Contrary to Bipin Rawat's claim, govt docs show India doesn't have de-radicalisation camps; families, community leaders help counter indoctrination

  • Security agencies have adopted an integrated approach for de-radicalisation involving family, community, teachers and local religious leaders

  • The entire process is conducted within the community and not in camps, said a senior government official

  • Top security officials also examined work being done by Hedayah, an Abu Dhabi-based counter-radicalisation research centre

Indian security agencies in coordination with the state governments have adopted an integrated approach for de-radicalisation involving family, community, teachers and local religious leaders. The entire process is conducted within the community and not in camps, said a senior government official.

The issue of de-radicalisation camps came up last week after newly-appointed Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Bipin Rawat claimed "we have got de-radicalisation camps going on in our country." The official, however, maintained that Indian government had studied various de-radicalisation models implemented in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom.

 Contrary to Bipin Rawats claim, govt docs show India doesnt have de-radicalisation camps; families, community leaders help counter indoctrination

File image of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat. PTI

Top security officials also examined work being done by Hedayah, an Abu Dhabi-based counter-radicalisation research centre. Many of these models were characterised by their cultural contexts and were not very relevant in Indian context. Indian agencies and local police of various states have worked out a different approach involving community, family and clerics if required, and moreover, the process ultimately focuses upon skill development and employment. The process of counter-radicalisation and de-radicalisation is kept low-profile, seamlessly involving civil administration and civil society, if required.

“For example in Hyderabad, many indoctrinated youths were intercepted before they could join radical outfits. They were highly educated and many of them were technical graduates. But once their families were taken into confidence, they saw to it that the youths were not indoctrinated further. Other measures were also taken, like involving community elders and religious heads who came forth and gave several public statements criticising radical ideologies,” the government official said.

According to documents reviewed by Firstpost, the number of Indian Muslims who were radicalised was tiny compared to the most developed countries. Despite Islamic States and other terror groups' pushing radical propaganda on social media, the level of radicalisation was comparatively less in India compared to other more developed nations.

“In a state like Telangana, the approach is based on the efforts concentrated around counselling and mainstreaming, involvement of community elders, moderate clerics, family members and friends of the radicalised individual. Along with de-radicalisation process, personnel involved with counter-radicalisation target objectionable cyber contents for removal, disruption of illegal websites and countering the radical propaganda on social media with positive messages from community elders,” documents revealed.

Documents revealed that police has been told that while handling terror cases, attempts are to be made to prevent radicalisation of families, communities, strengthen liaison with moderate clerics by involving credible interlocutors, collecting propaganda used on targets and sharing it with de-radicalisation teams and providing specialised training to local police personnel engaged in such jobs.

Rawat also said that girls and boys as young as 10 and 12 were also being radicalised and it was a matter of serious concern. The government sources agreed with his assertion and claimed that local police is keeping an eye on madrasas. They are also identifying sensitive areas and target groups and bringing about the social upliftment to further improve de-radicalisation strategies.

“A report sent by Jammu and Kashmir Police last year to the Centre had stated that many stone-pelters sent to jail were coming out hardened extremists. So various other initiatives were taken to counter that by involving families, religious leaders and maulvis having moderate views, involving youths in sports and cultural activities. There were positive experiences, mainly due to the dedicated and continuous efforts in which family members and community elders were also associated,” the sources said.

In a recent closed-door meeting with top security chiefs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also acknowledged that the negligible participation of Indian Muslims in international terrorist theatres, despite a large Muslim population, needs to be adequately publicised to help nip radicalisation in the bud.

“Mainstream forces from the same community should be utilised in countering any instance of radicalisation in any corner of the country,” Modi told the security chiefs.

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Updated Date: Jan 20, 2020 19:45:56 IST