ISIS's India focus: Forms 2 sub-groups

| | New Delhi
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ISIS's India focus: Forms 2 sub-groups

Monday, 27 March 2023 | Rakesh K Singh | New Delhi

In its apparent bid to further ramp up its activities in South India, international terror group Islamic State (ISIS) has launched two sub-groups for the region.

While one sub-group will cover Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, the other one will target the rest of southern States like Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

The ISIS has a significant footprint in South India as most of the cases linked to the group under investigation by the anti-terror probe body National Investigation Agency (NIA) are from these States.

A number of recruits from South India have also participated in so-called Hijrat (migration) for ISIS to other countries. The outfit has particularly been active in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The ISIS had even roped in the now banned Popular Front of India (PFI) recruitment, spreading the violent Islamist ideology, training and raising a militia of trained jihadist to execute terror attacks.

The PFI was initially raised in Kerala but subsequently shifted its headquarters to Shaheen Bagh in the national Capital.

Earlier, the ISIS had formed groups like ISIS JK for Jammu & Kashmir, ISIS Deccan for South India, and ISIS Hind for the hinterland, experts tracking the group said.

“Investigations in the case had revealed that the accused had been conspiring to drive a wedge between different communities and groups living in India, spread the concept of violent extremism and jihad in India with the objective of dismembering the country and taking it over by establishing Islamic rule in India by 2047,” the NIA has been on record stating this.

 “To achieve these objectives, the PFI had established various wings and units, such as ‘Reporters Wing’, ‘Physical and Arms Training Wing’ and ‘Service Teams’. Investigations by the NIA have revealed that the PFI was using its various campuses, facilities and infrastructure to impart arms training to selected cadres in the guise of physical education, Yoga training etc. They also established a ‘Reporters Wing’ and ‘Service Teams or Hit Teams’ to eliminate their ‘targets’. Whenever required, the PFI pressed into service its loyal and highly trained cadres of their ‘service teams’, as ‘executioners’ of the orders pronounced by their parallel courts, called ‘Dar-ul-Qaza’,” it had said recently.

The NIA is also probing the role of the PFI for encouraging vulnerable youth to join terrorist organisations, including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)/Daesh and Al-Qaida. The NIA has already charged the PFI for conspiracy to establish Islamic rule in India by 2047 by dismembering the country through jihad.

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