Wednesday, March 22, 2023

At DGP meet, officers flag Islamist, Hindutva outfits

Police officers flagged the role of Islamist and Hindutva organisations in connection with growing radicalisation in the country during the recent conference of Director Generals and Inspector Generals of Police, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, The Indian Express report stated. The role of such organisations were flagged in papers submitted by officers at the conference that was held from January 20-22 in Delhi. All the papers submitted were posted on the conference’s website but removed Wednesday.
One paper described the organisations, such as VHP and Bajrang Dal, as radical. Another listed the Babri Masjid demolition, growth of Hindu nationalism, cases of beef lynching and the “ghar vapsi movement” as breeding grounds for radicalisation of youth. These points were raised in the context of measures to tackle Islamic radicalism and ideologies of organisations such as Popular Front of India (PFI).
Several officers argued for greater representation of minorities in the polity and reservation for Muslims to tackle radicalisation.
In one paper, an SP-rank officer categorised radicalisation under left wing, right wing and Islamist fundamentalism. “Far-right individuals or groups…have an authoritative concept of the state, in which the state and the people, all of which are ethnically homogenous, should merge into a single unit. India though being a plural society as well is being portrayed as inching towards majoritarianism. To name a few are Anand Marg, VHP, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Sena, etc,” the officer said in the paper. The officer described Islamic fundamentalists as a “looming threat”. “The Islamist outlook is one that essentially divides the world into two distinct spheres: ‘Muslims’ and the ‘rest’. Ex: PFI and frontals, Da’wate-Islami, Towheed, Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen etc,” his paper said.
Among challenges, the officer flagged “disproportionate usage of security establishment (Police and Intelligence)”; minimal role of “scholars, psychologists, civil society”; “missing synergy between online and offline efforts”; “lack of curative policies”; and, “Framework Flaws”.
To illustrate the point on “framework”, the officer referred to Germany and its “longstanding EXIT Deutschland programme aimed at reforming neo-Nazi radicals”. Referring to Islamophobia in Britain, the officer’s paper questioned “conspiratorial websites and sensationalist reporting” that lead to “negative community perceptions towards the Muslim ‘other’”.
As a solution, the officer argued for platforms, spaces and institutions for people to vent grievances and anger freely and openly.
In a separate paper, another SP-rank officer flagged Islamic fundamentalism and Hindu extremism as challenges, among others. He labelled them under politico-religious radicalism linked to outfits like ISIS; right-wing radicalism linked to fascism, racial supremacism and ultranationalism; and, left-wing radicalism associated with Maoist violence.
This paper associated “Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiyat Ahle-Hadith, alienation and mistrust… advent of social media, role of global Islam, role of mainstream media, Hindu extremism, and civil society activists” with radicalisation.
“The demolition of the Babri Masjid along with the growth of Hindu nationalism, cases of beef lynching and ‘ghar vapsi movement’ has been a breeding ground for extremist groups to recruit and radicalise young minds,” the officer said in his paper.
The paper also referred to the fallout of former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s comments on the Prophet, including the murder of Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur. “The example of Nupur Sharma’s speech reaction establishes that all should refrain from making religious comments and hate speeches. Similarly, there are regular events of demeaning religious sentiments. So, we have to impart a strong sense of ‘Rule of Law’… The inciting videos and messages that poured in from within the country and abroad played a major role in the radicalisation of the accused in Kanhaiya Lal murder at Udaipur,” the paper said.
Among the solutions listed were: “De-redicalisation, economic growth and equal opportunities”; more opportunities for “minorities…to be part of political and administrative processes”; modernisation of madrasas and the setting up of industrial enterprises “in the areas of minorities”.
Among the other papers submitted, an officer argued that radicalisation is frequently driven by national and international events. These, the paper said, included: plight of Palestinians, Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, America’s invasion of Iraq and incursion in Afghanistan; military operations in Pakistan; the Danish cartoon controversy; liberation of J&K and Hyderabad after Independence; communal riots; demolition of Babri Masjid, 2002 Godhra riots and the Citizenship Amendment Act.
The paper listed “community engagement using secular, patriotic and intelligent Muslim youth” and reservation for the community in education and jobs among the solutions.


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