India on the Radar of Terror Groups, Internet Cause of Concern

India on the radar of several terror groups. The Republic Day ceremony a major cause of concern for security agencies

4 min read
Armed forces during counter-terror operation in Pathankot, Punjab.  (Photo:  <b>The Quint</b>)

The Pathankot terror strike shows the resurgence of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). The terror group, which was dead for almost a decade, has once again become active. A few days ago, a member of Al Qaeda, Abdul Sami, was arrested from Mewat in Haryana. And on Tuesday, based on intelligence, four members of Ansar-ul-Tawhid (AuT), who were planning a terror strike at the Ardh Kumbh Mela, were arrested by the Delhi Police.

Terrorists have a one point agenda and that is to terrorise people and create unrest in the country. And we are determined that we will not let it happen.

Intelligence Bureau official

Internet is a Cause of Concern

BS Bassi, Delhi Police Commissioner. (Photo: PTI)
BS Bassi, Delhi Police Commissioner. (Photo: PTI)

Investigators were amazed when they gathered from the four arrested Pathankot attack suspects in Haridwar that they were in touch with the ISIS through Facebook and were also learning to make bombs through some websites on the internet. On Wednesday, the Delhi Police claimed to have unearthed a terror plot to target the ongoing Ardh Kumbh Mela at Haridwar.

The four suspected terrorists were arrested by the Delhi Police in a joint operation with the Intelligence Bureau (IB). According to IB officials, the IB keeps people who regularly access terror websites under surveillance. This is how the IB nabbed these four suspected AuT terrorists and ISIS sympathizers before they could succeed in their mission.

One of the suspected terrorists Akhlaq ur Rehman, was pursuing a diploma in engineering. A probe has revealed that his leanings towards the Islamic State began with his reading inflammatory posts of the ISIS on Facebook and in the group’s online magazine, Dabiq. Later, he got in touch with Shafi Amrar (chief of AuT). It was Amrar who radicalized him and three others. The other three suspected terrorists are Osama, Md Aziz, and Md Mehroj.

According to the Delhi Police, the suspected terrorists were making bombs with matchsticks for which they arranged explosives from Chattisgarh. Though the Police said that they have averted a major terror strike in the Ardh Kumbh Mela, the upcoming Republic Day ceremony in the national capital continues to be a cause of concern for the security agencies.

Increasing Terror Activities

The Dina Nagar and the Pathankot terror strikes have once again affirmed what the security agencies and the Indian government have always maintained – that militant groups are getting logistical support and funding from a bordering nation. An increase in terror activities on Indian soil has become a cause of concern for the top security officials.

Jaish-e-Mohammad Comeback After a Decade

File photo of Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad. (Photo: Reuters)
File photo of Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad. (Photo: Reuters)

Jaish-e-Mohammad, also known as the Army of Mohammad, was founded by Masood Azhar in early 2000, after his release from prison in India. Azhar was one of the three terrorists who was released after the Kandahar Indian Airlines hijacking in the last week of December 1999. JeM was formed with the aim to unite Kashmir with Pakistan.

In October 2001, JeM conducted many terrorist attacks including a suicide bombing at the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly building in Srinagar. The attack killed more than 30 people. In December 2001, JeM, along with the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) attacked the Parliament of India. The Parliament attack earned JeM recognition in Pakistan but targeting former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf led to a clampdown by the Pakistani government. The JeM soon fell out of favour with the ISI. The terror attack at the Pathankot air base is a clear indication of JeM once again joining hands with ISI.

Ansar-ul-Tawhid Alliance With ISIS

Ansar-ur-Tawhid fi Bilad al-Hind (AuT), also known as Supporters of Monotheism in the Land of India, is an India-based jihadist organisation that encourages Indian men to participate in the jihad in both Syria and Afghanistan. Formed in 2013, it propagates acts of violence against the Indian Government. The arrests of four AuT members in Haridwar has created shock waves among the security officials who always claimed that ISIS has no terror module in India. But the arrests of AuT men has proved that ISIS is operating on Indian soil by supporting India-based Jihadi groups.

Al Qaeda on Indian Soil

Image used for representation. (Photo: iStockphoto)
Image used for representation. (Photo: iStockphoto)

On September 2014, al-Qaeda announced the establishment of a new branch in the Indian subcontinent. Qaeda al Hind (AQAH), the Indian arm of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organisation, achieved viability, after his successor Ayman al Zawahiri called for the setting up of a base in the country.

AQAH has, in the estimate of intelligence professionals, more than 300 members scattered across the country. AQAH members are dispersed across a range of organisations, some illegal such as the Indian Mujahideen, but many operate legally in the guise of NGOs and businesses such as recruitment agencies and travel bureaus.

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