‘Strong state and rule of law key to countering radicalisation’

New Delhi : A “strong state and rule of law” are the two key elements of the Indian counter-radicalisation strategy, former home secretary G.K. Pillai said here on Wednesday.

Defining radicalisation in the context of an important security challenge for India, Pillai said that it is a process of changing the people’s perception to the extreme extent, where it may manifest itself in violence and curbing the freedom of expression of others.

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He was delivering the keynote address at the third Annual Internal Security National Seminar on “Radicalisation: A Growing Security Challenge for India” organised by the Institute for Defence Studies & Analyses (IDSA).

“Radical ideas are part of all multi-cultural democracies” and “radical ideas bring about social change”, Pillai noted. India is confronted with violent radicalisation due to a number of factors – alienation of youth, unemployment, fear, grievances and the like. What is required, most of all, is a strong “redressal mechanism” at the ground level to address grievances, he reiterated.

“Traditional family structures and communities” can play a crucial role in countering radicalisation in India, Pillai maintained. “Our family and community structures prevent people from switching to extreme ideologies,” he said, adding that All communities, within themselves, should work out anti-radical strategies.

The former home secretary also referred to “effective communication as a prerequisite for a successful counter-radicalisation strategy, with equal emphasis on a swift legal system. He also cited “institution building” and “capacity building” as important measures to counter radicalisation in the country.

Pillai also stressed upon the need for empirical studies on radicalisation in India to gauge the reasons why people adopt extreme ideas and the number of people so affected. Detailed analyses should be undertaken to study the causes and processes of radicalisation before getting into the process of countering radicalisation, he noted.

Earlier, in his welcome address, IDSA Director General Jayant Prasad said that to deal with terrorist radicalisation and to develop effective social, legal, and institutional instruments for de-radicalisation, we have to better understand the processes and dynamics of radicalisation and the conditions in which it can prosper ideologically and organisationally.

The conference offered a common platform for the representatives of academia, administration, legal experts and the media to discuss growing security challenges for India.