Case of India’s youths joining ISIS is a wake-up call for Indian security agencies

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In a worrying sign for the Indian security establishment, two of the four youths from Thane who had gone missing in Iraq have admitted to joining the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Reportedly, the youths contacted their families and confessed to working for the jihadi group in Syria’s Raqqa province. They revealed that the other two missing men had also joined ISIS. If true, this confirms that India is no longer insulated from the global jihadi virus. There’s growing evidence that both ISIS and al-Qaida are looking at India to expand their operations. In such a scenario, security agencies need to reorient their counterterrorism strategies which are essentially focussed on tackling jihadi terror emanating from Pakistan.

It’s a fact that lakhs of Indians live and work abroad. This includes sizeable expatriate communities in countries such as Iraq, Syria and Libya where jihadi groups operate with impunity. It’s possible that some Indians there may be lured by jihadi ideology and become radicalised. This is not to say that all migrant workers are potential terrorists. Nonetheless, as the case of the Thane youths shows, there is a need to institute a debriefing process for those returning from sensitive places.

That there are elements pushing youths to the jihadi cause is highlighted by theologian Maulana Salman Nadvi’s open letter to Saudi Arabia asking it to raise an army of five lakh Indian Sunni youths to fight Shias in Iraq and elsewhere. Nadvi has been roundly criticised by the Muslim clergy in general. But it’s possible some may heed his call. The security establishment must proactively prevent jihadi groups from recruiting and indoctrinating Indian citizens, both at home and abroad. For the same reason, it’s also necessary for Sangh Parivar affiliates to tone down their Hindutva rhetoric which implies Muslims will be treated as second-class citizens in India.

The story is derived from a syndicated feed and Team TOV has not made any amendments to it.

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