Issue of radicalisation in India

News: India and Australia recently decided to step up their cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism including countering radicalisation and violent extremism, combating the financing of terrorism, preventing exploitation of the internet for terrorism and violent extremism.

Radicalisation in India:

  • Radicalisation: It is associated with the political interpretation of religion and the defence, by violent means, of a religious identity perceived to be under attack.
  • Radicalisation of youth by ISIS: In early 2020 the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) published an India-centric propaganda material called Voice of Hind.
  • Left-Wing Extremism (LWE): instances of Internet-facilitated indoctrination, active radicalisation in multiple states and Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) have grown despite the continued government intervention.
  • Right-wing extremism: increased incidents of mob lynching, cow vigilantism and the string of assassinations of rationalists such as Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and Gauri Lankesh point towards rising extremism in the right-wing cadres.

Reasons for growing Radicalisation in society:

  • Socio-Economic Factors: Socio-economic factors like poverty, social exclusion, marginalisation and discrimination, limited education and employment etc. is a cause of growing radicalisation. o The poor and illiterate provides a fertile ground for radical agencies for recruitment.
  • Political Factors: Various political factors including weak and non-participatory political systems lacking good governance and regard for civil society are leading to people turning towards radicalisation. o Apathy of government, authoritarian tendencies lead to shattering of hopes and sense of anger against the government and established regime.
      • For example, Naxalism was fuelled by the sense of apathy of local politicians against the local people.
  • Social media: Social media provides virtual participation and a platform for like-minded extremist views, accelerating the process of radicalisation. o Internet is used by terrorists as an effective tool for radicalisation and terror financing.
      • Terror groups use the internet to advocate the use of violence to further a religious, ideological or political cause.
      • For example, modus operandi of ISIS is spreading terror through local proxies and social media messaging.
  • Displacement: Often development is accompanied by displacement. People are displaced due to land acquisition but often are not adequately compensated. o This led to the development of feelings of injustice and anger against the state, often leading to tilt towards radicalisation. for example, Naxalism.
  • Religious intolerance: Rising religious intolerance, hate crimes, mob lynching are further leading to radicalisation. Feeling hatred and intolerance, against a section of people are turning them towards radicalisation.
  • Illegal migration: Porous borders especially towards West Bengal and the North Eastern States have led to an influx of thousands of Bangladeshis migrants which has increased tensions among ethnic communities. e.g., Kokrajhar riots of Assam, Dimapur lynching of a rape accused.
  • Feed on vulnerabilities: for example, the threat of radicalisation during peoples protest such as anti CAA, farmers protest.

Consequences of radicalisation:

  • Economic costs: A sense of fear reduces economic investment and hinders economic progress of a country. Loss of trade and access to markets have a negative impact on people’s livelihoods. o E.g., youth in Kashmir being radicalised leading to the low economic development of the area.
  • Social costs: Using resources for conflict-related purposes means that public expenditures on social services decrease. This impact spending on social causes like education, health etc.
  • Impact on children: Children face particular vulnerabilities as a result of armed violence such as orphanhood, psychological damage. They also face a threat of recruitment as young soldiers.
      • These factors often lead to a disruption to education, and thereby the reduction of a child’s capacity to recover from poverty.
  • Impact on women: Women are affected in many ways in the event of violence. Sexual violence, recruitment as combatants and an expanded economic/household role, which is often transferred onto young girls. for example, Yazidi women suffered under ISIS.

Steps to tackle radicalisation:

  • Strengthening Institutions: Educational and political institutions should be strengthened at ground level so that people of the state feel empowered.
      • Also, intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies and Judicial Courts need to act in unison on this matter.
      • A consistent counter radical strategy is required to tackle radicalism.
  • Employment: Enough number of job opportunities should be provided to people to decrease their chances of joining any radical organization.
  • De-radicalisation: It is necessary to de-radicalise people. There is a need to ensure that people who have been de-radicalised feeling safe and secure in the country.
  • Social development: The cornerstone for radicalisation is poverty, deprivation and isolation and standard education opportunities.
      • These need to be addressed by the government and policies to be formulated for inclusive participation and facilitation of all means for their development.
  • Regulation of internet: There is a need to draw guidelines to regulate the internet. o This must be done without damaging the privacy of an individual.
      • An effort is needed to place an effective mechanism to trace the activity of radical groups.
  • Regulation of social media: Social media to be regulated to draw a legalized guide lines to regulate without contradicting the privacy of an individual.
  • Schemes: Initiatives like UDAAN and NAI MANZIL must be inclusive in nature and drag youth from all sections.
  • Nehru Yuva Kendras to be given impetus in such areas to involve youth in all capacity, cultural and sports activities so there are less chances for them to get influenced from such ideological goals.
  • Community model: The success of Kerala and Maharashtra programmes of deradicalization indicates how community-based programmes may work in vulnerable states.
      • The disaffected youth with no real job prospects and limited futures are vulnerable.

Tackling Radicalisation requires policymakers and practitioners to appreciate the unique nature of radical ideologies, many of them seeking the wholesale destruction of civic order as opposed to its reform or even restructuring. The war on terror is to be countered more in the human mind and requires different skills and tactics. There are links between extremism, social exclusion and radicalisation. Sociological interventions to prevent or counter-extremist behaviours are needed.

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