Why Kerala must be on guard for the silent returnees of the Islamic State
New Delhi, May 02: Post the attacks in Sri Lanka, the government confirmed that several elite Muslims had in fact joined the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and subsequently returned.
However they remained in the open with earning the wrath of the law as the country has no provision to act against such persons. When the Islamic State fell in his strongholds, a message was issued by the outfit chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He went on to say that now the fighters should return to their homeland and carry out attacks there.
The ISIS has caused a major problem with its returnees. We witnessed that in Paris and now in Sri Lanka.
Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials say that the bigger problem is with those who are returning. The agencies are keeping a close watch on those persons returning from the UAE, Turkey and Syria. Most of these persons had left Kerala for Afghanistan and then landed in Syria or Turkey.
This was the big plan says an IB official. He tells OneIndia that the intention of leaving the country was not continue fighting in Afghanistan or Syria. It was largely with an intent of undergoing training and then returning to India, with an intention of carrying out attacks, brainwashing locals and also setting up modules.
The Indian agencies, apart from Syria are also focusing on those persons returning to Kerala from UAE and other West Asian countries. The task on hand is humongous. The problem is that they do not come in batches. They come in as individuals and then go about their business.
The other problem is keeping a track on those who have left from other states. The focus so far has been extensively on those who have joined the ISIS from Kerala. The possibility of those who have left from other states coming to Kerala is also high. This poses a different level of threat all together as monitoring such persons is hard, says the officer.
Officials also add that the ISIS modus operandi is in the procedure of completing a full cycle. It was at first thought that they were recruiting from Kerala so that they could be used in the fight at Afghanistan. However, the coordination with other agencies has suggested that many who had joined the ISIS in Afghanistan had gradually moved out of there for Syria or Turkey. Now these persons are gradually making their return to Kerala and this is worrisome, the official also explained.
The IB terms such persons as silent returnees of the ISIS. This is a new challenge for us and the vigil is high, the IB officer says. There are various routes that these recruits have been using. Those coming into India from Afghanistan had often entered into Nepal before making their entry. In these cases, the recruits are most likely to use the land route to avoid scrutiny. Once in India, it becomes easier for them to travel by road and reach their destination in Kerala.
IB officials say that with the latest video of Baghdadi emerging, it will only breath life into such persons. They will act for their leader and this would make them extremely lethal, officials also point out.