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Terror outfits benefited during pandemic as people spent more time online

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New Delhi, Oct 15, 2021- Online social media platforms have always been extensively used to spread information as well as misinformation. But the increased use of Internet and online platforms amid the Covid 19 pandemic has further helped the global terror outfits in expanding their reach as more digitally connected people spent longer hours online on social media, the weapon of choice of extremists to spread their message.

Apart from radiating their radical messages, terrorists are increasingly using the online medium to buy weapons and as a tool for recruitment.

“Regulating online platforms is much more difficult than traditional platforms which make combating these propaganda very arduous,” a report by Modern Diplomacy said.

And now, the rising political uncertainty in Afghanistan with the return of the Taliban has only multiplied challenges for the governments across the world.

People dealing with counter terrorism activities told India Narrative that the South Asian countries including India and Bangladesh are particularly under the radar of the global terror outfits.

Modern Diplomacy’s report noted that online radicalization poses a formidable threat to the stability of Bangladesh. “With the imposition of lockdown in the last year, the nefarious fundamentalist factions have ramped up their activities,” it said, adding that the extremist elements have instead resorted to the online mediums to recruit, sensitize and radicalize the youth of the country.

It also said that these online radical outfits peddle conspiracy theories and a simplified understanding of the history and economics of the world.

“The pandemic may have provided an opportunity to the terror outfits to reorganise.. the increased dependence on online mode of operations has given a boost to these groups in easy information or rather misinformation dissemination and financing,” BK Singh, retired Joint CP (Commissioner) Crime, Delhi Police told India Narrative.

Observer Research Foundation noted that the turn of events in Afghanistan has triggered fresh apprehensions amongst India’s policymakers and security experts of pan-Islamist groups gaining ground support in Kashmir. Pakistan “will try to use the situation to spread terror in Jammu and Kashmir to avoid international scrutiny,” it said.

Sources said that several radical elements in Bangladesh are at play to undo the progress made by the country’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in weeding out radicalism.

What is sad is that many people, including a large number of educated youth, fall prey to such rampant and aggressive propaganda and conspiracy theories. (Agency)

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