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One of the most dangerous aspects of modern-day militant outfits is their radicalisation of easily impressionable youth, which takes place despite efforts of governments worldwide.
Based on a complaint from a Lucknow youth on Sunday who claimed to have received a link to join a WhatsApp group created in the name of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant group, the UP Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) traced the link to a 15-year-old Class 9 boy from Bhilwada, Rajasthan.
According to UP ATS Inspector General (IG) Asim Arun, 20-year-old Manoj Kumar Gupta, who works in a private firm, also received another link inviting him to join another WhatsApp group in the name of MIM, which has yet not been identified.
"He received the link from another boy of the same age group. An ATS team is in touch with Rajasthan police, who have contacted the boy’s family to question him and ascertain the source of the link,” Arun said.
Meanwhile, Hazratganj circle officer, Abhay Mishra said than an FIR under Section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been lodged against unidentified people for promoting enmity between different groups on the ground of religion and race. A case was also lodged against unidentified people under the Section 66-F of the Information Technology (IT) Act for circulating objectionable content on instant messaging group.
Previously, when the ATS had arrested 22-year-old Ghazipur resident Sheikh Ali Akbar from Lucknow on February 5, Akbar had revealed that he had been radicalised by operatives making him join multiple messaging groups.
"The ATS probe revealed that Akbar was a member of nine such groups. Some of the groups were identified as Hizbul Hamari Shaan, Freedom Fighters, Hizub Media, Jamaat-u-daawa-Kashmir, Kashmir ki Azaadi and Musa-Musa,” Arun said.
Global studies have shown that radicalisation of youth generally takes place through social media. The Islamic State militant group has extensively used social media to influence youth across the world to join its activities in Iraq and Syria and to conduct 'lone-wolf' attacks. So far, not many youths from India have joined the Islamic State, as compared to locals from other nations.