Thwarting Radicalisation in India: Lacunae in Policy Initiatives

AuthorAnkit Kaushik,G.S. Bajpai
Date01 September 2016
DOI10.1177/2277401720160101
Publication Date01 September 2016
SubjectArticle
THWARTING RADICALISATION IN INDIA: LACUNAE
IN POLICY INITIATIVES
G. S. Bajpai* and Ankit Kaushik**
Having experienced various forms of terrorisms, extremisms and
insurgencies for over seven decades, the governmental agencies
tasked with tackling such threats understand that while intelligence
gathering, counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations
can operate as eective stop gap measures, there is a need for
eective and comprehensive policy which strikes at the root of the
issue. There is a relatively new academic and political discourse
that seeks to deal with the question: “What leads to radicalisation
of an individual?” As well as the corollary to the above question:
“How can the same be prevented?”
Firstly, it is the answers to these questions within the Indian context
that will decide the future success or failure of radicalisation
from the various sources that seek to destabilise and overthrow
the constitutional machinery of the Indian state. Secondly, the
application of what the policy makers believe to be the solutions
to the above two questions will decide the success or failure of the
policies which seek to counter them.
This paper is an attempt by the authors to measure the magnitude
of the problem of radicalisation facing the country and analyze
the need of de-radicalisation and its accompanying strategies
to tackle the threat comprehensively. Given that the concepts
of radicalisation and de-radicalisation and their associated
strategies are not yet conclusively dened in either political or
academic discourses, the authors have in the rst part claried the
understanding and extent of the terms for the purpose of the paper.
Keeping in mind the denitions and approaches established in the
rst part, the second part of the paper seeks to identify the dierent
facets of radicalisation which pose a threat to the democratic and
* Professor and Registrar, National Law University Delhi.
** Research Assistant (ICSSR Project), National Law University Delhi.
2 Journal of National Law University Delhi VOL 4(1)
constitutional fabric of the Indian society including those which
undermine national security. It further analyses critically the
strategies evolved by the policy makers to deal with the threats
and problems facing policy makers despite the existing strategies.
Further, the authors hope to give eective suggestions to combat
such radicalisation relying upon the applicability of the experiences
of similar programmes in other countries, in the Indian scenario.
I. Introduction
On 3 October 2016 the country woke up to headlines in every newspaper
highlighting the arrest of six youngsters in Kerala by the NIA for conspiring to
carry out terrorist attacks in the name of the caliphate owing allegiance to Abu-Bakr
al-Baghdadi. Since the inception of the ISIS, about fty people have been picked
up by the NIA for having links with the ISIS or for being sympathizers and another
twenty-ve persons, including six women and three children have been conrmed
to have joined the IS in Afghanistan. Less than two weeks later, ten Naxalites were
arrested while preparing to carry out terrorist attacks in Noida, a region adjoining
the national capital of Delhi, three of whom were recidivists.
The two instances mentioned above signify the stark reality of the threats to
internal security that stare India in the face, from both the right wing as well as the
left. Having experienced various forms of terrorism, extremism and insurgencies
for over seven decades, the governmental agencies tasked with tackling such
threats understand that while intelligence gathering, counter terrorism and counter
insurgency operations can operate as eective stop gap measures, there is a need for
eective and comprehensive policy which strikes at the root of the issue.
The preceding paragraph is indicative of and in line with the relatively new
academic and political discourse seeking to deal with the question: “What leads to
the radicalisation of an individual?” As well as the corollary to the above question:
“How can the same be prevented?” Firstly, the answers to these questions within
the Indian context will decide the future success or failure of radicalisation from the
various sources that seek to destabilize and overthrow the constitutional machinery
of the Indian state. Secondly, the application of what the policy makers believe to
be the solutions to the above two questions will decide the success or failure of the
policies which seek to counter them.
This paper is an attempt by the authors to measure the magnitude of the problem
of radicalisation facing the country and analyze the need of de-radicalisation and
its accompanying strategies to tackle the threat comprehensively. Given that the
concepts of radicalisation and de-radicalisation and their associated strategies are
not yet conclusively dened in either political or academic discourses, the authors
have in the rst part claried the understanding and extent of both the terms for the
2017 Thwarting Radicalisation In India: Lacunae In Policy Initiatives 3
purpose of the paper.
Keeping in mind the denitions and approaches established in the rst part,
the second part of the paper seeks to identify the dierent facets of radicalisation
which pose a threat to the democratic and constitutional fabric of the Indian society
and which undermine national security. It further analyses critically the strategies
evolved by the policy makers to deal with the threats and problems facing the policy
makers despite the existing strategies. Further, the authors hope to give eective
suggestions to combat such radicalisation in the Indian scenario relying upon the
applicability of the experiences of similar programmes in other countries.
II. Radicalisation and De-Radicalisation in India: Examining the
Relationship
A. Radicalisation
Taken literally and without any context, any deviation from the prevailing norm
can be termed radicalisation.1 From scientists like Galileo and Charles Darwin to
musicians like Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley and even towering political gures like
Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King have all been branded as radicals at some
point of time in their illustrious lives. Radicalisation is a word which is often used to
mean a range of concepts and ideas, leading to a large degree of confusion.2 On the
one hand, the term is used by the media and politicians to depict threats to stability
and security while on the other,the same media and politicians value benecial
challenges to status quo in light of the defects in our economic and social systems.3
A truism seems to have emerged; we like ‘good radicalism and radicalisation’
but do not like ‘bad radicalism and radicalisation’.4 To exemplify bad radicalisation,
post 9/11, the western media was quick in its appropriation of the term ‘radicalisation’
as a descriptive explanation of how and why Muslims participate in terrorism and
violent extremism against the west.5 It would be pertinent to note here that both
these terms – violent extremism and terrorism - have also frequently been used
interchangeably, even though the former often is broader and includes extreme right
wing groups that are not always deemed ‘terrorists’.6
1 Michael King, The Radicalisation of Homegrown Terrorists: A socio-personality model, Ph.D.
Thesis, McGill University, 2012,
http://digitool.library.mcgill.ca/R/?func=dbin-jump-full&object_id=110446&local_base=GEN01-
MCG02 accessed on 11/04/2017.
2 Jonathan Glithen-Mazer, ‘The rhetoric and reality: radicalisation and political discourse’(2012) 33
International Political Science Review 556-567.
3 ibid.
4 ibid.
5 ibid .
6 Ellie B. Hearne and Nur Laiq, ‘A New Approach? Deradicalisation Programs and Counter
Terrorism’(2010) International Peace Institute, https://www.ipinst.org/wp-content/uploads/
publications/a_new_approach_epub.pdf accessed on 11/04/2017.

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