Friday 27 May 2022
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India ‘IS’ the next target

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New Delhi: Reports have emerged over the last three years about many Indians who traveled to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State or have expressed sympathy and willingness to spread IS’s extremist designs in India.

On November 17th Jamil Ahemad was arrested by anti-terrorist squad from Fatehpur in Sikar for allegedly raising funds from India, Bangladesh and UAE and sending them to IS via Hawala channels. Two days later Akhlakur Rehman, Mohd Azeemushan, Mohd Meraj, Mohd Osama and Mohsin Ibrahim Sayyed were charged under Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC and under Sections 17 (punishment for raising funds for terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy for terror act) and 20 (punishment for being member of terror group) of UAPA. These ISIS operatives were planning to carry out attacks on the ardha-Kumbha mela in Haridwar. Intelligence officers believe that Bhatkal, former Indian Mujaheddin operative and Shafi Armar, alias Yusuf al Hindi, are key members of the ISIS module in India. Armar is the chief recruiter for ISIS-inspired Jihadi outfits in India who uses social media to radicalized Muslim youth. NIA has found evidence manuals like “Bomb Banane ka asan Tariqa (Easy way to make a bomb),” “Diwali wale Patakhaon ke Zariye (With the help of Diwali firecrackers),” “Table or Alarm watch se Timer Banana (How to make a timer using a table watch or alarm watch),”  that Armar had compiled and distributed for making bombs using easily available materials like black residue of a matchstick head and other firecrackers used in Diwali. Audio files preaching hatred against Hindus by Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of Jaish-eMohammad, were also recovered. Bhatkal and Armar are yet to be apprehended.

In June this year 21 people, including a doctor couple from Kasargod, went missing and their relatives strongly suspected that they might have joined IS. Among those missing were 4 couples, 3 bachelors and 2 children from the Trikaripur and Padanna areas, rest from Palakkad. Most of them hailed from well to do families and were highly qualified.

NIA also arrested 25-year-old Mohammed Musiruddin from Kolkata on 4th July. Musiruddin had gone to Kashmir to train and recruit people for the Islamic State and Jamaatul-Mujahideen Bangladesh. Another name, Ashique Ahmed from Dhaniakhali in Hoogly district, surfaced during questioning of a named Abdus Sami Qasmi who was earlier arrested from Uttar Pradesh. It is believed IS is trying to inspire educated Muslim youth, those who fall for their propaganda, into conducted lone-wolf Jihadi attacks in India instead of traveling to Syria.

Image result for ISIS arrested India
NIA arresting IS supporters

A module in Hyderabad was busted and at least 13 people detained who owed allegiance to ISIS and were planning terrorist strikes on prominent targets in the city like Charminar, markets, malls and government buildings. Among those picked up for questioning were Mohammed Ibrahim Yajdhani, a young software engineer, and his brother Mohammed Iliyas Yajdhani. NIA found ammonium nitrate and hydrogen peroxide stored in the homes of four of these people, Ibrahim, Hasib, Fahad, and Yasir.

In January this year Mudabbir Sheikh, resident of Mumbra in Thane district, along with 14 others were arrested by the NIA for advocating IS material in social media. Mudabbir was a self-styled amir of Junud-ul-Khilafa-e-Hind, a pro-IS outfit. Mudabbir completed his BCom and then worked as teacher for 2 years before shifting to an IT firm as a web designer. Later he joined  Sportz Interactive, also in Goregaon, as a new product development manager before he was laid off for low productivity. ATS also arrested Raisuddin Siddique, 37, a teacher from Hingoli, for his alleged links to Daesh’s Parbhani module

In December 2015 an Indian Oil executive, Mohammad Sirajuddin, was arrested from Jaipur for being an active promoter of IS in social media and encouraging people to join the terrorist organisation.

Md Atif Waseem, 27, an engineer who went to London for an MS and was working in Dubai joined the Islamic State in February 2015. On 24th April the following SMS was received on on Atif’s brother’s mobile stating that Atif had died in Syria.

السلام عليكم اخي العزيز اود اخبارك ان اخيك محمد عاطف وسيم الهندي قتل في سبيل الله نحسبه من الشهداء ان شاء الله
Translation – Alsalam alakum i want to inform you your brother Mohammed Atif waseem, an Indian has died. We consider him among the martyrs of God.

This was the first known case of an individual from Hyderabad joining the terrorist organisation. Same year October Google employee Munawad Salman, 26, was put under surveillance after intelligence agencies suspected that he too was planning to join IS.

From Kalyan, Maharastra there were 4 youngsters – Aarif Majid, Aman Tandel, Fahad Shaikh and Saleem Tanki – who had joined the Islamic State. In video released by the Levant-based terrorist group in May this year, two Indians, Fahad Tanveer Shaikh and Aman Naeem Tandel, were featured.

Two men from UP also featured in this above video, Abu Rashid Ahmad and Mohd ‘Bada’ Sajid. They were both from Azamgarh and were suspected of being involved in the bomb blasts done by Indian Mujaheddin. Sajid went missing after the 2008 Batla House encounter in Delhi.

One of the earliest cases that came to light was the arrest of Mehdi Masroor Biswas from his one-room apartment in Jalahalli, Bangalore, on December 13, 2014. The 24 year old electrical engineer from Kolkata used to operate a very influential -handle, @ShamiWitness, with had over 15,000 followers, using which he would guide Indians who wanted to go and join IS.

NIA official, DIG Alok Mittal has claimed that at least 40 people have been arrested in different parts of the country since mid-2014 and 8 jihadist modules broken up, since it became clear that IS was trying to recruit Indians. Mittal, a 1993 batch IPS officer, is considered an authority on the subject and has been awarded the ‘President’s Police Medal’ for his stellar work in tracking down IS-linked terror modules operating in India. Other sources claim that by some intelligence estimates nearly 7000 to 8000 youth have been influenced by IS’s jihadi propaganda. The terrorist Caliphate has been attempting to form an apex body which would co-ordinate recruitment in various parts of India.

“There is a high possibility of lone-wolf terror activity in the country. Recently, we arrested a Daesh operative from Kolkata, Abu Musa, who had planned to travel to Srinagar and stab foreign tourists”, Mittal warned during an interview.

Meanwhile, in a classic example of the twisted politicisation of the ‘secularism’ discourse that has morphed into sympathy for terrorists, and which potentially places lives and security of ordinary Indians at stake, a fringe section of the media is attempting to pass off anybody arrested on suspicion of terrorism as a poor, hapless, unassuming victim of a tyrannical Indian state that cannot tolerate Muslims aka “a certain community“.

Given their increasing social media outreach and quick radicalisation of a section of Indians into extreme versions of Islamic jihad which also entails a hatred for all non-muslims, clearly, IS has now emerged as the single biggest threat to our safety and sovereignty.

 

 

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