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DSA is as much yours, as it is ours! (March 2016)

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Numerous Indian citizens have been detained within the country and outside, for promoting or actually joining the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. ISIS is also called Daesh, in Arabic, the name which its leadership apparently hates. Others simply call it Islamic State. Either way, whatever names it carries, the fact that it exists and that its support within India is enough to draw the attention of authorities makes it a threat. By every yardstick that can be applied, the IS is a global terrorist organisation that has a nihilistic world view and for the fulfillment of which it is capable of undertaking the most ghastly actions.

The list of atrocities committed is endless, each outdoing the previous monstrosity. The game, it seems, is to create a bigger shock at each event. In this the shock is provided by blood and gore. This is not some short-term phenomenon aimed at a quick footnote in history. The IS actually seeks to make a society that remains wedded to its vision for the foreseeable future. Which explains why a four years old child will be given the power over a remote detonation of a car packed with people. Even as others of his age are beginning their digital journey through the keys of a mobile phone, this one has entered the killing age with the same pressure applied on a remote key.

The end product socially will be no different than what was attempted through the Nazi youth league, a dysfunctional human being. How do some Indians then find an attraction for this most debased human experiment? The worrisome aspect of this query is not that similar episodes occur around the country, so the Indians falling for this ghastly vision are escaping into just another room. This type of murderousness and then its projection into workstations and smartphones around the world is one of its kind. And that is what the IS precisely is, one of its kind in a world where many are sick in the mind.

The Indians attracted to the IS worldview don’t come across as the usual psychos that usually end up in jails around the world for crimes committed. In fact there is nothing psychologically sick in those that have been detained within India, or even those deported from other countries for espousing IS propaganda. All of them appear to be fairly normal human beings, largely employed, or even employable. But what differentiates them from those who have gone on to make a mark in other terrorist organisations is that the Indian recruit for the IS is invariably a technically trained young male. Many times first generation educated. These are IS foot soldiers who have been digitally inspired by a millennial ideology of hate and murder. They are not some seminary trained brainwashed types who are cannon fodder, or suicide bomber by the dozens.

India needs to watch where its youth is going in order to understand what is driving some of them into the open arms of the IS. Arms that are there to trap and then finish their lives. But many are still inspired enough to go to those arms. There is something happening in the youth that is alienating some of them, enough to leave home, employment and opportunities. What makes a mother, like the Pakistani woman in California, leave a small child behind and become a gun toting murderer? Thankfully, that hasn’t happened yet by an Indian. So, every effort must be made to ensure it doesn’t happen.

Even as security agencies scour the digital world every day for signs of radicalisation, they must also coordinate with their counterparts from other countries to keep a watchful eye. The coordination has to be done on a local, regional and a global level since threat is at each stage. In this game the local communities have to be mobilised as well, for those who are falling off the map live amongst people. In order to keep a watch and the country safe, certain things have to be more transparent for the security agencies. Prying eyes are important when it comes to preventing terror. As the old adage goes, prevention is always better than cure.


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