Other nations felt the same; they thought that they were under attack by outsiders — organisations like Al Qaeda and their citizens, who participated in outside wars in the West Asia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and then returned home fully trained and armed. However, the Paris attacks proved that there is a rise in home-grown radicalism. Several of the eight attackers were French citizens or Frenchmen residing in Belgium. This new breed didn’t have to be a part of a global network. They adhered to the latter’s philosophy, which was drilled into them via social media.
Radha Kumar of the Delhi Policy Group wrote about the re-rise of domestic militancy in Kashmir and the new trend of ‘selfie-militancy’ where the militants openly espouse their causes. She wrote, “Over the past few months there has been a revival of militancy in the Valley, with innumerable commentators pointing out that the ‘new militancy’ not only glorifies youth with guns, but also that the youth who are now joining up do not conceal their identities but rather flaunt them on social media.”
According to her analysis, this can imply two things. One, the selfie-militants use the gun as a “decorative prop” and prefer to wage their battles against the State on social media, rather than armed conflicts. The other is that they are part of regular terrorist outfits, but are not scared of the State’s security forces because they realise that the local population will support them. Either way, it is a cause for concern because home-grown radicalism is more dangerous as its roots lie within the system.
In addition, there is evidence that local militants and population are aided by vested political and corporate groups. In the recent past, there are several cases where business and political interests have combined their might with those of the Kashmir militants or Maoists in the eastern states. The reasons for the former to do so may be related to either due to fear and coercion, opportunities to earn financial benefits, or increase their clout through non-state actors.
IS’S 21ST CENTURY BLUEPRINT
The trend of self-radicalism at the local levels are aided and abetted by the global terror networks. In a recent article, Sanjeev Dayal, former Director General of police, Maharashtra, wrote that the is has crafted a new strategy, which doesn’t want the potential radicals to come to the known theatres of wars, such as Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan, but operate from where they are. The internet provides the is with the technological tools to disseminate their principles and philosophy.
According to Dayal, “The advice from the is is: you needn’t come to the theatre of war; you can indulge in spectacular attacks wherever you are.” This helps the virtually- influenced and self-made militants to carry on the operations more successfully as they can’t be easily pinpointed by the intelligence and counterterrorism agencies. Even their neighbours don’t suspect them because they have lived in those localities for years, even decades. This was evident when the Australian authorities recently neutralised a terror module that was “set up in accordance with this (new IS) directive.”
The above logic was stressed upon in a recent paper, The Changing face of Terrorism, by Aon Risk Solutions. It agreed that there were now two sets of potential attackers — returning extremists and home-grown radicals. About the latter, the paper said, “The second group comprises ‘those who have been self-radicalised by extremist jihadi literature online,’ says (Scott) Bolton (director, business development, Aon). While they tend to be less capable than returning extremists, with limited training and strategic capability — often resorting to attacks using vehicles and weapons immediately at hand — they are also more likely to have flown under the radar of domestic security services.”
The paper added that “Bertrand Nzohabonayo, who attacked French police with a knife in December (2014), wounding three before being shot dead, falls in this (self-radicalised) category.” Bolton, a director in Aon, warned that “active shooter attacks, such as those that took place in Paris, are more likely in the current climate; although knife and car attacks may be regarded as the most expedient form by jihadists in countries with restrictive gun laws. Bombings, which require greater technical know-how, are less likely; although those returning from conflict zones may yet seek to carry out such attacks.”
BARKING UP THE WRONG TREES
There is little doubt that the is’ new vision is wooing the global youth, including those in India. A recent advisory by the home ministry of home accepted the threat of is. The various states were asked to keep a close tab on people, who were suspected to have links with the is. Rajnath Singh, the home minister, claimed that India was “fully aware of the looming threat by the is and is taking precautionary steps.” He added that “all the nations must come together to fight against it.”
In such a changed terror scenario, New Delhi’s efforts to spend time and money to go after Dawood may be laudable, and even beneficial to gain public support, but they are awfully inadequate to tackle the new faces of global terror. In addition, throwing money at such problems through grand financial packages, as was the case with Kashmir, may only embolden the existing linkages between home-grown militants, powerful vested interests and global terror outfits.
Sanjeev Dayal and Radha Kumar offered several strategies to deal with the 21st century terror. One, they advocated active government engagement with ‘vulnerable’ communities. According to Dayal, “Serious attempts to address grievances — even perceived ones — are needed to prevent young people from feeling they have no stake in the progress of the nation and indulging in violence.” He added, “A counter- narrative has to be developed with the help of the community to rebut the negative propaganda of the is.”
Kumar’s solution: “First, political parties can get their cadre to eschew activities that could exacerbate communal tensions; alongside they could encourage serious dialogue with civil society to rebuild bridges within and between the State’s estranged regions.” Finally, instead of only adopting an aggressive stance against Pakistan, the Modi government should seek vital breakthroughs for a peace process with all the stakeholders.
Therefore, it’s no longer about Dawood or Rajan. Their capture can only help enhance the image of the government. Unfortunately, it will not help tackle the global terror networks. What may work is a blueprint for a T-Company, which joins hands with other nations and whose aim is not to tackle D-Company, but to decimate or curtail the terror outfits, both domestic and global.