The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has been investigating ISIS modules in India, has been able to deradicalise many of the accused arrested in the past two years for their alleged involvement with the ISIS, and bust terror modules. The NIA achieved this by using “soft methods” like taking the help of Muslim clerics during the interrogation of the youths.

Official sources with the NIA, which is working as the nodal agency for tracking and busting ISIS modules in India, said that in 90% of the cases, counselling given by the clerics have had the desired impact on the youths.

“During the questioning of the youths who were arrested for being associated with the ISIS, we realised that they were radicalised by ISIS handlers who taught them a distorted version of the Islamic religious books that they follow. To make them understand the true meaning of Islam, we called in Muslim clerics who told these youths about the real meaning of the texts and phrases given in the religious books. In 90% of the cases, the youth realised that they had taken the wrong path and accepted their mistake. Many of them voluntarily gave a confessional statement before the magistrate with a request that their case should be tried expeditiously so that they could complete their prison sentences as soon as possible,” an official with the NIA said.

According to him, once these youths realised their mistake, they themselves shared information of their other associates who were also in touch with ISIS handlers or were a part of separate modules. “They gave the information because they realised that their friends, too, are doing something wrong,” the official said.

The NIA, rather than treating these youths as hardcore terrorists, allowed them to interact with their family members, which led to many of the youths accepting their mistakes rather than try to portray themselves as innocents who were wrongly caught.

“We told their parents and wives about the irrefutable evidence that we had against them and they realised the kind of mistake their child had done. Their kin, too, have played a part in stopping the youths from becoming more radicalised,” the official said.

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