ISIS in India is just the ISI minus the ’S’
New Delhi, Dec 29: The National Investigation Agency had earlier this week busted a module which was inspired by the Islamic State. Ten persons were arrested for plotting attacks.
While the module was ISIS inspired, it has been learnt that the the entire operation was being handled from Pakistan. Chat transcripts between the module members in India and Pakistan clearly suggest that instructions were coming from across the border.
An NIA official told OneIndia that they are probing the ISI link. Prima facie it is clear that the entire operation being controlled from Pakistan, the officer also said.
The handler has been identified as Abu Malik and according to the NIA, he was in touch with the module boss, Suhail.
Intelligence agencies in India have always maintained that the operations of the so called ISIS inspired modules in India are not being handled from Iraq or Syria. In the busting of every module, we have come across clear instances of the events being staged by Pakistan.
The ISIS problem in India have been two-fold. One is the setting up of modules, while the other is regarding recruitments for the mainland. Be it modules in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi or Uttar Pradesh, they have all been staged by Pakistan. In each case, the Pakistan link has cropped up and the handler has always been traced to that country.
However there have also been stray incidents in which some Muslim youth have left India for Syria or Iraq. These are cases of self-motivation or self-radicalisation. Their intention has always been to join the war that the ISIS is waging in a foreign land.
The Kerala episode was similar as well. Around 19 persons went missing to join the ISIS in Afghanistan. They had gone to Afghanistan to be part of the ISIS war in Afghanistan.
However intelligence agencies do not rule out the possibility of them being contacted by the ISI, who will look to ensure that their return to India and carry out strikes.
The birth of the ISIS:
The birth of the ISIS has an interesting history in India. Following the death of the Indian Mujahideen, Pakistan needed a deniability factor and also a home grown outfit. It roped in the two brothers from Bhatkal, Sultan and Shafi Armar.
There have been several reports about the two brothers having died in Syria, but the agencies maintain that they would not confirm this until and unless their bodies are found.
The Armar brothers kept in constant touch with the founders of the Indian Mujahideen, Riyaz and Iqbal Shahbandri Bhatkal, who are currently living in Karachi. The agencies have several transcripts to confirm the association between the Armar and Bhatkal brothers.
These are clear indications that it was the ISI which was the guiding force behind the setting up of the ISIS modules in India. The Armar brothers began recruiting in India through a handle called Yusuf Al-Hindi. The modus operandi and the kind of attacks they were seeking were text book ISI-Indian Mujahideen.
When coming out of the IM, the Armars said that they did not wish to be stooges of the ISI. This was completely stage managed, the Intelligence Bureau says. They even said that for an Islamic Caliphate to be set up in India, they could rely only on the ISIS. Many within the intelligence circles feel that this was a completely stage managed drama by the ISI.
It wanted to use members of the Indian Mujahideen to set up the ISIS in India.
Since the ISIS is an Iraq-Syria based outfit, any attack in India would not be blamed on the ISI. This was done intentionally so that Pakistan could play on the deniability factor, officials also point out.
A similar modus operandi has also been found in the recently busted module. The ISI has been trying to make further inroads in Delhi, UP and Haryana. It has also been funding Mosques through the Lashkar-e-Tayiba's charitable wing, Falah-e-Insaniyat. Now, ahead of the 2019 elections, it seeks to set up a couple of modules to carry out attacks in India, officials also say.