Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Many Indians Are Joining Islamic State, Spooks Admit: IB

In a startling acknowledgement, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has for the first time reported that a total of 11+ Indians, including the four youths from Kalyan in Maharashtra, have joined the global terror group, Islamic State (IS). 

The secret report has also identified five Indians who have died in the Iraq-Syria warzone fighting for the jihadi group as it attempts to establish a caliphate.

While Areeb Majeed, one of the Kalyan youth, returned to India and was taken into custody by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), five Indians are still fighting the ‘holy war’, according to the intelligence inputs gathered. 

Those identified as dead include Faiz Masood from Bangalore, Sahim Farooq Tanki from Kalyan and Abdul Qadir Sultan Armar, a former SIMI leader from Bhatkal in Karnataka. 

Last month Haneef Waseem, a student from Hyderabad who had gone to London for higher studies, had also reportedly died while fighting in Syria. 

The Sunni militant group has unleashed a reign of terror in Iraq and Syria in its attempts to establish a caliphate and make its commander the supreme Muslim leader the world-over. 

The information gathered by the Intelligence Bureau and mentioned in its secret report states that five of the 11 men had been living in the Gulf countries for some time and originally belonged to South India. 

So far, intelligence agencies had officially identified the four Kalyan youth as Areeb Majeed, Aman Naeem Tandel, Fahad Tanvir Shaikh, and Sahim Farooq Tanki, saying they had travelled to Iraq and joined the IS last year. 

Majeed was injured three times while fighting for the terror group. He survived bullet injuries and air strikes before approaching the Indian Embassy in Turkey and pleaded to return to India. 

After Majeed was taken into custody by the NIA upon his return in November 2014, the agency last month filed a charge sheet against him under sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). 

The report on the status of Indians fighting for the terror group was prepared in response to a Parliamentary question in March, but the reply was not given since these were secret intelligence details that could not be made public. 
Sources in the agency said there have been no reports of any Indian joining the Islamic State in the past six months. 

“The Indian youth are not getting attracted to the appeals being made by the IS now. This is a good sign and there have been no fresh cases of Indians joining the group,” said an intelligence official. 

There have also been intelligence inputs that some other Indians, who are still fighting for the Sunni group, are desperate to come back. To this end, they have been in touch with their families asking them to facilitate their return.

An intelligence input also indicated that one of these Indians had even tried to escape from the group, but was not successful. 

Intelligence agencies have been keeping a close watch on the suspicious activities of some IS sympathisers in India. A few months back, intelligence agencies had identified IS sympathisers across the country as part of an ongoing operation to crack down on the activities of these fringe elements. 

Around 35 self-radicalised jehadis were identified for spreading the venomous dogma of IS, according to recent intelligence reports. Some elements active in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad, who are on a recruitment spree in the name of IS and have been termed “IS sympathisers”, are on the list of intelligence agencies. 

Based on the inputs from the Intelligence Bureau and the intelligence units of various states, a report has been shared with the Union Home Ministry on the IS sympathisers who have been put under surveillance. 

Fearing increased activity and support for the IS within India, the Centre in February this year banned the jehadi group under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act after intelligence agencies tipped off the Home Ministry about IS sympathisers looking for potential recruits in India’s metro cities. 

“The recruitment of youth for the outfit from India and their radicalisation is a matter of serious concern for the nation, especially with regard to its likely impact on national security when these youth return to India,” the Home Ministry stated while banning the terror group. 

The Islamic State/Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant/Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/Daish and all its manifestations have been declared outlawed in India under the UAP Act, the ministry’s notification stated.

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