Riot in Ratlam, recruit across India: ISIS module's game plan
Bhopal, May 7: Rioting in the name of the Islamic State is what one can sum up the entire Ratlam operation as. Five persons claiming to be members of the ISIS were arrested recently and investigations showed that they were planning on carrying out a series of attacks in Madhya Pradesh.
This in fact is the first known dedicated module of the ISIS which was being run by a person called, Irfan Khan who in turn was reporting to an Oman based operative Shafi Armar.
What is more interesting in this entire case is the location that these persons have chosen. Ratlam has been on the edge and has been considered as communally sensitive. Were these members of the ISIS trying to take advantage of the communally sensitive situation in Ratlam. Let us see take a look at the investigations have revealed so far.
Picking Ratlam as the ISIS hub:
On October 1 2014, a murder of a Bajrang Dal activist had created a lot of tension in the area. The murder came a year after this place had witnessed communal clashes. Since then there has been some amount of tension in the air always.
The next question is why was Ratlam chosen to launch the first known Indian module of the ISIS. Investigators say that such groups thrive on communal tension and feel that it is easier recruiting people from such places.
Secondly Irfan Khan who is a resident of Ratlam decided to chose his home town as he felt he would be operating out of his comfort zone.
Irfan Khan during his interrogation told the police that his decision to launch an outfit of this nature was after the Muzzafarnagar riots in Uttar Pradesh. He felt that he should launch this outfit in order to hit back.
Attacks followed by riots:
The investigations show that the primary agenda of these persons was to cause communal tension. Every terrorist group thrives on communal tension and post a riot, there are recruiters galore camping in such areas.
The Ratlam module had planned on carrying out a series of blasts in and around the area. They were sure that these would lead to communal clashes. The idea was to then swoop in and target those who have been affected as a result of these clashes and then recruit them into the outfit.
Well planned operation:
The last stages of the planning were extremely interesting. The chats with Shafi Armar who is currently heading the Ansar-ul-Tawhid which is the recruitment wing of the ISIS for India and the sub-continent tell a scary picture of what was in store.
The members of this module had sourced explosives and chemicals and it appears that they had planned on carrying out a series of attacks in Madhya Pradesh. They planned on expanding these modules gradually and felt that only if they carried out attacks would these modules thrive.
Irfan Khan is most crucial to the case. His travel logs are being studied and it shows that he had visited Dubai a couple of time in the year 2008. However as per his claim before the police, his mindset changed post the riots in Muzzafarnagar.
He is said to have joined a charity group called the Ahl al-Suffah in the year 2012. The antecedents of this group are being investigated by the police. They feel that this could be a shadow group and have sought details from the Gulf on the same.