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UP launches hotline to help youth radicalised by Islamic State, other terror groups

The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) has announced a helpline number for parents and families who suspect their children or people known to them are getting radicalised online.

india Updated: Apr 27, 2017 17:12 IST
Rohit K Singh
Rohit K Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Uttar Pradesh,UP ATS,Radicalisation
Illustration of an Islamic State flag. UP ATS will introduce a helpline number for families who suspect the people known to them are getting radicalised online.(Reuters File Photo)

If you think a youth in your family or neighbourhood is getting radicalised or influenced by extremist thought on the web, you can now call a government hotline in Uttar Pradesh.

The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) has announced a helpline number for parents and families who suspect their children or people known to them are getting radicalised online.

The ATS has launched the initiative to help families de-radicalise youngsters who are often targeted by terror operatives who train them online and use them in carrying out terror activities.

“We have decided to lend support to such families as a part of our de-radicalisation programme launched after the arrest of four terror suspects on April 20. These suspects had radicalised six youths from Shamli and were planning to use them for terror activities in Bijnore,” said inspector general (IG), ATS, Asim Arun.

He said the operatives were targeting youngsters between 15 and 25 years of age by inciting communal passions.

“People may call on two control room numbers of UP ATS — 0522-2304588 and 9792103156. The identities of such youths or families will be kept secret,” he said.

Explaining the de-radicalisation programme, Arun said the police would rope in clerics as well as the parents, family members and friends of such youths to make them understand religion in right perspective. “They will be told that no religion talks and promotes terrorism or violence,” he said.

“As part of de-radicalisation programme, the police will visit the youth’s house for a week and then call him to their place for another week to maintain interaction. The frequency of meetings will be gradually reduced but will continue for at least a year,” said the IG.

He said the police would also make surprise visits to the houses of such youth to check their activity and remain in touch with their family.

“We will also try to help such youths in their education and employment by recommending their names under various government schemes. The youths will be considered totally de-radicalised once they get married or employed,” Arun said.

“There is no guarantee that the youths may not be radicalised again so we will keep their details with us and keep checking their activities randomly,” he added.

Arun said the youngsters were being radicalised through Islamic State literature available online and by reminding them of the problems faced by their community in the past.

De-radicalisation of at least 25 young people from various districts of Uttar Pradesh was already underway.

IG, ATS, Asim Arun said the youths belong to seven districts including Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Bijnore and Muzaffarnagar.

He said the youngsters were identified through their posts, likes and remarks on the social media. He said the ATS was keeping a watch on online activities and some families would be approached for de-radicalisation process, if required.

First Published: Apr 27, 2017 12:12 IST

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