SHAFAQNA – Muslim youths are being steered towards radicalization by videos highlighting incidents of violence against their community, which then go viral on social media.
This is the claim of India’s intelligence agencies, which have analysed the major reasons young people embrace terrorist ideologies as part of the government’s counter-radicalization strategy.
The agencies are attempting to use a humane approach instead of carrying out knee-jerk arrests, pointing out that both domestic and international factors are responsible for pushing many Muslim youths towards Daesh militants.
A senior intelligence official said that US Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s rants against Muslims could become triggers, especially when combined with some incidents in India.
“The social media has cut-off all the boundaries. There are extreme reactions on all issues that are followed by people across the world leading to self-radicalisation,” said a top officer in the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
The agencies noticed that incidents such as the one in Dadri on the outskirts of Delhi, where a Muslim man was killed by a Hindu mob on allegations of eating and storing beef, were used by terror outfits to influence youths.
In another incident earlier this year, two Muslim cattle traders were hung to death in Latehar, Jharkhand, by a cow protection vigilante group.
Hate speeches by Hindu right-wing leaders are also used by Muslim extremists to radicalise the youths, said an officer.
“Some fringe Hindu elements are a concern and are on the radar,” the officer said.
Officials tracking recent cases of indoctrination by terror groups say the profile of a potential terrorist is changing fast.
The new trend reveals that well-educated youths with decent jobs are also getting swayed by these videos.
“They are identified on social media and are sent videos and speeches to trigger radical views,” said an officer.
The Indian youths who are known to have joined ISIS were all active on social media, and it was cyberspace that provided them with fodder to fuel their extremist views.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has come out with a detailed policy focusing on counter-radicalization across a section of the Muslim community to combat this new-age threat.
The multi-pronged strategy has involved several ministries and state governments.
Sources said while that certain websites have been banned, the government is making efforts to ensure that hate content is removed from platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
Multiple ministries may ultimately join forces to set up a 24×7 ‘Situation Room’ to analyse and generate intelligence on social media.