Why is the ISIS a hit in South India

The statements by union home minster for state, Kirren Rijiju that the ISIS is targetting South India and is looking for lone wolf attacks has been written about several times in the past.

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has very often warned about the growing incidents of radicalisation in South India for many years now.


Once upon a time it was the SIMI, then it became the Indian Mujahideen (IM) and now it is the ISIS. The problem lies with the respective state governments in South which refuse to acknowledge the problem.

Be it Karnataka, Kerala, parts of Tamil Nadu or Telangana, the efforts have not been up to the mark, IB officials state.

Most states refuse to acknowledge the problem. Kerala is the worst affected while Karnataka continues to remain blind to the problem, an IB official points out.

Radicalisation is generally a result of communal violence and there are specific modules which have been tasked with inciting such tension.


In Karnataka, there are various hot spots which have become hubs of radicalisation. Bhatkal has never been the same since communal violence broke out nearly 2 decades back.

Most of the Indian Mujahideen founders hail from Bhatkal. Adding to the problem is now the ISIS recruiting wing, Ansar-ul-Tawhid which is also founded by a resident of Bhatkal.

The coastal areas of Karnataka have been the most problematic. There is constant communal tension in these areas which have become a happy hunting ground for recruiters.

Managlore's proximity to Kerala via Kasargod is also a hub of activity according to several intelligence reports.

In such an event a lot has to be done by both the police and the government to ensure that recruits and those attempting to radicalise are dealt with an iron fist.


Telangana and Hyderabad in particular have seen several terror strikes. Earlier it was groups such as the Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami which would operate in this state.

Today the problem is different. Several ISIS recruits are from this state. The brunt of the problem was caused due to the police who have often been accused of shoddy investigations.

Several Muslims from Telangana say that there was a time when the police were extremely vindictive in nature and this led to a great deal of disgruntlement among the youth. Some remained quiet while others decided to take revenge.

Tamil Nadu:

Tamil Nadu faces a peculiar problem. In parts of Salem and surrounding areas there are hard core elements found who are said to be undertaking radicalisation of the youth.

The al-Umma is one such group that functions in the state. This group has been responsible for political murders, killing of Hindu leaders and also terror strikes.

The al-Umma has been blamed for trying to blow up a convoy of which L K Advani was part of. Further they have also been blamed for the blast outside the BJP's office at Malleswharam, Bengaluru. Tamil Nadu incidentally produced the first Indian recruit into the ISIS. He was Haja Fakkruddin.

Further incidents of youth posing with ISIS T-shirts was also reported from Tamil Nadu. In Tamil Nadu the ISI saw an opportunity once the LTTE fell. If one may recall the ISI through its Colombo module plotted a 26/11 type strike in Chennai.


It would be safe to say that the most number of reports by the Intelligence Bureau are related to Kerala. There are various factors that contribute to radicalisation in this state.

The close connect with the Gulf as many Keralites work over there is one part of the problem. The highest remittance of Hawala from the Gulf is into Kerala.

Secondly in the Malabar region, elections are won on communal sentiments and hence leaders end up nurturing radical elements.

However, IB officials say that it is the Gulf connect which has created the problem in the first place. Saudi Arabia pumps in crores of rupees into Kerala to preach the Wahabi style of Islam.

These preachers are known to propagate violent means and this has caught the imagination of several youth. It is this kind of propaganda which has led to incidents such as offering of condolences for Ajmal Kasab and Osama Bin Laden.

Officials have also reported that in the Malabar region several youth have put up posters of the World Trade Centre falling. It may not be sufficient to brand someone a terrorist on the basis of the poster he has put up. But it is does indicate the mindset.

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