Attraction to radical ideologies, such as that propagated by ISIS, and how to prevent Indian youths from coming under the sway of extremist doctrines would be deliberated threadbare at a high-level meeting convened by the Home Ministry on Saturday.
The meeting, to be chaired by Union Home Secretary LC Goyal, will formalise a “strategy for aiding the government’s efforts to neutralise extremist ideologies such as that espoused by ISIS, which has influenced thousands around the world.”
“Attraction towards radical ideology of any religion is a matter of concern. We will have to put in place a system as there are inputs that many Indian youths are attracted to different extremist ideologies, including the one promoted by ISIS,” a Home Ministry official said.
Counter-radicalisation efforts would include counselling of youths, convincing community elders to persuade the younger generation to not get influenced by any extremist ideology, monitoring of social media sites and taking of preventive steps.
The focus would also be on how to quickly respond to any report of youths planning to join groups like ISIS, the official said.
DGPs and Home Secretaries of a dozen states—Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Assam, Punjab, West Bengal and Delhi (Commissioner of Police) will take part in the meeting, the official added.
According to an official estimate, around 25 youngsters have been identified across the country “as having been attracted to the idea of ISIS and wanting to join the group.” In Telangana, 17 youths have been prevented from travelling to Syria and, recently, four from Maharashtra were also stopped from travelling to the Middle-East.
Sources said that although none of the youths were arrested, they were kept under surveillance. They went through counselling and are living normal lives.
Maharashtra and Telangana have already put in place a model for dealing with ISIS-related cases. While there have been arrests in some cases, agencies realised that arrest should not be the first option.
Till now, 11 Indians have been identified who joined ISIS, of whom five are reportedly dead.