Friday, December 12, 2014

What to do with ISIS returnees?

India got a sharp jolt about the extent of dangers that ISIS poses to it this month with the return of an ISIS militant from Mumbai, allegedly after he became disillusioned with the group for making him clean toilets instead of killing infidels! Snickers as this may invite, this leaves open the very crucial question of what to do with this and future returnees, who are essentially fools that can be made to believe any kind of propaganda on social media.

The problem is, despite their toilet cleaning days, these fighters have been trained in the use of lethal weapons - a sort of training that is reserved only for military and paramilitary personnel in India. Therefore, aside from being very valuable for intelligence, they are a threat to the general public. The very reason civilians are not allowed this form of training is so that they don't use the skills on people around them. Therefore, to release this wannabe-terrorist back into the general public would be putting the public at large in danger.

Legally, he has committed a crime, since ISIS is a proscribed outfit and its membership is a criminal offense (this not only has legal basis in India but also internationally, as established by the Nuremberg Trials). While the quantum of punishment will be decided as per the law, the court must consider the repercussions of releasing him back into the general public even after a lengthy period of incarceration. Indeed, it may be necessary to keep him behind bars for life. That may seem cruel, but it is in the larger public interest and the terrorist in question has very much committed a crime that can and should ruin his life - as he sought to do to so many others. 

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