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Radicalisation Among Youths In Kerala

Raul Harish writes, radicalisation is increasingly becoming a danger for youths in Kerala. The government should take a closer look at the mosques in Kerala to see which is functioning correctly and which is not. Parents of youths should be made aware of the issue and should be given the ability to inform the authorities if they notice any radical behaviour in their children.

Radicalisation is an issue that has plagued the Kerala youth community in the past few years. Youths from places like Palakkad and Kasargod are being influenced to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) and Al-Qaeda. These youths are influenced by books and speeches of radicals and by other radicalised youth. Social media too plays a big role in this. Messaging apps like Telegram have been used by members of these terrorist organisations to sway the minds of youths to “join the cause”. This was how Nashidul Hamzafar, a Wayanad native, was influenced to join the Islamic State in Afghanistan. He would have joined if it had not been for his timely capture by the Afghani authorities. After his deportation to India, he was questioned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and it revealed exactly how the recruitment of the group works.

Hamzafar was influenced by other youths, some who were his friends, who had already joined the IS. He was studying in Bangalore and was visited by a Tablighi Jamaat teacher who talked to him about the “just cause” for which he had to give himself to. He also met Shihas and Bestin Vincent (later changed his name to Yahiya) who are now in Afghanistan with the IS. They helped Hamzafar travel to Afghanistan and arranged everything for him. Stories like these have sadly become more and more common in Kerala and the number of radicalised youths is increasing.

The recent Colombo bombings have been perpetrated by the IS operatives in Sri Lanka, and the IS operatives of Kerala have similar ideologies. The ideology of Zaharan Hashim, the supposed mastermind behind Colombo and that of Kerala Salafis are similar.

A study titled “Prospects of Daesh’s Expansion in South Asia” conducted by Abdullah Khan, the Managing Director of the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies says that Wilayat-e-Hind is the new chapter of the Daesh which is quickly attracting educated youth in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. It says that Kerala youths find the Islamic State more enticing than other groups. 54 people have joined the IS from Kerala in the last 3 years.

There are several reasons for this radicalisation. Organisations like the Popular Front of India (PFI) and Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) are strong in Kerala and receive a lot of political patronage. There has been a large Wahhabi influx from Saudi Arabia and their preachers have invested in new mosques where their ideologies are preached. Poster offering prayers to Ajmal Kasab and Osama Bin Laden could be seen during their deaths.

Radicalisation is increasingly becoming a danger for youths in Kerala. The government should take a closer look at the mosques in Kerala to see which is functioning correctly and which is not. Parents of youths should be made aware of the issue and should be given the ability to inform the authorities if they notice any radical behaviour in their children. As this is the youth of our country, the issue should be handled with more care. If the government is too authoritative then things could get worse.

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20 thoughts on “Radicalisation Among Youths In Kerala

  1. Deepa VenuKumar says:

    Why are the mosques succeeding in their attempt? Is the society at large to be blamed for this? Why the focus on Muslim youth , when the title says radicalization among youths in kerala ?

  2. Toms Thomas says:

    I believe youth need to be given opportunities to invest time in creative skills, sports, anything which makes life fun…or even a pet..all this will create positive attitude towards life and healthy mind.

    Schools and colleges defenitely need counseling centres.

  3. Deepa VenuKumar says:

    The youth in kerala were always radical, with active campus politics etc…CPI(M) has definitely sowed a seed…weren’t the kiss of kerala, beef party etc faint signs of radical thought? Or was it fighting for one’s rights? A mix of both maybe?

  4. Hari says:

    This is a good topic which we feel is beyond our control but should be something which we should all keep in control.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely true!! This is an issue that needs to be resolved at the earliest!! Hope the government implements sensible measures to handle it.

  6. Naks says:

    The ability of these groups to infiltrate local Muslims is alarming. Successive governments have used the Muslim community as vote-bank rather than taking the necessary steps to truly integrate them into the mainstream since independence. As a result, today, we are truly in a situation where religion has taken precedence over country.  While the government with all its investigative agencies can try and stop planned attacks, a supplementary approach should also follow where these youths are given sufficient opportunities to enter mainstream.

  7. Nazneen Yahya says:

    Wish there was a ‘Live and let live’ attitude among us… Parents must openly talk to kids about anything and everything right from early years encouraging them to share their thoughts about religion and the divide openly… One God ,one Religion… Wonder when the time will come where we live life happily together… No divide, just one wide world… One human race!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Well thought and well written. The society and the Govt are equally responsible. It’s not the uneducated and backward youth that is getting radicalised which used to be the popular narrative earlier. The system has faulted in checking the menace and if we continue to push this under the carpet in the name of religion and politics, we may become another Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Well said

  11. Anonymous says:

    Its an alarming situation in kerala and Govt of kerala is not taking it seriously and waiting some untoward situation to happen!

  12. Saumya Menon says:

    A good read on a intense topic.

  13. Umesh says:

    Very well written. Good you brought out this point. I think any country or state of government should keep politics a aside and work on this area to make better place to leave. This is not happening in only kerala. It’s all over the world.

  14. Anonymous says:

    It’s a good attempt. While it shows that he has good understanding of the issue, a few more details as to what measures should be taken by the parents, society, the educational institutions should have been mentioned. Role of government, the police and how they can extend help should be elaborated. What are the local, social, economic and communal issues that are tempting the youth to consider such options should have been highlighted.

    Quality of language is fairly good. Can be better.

  15. Harish K Murukanandan says:

    Good – One would think how can the youth especially the educated ones get so influenced by the ideology  that makes them do such violent acts – that too to people whom they have not known or seen.  That is a more deep rooted problem and unless some one solves that these acts will keep happening

  16. Praveen Shebe says:

    Issue of concern.

  17. Anonymous says:

    This topic is the need of the hour. For the few radicalised youth, the entire community is sometimes looked upon with mistrust. Needless to say that various political parties are drawing mileage from this. Muslims in Kerala are quite forward and well educated, as compared to their brethren elsewhere in India and also in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan. Yet, why is this radicalisation taking place, should be a g cause for grave concern. Community leaders should actively involve to guide the youth. Places of worship, education and homes should nurture our youth to think of building the nation and take humanity forward.  Arts and Sports should be given more importance. The common man should put his foot down, when unscrupulous politicians fuel sentiments by mixing Religion and Politics. Being Proactive is the solution. Reactions help no one.

  18. Krishna Satish says:

    Definitely youth should be educated on the harmful aspects of it.’nipped at the bud ‘is what parents,society and gov can do

  19. Jo says:

    Definitely alarming issue and everyone in the society has responsibility towards fixing it. Our youth is THE future and giving right guidance is shared responsibility of  everyone within the society, including parents, teachers, govt etc.

  20. Sanjeev says:

    Radicalisation of any from is dangerous. It is essential that Indian Govt & the state (Kerala) govt works on this & addresses this.

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