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Al-Qaeda in the Sub-Continent: The outfit which believes rise of Islam lies in death of Indian democracy

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United States designating the Al-Qaeda in the Sub-Continent (AQIS) leaders as global terrorists is a welcome decision for India, who has been fighting this major menace for a long time now.

New Delhi, Dec 02: The decision by the United States to designate the Al-Qaeda in the Sub-Continent (AQIS) leaders as global terrorists is a welcome decision for India. In addition to the Islamic State, the AQIS had become a major menace and had begun commenting a lot of internal affairs of the country. Comments were made by the outfit about the hijab row and the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir just to name a few.

Al-Qaeda in the Sub-Continent: The outfit which believes rise of Islam lies in death of Indian democracy

Reports said that the United States has designated three terrorists of the AQIS as global terrorists.

Designated as terrorists:

"The United States is committed to using its full set of counter terrorism tools to counter the threat posed by terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan, including al-Qa'ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), as part of our relentless efforts to ensure that terrorists do not use Afghanistan as a platform for international terrorism," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

The list of designated AQIS terrorists includes Osama Mehmood, emir, Yahya Ghouri, deputy emir and Muhammad Maruf, the head of the recruiting branch of the outfit.

The menace of the AQIS:

While in the southern part of India, the menace of the Islamic State is higher, it is the AQIS that poses a problem in the smaller pockets of the country. The bigger problem that the agencies face where the AQIS is concerned is along the Bangladesh border area. The AQIS has a strong presence in many parts of West Bengal, where radicalisation is a norm. Further the problem is immense in Assam as well as the chief minister of the state, Himanta Biswa Sarma has been pointing out for long about the large spread of radicalisation coupled with Jihad in the state.

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In the month of August, a madrasa named Shaikhul Mahmudul Hasan Jamiul Huda was demolished in the Barpeta area of Assam. The madrasa was allegedly linked to the AQIS and its wing the Ansarul Bangla Team (ABT). Intelligence Bureau officials tell OneIndia that the AQIS and ABT have penetrated deep into Assam. In addition to the radicalisation menace, these two outfits have repeatedly issued kill-lists.

The AQIS and ABT have, in recent times, been responsible for the killing of 20 commoners, seculars, minorities in Bangladesh. Data available with the United States Department of Homeland Security suggests that these groups have also seriously injured 39 who they thought were opposed to Islam.

The message:

The message that the two Islamic groups have been sending out to their cronies in India is to eradicate democracy and impose the rule of Islam. In a recently circulated video, the outfit said that the biggest enemy of Islam is Indian democracy.

To operate in India, these groups use migrant workers as foot-soldiers. Today their network is so deep that they are found in almost every part of the country, including South India.

The US report also points that these outfits are trying to do in India what they are doing in Bangladesh. Their attacks are brazen in Bangladesh and are often carried out in public to send out strong messages to the people who they think are anti-Islam. The database goes on to show that the outfit has used melee weapons on 15 occasions while firearms have been deployed thrice.

From hijab to Kashmir, Zawahiri was Al-Qaeda's voice for everything anti-IndiaFrom hijab to Kashmir, Zawahiri was Al-Qaeda's voice for everything anti-India

Sarma had said earlier this year that six Bangladeshi nationals belonging to these groups had entered Assam. Their intent was to indoctrinate the youth and radicalise as many as possible. He added that one of them was arrested when the first module was found at Barpeta in March this year.

The meddling:

In August this year, the United States confirmed that it had taken out Al-Qaeda chief, Aiman-al-Zawahiri in a drone strike. The takedown was an extremely important one since the Al Qaeda chief had set aside some of his time to pen down a poem for a girl in Karnataka who had opposed the ban on hijab in educational institutions.

In the past few years the focus of the AQIS has largely been around India. The first chief of the AQIS which was formed in 2014 was Asim Umar, who originally hailed from Uttar Pradesh before he left for Pakistan. This appointment helped the AQIS spread its tentacles in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and beyond.

The Intelligence Bureau official cited above said that in terms of terror attacks, the AQIS may have not had much success. However in terms of the spread of ideology, it has been immensely successful due to the numerous videos it has been putting out online. This has led to large scale radicalisation in Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala and UP among others, the official also said.

The AQIS had also put out a vide in 2019 called 'Dont Forget Kashmir' in which he threatens the Indian Army and calls for strikes in the Valley. Prior to this another video had been put up with the message, "You strike Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata then Kashmir will be liberated automatically from India,"

The agencies found following the hijab ban in Karnataka, the AQIS had put up plenty of propaganda material. The poem for the girl Muskhan Khan who defied the ban by the Al Qaeda chief was quite telling in itself.

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