NEW DELHI, Sept 4 � Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri announced the formation of an Indian branch of the militant outfit and raise the �flag of jihad� across the Indian subcontinent, including Assam.
The creation of the group, called �Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian subcontinent�, was announced by As Sahab, Al Qaeda�s official media outlet, in a lengthy video posted on social media outlets including YouTube.
Meanwhile, the Union Home Ministry, taking no chances, held a series of meetings with the agencies concerned. The Intelligence Bureau (IB) is expected to send the report within a day or two, officials said.
The announcement assumes significance because of reports of Al Qaeda recruiting 17 youths in Manipur. As reported by this newspaper, the Joint Secretary (North-East), Shambhu Singh, hinted that the media reports about Al Qaeda beginning its recruitment drive in the region may be true.
He had said at a launching a news magazine on July 12 that the Centre has been aware of it for a while, and has already asked the Manipur government to verify. But unfortunately, nothing has happened, he had lamented.
The report claimed that the international terrorist outfit has recruited 17 youths in Manipur and taken them to an unknown destination.
Later, Deputy Chief Minister of Manipur, Gaikhangam stated that the government is investigating into the authenticity of the news report regarding mass recruitment of Al Qaeda cadres from the State, particularly Muslim youths.
Gaikhangam said in the Manipur Assembly that the State government was deeply concerned over the news report and was investigating into the authenticity of the same.
He said that an investigation team has already checked at the houses of the 17 listed people and the team found five or six of them in their homes. But the others could not be located as their addresses were not given in the news report.