The number of recruits to the international terror outfit ISIS from India has witnessed a sharp increase over the last few months.
While the outfit recruited 21 radical youths in December 2022, the number jumped to 28 in January this year followed by 37 gullible youths joining the terror group in February, 36 in March and this spiraled up to 68 in April, counter-terror experts tracking the group said. They said the number of the recruits is more from Karnataka and Rajasthan and the same is steadily rising.
ISIS has recruited the youth through online mode and enrolled them for radicalization and terror training on the Dark Web Academy set up by the outfit.
ISIS identified the youths by contacting them online through social media platforms. A group specializing in gathering data from universities by hacking and indulging in online theft under the banner of Transparent Tribe gathered data of about 100 universities from India in September/October last year.
The Transparent Tribe collects data and supplies them to terror groups including ISIS. After getting the data, the ISIS contacted the Indian youths through various social media platforms and roped them in for the online radicalization training programme.
The ISIS scanned the data of universities provided by Transparent Tribe and filtered the likely targets by identifying their traits and inclination for jihad. Counter-terrorism expert Dr Rituraj Mate said, “Most of the youths recruited to ISIS are from technical background and of young age profile which is a deadly combination for carrying out terror attacks.” These youths with engineering degrees or diplomas could possibly be used to fabricate sophisticated IEDs to carry out hits.
Their technical background could also be exploited for developing communication apps to evade the security agencies, Dr Mate added.
ISIS has been seeking to expand its footprint in India by publishing radical articles in its propaganda magazine and gaining traction among the gullible youths of a particular community.