA and POTA had enabling laws.
We need to gather all the evidence on hand, set up a tribunal before imposing a ban. All bans after being imposed need the nod of the tribunal which from time to time needs to review the ban.
However the Home Ministry also says that it is time to step on the gas pedal on this issue. The mindset of several youth towards the ISIS is disturbing and we also realize that they are behaving in such a manner knowing fully aware that they are supporting an outfit which is not banned in India.