500 Indians attracted to ISIS, being tracked by intelligence agencies: report

Intelligence agencies say that the reason so many youth are finding ISIS attractive is a combination of political factors and ideology.

New Delhi: 400 to 500 Indians have become attracted to the idea of joining the Islamic State (IS), according to latest estimates by the government and intelligence agencies.

According to a report, the men who are mostly youngsters, interact regularly on the internet, make efforts to get in touch with someone from ISIS and seek ways to travel to the region in Iraq and Syria held by the outfit.

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At present, the government believes that ISIS has limited sway with Indian Muslims. But the 500-odd Indians who are 'attracted' to ISIS have kept intelligence agencies, state police departments and National Investigation Agency (NIA) on their toes.

Read: Court extends period of probe against 3 ISIS sympathisers

Over the course of the last few months, many of these youths have been questioned by the NIA and let off after nothing serious was found against them. They are given counselling as part of an effort to deradicalise them. Officials say that those who were earlier attracted to Jaish-e-Mohammad, Indian Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and other outfits seem to be gravitating to ISIS.

Intelligence agencies say that the reason so many youth are finding ISIS attractive is a combination of political factors and ideology. Many believe that the west has inflicted atrocities upon Muslims for a long time. They also feel that only an ISIS-led Caliphate can provide a remedy to the ‘social malpractices’ in the world today.

However, Indian men attracted towards ISIS don't have many grievances with the system in India. "Our assessment is these men are not bearing feelings of revenge against the Army, security forces or India as such. Many are getting everything - education, jobs and freedom to move anywhere," an intelligence expert was quoted as saying.

The youth come from several states, including Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Delhi. They use web-based calling, messaging and chat apps like Trillion, Live, Tango, KIK, Nimbuzz, Voxer, Talkray, GroupMe, Viber, Hike, KaKao Talk, IM+ and many others apart from Facebook and Twitter.

So far, Indian agencies have arrested 49 IS recruits, before they could either travel to Syria/Iraq or carry out lone-wolf attacks in India. The youth under suspicion are being tracked in real time and law enforcement agencies continue to intervene before an act of violence or travel to ISIS territory is attempted.

The NIA busted a module recently, led by one Muddabir Sheikh where 18 members were held for ISIS related activities. The agency is expected to file its first two charge sheets against the module in the first week of June.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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