Had it not been for the alertness of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, a 16-year-old Muslim girl from Pune would have taken the one-way flight to the promised ‘jannat’, the Islamic State in Syria.
What has shocked the ATS is that the girl, a very bright convent educated Class XI student, fell into the trap when the unimaginable horror faced by those living inside the borders of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is all evident.
“The girl was interrogated by the ATS last week after monitoring her movements for many days on getting information about her. It confirmed her initiation by the ISIS. The interrogation of the girl revealed that she was ready to go to any extent to carry out the ISIS directive,” Pune ATS officer Bhanupratap Barge said.
According to the ATS, the minor girl got attracted to the ISIS ideology after watching a documentary on television and subsequently started regularly monitoring news on Al Jazeera channel.
“Later, she used the internet to get in touch with ISIS contacts and got in touch with about 200 young persons from different countries. Her interrogation revealed that she was told to come to Syria for medical education and for further initiation,” Barge said.
He said that the girl, who is highly intelligent, had recently changed her lifestyle and started wearing burqa, giving up jeans she used to wear before her exposure to the ISIS contacts.
“Even her family members noticed the change in her and felt disturbed,” the ATS inspector said.
The girl is now undergoing a de-radicalisation programme with the help of her family members and community religious leaders, who are fully cooperating with the police.
The Pune girl was lucky to be saved from a life as a Jihadi bride.
But for India the fight has just begun.