Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Salafi jihadist militant group, plans to carry out ‘guerrilla attacks’ in India in order to “wipe out Hindus”.
Shaykh Abu Ibrahim al-Hanif, the top leader or ‘amir’ of ISIS fighters in Bangladesh, recently said that members of the terror outfit in Bangladesh and Pakistan would carry out attacks in different parts of India. He issued a statement a couple of days ago, saying: “Bengal is located on the eastern side of India, whereas Wilayat Khurasan (Afghanistan and Pakistan) is located on its western side. Thus, having a strong jihad base in Bengal (read Bangladesh) will facilitate performing guerrilla attacks inside India simultaneously from both sides and facilitate creating a condition of tawahhush (fear and chaos) in India along with the help of the existing local mujahidin there. This would allow IS fighters to enter with a conventional army and completely liberate the region from the mushrikin (disbelievers), after first getting rid of the ‘Pakistani’ and ‘Afghani’ regimes.”
It is evident from al-Hanif’s statement that India is facing serious security threats from two of its neighbours, which have failed to take appropriate action against terrorist outfits. al-Hanif made clear that the IS would implement ‘sharia’ law in India with the help of local mujahideens. He further revealed that the terror group is training its fighters in Bangladesh and Pakistan for launching attacks on India. He explained that the main intention behind the attacks is to rid India of disbelievers, as Hindus are creating trouble for Muslims.
Meanwhile, India claimed that it is well-prepared to tackle terrorism. Speaking at a press conference in New Delhi, a senior Home Ministry official said that around 150 people have already been put under the scanner across the country for their alleged links to the IS. The official, who wished to remain anonymous, also said that security agencies had advised the government in May 2015 to monitor the activities of IS sympathisers and radicalised elements. Indian security agencies, too, are making intensive efforts to wean away youths who are misled by IS propaganda.
After interrogating 20 suspected members of the IS’ Indian wing in January, officials of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Anti-Terrorism Squads (ATSs) came to know that they had discussed strategies for carrying out terror attacks in the country with the help of some Indian rebel groups active in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh Provinces. The detained suspected IS members further revealed that they had received instructions from their handlers, based in Iraq and Syria, on building a force of ‘lone wolves’ for carrying out fidayeen attacks individually in different parts of India.
In March, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong call for “genuine anti-terror co-operation” between countries. Speaking at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, he said: “Drop the notion that terrorism is someone else’s problem and that ‘his’ terrorist is not ‘my’ terrorist.” Prime Minister Modi also outlined some contemporary features of terror, stressing that “today’s terrorism uses extreme violence as ‘theatre’”. While admitting that it becomes really difficult to catch a terrorist with a computer or a smart phone in a city, the PM said that actions should be taken against state actors who are working with nuclear traffickers and terrorists. Modi, who believes that the nexus between state actors and nuclear traffickers presents the greatest risk, made the comment in an apparent reference to neighbouring Pakistan.