Radicalised by the Islamic State: Time to prosecute, not counsel
The arrest, counselling and re-arrest of a Pune based girl believed to be part of the Islamic State is yet another horrific reminded that trying to bring them to the mainstream does not work always.
Sadiya Anwar Shaikh has had her brush with the law thrice. She was arrested first in Delhi after it was found that she was radicalised by the ISIS. She was counselled and let off since she was a minor. She then went to Kashmir, but was sent back by the agencies.
Once again last week she entered Kashmir, but this time allegedly as a suicide bomber. There was a high alert that was issued following this incident. However on Friday, she was arrested.
After being counselled she continued to view ISIS related content. She had no handler and was self-radicalised. The thought of doing something in Kashmir interested her and hence she decided to blow herself up on Republic Day, investigations have revealed.
Good at studied, educated in a convent and having scored 90 per cent in her 10th standard exams, Sadiya was fascinated by Burhan Wani and Zakir Musa. Her browsing history suggested the same. She apparently wanted to carry out a strike in their name, investigators tell OneIndia.
Does it help:
Post the attacks in Paris, the policy of letting returnees into the mainstream came under question. Security experts say that there is a lurking danger that people could pretend to be counselled in a bid to reduce the heat on themselves.
Such persons wait for several years before coming back into the fold of terrorism. They will wait until the agencies take the eyes of them completely and then strike. This was what one got to witness in the Pune case as well.
In states such as Maharashtra, Assam and also Jammu and Kashmir, the problem of the ISIS is lurking in a big way. Surveys conducted at the behest of the Ministry for Home Affairs would show that the above mentioned states are most prone to the ISIS.
The problem in such an issue is that it is sufficient if a group of six to seven youth get together and decide to wreck mayhem. Hence the task ahead is extremely tough.
Moreover, India will also need to be extremely careful of youth trying to surrender or return after joining the ISIS.
Even if such persons are brought back to India, it would be extremely risky to let them go. Apart from watching them closely all the time, there is also a need to impose some amount of punishment on them as suggested by the National Investigating Agency (NIA).
It is the master that is always more dangerous than the foot soldier. A foot soldier is the one who just obeys orders and lets himself be remote controlled by his master.
India in the past few years has seen a huge number of Wahabi preachers come and go.
The Wahabis have been attempting the take over of Mosques so that they can push their radical teachings. The Wahabis have the money and in many cases they have been able to buy over the administration in some Mosques.
Such incidents have been reported in Jammu and Kashmir, Maharasthra and Kerala. The effect of these Wahabis was so strong that only recently a group of 800 Muslim preachers issued a fatwa against these persons and the ISIS.
Intelligence Bureau officials say that letting the Wahabi preachers set foot in India is dangerous in today's scenario.
This entire issue needs to be re-looked as these persons are such powerful speakers that they can end up influencing a lot of youth.
In fact it is the Wahabi school of thought which the ISIS practises and given this context it becomes even more dangerous to let them into India.
States such as Kerala have had a large influence of the Wahabis and the IB is not happy that successive state governments are not doing enough to stop this problem.
Need of the hour:
Former Chief of the Research and Analysis Wing, C D Sahay says that there is a need to interrogate and establish the crime before prosecuting such persons. One has to be extremely safe in such cases. We have taken the more decent way of doing things.
The approach that we have been taking is once such persons come back, we try to convince them about the ill-effects of undertaking such an adventure. The parents, relatives and friends are brought before the police and advised. There is a need to put-forth the message within the community so that a greater role is played by them in ensuring that the youth do not get swayed, Sahay says.
Generally the approach of counselling has worked. However it does not appear to have worked well in cases where the person is completely brainwashed. Such youth are either brainwashed completely or lured in with jobs and a better future, he says.
Sahay adds that we must watch out for those who are completely brainwashed as they would attempt to do it once again. These are the persons who are first radicalized and then turn into mercenaries.