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State Police heads from across the country had a 3-day conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah wherein they highlighted, among other things, that radicalization in the country was owing to the role of Islamist and Hindutva organisations. The meeting that took place between January 20 to January 22 in Delhi and papers submitted during the conference were posted on the website of the conference but they were removed on Wednesday, reported Indian Express.
Among the several issues raised, was the issue of radicalisation by extremist organizations. One of the papers described the organisations, such as VHP and Bajrang Dal, as radical while 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, reported IE. Several officers are known to have batted for greater representation of minorities in polity and reservations for Muslims, as measures to curb radicalisation.
One officer even stated in his report that far-right groups were pushing the country towards majoritarianism, these include And Marg, VHP, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Sena etc. even Islamic fundamentalism was raised as an issue, for being a “looming threat”. The report described the “Islamic outlook” as being one that divides the world into “Muslims” and “others”. These Islamist radical groups included PFI and frontals, Da’wate-Islami, Towheed, Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen etc.
One of the reports even pointed out that Islamophobia in Britain festered due to sensationalist reporting and conspiratorial websites. And thus, the officer recommended that there should be platforms for people to vent their grievances.
Another report associated radicalization with “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”, reported the publication.
Another officer equated the Islamist and Hindu radical organizations to outfits like ISIS. Another report cited the incident of BJP’s Nupur Sharma making objectionable comments on Prophet Mohammad and that “all should refrain from making religious comments and hate speeches”. The paper further said, “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 the Kanhaiya Lal murder at Udaipur”. The report also highlighted instilling a strong sense of ‘rule of law’ among the people and advocated for deterring events of demeaning religious sentiments.
The solutions for the same were recommended which suggested that there should be equal opportunities for minorities and they should be actively made part of political and administrative processes; as also modernization of madrassas and employment opportunities in minority areas. It also suggested community engagement of Muslim youth and reservation for them in education and jobs as well.
Despite such pertinent issues being raised and real time legislative and [polity solutions being offered by police heads, these reports were removed from the websites and not made available to public access for too long. The reason behind such a move is questionable and against the interest of the public at large who have every right to know the opinions and points of view of the Police heads, who are responsible for maintaining law and order, regarding what they view as major issues in maintaining harmony and lawful behavior in their jurisdiction.
The issue of radicalization includes incidents of hate speech, inciteful speeches, distribution of weapons, lynching in the name of cow protection, harassment of minorities alleging forceful conversion, demeaning minority religions, establishing hegemony of majority religion, incidents of violence against minorities alleging “love jihad”. Such incidents have seen a steep rise in the country in the past few years whereby radicalized groups seem to have gotten a free hand at spreading lawlessness with little reprimand from the police forces too. While pointing out these issues, it is important the police heads introspect within their jurisdictions and find out how many of such incidents have been dealt with an iron hand by the local police.
In recent incidents, one can point towards the criminal trespass by Bajrang Dal goons who entered a house in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, where a birthday party was going on and they detained Muslim friends of the Hindu girl and at one point even forced her to file a complaint of forceful religious conversion. When she refused, they took the Muslim boys to the police station, where the police kept the Muslim boys under preventive detention and let the Bajrang Dal men go scot free!
Even in a Congress ruled state of Rajasthan, right wing outfits continue to fester their ideology openly where they carry out ‘trishul diksha’ or trishul distribution ceremonies. This amounts to arming the youth and brainwashing them with radical thoughts to take up violence against minorities. This is openly propagated and no action whatsoever is taken by the local police in such matters.
It is a relief to know that State heads of Police see these as one of the major issues in law and order. As identification is the first step towards resolving an issue. It remains to see what steps they take, in their immense and vast scope of powers to curb such incidents and to curb such radicalization among Islamist and Hindu extremist organizations.