India

Indian Muslims pledge allegiance to Islamic State but get no acceptance from the terror group

India-Muslims-pledge-allegiance-to-Islamic-State-but-get-no-acceptance-from-the-terror-group

In the last six months, security agencies have arrested 34 people in mass raids from across India, and busted at least three IS affiliated terror modules in Roorkee/Haridwar, Mumbai and Hyderabad.

One of the solid evidence that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) claims to have against the five Hyderabadi men, arrested last week for conspiring to commit bomb blasts, is a signed email allegedly pledging bay’ah (allegiance) to the Islamic State group to show their connection with the terrorist group. Police believes that the module was ready to act and cause mayhem in the name of IS. But a big impediment to this claim is that IS has neither recognised nor has accepted any Indian module as its own.

In the last six months, security agencies have arrested 34 people in mass raids from across India, and busted at least three IS affiliated terror modules in Roorkee/Haridwar, Mumbai and Hyderabad. The modules purportedly set up upon directives of IS operatives, however finds no mention in the terror group’s list of affiliated overseas arms.

A shadowy handler named Yusuf al Hindi who motivates, radicalises and recruits fighters on various online platforms, in the name of IS, is a common link in all the recent arrests. Investigators however are struggling to put a face to Yusuf al Hindi and verify his standing in the IS leadership. “He works under different aliases and during interrogation, suspects have told us they were encouraged to establish a Caliphate and undertake jihadi activities by him,” said a NIA official. Former Indian Mujaheedin member Shafi Armar who is now a part of IS affiliated Ansar ut Tawheed group is widely believed to be the handler, except that security agencies are unable to corroborate it.

Officials said that in case of the Hyderabad module, the five men Ibrahim and Ilyas Yazdani, Habib Mohd, Mohammad Irfan and Abdullah Bin Ahmad sent a written pledge owning allegiance to Caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi by email to their handler Yusuf al Hindi. The module was ready to target public places including police stations by setting TATP explosives, but were arrested before their plan could be manifested, according to NIA officials. The pledge, now a part of evidence, seems to be lost in translation or never reached the core IS.

The IS’s propaganda is usually enthusiastic to show its expanding territory and growing base of operations. In a graphic released on the occasion of its second year anniversary of the establishment of the Caliphate on June 29, there is a list of 17 countries in addition to its base in Syria and Iraq as the areas of IS’s operation and presence. Notably, India does not figure in the list. Although a video featuring six Indian nationals pledging allegiance in Syria was released last month, IS does not consider India as one of its areas of operations.

The IS follows a stringent process of acceptance of allegiance and only upon its completion, does it accept and recognises any affiliation. If any group or individual is acting in the name of IS, the attackers need to clearly express their affiliation. It is here that an elaborate process of allegiance or giving bay’ah to the leader of the IS Amirul Muminin Abu Bakr al Baghdadi comes in play. In the seventh issue of Dabiq magazine, there is an elaborate description of the allegiance process that includes documenting the bay’ah and declaring it publicly. Only after an attack is staged, following this process, does IS recognizes the claim.

The recent attacks in the US including the San Bernardino where a couple gunned down 18 or the deadly shooting at the Pulse nightclub, even the Dhaka siege, had the attackers recording their bay’ah to Baghdadi before carrying out the operation

Who is Yusuf Hindi?

A shadowy handler named Yusuf al Hindi who motivates, radicalises and recruits fighters on various online platforms, in the name of IS, is a common link in all the recent arrests. Investigators however are struggling to put a face to Yusuf al Hindi and verify his standing in the IS leadership. “He works under different aliases and during interrogation, suspects have told us they were encouraged to establish a Caliphate and undertake jihadi activities by him,” said a NIA official. Former Indian Mujaheedin member Shafi Armar who is now a part of IS affiliated Ansar ut Tawheed group is widely believed to be the handler, except that security agencies are unable to corroborate it.

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