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Kerala’s terrorists with ISIS are dying at a quick pace, but 58 remain in Afghanistan


New Delhi, Aug 09: Another Kerala operative, who had joined the Islamic State has been killed in Afghanistan.

This is the second incident being reported from Afghanistan in less than a fortnight in which a Kerala operative has been killed.

Kerala’s terrorists with ISIS are dying at a quick pace, but 58 remain in Afghanistan

The killed ISIS terrorist has been identified as Saifuddin, a resident of Mallapuram. National Investigation Agency officials who are probing the Kerala ISIS case say that Saifuddin had shown an inclination towards Jihad since 2014. He was a student, but decided not to complete his studies and joined the ISIS instead.

Another ISIS terrorist from Kerala killed in Afghanistan

It may be recalled that last month, engineering undergraduate from Kerala, who had joined the Islamic State was killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan.

With the latest death, the number of Kerala recruits in the ISIS remaining in Afghanistan is 58. The high number of recruits from Kerala has been a worry for the Indian agencies.

They suspect that many may try and return and then strike within India. Over the years, the Islamic State has roped in several operatives from India. In fact the highest number have been from Kerala and it may be recalled nearly 20 of them left for Afghanistan in one batch.

Data until June 15 2019 suggests that there were 98 Indians who are with the Khorasan in Afghanistan. Of this, 21 are women, 40 men and 37 children. The Home Ministry data further suggests that of this 39 had died over the years, either fighting or being bombed by the US forces.

In Kerala, the problem is immense in Kannur. Of the total number of Muslim recruits who joined the ISIS, 39 are from Kannur. The Intelligence Bureau had said that over the past few years at least 48 persons have tried to join the ISIS. Two were caught before they could leave the country, while 7 have been deported.

The other problem areas in Kerala are Kasargod, Kozhikode, Palakkad, Ernakulam, Palakkad and Thrissur.

The problem is that of immense radicalisation in Kerala. National Investigation Agency officials probing the Kerala ISIS case say that the rate at which radicalisation is taking place in Kerala is worrisome.

However, the seeds of radicalisation have been sown in this state for long. A case of 1991 popularly known as the Lal Singh vs State of Gujarat will help understand, when the seeds of radicalisation were being sown in Kerala.

Basheer, a resident of Kerala, who was studying aeronautical engineering and was part of the extremist faction of the Students Islamic Movement of India had organised a convention in Bombay. Later it was found that this was a convention sponsored by Pakistan to create a liaison between the Khalistan terrorists and the SIMI.

Pakistan had brought in Lal Singh, who was part of the Khalistan movement. Pakistan wanted the SIMI to grow and the target was South India. Basheer had even surveyed the Madras Stock Exchange that year with an intention of bombing it. The plan did not work out and two years later Dawood Ibrahim helped bomb the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The point here is that the radical mindset found among the extremist members of south is not a new phenomenon and dates back nearly 30 years back.

NIA officials probing the Kerala ISIS case say that the prime concern is that all those who have left for the ISIS in Afghanistan are educated. The officer says that a person by the name Shihas had played a major role in building up the module. He had managed to rope in several persons including one Nashidhul, who was initially opposed to the ideology of the ISIS.

59 remain: How Kerala became the main contributor to Islamic State in Afghanistan

During investigations, the NIA learnt that the brainwashing was so strong that many who did not subscribe to the view of the outfit ended up getting convinced. They are repeatedly told that as Muslims they are living on unholy land and they could lead a better life and become good Muslims only if they subscribe to the view of the ISIS.

Shihas incidentally was linked to the Peace Foundation that is run by Zakir Naik. He managed to convince many to attend classes at the Peace Foundation. The officer adds that the spread of this foundation is large in Kerala and this we have noticed is the crux of the problem.

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