Is India prepared to deal with lone-wolf attacks?
New Delhi, Dec 21: The Berlin attack is yet another grim reminder of how real the threat of terrorism is. The Berlin and Nice attacks are similar to each other. In both attacks a lone wolf rammed trucks into a crowded area killing dozens. In India, the intelligence agencies have warned of possible lone wolf attacks several times. The questionarises: is India prepared to tackle the problem of lone wolf attacks? IB officials say that in the days to come, one would get to witness attacks.
Is India ready to deal with lone wolf attacks?
Nearly all terrorist organisations have 'outsourced' terrorism to radicals who strike at will. IB officials term it as the most dangerous form of terror. Officials analysing terror groups say that in the days to come one would get to see less of say, 26/11 or 9/11 type of attacks and more Paris, Nice, Berlin and Orlando-styled strikes.
India is familiar with such kind of attacks, thasnks to Kafeel Ahmad, the Bengaluru-based engineer who attempted to blow up the Glasgow airport on June 30, 2007. He was radicalised on the web and decided to carry out an attack at the Glasgow airport. None had a clue about his intentions. How does one stop such an attack, an officer asks. Kafeel had a clean slate and never showed any signs of turning radical. He was not in touch with any terror outfit and hence never left a trail, thus making tracking extremely difficult.
It is a 24/7 job for the security agencies. In India, the IB has set up a cell which conducts an operation known as 'Operation Chakravyuha'. There is a dedicated set of men who monitor the web all day long on the activities of the youth who are in touch with Islamic State operatives or viewing the material posted. There is a pattern that they follow. If they find this person is moving beyond the net, they trap and arrest him.
Videos are monitored and if there is too much viewing of it by one person, then the agencies in India are tipped off. The surveillance on such persons is immediately increased, the officer also adds. Further officials also expect parents to watch the activities of their children and report it if they find anything suspicious.
Officials say that there is a limit up to which they can monitor. "They need to be lucky just once; we need to be lucky all the time," says an IB official. We coordinate with various agencies across the world.
Who is a lone wolf?
A lone wolf does not belong to one terrorist outfit, but he is radicalised by one and subscribes to the ideology of that outfit. For a terrorist outfit, it is a cost-effective way of attacking as they do not put in their money or time.
However, the attackers credits an outfit for it.It is a dangerous situation and is very difficult to keep a track of. An unassuming youth would get radicalised on the web by looking at the propaganda material put up by the IS and other groups. He then decides to strike at random.
Since this person is not on the radar of the intelligence. He makes no phone calls while planning the attack. He is not part of any group for the intelligence to pick up movements. Basically it is all in his head and that is a place where it is impossible to keep a tab on.