ISIS continues expanding jihadist network in India


While converting Christians and Hindus into Islam with the active collaboration of Tablighi Jamaat, notorious jihadist outfit Islamic State (ISIS) said its first Indian suicide bomber was a resident of Indian state of Kerala who converted from Christianity to Islam. The Islamic State revealed this in their propaganda magazine Voice of Khorasan. Following this claim, Indian central intelligence agencies began investigation into the matter.

According to OpIndia, the suicide bomber is mentioned in the magazine’s (Voice of Khorasan) newest issue’s chapter “Memories of Shuhada”, which is a section dedicated to the memories of those who died fighting for ISIS. The identity of the Kerala terrorist was not mentioned in the story. According to the report, the suicide bomber was given the name “Abu Bakr Al-Hindi” and became interested in Islam during his stay in the United Arab Emirates.

The ISIS propaganda outlet says, following his conversion, Abu Bakr Al-Hindi became interested in Jihadist ideology and contacted ISIS sleeper cells in Dubai expressing willingness of joining jihad. He had planned to fly to Yemen for more instruction but was unable to do so, so he returned to his native state of Kerala.

After spending some time in Kerala, Abu Bakr Al-Hindi received word from his ISIS handlers that there was a chance in Libya, so he went there under the pretext of trying to find a new job. According to the report, he waged Jihad against the Libyan Army in Sirsit, ISIS’s stronghold, before turning into a suicide bomber and blowing himself up.

Abu Bakr Al-Hindi received military training in Sirte after arriving in Libya. The current issue of the magazine mentions, “Brother Abu Bakr joined operation istishhadi (suicide attack). When the apostates reached gate 40, he was selected and carried out istishhadi operation on the murtaddin [apostate] and attained martyrdom”.

According to OpIndia, Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) showcased another engineering student from Kerala in their publication Voice of Khorasan. In a report about his death, the Indian fighter was identified only by his assumed name, Najeeb Al Hindi, and he was described as a 23-year-old “engineering (M.Tech) student from Kerala”. The article had no more information on Najeeb, nor did it state when he died or the circumstances surrounding his death.

According to the ISKP publication, Najeeb only wanted to fight for the Islamic State and did not want to marry, but under the influence of friends, he married another jihadist girl from a Pakistani family.

Islamic State increases network in India

On July 10, 2016, a resident of Kasaragod in the South Indian state of Kerala approached the state police saying that his 30-year-old son Abdul Rashid along with his wife Ayisha, also known as Sonia Sebastian, and their child were missing for over a month after they left for Mumbai.

As the investigation started, it was revealed that this was not the only case where a couple was untraceable from the same locality. The probe gathered pace and it was clear that these people were ISIS recruits who had left the country to join the global jihadist outfit.

The breakthrough came on August 1, 2016, with the arrest of Yasmin Mohammed Zahid, a 29-year-old woman residing in Delhi’s Muslim ghetto Batla House near Jamia Nagar—a locality that has been witness to a police shootout in an anti-terror operation back in 2008 where a Delhi Police officer was killed and a terror suspect belonging to homegrown group Indian Mujahideen was also gunned down.

According to a charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), India’s federal anti-terror unit, in 2017, Yasmin was intercepted with her child at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi before boarding a flight to Afghanistan accusing her of supporting ISIS activities in India.

It was soon established that a group of 21 Indians, some of them married couples with their young kids, left for Afghanistan to join ISIS—Khorasan, the terror group’s wing that started operations in 2015 from Nangarhar province in the eastern part of Afghanistan bordering Pakistan.

A 2021 report of the United Nations Security Council concerning the Taliban and other associated individuals and entities constituting a threat to the peace stability and security of Afghanistan just ahead of the collapse of the Afghan government stated that despite territorial, leadership, manpower and financial losses during 2020 in Kunar and Nangarhar Provinces, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan (ISIL-K) continues to pose a threat to both the country and the wider region.

“ISIL-K is seeking to remain relevant and to rebuild its ranks, with a focus on recruitment and training of new supporters potentially drawn from the ranks of Taliban who reject the peace process”, the report said.

The report states that there is a core group of 1500-2200 fighters but smaller cells are active across the country. “The core group in Kunar consists mainly of Afghan and Pakistani nationals, while smaller groups located in Badakhshan, Kunduz and Sar-e-Pol are predominantly made up of local ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks”.

The report makes an important note of the increasing numbers of attacks attributed to the Islamic State—Khorasan in Afghanistan. In the first quarter of 2021, 77 attacks were claimed or attributed to the group. “This was an increase over the same period in 2020, where the number of claimed/attributed attacks was far lower, at 21 Overall, however, the number of ISIL-K attacks has continued to decrease annually. While 572 attacks were recorded between April 2019 and March 2020, the same period between 2020~2021 recorded 115, a decline of almost 80 per cent”, the report says.

The group is currently led by Shahab al-Muhajir (alias Sanaullah). Al-Muhajir was appointed by ISIL core in June 2020 via communiqué, following the capture by Afghan special forces of Aslam Farooqi, a Pakistani citizen and then head of ISIL-K, his predecessor Zia ul-Haq (alias Abu Omar Khorasani) senior ISIL-K members.

What is most disturbing is – Kerala has already become a stronghold of Islamic State and few other jihadist outfits, including Al Qaeda and now, jihadist outfits are expanding their networks within few other provinces in India, including West Bengal, the northeastern states and Jammu Kashmir.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here