How a sleepy town of Kalyan woke up to the presence of ISIS
Kalyan a small town in Maharashtra famous for the Kala Talao, Ganesh Ghat and Birla Mandir is in the news for all the wrong reasons. The indoctrination of four youth including Areef alias Areeb Majid is what is keeping this town in the news today.
Kalyan which has withstood efforts by the Mughals from being evaded faces a unique problem today and that is pertaining to the recruitments by the ISIS. Majeed whose return has helped investigating agencies get a lot of details on the indoctrination into the ISIS will also be used as an example that the grass is not greener on the other side.
He is being mocked heavily on social media today and there are messages galore that he went in search of heaven and ended up cleaning toilets because the radicals from India part of the Hind camp just did not have it in them to lift a gun and fight.
The Bhiwandi connect
The NIA has been making a lot of inroads into the recruitment process by the ISIS. Majeed claims to have surfed 20000 websites before being self-indoctrinated. The NIA says that these are websites that are hosted by the ISIS and their affiliates and many of them even provide recruitment details apart from literature aimed at brain washing people.
However for the NIA the most important link that they have stumbled upon is the local links in Bhiwandi also in Maharashtra. There were three persons with whom Majeed was in touch with and each of them provided information and also extended help so that they could reach Karabala a pilgrimage site in Iraq from where they were whisked away into the Hind camp near Mosul.
The three men in Bhiwandi have been in operation since the past one year and the NIA says that these contacts who were also radicalized have been providing a safe passage for Indian recruits into the ISIS.
The Bhiwandi contacts would in turn send them to Dongri in South Bombay where they were in touch with a travel agent who would prepare the travel documents for them.
The ISIS which has its India wing in the form of the Ansar-ul-Tawhid is headed by a former Indian Mujahideen man called Sultan Ahmed Armar. This person Armar who originally hails from Bhatkal is said to be based out of Saudi Arabia and has hosted many websites specific to Indians.
Armar had joined hands with the ISIS and the Tehrik-e-Taliban to float the deadly Ansar-ul-Tawhid which is today is the counter group to the Al-Qaeda in the Sub Continent which has with it the SIMI and the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh.
According to Intelligence agencies the Ansar is taking it slow and is facing only on recruitments for the time being. Their larger agenda is the setting up of the Global Islamic Council which has India on the map. The real battle of the Ansar in this part of the world will be witnessed once the West leaves Afghanistan and they will be seen battling against the Pakistan led Al-Qaeda and Taliban.
The visa scam
Here lets us look at two instances of recruitment. Both these involved a visa scam of sorts. In the case of Areef Majeed he was given a visa on the pretext that he was going on a religious pilgrimage. In the war torn Iraq the permit to enter into that country today is handed mostly to pilgrims and the ISIS is taking full advantage of it.
On the other hand there was a recruit called Haja Fakkurddin who was roped into the ISIS from Tamil Nadu. In his case it was a visa scam involving a job permit. Haja was indoctrinated through the web and contacted a person in Singapore who arranged for his work permit. He was taken to Singapore where he was working in a small firm for 15 days before he was moved into an ISIS camp in Syria.
The Intelligence Bureau says that the biggest challenge ahead is the online recruitment process. Every 10 days at least 3000 sites come up and then they are taken down. They are playing hide and seek with the agencies. Just when a list of sites are listed out by the agencies across the world they take it down. They wait a couple of days and post new sites with the same content. The challenge is extremely tough the IB official points out.
The ISIS has ensured that all the indoctrination takes place online. This is primarily done because they want to avoid any sort of direct contact with people as there is a chance of this leaving a greater trail. This explains why the ISIS which is such a huge organization has relied on 20000 websites and just 6 middle men for the whole of India.
While the online medium has been worrisome the entire problem began in the year 2013. India has witnessed scores of Wahabi scholars from Saudi Arabia visit India. The most number of camps by these persons was held in Maharashtra. The camps catered to over 100000 youth across the country and 25000 were from Maharashtra had attended these camps. There was a great deal of influence that was imposed on several youth.
The Wahabis explained the importance of the Sharia law and this is exactly what the ISIS is propagating today. These camps by and large changed the mindset of several youth who even began thinking in terms of the ISIS ideology. The entire problem began here, the Intelligence Bureau said.
Oneindia had reported large parts of his confession on Sunday and the continued interrogation of Majeed only indicates that he was part of a well-oiled network which led him from being an engineering student to an ISIS recruit. Apart from the confession of his which indicates very clearly that he had gone there to fight but was not allowed he also speaks about the plans that the ISIS for India.
He says that the ISIS targets recruits from all parts of the world. Recruits from each country have been assigned a different task and the intention of the ISIS is to build a global team in a bid to establish the global Islamic Council.