Radicalisation no longer restricted to the uneducated:R&AW chief

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New Delhi, July 15: The two biggest problems being faced by the world today are radicalisation and the subsequent lone wolf attacks. While radicalisation remains a major issue, one must not lose sight of the fact that it has gone beyond the popular concept the persons involved are the lesser privileged or victimised.

The other issue is regarding the lone wolf attacks and what the intelligence community across the world must do to deal with it. It is impossible to keep tabs on each and everyone and hence the concept of lone wolf attacks win says former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing, C D Sahay.

'Radicalisation no longer restricted'

In this interview with OneIndia, Sahay discusses a host of issues that range from radicalisation and the job of the intelligence community in preventing a lone wolf attack.

Sir, before we start off, how would you describe a lone wolf attack?
A lone wolf attack, well I would like to classify as an event which is planned out of self radicalisation with no involvement or attachment to any established terrorist organisation. The persons reads on the internet, gets radicalised and alone plans an attack with no organisational backing.

The Glasgow attacking involving Kafeel Ahmed a Bengaluru youth was a classic lone wolf attack. He was radicalised on the internet and went about planing the entire attack by himself without any organisational backing.

How do you get intelligence on such a person?
The only intelligence one can get on such persons is his computer is targeted. However that is easier said than done as it is humanly impossible to target each and everyone on the internet. Such things can be tracked only if there is chance monitoring.

If such a person has sourced a weapon or tried to procure any material there is a small chance that he may come under the radar. However that is chance monitoring again. In the Western countries there is a lot of consciousness to such issues. In the US we have heard of neighbours raising an alarm the moment they hear a suspicious word being uttered by another person. It has happened on flights as well.

Is it not a big challenge to monitor such persons?
Yes it is always a big challenge.

With more lone wolf attacks on the anvil does that mean the intelligence will continue to fail?
That is a very unfair assessment by you. Yes attacks do happen. But what you must also understand that the number of cases neutralised outnumbers the attacks that have taken place. As is commonly said, " terrorists need to be lucky once, the police need to be lucky all the time."

Take us through the radicalisation process today. Why is it happening?

First of all the radicalisation process has gone beyond the popular concept that only the lesser privileged or victimised or uneducated fall trap. It is now penetrating deeper into the psyche of the people not only in the open democratic societies but everywhere.

The Dhaka attack was a classic scenario of this. Those terrorists were not radicalised due to economic constraints. They were from well to do families and yes they had a problem in their head. Taking a human life is never a natural decision of a stable mind. It is an angry and sick mind that gets radicalised. It is this mindset that urges them to kill.

What does the intelligence community do now?
First and foremost stop feeling hopeless about the situation. No matter what, states, civilised society and the governments cannot give up. Every attack is a constant learning ground for the intelligence community. They learn lessons and better security. I do agree it is a constant learning curve, but the key is not to give up.

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