Uttar Pradesh: Anti-terror squad(आतंक-विरोधी दस्ते) plans 'ghar wapsi' for ISIS recruits
The anti-terrorism squad (ATS) of Uttar Pradesh has started a 'ghar wapsi' program to de radicalise (कट्टरपंथीthose youths who are inspired by the ideology of terror outfit. The move by the security agency came after a joint sweeping(व्यापक) operation was carried out in which four suspected terrorists belonging to the ISIS Khorasan module spanning five states were arrested who were allegedly plotting a major strike. Six other suspects were taken into custody for interrogation. They were not arrested due to lack of concrete evidence. According to IG, ATS, Aseem Arun, around 12 people across the state will be deradecalised under this program. The program was named Ghar-Wapsi (home coming) to convert radicalised youths into nationalist(राष्ट्रवादी).
Mail Today in March broke the story about how India's most populous state, UP, is turning into a breeding ground for Islamic State. About 15-20 youths are being deradicalised by the ATS, while over 100 sympathisers are under surveillance of several security agencies.
The reasons behind this surge in numbers are high Muslim population, unemployment and a rash of communal violence in the state.
THE PLAN OF ACTION
According to a senior police officer, cops will deradecalise with the help of family, friends and religious leaders. Even, government will assist them in education, professional training and in getting jobs. He added that parents of candidate have been convinced that their wards need to undergo the program by being shown videos and audio evidences.
"During the process, time to time senior police officers have been meeting candidates and to counsel them if needed," the officer said.
"Surprise checks are being done to see if they are at home. The entire meeting and counseling process is kept a secret and candidates' identities are not disclosed," said the officer.
"It is only after a year of counseling, that meeting and consultations are stopped and arrangements for their employment are made. However, despite this long procedure, it is not certain if candidates are completely deradecalised and thus we keep a watch on them," he said.
According to senior ATS officers, these efforts started long back.
Cops say most of the indoctrinated youths were unemployed and gave in to ideologies of the terror outfit.
In the recent crackdown, evidences of self-indoctrination through the internet were discovered. According to the official, the arrested youths were not directly working for any group, but were self-motivated, self guided and self-radicalised.
The ATS also came to know that some known terror suspects in western Uttar Pradesh had become active and were hiring new members.
The police and intelligence agencies are keeping a close watch on cyberspace and communication through WhatsApp, Viber and other chat rooms to keep abreast of attempts to indoctrinate the youth.
According to a senior official, these self-radicalised suspects have become the biggest worry for agencies as it is difficult to track them.
Various programmes are being undertaken by the central and state governments to deal with the problem.
Top sources say youths in UP are instigated by showing doctored videos of violence and riots in the state.
"Videos of Babri Masjid demolition, Muzaffarnagar riots and other sensitive religious issues are being used to propagate terrorism in the name of religion," said an officer.
Uttar Pradesh in past few years has witnessed sporadic incidents of communal violence, which were also used by political parties for polarisation ahead of the state elections.