Context: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has, for the first time, approved a research study on “status of radicalisation in India.”
More on news:
- 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.
- 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.
Objectives: The research would attempt to legally define “radicalisation” and suggest amendments to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).The study will be religion-neutral and will go by facts and the reported cases.
Radicalisation can be understood a phased and complex process in which an individual or a group embraces a radical ideology or belief that accepts, uses or condones violence, including acts of terrorism.
- Sensitive issue:
- Radicalisation is both a religious issue and a policing issue. In India, people are sensitive about religion.
- There is a need for correct interpretation of holy books such as the Quran, Gita or Bible.
- No legal definition: Radicalisation has not been defined legally and this leads to misuse by the police.
- ‘Misguided’ youth:
- Aggressive police actions could be counter-productive as the radicalised youth are misguided and not the criminals.
- Right thinking people in the community will have to be mobilised.
- Growing radicalisation in India: 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 informed about the presence of “significant numbers” of the IS and al-Qaeda members in Kerala and Karnataka.
- The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered cases related to the presence of the IS in Telangana, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and arrested 122 accused persons.
Image source: https://www.islam21c.com/politics/the-theory-of-radicalisation/
Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967
- UAPA is India’s principal federal counterterrorism law.
- The UAPA – an upgrade on the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act TADA, which was allowed to lapse in 1995 and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was repealed in 2004 — was originally passed in 1967.
- The Act assigns absolute power to the central government, by way of which if the Centre deems an activity as unlawful then it may, by way of an Official Gazette, declare it so.
- Till 2004, “unlawful" activities referred to actions related to secession and cession of territory. Following the 2004 amendment, “terrorist act" was added to the list of offences.
- The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment (UAPA), also passed in 2019, allows an National Investigation Agency officer to conduct raids, and seize properties that are suspected to be linked to terrorist activities without taking prior permission of the Director General of Police of a state.
- The investigating officer only requires sanction from the Director General of NIA.
Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D)
The Government of India formally established the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), under the Ministry of Home Affairs for the following reasons and with the primary objective of modernization of police force:
1. To take direct and active interest in the issues.
2. To promote a speedy and systematic study of the police problems.
3. To apply science and technology in the methods and techniques used by police.
In addition and as a secondary, it is mandated an advisory role for the Bureau.