New Delhi: Raking up yet another controversy, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said in a statement that Muslims from south Indian states were more prone to get influenced by ISIS ideology than any other part of the country.
“It is a reality (some south Indian Muslims getting attracted to ISIS). It is a fact. But we should not undermine our vigil in other parts of the country,” he said.
Rijiju’s comments came at a time when, reports were making rounds that ISIS would carry out attacks in India. Reportedly, a single person would carry out the attack. ISIS had named the operation “Lone Wolf”.
However, there were reports that many Indians, all Muslims, had travelled to Syria to join the terror outfit ISIS. Interestingly, most of those Indian Muslims belonged to south Indian states.
Out of the 23 Indian Muslims who had travelled to Syria to join ISIS, six were killed in various terror operations. While three belonged to Karnataka, rest were natives of Telangana, Kerala, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
However, Rijiju assured that the government at the Centre is proactive and is intensively monitoring the situation. Stringent vigilance was being carried out by the security and Intelligence agencies to thwart any nefarious plans by militant outfits.
“Challenges are there. We have to accept that it is a reality. The threat is there. Anything that threatens the security of the country is taken seriously and the Home Ministry’s mandate is to provide security to the people and the country,” he said.
Riju, however, termed the incidents of the hoisting of the ISIS flag in Jammu & Kashmir as sporadic. “These were isolated cases and not spread across the state or the country,” he said.
The government is also monitoring web portals to curb any efforts by the outfits to spread their ideologies.
Egypt’s president Wednesday called for “decisive” and “collective” action against countries supporting “terrorism” in an apparent reference to Turkey and Qatar, who back the Muslim Brotherhood group, which is outlawed in Egypt.
The three countries also support opposing factions in the war-torn Libya.
Addressing a two-day forum on peace in Africa in the southern city of Aswan, Abdel Fattah el-Sissi also said achieving sustainable development in Africa is needed, along with efforts to fight militant groups in Egypt and the Sahel region that stretches across Africa south of the Sahara Desert.
“There should be a decisive response to countries supporting terrorism and a collective response against terrorism, because the terrorist groups will only have the ability to fight if they are provided with financial, military and moral support,” he said.
The gathering in Aswan is attended by the leaders of Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Senegal along with officials from the U.S., Britain and Canada.
The Sahel region is home to al-Qaida and Islamic State group-linked militants. El-Sissi said Egypt could help train forces and provide weapons to countries in the region to fight extremists.
Egypt has for years been battling an Islamic State-led insurgency that intensified after the military overthrew an elected but divisive Muslim Brotherhood President Muhammad Morsi in 2013 amid mass protests against his brief rule.
Militant-related violence in Egypt has been centered on the Sinai Peninsula, as well as in the country’s vast Western Desert, which has witnessed deadly attacks blamed on militants infiltrating from neighboring Libya.
Since Morsi’s ouster, tensions have grown between Egypt and Turkey and Egypt and Qatar. The political party of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Cairo designated as at terrorist group in 2013.
El-Sissi also said a “comprehensive, political solution would be achieved in the coming months” for the conflict in Libya, which descended into chaos after the 2011 civil war that ousted and killed long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi. He did not elaborate.
He said that would put an end to a “terrorist hotbed that pushes militants and weapons to (Libya’s) neighboring countries including Egypt.”
El-Sissi apparently was referring to an international summit in Berlin that aims to reach an agreement on actions needed to end the conflict. The conference had been scheduled for October, but it has apparently been postponed.
After the 2011 civil war, Libya split in two, with a weak U.N.-supported administration in Tripoli overseeing the country’s west and a rival government in the east aligned with the Libyan National Army led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter.
Maritime border agreement
El-Sissi’s comments came amid heightened tensions with Turkey after a controversial maritime border agreement it signed last month with Libya’s Tripoli-based government.
Greece, Egypt and Cyprus, which lie between the two geographically, have denounced the deal as being contrary to international law, and Greece expelled the Libyan ambassador last week over the issue.
Hifter has for months been fighting an array of militias allied with the Tripoli authorities to wrestle control of the capital. He is backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as France and Russia, while the Tripoli-based government receives aid from Turkey, Qatar and Italy. (VOA)