Suspected Islamic State operative, Azhar Iqbal (face covered), was arrested by the NIA in 2016. The central agency has roped in scholars to understand reasons for radicalisation.(HT File Photo)
Suspected Islamic State operative, Azhar Iqbal (face covered), was arrested by the NIA in 2016. The central agency has roped in scholars to understand reasons for radicalisation.(HT File Photo)

NIA gets scholars to understand IS radicalisation

“These researchers are graduates and post-graduates in subjects like criminology or psychology and they have been working with our counter-radicalism cell for the past one month,’’ said an NIA official.
By Rajesh Ahuja | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON AUG 11, 2018 10:57 PM IST

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has roped in scholars from prestigious institutes like New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University to study interrogation reports of Islamic State (IS)-inspired accused under its arrest to understand reasons for radicalism.

“These researchers are graduates and post-graduates in subjects like criminology or psychology and they have been working with our counter-radicalism cell for the past one month,’’ said an official of the federal anti-terrorism agency. “They have been given interrogation reports of over five dozen persons arrested on the charges of being IS-inspired.” The NIA official spoke on condition of anonymity.

Some of the accused were either arrested trying to leave the country to allegedly join the IS or were held after returning to India. Some are behind bars for allegedly trying to carry out terror strikes in India at the IS’s behest.

“The researchers, mostly females, will try to find a pattern in these cases in terms of the socio-cultural and financial background of the families the accused persons belong to and also what were the early indicators or causes of radicalism in them,” the official added.

The agency has asked the researchers to prepare a report to suggest ways of countering radicalisation.

“At a later stage, we may allow these researchers to sit in interrogation sessions as well to get first hand information from the subjects,” said the official quoted earlier in the story.

As of now, the agency has hired the researchers for a year. The Union home ministry had last year formed a Counter Terrorism and Counter Radicalisation division to prepare a de-radicalisation strategy and to keep a check on activities of domestic and international terror outfits.

The government had informed Parliament last year that 75 people had been arrested on the charges of having links with the IS or being inspired by it to form terror modules.

Officials said the IS threat continues despite the group’s rout in Syria and Iraq. The NIA last week questioned eight people in Hyderabad for their suspected links with an IS handler. The questioning took place in connection with a case registered two years back.

Former Uttar Pradesh police chief Prakash Singh called the move to rope in the researchers an honest effort in countering the problem.

“Police officers investigate a case with a view to prove the charges in the court and but these researchers will look at the backgrounds of the accused persons and what led them to the path of jihad. Once we know the reasons, only then we can find ways to counter the problem,” he said.

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