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The ISIS is dead, but more dangerous and India has plenty to worry

By Vicky Nanjappa
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    New Delhi, July 11: Chaos coupled with assassinations is what the Islamic State is planning in a bid to make its comeback. Intelligence agencies across the world had warned that once the ISIS loses ground in Syria and Iraq, it would prove to be a menace in other parts of the world.

    Reports suggest that the number of fighters the ISIS has in Syria and Iraq is around 3,000. A report by the Soufan Centre suggests that for the ISIS to get back to 2014, it would need to get back to 2013.

    The ISIS is dead, but more dangerous and India has plenty to worry

    The ISIS had launched a massive campaign in 2013 when it freed thousands of its detained members from Iraqi jails. The outfit then went on a rampage by assassinating several Iraqi officials, particularly local police officers.

    Indian officials who have been dealing with the ISIS issue say that while the outfit has lost considerable ground, it continues to run a very effective propaganda online. For India, the bigger worry however is the growth of the outfit in Afghanistan. It has grown quietly and off late, it has claimed big strikes.

    One would have expected that there would be a territorial battle between the ISIS and Taliban.

    However they appear to have ironed out differences and do not interfere in each others territories. The recent attack at Jalalabad, which claimed the lives of Sikhs and Hindus is a particularly worrying signal for India.

    This attack clearly pointed towards the ethnic cleansing of Sikhs and Hindus as has been taking place in Pakistan for years now. The worry for India is that such attacks could have an impact on radical elements in India, who would look to replicate the Afghan attacks.

    India has so far been successful in curbing the ISIS menace. There have been several cases in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana that have been busted. The modules which were busted had the potential of becoming dangerous, but they were nipped in the bud.

    An officer with the Intelligence Bureau says that the successful campaign against the ISIS does not mean that one can take it easy. Even today thousands of messages are exchanged on online platforms by ISIS members. Off late they quote the Kashmir issue a lot and this is clearly an indication that the outfit is trying to set up shop in the Valley, the officer also says.

    While the traction has not been as what the outfit would have expected, one cannot ignore the fact that on November 17 2017, the ISIS claimed its first attack in the Valley. The outfit said that it was behind the killing of a police man in Srinagar. The police too confirmed that this was an attack carried out by the group.

    Intelligence officials say that the rise of the ISIS in Kashmir is very similar to the one at Afghanistan. Currently there is a territorial battle on between the ISIS and the rest of the outfits in the Valley. If at all there is an understanding to this effect like what happened in Afghanistan, then the outfit could become extremely dangerous the official also told OneIndia.

    In Kashmir the outfit would also try and ride on other groups like how it did in Bangladesh. It gets into an understanding with like minded groups and strikes. The same appears to be happening in Kashmir as well, where the group is liked to a faction run by former Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Zakir Musa.

    If one were to look at the overall picture across the globe, it becomes clear that the ISIS is attempting to make a major comeback. It had prepared a hit-list a few years back in which the names of several prominent persons was present. It would look to carry out assassinations across the globe.

    In fact in the India scenario too the outfit had prepared a hit-list. In May this year, the Gujarat police had revealed an ISIS plot which had planned on killing Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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