Indian intelligence agency has found direct footprint of banned terrorist group ISIS in Jammu and Kashmir with the arrest of one of its founding members Qasim Khorasani and two of his associates on 19 July. The Indian intelligence agency has been diligently tracking their movement for the past one year.
In April 2020, Umar Nisar Bhat aka Qasim Khorasani, one of the founding members of ISIS module in Jammu and Kashmir, involved in recruiting IS cadres there, was identified by Indian intel agencies on a messaging app. Khorasani, who was earlier thought to be in Khorasan in Afghanistan, was later found to be based in Achabal, a small town in Anantnag district with the help of Indian and foreign agencies, was chatting with group members on Telegram about the production and circulation of magazine Swat Al-Hind (Voice of Hind), which would propagate the idea of Wilayat Al-Hind (Islamic State province in India).
Wilayat Al-Hind (Islamic State province in India) was established in 2019 in May to focus on India-specific ‘activities’. The idea behind its formation was to incite Indian Muslims on Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), avenge Babri Masjid demolition and atrocities in Kashmir. It has praised highly Indian fighters in Khorasan, Syria and Iraq and Indian Mujahideen for carrying out attacks in India.
The platform invoked Ghazwa-e-Hind, which means ‘Holy War against India’. According to Ghazwa-e-Hind, forces from Syria with black flags will come marching towards India and will conquer the country and convert it into an Islamic state.
It started Swat Al-Hind (Voice of India) magazine in February 2020 under the guidance of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Khurasan (ISKP) handlers. So far, 17 issues of the magazine have been released. The first issue was launched on media channel Al-Qital and pivoted around the idea that “nationalism was a disease”. It also strongly condemned the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath.
In the same issue, they said All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi and former president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union Kanhaiya Kumar, who was arrested in 2016 by Delhi Police on sedition charges, were misguiding Indian Muslims.
The issue condoled the death of Pakistani national Huzaif Al-Bakistani, responsible for radicalisation of Indian youth, who was killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan.
It attacked Indian Muslim scholars Mahmood Madani and Maulana Arshad Madani. The other two arrested go with the names Tanveer Ahmed Bhat and Rameez Lone Lone. All three are under 35 years of age.
The NIA said that the ISIS terrorists were operating from various conflict zones with their cadre in India. The Islamic terrorists have created a network in which ISIS-related propaganda is disseminated to radicalise and recruit members into its fold by assuming false identities online.
Apart from the three arrests, security agencies seized a large number of incriminating documents and digital devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops and hard disks, and T-shirts having the ISIS logo.