The National investigation agency (NIA), has been interrogating eight youths from Hyderabad for allegedly planning terror attacks on instructions from suspected Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) handlers. Suffering major defeat in the Middle East, leading to almost 10 months of placidness, the ISIS is again trying to re-establish its grip, making it imperative for the NIA to keep a vigil on its growing activities.
The NIA, on Monday, had conducted raids at seven locations in Hyderabad and seized laptops and mobile phones of eight men suspected to be part of this cartel. “The mobile phones and the laptops have been sent for forensic examination while the youths are being questioned. They have been apprehended because it was suspected they were going to execute some terrorist act. They will be arrested if any evidence is found against them,” said a senior NIA officer.
During interrogation, it came to light that three youths out of the eight were associated with a group of three who were arrested from Nagpur airport way back in 2015 while attempting to flee to Srinagar from where they allegedly planned to fly to Syria to join the ISIS.
A security establishment officer affirmed that “These eight youth were put under surveillance since that time as they had been in touch with the arrested IS recruits and had been participating in online activity associated with Islamic State. However, their online activity recently suggested they were probably in touch with someone outside and were planning to execute some attack. That is why they have been detained and are being examined.”
The security establishment is looking at this Hyderabad case as an attempt by ISIS to reclaim its presence despite the fall of the Caliphate in the Middle East. After December 2017, when NIA took over a case from Kerela police and confirmed that 6 youths from Kannur, who allegedly worked with the radical group Popular Front of India (PFI), had joined ISIS in October 2017, this is the first time the NIA has questioned suspects allegedly part of an ISIS syndicate.
The raids conducted by the agency on Monday at Shaheennagar, Balapur and Wadiaumar colonies in Hyderabad, was related to a 2016 case, in which a key ISIS recruit from Karnataka, Adnan Hassan Damudi, who in January 2016 along with J&K-born Azhar Al Islam and Mumbai-born Farhan Sheikh were deported from Dubai for allegedly propagating ISIS ideologies and recruiting people for the terrorist outfit.
According to NIA investigations, Damudi was suspected of recruiting close to a dozen Indians for the outfit since his stay in Dubai beginning 2012 and had helped send many to Syria. He was among the few who were in direct touch with chief ISIS recruiter for India, Yousuf-al-Hindi, who was later identified as former Indian Mujahideen operative from Bhatkal, Shafi Armar.
Insurgency issues in Kashmir are often spoken about, however, people seldom talk about the radical Islamic issues encompassing the country. Nation chooses to remain closemouthed about ISIS taking root in the country, and the silent battle India is fighting on that front.
The warning signs about ISIS and its poisonous ideology gaining a foothold in this country have been out there for quite some time. Not long back, Gujarat ATS (Anti Terror Squad) has filed a charge sheet an Ankleshwar court which reveals the intention of an individual, Ubaid Mirza, an aide of an alleged ISIS operative, arrested earlier, to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a sniper rifle.
A month after this, it was reported that an FIR was lodged by an Allahabad-based youth who was allegedly contacted by members of terrorist organization ISIS on WhatsApp and was promised $5,000 in exchange for sensitive information about Indian intelligence agencies.
Reports had emerged that ISIS has prepared a blueprint for the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate in the Kashmir Valley. In recent times, ISIS flags have started appearing in the valley as well, in addition to the Pakistani flags which are sighted quite often enough. Reports had also suggested that ISIS supporters and sympathizers have started a group in Kashmir, Ansarul Khilafah, to further the agenda of the terrorist organization. To make matters worse, it’s not just isolated areas in the country which are affected by the ISIS threat. ISIS flags have been hoisted even in the northeastern state of Assam. The greatest threat of ISIS is their ability to influence young minds through the effective use of the internet.
The unique circumstance in India that make it more susceptible to the ISIS threat is the fact that many political parties are quite willing to sacrifice national interests for electoral benefits. Although the Indian security forces have kept these threats relatively at the check, it’s time the country awakens to this rising hazard and the so-called guardians of the country spring out, keeping the Nations rationale before their personal benefits.