The most worrisome threat to internal security of the nation resides in the rise of extremist channels and groups within the country and across the borders. The hostility with Pakistan is just the tip contributing to radicalization forces. The continued militancy in Kashmir and the rising recruitment of youngsters from the region make it evident that they are falling prey to radical ideologies. However, there is also the need to understand the undercurrents of the radical channels in order to address them effectively.
The sudden rise of terrorist activities and radicalization is no coincidence. There are various factors that have culminated in the strength and impact of extremists. If we analyze be it extremism in Kashmir, North East, Naxalism/Maoism or the recent Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), all seem to have a deep-rooted geo-politics connection that is triggered by injecting insecurity among the vulnerable groups by local pressure groups that pose themselves to be part of civil society.
However, the existence of such civil society has created a kind of distrust as often they are found to be practicing against the national security and stability. Recently, the central governments have written to state governments for an update on activities of banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
If we dig about the formation of SIMI on periphery we will observe that it was also formed as a civil society organization that aimed “liberation of India” from Western materialistic cultural influence and to convert its Muslim society to live according to the Muslim code of conduct. It was formed in 1977, Aligarh by Mohammad Ahmadullah Siddiqi as its founding president, who currently himself works as a Professor of English and Journalism at Western Illinois University in Macomb.
It faced as a student’s association that formed on certain values to exercise freedom of religion. However, as soon as it gained the stronghold in the region it unveiled itself as an extremist organization. Going by the records, SIMI took an extremist turn due to Hindu-Muslim communal riots that surfaced in 80’s and 90’s. Soon after it started playing an active role in almost every anti-Hindu agenda including Babri Mosque.
It is noteworthy to see that despite the volatile situation Indian security missed the formation of such an organization that in challenged secular culture to a large extent as it aimed at establishing the supremacy of Islam instead of harmonious existence.
It was not until the wakeup call of 9/11 attacks that the organization was banned on terrorist grounds in 2001. The cycle of three bans with duration of freedom from ban gave a sympathetic edge to the organization that functions stately on radicalizing youth.
The series of violent incidents from Malegaon blasts, secessionist movement, supporting Taliban, Hubli criminal conspiracy to recent arrest of 18 SIMI activists under Section 120B, Sections 10, 38 besides Section 4 of the Explosive Substances Act by National Investigation Agency clearly suggest that the organisation was created for anti-national agenda that it still seeks to work with.
SIMI is just one of such radical organization that has come under the radar of security agencies. Today, there are much other covert organization that is working in various parts of the country challenging the national security and stability. Learning from the formation of SIMI it is important that we identify and closely investigate the formation of any such other organization and keep a check on their aid and operations, to fight radicalization effectively.