It will attempt to legally define ‘radicalisation’ and suggest amendments to UAPA
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has, for the first time, approved a research study on “status of radicalisation in India.” The study would attempt to legally define “radicalisation” and suggest amendments to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), the police think tank of the MHA, had invited research proposals from academicians and legal experts in the year 2018. It received 75 proposals, and two topics – “Status of Radicalization in India: An Exploratory Study of Prevention and Remedies” and “Functioning and Impact of Open Prisons on Rehabilitation of Prisoners” were shortlisted by the MHA in September.
G.S Bajpai, Director of the Centre for Criminology and Victimology, National Law University (NLU), Delhi, will conduct the research on radicalisation.
Speaking to The Hindu, he said, “the study will be religion-neutral and will go by facts and the reported cases. Radicalisation is yet to be defined legally, this leads to misuse by the police. It should be defined and necessary amendments made to the UAPA.”
Mr. Bajpai, who is also the member-secretary of Committee on Criminal Reforms constituted by the MHA to overhaul the British-era Indian Penal Code (IPC), said that the study would take a year to conclude as it required field visit and interviews with people.
“Radicalisation has to be addressed in a systematic manner and a policy should be devised by the Centre. It is not merely a policing issue. In India, people are sensitive about religion, what we are attempting is correct interpretation of holy books such as Quran, Gita or Bible ,” he stated.
Aggressive policing measures could be counter-productive as the youth who were radicalised were “misguided” and not the culprits. “We have studied the Maharashtra model, where several youths were deradicalised. Merely sending young men behind the bars will not solve the purpose, right thinking people in the community will have to be mobilised,” he added.
The United Nations’ 26th report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team concerning the IS (Islamic State), al-Qaeda and associated individuals and entities had pointed out “significant numbers” of the IS and al-Qaeda members in Kerala and Karnataka. The report said, “One member State reported that the ISIL Indian affiliate (Hind Wilayah), which was announced on May 10, 2019, has between 180 and 200 members”.
On September 16, Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy informed the Lok Sabha that the information was “not factually correct”. The House was told that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered 17 cases related to the presence of the IS in Telangana, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and arrested 122 accused persons.