mid-day editorial: Don't ignore the red flags

If the suspicions of the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) are true, then for the second time, Mumbai men have left the city to join the Islamic State terror outfit. The three suspects went missing in the last two months, each giving a different excuse to mislead their family.

According to the police, the radicalisation and exchange of information took place over the Internet. The families remember them as caring family men, until they were suddenly sucked into a different world on the Web. In a front-page report in this paper, their families said that they could sense the change in them as they got radicalised, but never suspected the youths would go as far as joining the IS.

It is time that families start approaching the authorities as soon as they notice red flags. It is difficult for any parent to complain against their children, but more of them would come forward if they felt reassured that the police would take a studied, measured approach and work to de-radicalise the men.

Perhaps these families will benefit if there were someone, like religious leaders, to liaison with the authorities. If people are wary of going to the cops directly, these leaders can lend a ear at least, hear out what the parents have to say, and then, point them in the right direction. Of course, if they sense imminent danger, then no matter the consequences, the right thing to do is inform the police immediately.

Having said that, one has to accept these are very difficult options. Families may not automatically realise that their children are going the wrong way. The police or mediators may not have the luxury of time, to wait and take a call.

It’s time to for everyone to join their forces to prevent the IS from gaining strength in the nation. It will take a concerted effort from everyone, citizen to cop, to first recognise, then confront and finally defeat this threat.

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