CHANDIGARH: Pakistan-based pro-Khalistani militants are waging an intensive social media war aimed at radicalising young Sikhs, a US expert on terrorism said on Wednesday.
“There are growing indications that the ISI (of Pakistan) is orchestrating much of this activity as part of a wider campaign to co-join instability in Punjab with unrest in Kashmir,” Peter Chalk said while delivering the Second KPS Gill Memorial Lecture on “Digitised Hate: Online Radicalism, Violent Extremism and Terrorism” in Mohali.
Chalk suggested that the state government identify vulnerable groups and engage with the community to counter the narrative and fight Pakistan’s proxy war, a Punjab government release quoted him as saying.
“An intensive social media effort aimed at radicalising young Sikhs was currently being waged by pro-Khalistani militants based in Pakistan and Diaspora groups operating out of the US, UK and Canada,” he said.
The best offensive mechanism to deal with Pakistan is to work with friendly and partner countries to put pressure on Islamabad, and also to convince these nations that they could also not escape the wrath of terror outfits operating from Pakistani soil, he said.
In the context of the growing use of drones to launch attacks, he called for compulsory registration of such technology and legislation to counter the threat.
In his address, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that in the globalised world of today, terror could easily straddle international geographical boundaries, with the use of internet and social media further contributing to promoting terror and terror ideology for luring the youth, spreading hatred and propaganda.
Pointing towards the sensitive location of Punjab as a border state with a hostile neighbour, and the growing challenge of narco terrorism with linkages in Jammu and Kashmir, Singh stressed on the need for modern-day policing to thus remain technologically updated and professional in its approach.
“We cannot ever allow the state to relive those horrible days it went through…we all know what is happening again now,” the chief minister said.
Amarinder lauded the late Punjab Police chief KPS Gill’s contributions in bringing peace and normalcy to the state.