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IS yet to make impact in India

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, June 12 - Despite making its best efforts, dreaded terrorist group Islamic State (IS) has not yet been able to make much headway in India and so far only a handful of youths from the country and none from the North East region, has joined the outfit.

Highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that despite the fact that India now has the third largest Muslim population in the world, the outfit�s attempts to lure youths from the country into its fold have failed so far. On the positive side, the Muslim leaders of India have also openly denounced the terror outfit.

Sources revealed that according to information gathered by the security agencies, only around 35 youths from different parts of the country have so far joined the IS and so far no one from the North East region joined the outfit. Most of the members of the IS are from the countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UAE, etc., while, the disturbing fact is that youths from countries like Britain, France, Australia, etc., have also joined the outfit.

The IS has always been making efforts to lure youths from India into its fold, while, attempts were also being made to set a foothold in the country. But the outfit has not succeeded in both fronts. However, there have been reports of the outfit managing to establish foot hold in Bangladesh, which is disturbing news for India.

Security sources said that most Indian Muslims are indigenous people and they cannot identify themselves with outfits like IS, while, on the other hand, those who went to join the outfit from countries like Britain are mostly immigrants and it is easier for them to get motivated to join such outfits.

The IS, which released a video last month in an attempt to lure youths from India into its fold, even raised the issue of ethnic clashes in the BTAD, but the video was denounced by Muslim leaders of the country. The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief, Badruddin Ajmal, who was also criticized in the video, twitted that the Indian Muslims had never supported terrorism and would never do so.

Giving details of the investigations on the video by the Indian security agencies, sources said that the 22 minute video had shown 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 the State police and the NIA, the agency investigating the case has taken a step further, and sent the video for forensic analysis to country�s premium CFSL laboratory.

The video, which is now being reportedly 10 month old, is being closely analysed by NIA team. While the Indian faces of ISIS terrorists have been identified security sources say the timing of video could be to counter Indian Ministry of Home Affair�s claim that India-based terror recruits were not included as fighters but left to do menial jobs in Iraq and Syria. This could also be an effort to boost their own propaganda and to attract more Indian Jihadi�s.

While former Indian Mujaheedin (IM) operative Shafi Armar alias Yusuf Al Hindi is the man who is the face of IS for India, and reportedly the brain behind the video, the agency is in dark whether he is �dead or alive.� After IM disintegrated Shafi Armar joined IS with his brother Ans started posting online literature for IS which was soon noticed by top IS Jihadi�s. Shafi�s elder brother Sultan Armar, was made emir of AuT in 2014 by Abu Bakr-Al-Baghdadi. But later mantle was given to Shafi Armar after Sultan was killed in Comba at Kobane in Syria, in April, 2015.

Shafi Armar was given the task of attracting Indian radicalised youths. Some of the faces in the video have been identified by the state police forces and NIA. One of them is Bada Sajid alias Abu Toseb , former Indian Mujahideen man, wanted by NIA in connection with 2008 blasts of Delhi, Jaipur and Ahmedabad which killed more than 160 people. Sajid a resident of Azamgarh in UP, reportedly fled when NIA began its crackdown against IM. He also was reportedly in Batla House and left minutes before Delhi Police special cell raided the house. However, he reportedly died in July 2015 while fighting for the Islamic State in Syria. But the reports are yet to be confirmed.

The second most important terrorist identified is Aman Tandel, one of the Thane boys who threatened to take revenge for Gujarat and Muazaffarnagr riots and Babri Masjid demolition. He was earlier identified as Fahad Sheikh. But agencies have now established that this is Tandel.

The third one identified in the video is Abu Omar Farooq Al Hindi alias Abu Rashid, also a former member of the Indian Mujahideen wanted in connection with the 2008 serial blasts. He fled with Bada Sajid to Pakistan, and then reached IS to fight for them. Similarly, a few other former IM activists have been identified in the video and detailed investigations are still on, said security sources.

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