Growing echoes of ISIS in India


By Rajesh Ghosh

After the alleged ISIS recruit Areeb Majeed’s bail plea was rejected a month earlier by a special NIA court, the External Affairs ministry sought his internet and financial information from four West Asian countries and a European state.

Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Turkey and Luxemburg have been sent requests seeking details of his travel and stay related financial transactions. They have also been urged to share all pertinent internet activities undertaken in these countries.

Although a relatively less number of Indian youths have been reported to be either actively engaged in jihadist activities in West Asia or are directly in touch with recruits, the Indian intelligence has not taken them lightly. There is a looming fear of ‘Lone Wolf’ attacks within the Indian territory and attacks by returning radicalized jihadists hardened by their experience in the battlefields of Iraq and Syria.

Indian Intelligence is also wary of the growing interest of India in Jihadist circles. In a video message released in late 2014, the Al-Qaeda supremo Al-Zawahiri called on Muslims ‘to wage jihad against enemies, to liberate their land’ as he announced the opening of a so-called ‘Indian branch’. Earlier this year ISIS flags were seen fluttering at various protests in Kashmir which send chills down the spine of intelligence agencies.

ISIS, also derogatorily called Daesh among many circles, has also increased activities in India’s neighbourhood of Bangladesh. Many attacks including a deadly attack in a Shia mosque and an attack on an Italian priest have been claimed by the ISIS.  There is growing fear within Indian Intelligence circles of the spillover of this growing ISIS footprint in Bangladesh.

While India’s fears are legitimate any exaggeration of the ISIS threat must be avoided. Indian stability is more threatened by its homegrown radicalized youths and Maoist activities. However, the intelligence agencies must stay on their toes to prevent any large-scale Paris-like attack in vulnerable Indian cities. (Image: Patrika)