Even simple online activities - likes and comments on extremists’ religious posts circulated on social networking websites - make youths vulnerable to terror operatives. The terror groups observe online activities of youths and target those who continuously like, comment or share extremists’ posts.
This trend was revealed after the arrest of several ISIS modules from different parts of the state and the country recently. ISIS suspect, Mohd Aleem,23, who was arrested from Indira Nagar area in Lucknow on Friday, had landed in the terror net through the same process, according to a UP Anti Terror Squad (ATS) official.
“The terror groups intentionally circulate jihadi videos, pictures and text content online to stimulate people’s sentiments. They observe their online responses and approach them online to carry out their nefarious activities,” he said while explaining the terror outfits’ modus operandi for recruiting youths. The ATS official said that Aleem too become proactive on social networking sites after he purchased a smartphone about eight months ago.
“He continuously liked and shared several extremists’ posts online and subsequently landed in the terror network,” the official said, adding, “Mostly youths in the age group of 15 to 30 years, who could be easily stimulated over religious beliefs, are the prime targets of terror operatives.”
According to the official, terror operatives first approached Aleem on Facebook and then asked him to create a separate account with the fake name ‘Charlie Boy’ to remain in touch with them.
“As per the recent inputs, several youths in UP and other parts of the country are continuously being approached by terror groups one or the other way by circulating religious posts,” he said.
Multi-platform messaging applications and social networking platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter are the favourite hunting grounds of terror operatives.
The official said that the trend was alarming and parents should be made aware of this fact so that they could keep a tab on the online activities of their children.