BY SUMIT KUMAR SINGH
New Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS) The Centre has directed state police chiefs to carry out a detailed study on activities of radical elements in various jails to monitor and counter spread of radicalization inside prisons. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has also asked police heads to take help of religious preachers to start de-radicalization programme within the jail premises.
The police chiefs have been asked to engage Intelligence Bureau officials extensively so that they can also spot “talents” among the radical prisoners, who can lead de-radicalization programme.
“Talent spotting should be done within the jails apart from the religious preachers, who visit jails for delivering sermons, to lead the de-radicalization programme,” said an internal ministry note reviewed by IANS.
The intelligence officials had flagged that some of the ordinary prisoners living in close proximity with the terrorists become terrorists after coming out of the jail. Looking upon this, the ministry has stressed to the police chiefs that de-radicalization programme and talent spotting should be in a more co-coordinated way between local police and intelligence officials.
In 2016, a total 2,052 suspected terrorists and militants were arrested and in 2017, a total 1,950 were put behind bars. In 2018, total arrests were 1,722 and in 2019, till October 11, the total arrests made were 1,310. According to National Investigation Agency (NIA), a total 127 suspected ISIS members were arrested so far and are lodged in various prisons.
The ministry has also told states to set up Special jails to lodge convicted and suspected terrorists. Special jail means any prison provided for the confinement of a particular class or particular classes of prisoners and provides limited access with the permission of higher authorities.
Out of the thirteen States and union territories having Special jails, Kerala has the highest number of special jails (16) followed by West Bengal (5), Telangana (4), Tamil Nadu (3), Gujarat, Karnataka, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Puducherry (2 jails each) and Assam, Bihar, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
The government has brought a new anti-terror law under which now individuals can be declared as terrorists and their properties can be seized. President Ram Nath Kovind had given assent to the legislation on August 8 after the Lok Sabha passed it on July 24 and the Rajya Sabha on August 2.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 1 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention (Amendment) Act, 2019 (28 of 2019), the central government hereby appoints the 14th August, 2019, as the date on which the provisions of the said Act shall come into force,” a home ministry notification said.
The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019 also provides for putting travel ban on such individuals once they are declared as terrorists. The Act also gives powers to the Director General of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to attach properties acquired from proceeds of terrorism.