Home minister Rajnath Singh said “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) and lone wolf attacks were among the greatest threats to communal harmony

Home minister Rajnath Singh has asked for the creation of a dedicated cell to monitor online radicalization, warning the security establishment that “do-it-yourself” (DIY) and lone-wolf attacks were among the greatest threats to communal harmony, a ministry official said on Sunday.

Singh, who was addressing an annual three-day conference of the country’s top police officials at Madhya Pradesh’s Tekanpur, cited lone-wolf attacks that hit France, Germany and the UK last year as examples of new forms of terror.

“The minister spoke on Saturday about mowing down civilians and stabbings that have been witnessed across the world. In India, such acts can take a deadlier dimension,” the official said.

Taking Singh’s suggestion forward, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) on Sunday called for a special unit that would collect data and share information on a real-time basis with central security agencies and state police, an official at the conference said.

The IB made two presentations on “counter radicalization” and “integrated approach”, stressing the need for a national counter-terrorism strategy with a special focus on online propaganda by terror organisations.

The country’s domestic intelligence agency also asked the director-generals of police to study radicalization patterns in their respective states. “The idea is to create a better understanding of radicalization and emerging patterns in international terrorism,” the MHA official said.

Security experts said a substantiated distinction between a DIY attacker and lone wolf had not been formulated. But a DIY attacker may have a handler, which is typically not the case with a lone-wolf assailant. Both have been known to use knives, machetes and high-speed vehicles — like in Nice, Berlin and London.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on Monday expected to address the meeting, which is being attended by state DGPs and inspector-generals of police from all central police forces.

On Sunday, Modi held day-long deliberations with the country’s top security brass. “Had focused discussions with groups of officers on specific areas of policing and security,” he tweeted, adding that there were “insightful presentations and fruitful discussions on aspects relating to our security apparatus”.

Officials privy to the closed-door meeting said that the prime minister stressed the need for further tightening country’s security apparatus, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, the Northeast and the Naxal-affected areas, PTI reported.