The ban on the PFI has raised the question of the effectiveness of banning radical organizations in arresting the rise of radicalization.
Such developments raise questions over the fruitfulness of politico-legal actions like banning an outfit to keeping a check on the growth of radicalization.
Radicalization is the process by which an individual or a group comes to adopt increasingly radical views in opposition to a political, social, or religious status quo.
It is when someone starts to believe or support extreme views and then participates in extremist groups or acts.
Types of Radicalizations:
Right-Wing Extremism: This type of radicalization is usually associated with fascist, racist, ultranationalist, and supremacist ideas.
Left-Wing Extremism: It focuses mainly on anti-capitalist demands and calls for the radical transformation of political and social systems.
Politico-Religious Extremism: This form of radicalization generally involves a political interpretation of religion.
Single-Issue Extremism: The category usually includes radical environmental or animal rights groups, anti-abortion extremists, certain anti-gay/anti-feminist movements, and ultra-individualist or independent extremist movements.
The inception of PFI:
It is a radicalized Islamist outfit, operating for close to three decades.
The PFI’s has been alleged of having links with outlawed Islamist organizations such as:
the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)
the Bangladesh-based terror organization
and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
The PFI has also been carrying out its activities in other states of India through like-minded organizations.
PFI and its activities:
PFI and similar organizations can be seen as not having Islamic subtitles in their organization's names. This is purposefully done to legitimize the PFI’s official claim as a “neo-social organization”.
They also try to forge alliances with non-Muslim organizations to avoid any surveillance from state agencies.
PFI is one of the most well-organized radical outfits, ensuring that it leaves no trace or evidence of its activities behind.
“Ban” as a solution to religious radicalism:
The Answer to the question is perhaps non-affirmative.
Resorting to incarnation: The past observation shows that extremist organizations have a record of morphing from one organization to another. It’s difficult to rule out the new incarnation of the same organization in the future.
Limitations of Politico-legal actions: The banning of these radical outfits is undoubtedly crucial to curb violent activities, but such a measure is insufficient given their structured approach.
Investing at the social level: Right after the ban, the government must reach out to those communities from which these radical outfits often seek support.
This will not only expose them but also make them aware of the nefarious ideologies of these organizations.
The absence of comprehensive measures at the social level often nullifies the initial role of politico-legal measures. As the banned outfits have inherent tendencies of resurfacing and portraying of them as messiahs to the downtrodden to further their radical agenda.
Supporting Minorities: Radicalisation is usually a process, not an event. During that process, it is possible to intervene to prevent minorities/vulnerable people from getting radicalized.
The government must also work towards assuring the protection of minority communities from any attempts at victimizing and marginalizing them. This would help in curbing the very foundation of radicalism.
Prevention of radicalization:
Countering terrorist propaganda
Curbing hate speech
Addressing radicalization in prisons
Promoting inclusive society, education, and common values
boosting research, evidence-building, monitoring, and networks
Working on “Prevent Strategy”:
Responding to the Ideological Challenges: All such groups have an ideology. Promoting that ideology, frequently on the internet, facilitates radicalization. So, disrupting their ability to promote radicalization is a fundamental part of Prevent's strategy.
Prevent people from being drawn into radicalization and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support.
Working with sectors and institutions: Priority areas include education, faith, health and charities, and socio-religious groups, which are often used to radicalize people in the name of upliftment.
Legal mechanisms: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act was introduced in 2008 after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai (2008).
The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) was introduced in 1967. It aims to provide for the more effective prevention of certain unlawful activities of individuals and associations dealing with terrorist activities.
Institutional mechanisms: Counter-Terrorism and Counter Radicalization (CTCR) divisions of the Ministry of Home Affairs are the key wings of the Government of India dealing with “radicalization, counter-radicalization, terrorism, and counter-terrorism”.
Cyberworld and technology mechanisms: The Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 124A, 153A, 153B, 295A, and 505 prescribe a firm approach against any word, spoken or written, that promotes disharmony, enmity, and hatred.