"We've noticed a disturbing trend after interrogating some terrorists we have recently captured. They're otherwise tough nuts to crack but profuse in their praise of groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda," a senior police officer told IANS on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
In the last one year, Delhi Police have arrested at least six suspected terrorists, including what they claimed as the "big catch" Yasin Bhatkal, one of the founder members of the Indian Mujahideen, though none of them have been been found to be directly in touch with IS or Al Qaeda.
"Terrorists like Bhatkal and Ajaz Sheikh are very hard to crack. They break down over time and say they would want to launch attacks like ISIS and Al Qaeda," the officer said.
"They exude pride as though they were associated with such groups," said the officer.
Bhatkal, a native of Karnataka was arrested last Aug 28 from the India-Nepal border near Motihari in Bihar. He was trained in Pakistan in 2006 to launch terror
bombings in Indian cities. Ajaz Sheikh was arrested from Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur district earlier this month.
Sheikh, a cyber expert, told interrogators that the other operators of IM want logistical and financial support from the IS and Al Qaeda. He is in the custody of Delhi Police.
Bhatkal is described as a motivator, recruiter, expert bomb-maker and mastermind of a series of bombings in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune and Jaipur since 2007. He is currently lodged in Delhi's Tihar jail.
"These Indian terrorists believe that the jihadists in top terror groups are going on the right track for expanding the message of jihad and they too wanted to
follow them," another officer, who interrogated Bhatkal, told IANS.
"These terrorists motivate Indian Muslim youth and also lure them by showing videos of killings by international terror groups," said the officer.
The IM, believed to be a byproduct of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), is banned by the Indian government.
SIMI was formed in Aligarh in 1977 and had thousands of members and offices in almost every district of Madhya Pradesh before it was banned in 2002. The group is said to believe in fundamentalist Islam and to spread its values. In 2007, the Supreme Court of India described SIMI as a "secessionist movement".