CHENNAI: Even as the Karnataka police arrested a 24-year-old man from Bengaluru for operating a pro-ISIS twitter handle, their TN counterparts are worried over the growing popularity of extremist views in the cyber space. While sympathy for a banned outfit in itself will not be an offence, police officers maintain that even an opinion against the sovereignty of the country will be a crime under IPC.
“If there is a single reference in the social media posts that IS must spread in India too, then that is clearly against the sovereignty of country. The IS need not be a banned organisation at all or the person need not be its member to invoke the law,” says a senior police officer in the intelligence wing.
However, he said the capability of the police is very limited in tracing and acting against persons who post such extremists views. “Most of their servers are located in US and these companies do not readily respond to our requests. Even in the Bengaluru case, the arrest was made possible by the information given by Channel 4,” said the officer.
Tamil Nadu was woken up to the threat when a photograph of a group of youth sporting ‘T shirts’ with pro-IS slogans surfaced on facebook. It highlighted the reach of the funadmentalist IS ideology. While initially all the youngsters who posed for the photo were arrested, the police are now mulling action only against those who organised it. “The rest of them were not even aware of what IS was. Only three persons actively organised it and arranged for printing the T-shirts,” said a police officer privy to the case.
Experts argue against treating this as an issue of policing. In their view, the reasons as to why youth are getting attracted to such ideologies needs to be studied.
“The growing discontent towards US and the West in the aftermath of Globalisation coupled with the tussle with the existing state order in the middle-East has placed political Islam in a serious crisis. In India too Islam has not redefined its political discourse, leaving the youth fall prey for fundamentalist ideology. Largely left out of the secular politics, they are lured by the conjuring up of a regressive vision of Islam as an alternative,” says P Ramajayam at the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Bharathidasan University.