Terror outfits using social media to groom youth

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An assessment by intelligence agencies, as part of government’s counter radicalisation strategy focusing on a humane approach instead of knee-jerk arrests, points out that both domestic and international factors are responsible for pushing many Muslim youth to turn jihadi.

Incidents of violence against Muslim community going viral on social media has been identified as one of the top reasons that lead youth towards jihad.

An assessment by intelligence agencies, as part of government’s counter radicalisation strategy focusing on a humane approach instead of knee-jerk arrests, points out that both domestic and international factors are responsible for pushing many Muslim youth to turn jihadi. A senior intelligence official said that US Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s rants against Muslims could become triggers combined with some incidents in India.

“The social media has cut-off all 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).

Agencies noticed that incidents like in Dadri on the outskirts of Delhi, where a Muslim man was killed by a Hindu mob on allegations of eating beef, were used by terror outfits to influence youth. 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 youth, said an officer. “Some fringe Hindu elements are a concern and are on radar,” the officer said. Officials tracking recent cases of indoctrination by terror groups say the profile of a potential terrorist is fast changing. Unlike in the past, those who get swayed are well educated youths with decent jobs. “They are identified on social media and are sent videos and speeches to trigger radical views,” said an officer.

Indian youth who got inspired by ISIS were all active on social media and it was the cyber space that provided them all the fodder for their extremist views. MHA has come out with a detailed policy focusing on counter radicalisation across sections of the Muslim community to combat this new-age threat. The multipronged strategy involves several ministries and state governments. Sources said while certain websites face bans, government is making efforts to ensure that hate content is removed from platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Setting up of a 24×7 ‘Situation Room’ to analyse and generate intelligence on social media as a collaborative initiative involving several ministries is being discussed.

Source: India Today

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