Millennium Post

To control, alter and delete radicalisation

The fabric of India’s sociopolitical spacetime has rarely been more fragmented as it is now, with radicalisation of every hue spreading through its veins like a very potent poison. While there’s the tug exerted by ISIS (Islamic State of Iran and Syria) on vulnerable and invariably underprivileged youth in Kashmir and elsewhere, there’s equally the lure of a Yogi Adityanath proffering communally-laced obfuscation in the name of statistics.

This empirical sleight of hand has been practiced for decades by groups with vested interests, whether they be political parties (like the Indian National Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party, among others) or ideological nesting grounds like the VHP, RSS or the Darul-uloom Deoband, which bestow ideological significance and sustain a warped relevance for a particularly debilitating brand of fanaticism. Hence, while the initiative on the part of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to pump up security edifice and filter out the rogue elements cannot be simply seen as a part of an increasingly authoritarian state, there’s a possibility that such exercise might fall victim to ulterior motives of hatemongers from all backgrounds. With terror groups radicalising poor Muslim youths and Hindu ideologues brainwashing a panicking Hindu majority, the situation is grave, to say the least.

There must be a concerted attempt to weed out radicalisation from its roots. Since poverty and religious fanaticism fester each other, and a militant religious identity confers a false sense of glamour and significance to an increasingly disenchanted population, the means to curb extremism go en route poverty eradication and massive education drive. Economic liberation cannot be unclubbed from a secular intention, and any governmental drive to control radicalisation has to ensure that the basics are put right first. Recruiting poor Muslims in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra or Jammu and Kashmir would become a far more difficult job if the economics of uncertainty isn’t addressed.

While it’s true that the militant and medieval appeal of say an Islamic Caliphate or a Hindu Rashtra is almost exactly the same, drawing sustenance from a spurious continuity with the past, adding ideological adipose to the dead weight of religious interpretations out of sync with the times, it can be dealt a massive blow by bridging the financial gulf. Obviously, measures on the ground level must be taken: such as coming down heavily on online dissemination of extremist ideologies, intercepting communication along circuits of militancy, tightly controlling the smuggling of arms across national and international borders, among others. But most of all, a stringent regime of no-nonsense attitude towards religious intolerance of any kind has to be instilled in populations across demographic divides.               

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