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IS using Bengali medium for propaganda in India

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, July 4 - The Centre has issued �specific instructions� to the governments of Assam, West Bengal and Tripura to work in close coordination with the Border Security Force (BSF) to prevent possible entry of radical elements from Bangladesh to India. Meanwhile, in an apparent bid to influence youths of Bangladesh and eastern part of India, dreaded terrorist outfit Islamic State (IS) has started preparing propaganda material in Bengali language

Sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told The Assam Tribune that the Government of Bangladesh has launched a massive crackdown following the recent terrorist attack in Dhaka and there is every possibility of radical elements trying to sneak into India. There have been reports that there were movement of some radical elements of Bangladesh towards the international border and taking serious note of the reports, the alerts have been issued.

Sources said that West Bengal, Assam and Tripura are considered most vulnerable for entry of such elements from Bangladesh among the states having border with that country because of presence of linguistic similarities and there is every reason to remain alert to prevent such cross-border movements, sources added.

Meanwhile, highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that the IS had uploaded its monthly mouthpiece Dabiq in Arabian and English languages. But gradually it started uploading materials in other languages like Turkish, French, German, etc., and only recently, it started uploading propaganda material in Bengali. Sources pointed out that for quite some time, the IS has been trying to establish strong roots in Bangladesh and the uploading of propaganda material in Bengali may be a part of that plan to extend its influence to that country.

However, uploading of publicity material in Bengali may also help the outfit to influence youths of eastern part of India, particularly in West Bengal and parts of Assam, sources admitted. There have been a sizeable number of Bengali speaking people in Assam also, while most people of the State can read Bengali. Under this backdrop, the uploading of publicity materials in Bengali by the IS should be viewed seriously as over the years, the IS has been able to influence youths to join the outfit with propaganda launched through the internet.

Sources said that the IS always considered India as an enemy country and there have been efforts to establish roots in the country. But the attempts were foiled with the arrest of the modules of the outfit in different parts of the country. There is every possibility of the IS exploiting the sentiments of a section of Muslim youths and the security agencies will have to keep a close watch on the situation, sources added.

On the other hand, the security agencies are on the alert following the recent attack in Bangladesh. Security sources revealed that the Central agencies are regularly interacting with the State police and other forces engaged in counterinsurgency operations. Though there is no record of any major jehadi attack in Assam, the possibility cannot be ruled out and adequate precautionary measures have been taken. The BSF has also been alerted to keep a close watch along the international border.

Sources revealed that as the IS has started making efforts to influence local jehadi elements to work on its behalf in Bangladesh, similar efforts may also be made in Assam. To deal with such attempts, police and security agencies have started keeping a tab on the jehadis arrested earlier and suspected jehadi modules. �We are checking whether the jehadis arrested earlier are still in jail or some of them were bailed out. If some of them were bailed out, whether they are leading a normal life or maintaining links with any anti-national elements,� sources added.

It may be mentioned here that Assam is in the radar of the IS as the outfit mentioned the State on several occasions in a video released a few months back. The propaganda video showed a large group of Kalashnikov-wielding jehadists allegedly from India fighting against the Syrian forces in the Homs province.

The video is part of the ISIS propaganda campaign on foreign fighters in their ranks.

The 22-minute video had chilling details where the fighters are all seen pledging allegiance to Ansar-ul-Tawhid (AuT) � the Indian arm of ISIS. While most of them are now identified by police and the NIA, the agency investigating the case has taken a step further, and sent the video for forensic analysis to country�s premier CFSL laboratory.

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