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Targeting minorities under the pretext of IS

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Targeting minorities under the pretext of IS
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The Islamic State, the militant group whose deadly grip has stretched across the Middle East and into northern Africa beginning from Iraq and Syria has been terrorizing the world for some time now.

The obscurity surrounding the birth and rise of IS and the skepticisms over the group’s backing forces still remain. The group undoubtedly poses a threat not just to the region but also to world peace. The stance of the countries that launched military offensives against the terrorist group could therefore be justified. It’s also true that the nations far from the clutches of Islamic State need to be vigilant and careful. India had heaved a sigh of relief when Prime Minister Modi and his government pointed out that there were no threats posed by the IS in the country. However, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on January 16 had called a meeting of top officials of central intelligence and investigative agencies in 13 states including Kerala and devised strategies to resist the growing influence of IS. According to the intelligence agencies, 23 Indians have so far joined the militant group out of which six were killed in different incidents. Whether the 23 of them were in the country or abroad weren’t disclosed. The Home ministry also revealed that 150 Indians were under surveillance for their alleged online links with the IS; but the source of their surveillance were also not revealed. The information might be either provided by those countries that are in security agreements with India or by the country’s intelligence agencies.

However, the present circumstances trigger anxiety due to the attempts to rampantly hunt down the Muslim youth of the country under the pretext of keeping vigilance by tracking those who have links with the IS, keeping them in custody and interrogating them. The NIA and the state police forces had arrested 13 persons from Hyderabad, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh before the Republic Day. Even though there were no evidences of the persons engaged in any terrorist activities, the official sources revealed that they exchanged online messages that instigated joining the Islamic State. At the same time, the Home Minister has said that IS had only little influence on Indian Muslims and that it was irrelevant when compared to other countries. The media for days has been propagating that India was under the security threat by the IS and that the influence of the group as well as their links with Muslim youth were increasing. An impression of the details being obtained from the official agencies is being created. Incidents of innocent Muslim men being arrested on mere suspicion are also hiking up. Different Muslim organizations in a meeting held in Delhi recently expressed concern over the nationwide arrests of Muslim men and demanded release of the youth arrested.

The leaders of the All India Muslim Personal Board, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, Jamiat Ulema-I-Hind , Jamiat Ahle Hadith and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind denounced the IS as ‘unIslamic’ and ‘terrorist’ and pointed out that around thousands of young Muslim men were detained under the ‘pretext of IS’. The leaders also said that allegations against even one per cent of them haven’t been proved till now. In 2014, 123 out of the 141 Muslim men arrested under UAPA were found to be innocent. But the practice of detaining the innocents using the black law is still being continued. The minority community is now targeted under the pretext of IS. The central government was compelled to withdraw the black laws like TADA and POTA following the nationwide uproar. When the freedom and human rights are violated using the black laws like UAPA, it’s unfortunate that no major protest is being raised. On the other hand, the BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra is implementing programs in the state under the pretext of curbing terrorism. Even though the goal of the program is to stop the IS threats, the Muslim leaders see it as a conspiracy of the Sangh Parivar to forcefully impose its cultural nationality. The police force that is already communalized to take severe measures against the individuals and organizations under suspicion would now get an opportunity through these programs. All these contrivances happen giving clean chits to the Hindutwa terrorist outfits who were behind the Malegaon and Mecca Masjid bombings as well as the Ajmer Sharif Dargah blast.

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