Conference Coordinator: Col Abdul Hameed Khan (email@example.com)
On August 1, 2015 the Union Home Secretary of India chaired a high level meeting of the representatives of central intelligence and security agencies, Directors General of Police (DsGP) and Home Secretaries of the 12 States. Among other issues related to Internal Security, radicalisation of the youth was discussed as one of the potent threats facing the Nation today.
World over, hundreds of youth are joining religious extremist groups such as Daesh or the Islamic State (IS). Large number of the volunteers, even from the most advanced European countries, are lining up to become fighters convinced for the need ‘to protect of their faith’. They have been radicalised to the extent that they are giving up seemingly comfortable upwardly life to become foot soldiers in a world of chaos and to participate in the ongoing brutality.
India so far has been relatively luckier. In spite of the huge diversity in the country and milieu of religious ideologies within, the negligible impact of IS or any other international terrorist group is impressive. The strength of India’s socio cultural fabric has held its divergent components together. The robust Indian democratic setup has absorbed the shocks of communal tremors, as yet. It has presented almost equal opportunities for its affluent as well as the most down trodden. This has been possible in spite of the numerous ‘fault lines’ of the society and gruelling poverty for millions who are susceptible for all kinds of propaganda and psychological mind games.
But lately the country has seen attempts of mass mobilisation on ideological lines. There are also allegations that the political parties are attempting to benefit from the social polarisation. The instances of religious intolerances and provocations have increased. Aided with the 24 x 7 electronic and impactful social media, these diatribes are reaching the masses in every remote nook and corner of the country creating a charged up atmosphere of insecurity and alienation. Alienation aids radicalisation. Especially when there are numerous organisations on the lookout for such disgruntled and insecure youths, pretending to address their grievances, only to take advantage of it. The unlimited indoctrinating capsules in the virtual cyber world are also available for the takers for on-line indoctrination and eventual radicalisation. There are virtual worlds created on the social media of likeminded people absorbing and sharing the poison of extremist ideologies.
Radicalisation is the first step towards extremism, as any conflict starts from the mind. These radicals adopt extreme political, social or religious ideals and aspirations that undermine the status quo and reject contemporary ideas and freedom of choice. If opportunity presents they may not hesitate to perpetrate violence, thus becoming a grave threat to the national security. Given the country’s enormous size and population, even small proportion of the population getting affected, could well assume alarming proportions.
It is seen that radicalisation of the younger generation is easiest. In their impressionable age they are most susceptible to indoctrination. They are media savvy and aspire to become meaningful for a larger cause or ideology. In the absence of a worthy agenda in life, especially when faced with unemployment or underemployment and difficult conditions of life especially in clustered urban pockets, they may fall prey to radical ideologies. India’s burgeoning youth bulge thus presents numerous challenges. If it is not converted into a demographic dividend, it could well become a demographic disaster.
But if this conflict starts from the minds, the remedy too must lie in the minds. For years India’s plurality has absorbed within itself - different ideologies and viewpoints. It has provided space for numerous streams of social sects and varied political notions to co-exist and grow. The Indian constitution is an all-encompassing and amalgamating idealisation. Therefore besides reactive containment of radicalisation and its fallouts through improved policing, intelligence based responses and application of legal deterrence, there is also a need to adopt preventive measures such as to address the very causes of alienation and ensure building up long term systematic institutional mechanisms. The well-established secular approach to politics is probably the key to stop polarisation and ensuring development. Development itself is said to be an anti-dote to numerous social malaise including radicalisation. Education, on the other hand, could be used as an effective counter radicalisation measure. The development of smart cities under an overall long term plan is likely to play a crucial role in reduction of crime and improving satisfaction among masses. Greater involvement of civil society in aiding police when it comes to keeping a vigil and provisioning of intelligence will enhance efficient policing. Reconciliation on some of the major tragedies of the past through a mechanism of judicial and social activism could also help the society to move on. These and other measures require a deliberation to chalk out a strategy for mitigating the challenges while investigating the causes of radicalisation.
The following topics would be discussed under three sessions:-
Opening Session (45 mins: 1000 – 1045 h) : Welcome Address, Key Note Address
Session One (1115 – 1315 h): Radicalisation as an Emerging Internal Security Threat: Causes and Challenges.
A. Radicalisation: its Manifestation and Implications.
B. Causes of Radicalisation in India.
C. Means for Spread of Radicalisation.
Session Two (1400 – 1615 h): Containing Radicalisation and Mitigating its Challenges.
A. Counter / De-Radicalisation Measures including Institutional and Social Reforms.
B. Legal Provisions to Tackle Radicalisation.
C. Smart Policing and Effective Intelligence to Curb Radicalisation.
D. Education as a Counter Measure for Radicalisation.
Valedictory Address (1630 – 1700 h)