On the pavement outside south Delhi’s Lodhi Colony Police station, a woman sits on a carefully laid out blanket with her rosary in hand. Since her brother’s arrest on May 4, she has been patiently waiting for some news about his fate. After braving the sweltering heat for days on end, her patience was rewarded when her brother was released from the special cell unit on Saturday evening.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Her brother, along with 12 others, was picked up by the Special Cell unit of the Delhi police for suspected links with the banned terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). While three from the group have been arrested and remanded to ten days in police custody, the rest were detained for further questioning.While some family members like her were lucky, there were others who suffered disappointment as their kin remained in custody. Four youth, who were allegedly influenced by JeM founder Maulana Masood Azhar, were allowed to return home to their families under special conditions. It is perhaps for the first time, that Delhi Police is opting for positive reinforcement in the form of counselling and de-radicalisation as opposed to punitive action for suspected members of a terror module.Mohsin, Zeeshan and Mohammad Irfan from north-west Delhi’s Chandbagh locality were released with Maulana Muzzahir who lives in Loni, Ghaziabad. All four youths, in their early 20s, belong to the lower income strata of society. “The four boys are poorly educated and indulge in odd jobs to support their families. They are basically concerned and pre-occupied with making ends meet and putting food on the table,” Maulana Abdur Raziq, general secretary (Delhi state), Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind, said welcoming the move.A special group comprising officials of the special unit, a religious head of a local NGO, a noted psychiatrist – an expert in the field, the lawyer on record and immediate family members will jointly conduct and participate in the counselling sessions along with the suspects. “This initiative is a welcome step since it gives these boys a second chance,” the maulana, who will act as a religious counsellor, added.“We are releasing the youth after careful consideration,” a senior official from Delhi Police was quoted as saying. “Perhaps, this move will act as a positive reinforcement in the community and encourage family members of those affected to come forward before it is too late,” the senior official added.Marathon counselling session that lasted hours for days were conducted with each of those detained and the four boys were finally chosen. Immediate family members of the chosen were called to the police station and inducted in the sessions.The recently free boys will have to continue attending regular counselling sessions with a noted psychiatrist appointed by the Special Cell. “The psychiatrist in question is noted for his expertise in the field and he regularly advises the National Human Rights Commission(NHRC),” a source close to the investigation revealed. The maulana will step in to guide the youth by counselling them from a religious point of view,” the source added.“In Islam, self-defence is one of the acceptable instances when one does jihad,” the maulana said. “Islam does not propagate harming women and children, and killing innocents is against the tenet of the faith,” Raziq added.On May 4, the special cell of Delhi Police picked up 13 youths — all in their early 20s who were allegedly influenced by Azhar’s ideology. The operation that lasted 13 hours, with a team of 60 from the special cell conducting raids across 13 different locations in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. It resulted in the arrest of three. Sajid Abassi, Shakir Ansari, and Sameer Ahmad were produced in the special court at Patiala house and charged under sections 18 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and 120B of the Indian Penal Code. An imminent threat to the capital was thwarted with these arrests.

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In a first, Jaish-e-Mohammad suspects to be counselled; Muslim groups welcome Delhi police’s initiative