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ISIS, Al Qaeda on recruitment drive in India

July 18, 2014 14:18 IST

125 Indians on watch-list, Intelligence Bureau agents tell Vicky Nanjappa/Rediff.com

The recruitment of four young men from Kalyan, a town near Mumbai, by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria reveals that the crisis posed by jihadis is closer home than many Indians would like to believe.

Intelligence Bureau sources told Rediff.com that ISIS and Al Qaeda have sets their sights on India, which has the third largest number of Muslims in the world.

IB agents add that 125 youth have been placed under scrutiny for fear that they too may join the ISIS.

"We are tracking their movements even though some of them are not in India currently," one IB agent said, on condition that he would not be identified in this report.

IB has issued a checklist to all state governments in order to halt ISIS-Al Qaeda's attempt to recruit impressionable young Indians:

  • Take the intelligence inputs shared by the Centre seriously.
  • Keep a tab on Wahhabi preachers who travel from Saudi Arabia.
  • Monitor all meetings in which Sharia law and Wahhabi culture is discussed.
  • Keep tabs on people leaving for the Middle East.
  • Engage with heads of mosques to warn against Al Qaeda, ISIS and Pakistan groups.

IB agents feel the ISIS wants to recruit as many young Indians into its fold to realise its vision of a Global Islamic Council.

Al Qaeda, on the other hand, these IB agents say, hopes to achieve Ghazwa-e-Hind -- the destruction of India.

The ISIS, IB agents add, has been extremely aggressive in its approach, using social media to radicalise and recruit youth. It enlists Wahhabi scholars from Saudi Arabia to indoctrinate youth and emphasise the implementation of Sharia law.

In states like Kerala, where several radicals once leaned towards Al Qaeda, IB agents say the trend today is to lean towards the ISIS. "It is the same in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu where the ISIS has recruited youth."

"A reason why these youth opt for the ISIS over Al Qaeda is the hope of setting up a global Islamic council. Al Qaeda, these youth feel, is still set on America's destruction."

Vicky Nanjappa/Rediff.com