Tough days ahead for Centre in checking divisive forces

The government may flash statistics to say “all is well” on internal security front but emergence of new terror challenges like Islamic State (IS), old ones like Maoists and a communal problems seems to be waiting to explode.

There were no major terror strikes, Maoist violence is on the decline and communal incidents ebbed in 2014, but the undercurrent does not allow the government to rejoice much as youth are lured into extreme positions on religious lines aided by social media discourse. With more than half of the states already under the radar of terrorism and insurgency, the country now faces the challenge of spread of tension to more states as right-wing Hindu groups are getting more assertive with “ghar vapsi” or “re-conversion” programmes after the assumption of power by Narendra Modi-led BJP at the Centre.

The spread of communal tension could spiral into another challenge for the security establishment, in addition to the battle against terrorism and internal insurgencies faced in the seven north-east states and 10 Maoist-infested states. The security establishment will have to keep a vigil over such developments while the administration will have to ensure law and order.

On the terror front, 2014 brought some success for the internal security agencies. The blast in a house in Burdwan while making bombs opened Pandaora’s box as it came to light that the West Bengal town was “exporting” terror to neighbouring Bangladesh.

While this case threw up the growing influence of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JuMB) in Bengal, Deccan Herald recently reported, several leads in the NIA investigations also indicated that terror theatre is expanding in southern states with Kerala and Tamil Nadu becoming major centres for generating funds for terror groups. Another cause for worry is the youth getting attracted to radical outfits like the IS.

About 12 Indian youths are believed to be fighting alongside IS militants in West Asia. Investigative agencies are now questioning a Mumbai youth, who have returned from Iraq, as well as an MNC executive who was tweeting IS ideology. While stepping up vigil, the government will also have to adopt pro-active and pre-emptive measures to ensure that youth are not radicalised while making sure that such actions would not antagonise the minority community.

The statistics on Maoist menace is also giving relief to the government but Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh himself has warned against lowering the guard in tackling the menace.

The worry for security establishment is the capacity of Maoists to launch spectacular strikes in its stronghold areas like Chhattisgarh, a concern expressed by Singh’s predecessor Sushilkumar Shinde. That is why Singh said that Left Wing Extremism "still remains the biggest threat" to internal security and nation building process though Maoist insurgency is on the wane. Making states to work on a common anti-Maoist plan will also be a challenge to the Centre.

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