Aman Tandel, one of the four youngsters who left their Kalyan homes in May 2014 to fight alongside the Islamic State in Iraq, has been killed in an air strike. Relatives and friends had started gathering at Tandel’s home, on Sunday, November 27 after the family received a call on Saturday telling them about Aman Tandel’s demise.
Earlier, when reports had surfaced in the media about the police stating that a number of boys from the city had left home to join the ISIS or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, it had become difficult for the families of the jihadis to continue living at the same address because of the stigma. Some of them had shifted home seeking relative anonymity.
What this proves though is that all police claims are not a figment of imagination, harassment or targeting a community. There is truth to reports that certain youngsters have left their home to join ISIS. It shows us the importance of families being alive to the possibility of their children being radicalized. It is vital that they recognise red flags, or even talk to their children if something is amiss. A mother’s intuition is strong and if she feels there is something awry, it is time to talk to your son or daughter. If that avenue sounds difficult, there are community leaders, men and women of wisdom who can be approached and perhaps be a way for those who stray into this ideology or just start to believe it, to find their way back. It is time for families to stop pulling the wool over their eyes, saying that a loved one can never be involved or do this or that.
Accepting that ISIS is not just elsewhere, but here, looking to bring people into the fold is the first step towards combating the terrorist ideology. It is not just in Iraq, Syria but here too. It will take everybody from families, community leaders and cops to play a part in defeating it.