Govt encourages de-radicalization program

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A senior security minister said here on Friday that the government has been aggressively pushing the de-radicalization program to prevent such ideologies from spreading any further.

"The National Counter-Terrorism Agency (BNPT) has formulated a program to educate and enlighten those who were either convicted in the past or underwent training with the ISIS so that they are weaned away from radicalism," the Coordinating Minister for Political, Security and Legal Affairs, Wiranto, said.

He disclosed that under this de-radicalization program, those citizens who were involved with the hard line group ISIS in the past would be accommodated and educated so that they have a strong sense of nationalism.

"They will be made aware of their role as citizens responsible for maintaining the countrys security," he added.

Wiranto pointed out that based on the anti-terrorism law, Indonesia has been dealing with the issue of terrorism through both, hard and soft, approaches. The soft approach involved attempts to prevent such leanings at an early stage so that no one digresses into radicalism while the hard approach meant directly taking on the terrorists through strong arm measures.

He assured that the government would always operate within the confines of the law while dealing with this problem so as to avoid any mistakes.

He expressed the hope that the revision in the current law on terrorism, currently underway, would be accomplished soon.

"That is why I have always said to the DPR (House of Representatives) to complete it forthwith. I have even said that security authorities must not have their hands cuffed while fighting terrorism. It means they cannot be denied real weapons such as the law, legal truth and legitimacy, otherwise they would be blamed," he stressed.

Citing an example, Wiranto explained that as of now, security authorities cannot catch a person even if they come to know by way of his speech or attitude that he intends to carry out an act of terrorism.

"We cannot do so. In Indonesia, he cannot be caught. We have to wait for him to act before we can act. We can catch him only after he has already claimed a life. To prevent such a situation and to ensure that security authorities can catch the person before he pulls off such nefarious act, the law must be immediately revised," he emphasized.

He advised that the fight against terrorists needed a holistic approach, involving not only the security authorities but also all parties. They all need to unite and develop a common stance on the need to eradicate terrorism.

He reminded that other countries have taken very strong measures to quell terrorism, and urged the DPR to immediately finish the revision to help security authorities fight the problem.

"In the Philippines, let alone terrorists, narcotic drug dealers are shot. We have not gone that far. However, the law must allow authorities to take some steps to enable firm action against terrorism," he concluded. (*)