New Delhi: ISIS is the latest and a growing threat to India and the terror outfit’s effort to recruit Indian youths has been on the rise, said the government.
“Latest challenge of ours is of ISIS. Although we do not have that level of threat or presence as in Europe but we have to acknowledge that efforts for recruitment (by ISIS) are on,” Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju told reporters in Delhi on the sidelines of a function.
He said security forces have been vigilant and successful in containing the threat posed by the ISIS but steps have to be taken to stop any attempt to radicalise youths.
“India has been successful in containing the situation. But we have to concentrate on youths and work on de- radicalisation, identify areas and institutes where such things can happen,” he said.
According to a recent intelligence report, nearly 150 youths in the country are under the surveillance of security agencies for their alleged leanings towards ISIS, responsible for the recent terror attacks in Paris.
The 150 people, mostly from South India, are believed to be attracted to the ISIS and sympathetic to the group’s activities.
Twenty-three Indians have so far joined the ISIS, six of whom were reportedly killed.
The dead were identified as Athif Vaseem Mohammad (Adilabad, Telangana), Mohammad Umar Subhan (Bengaluru), Maulana Abdul Kadir Sultan Armar (Bhatkal, Karnataka), Saheem Farooque Tanki (Thane), Faiz Masood (Bengaluru) and Mohammad Sajid alias Bada Sajid (Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh).
Another intelligence report prepared by foreign agencies and shared with Indian agencies says 58 people of 18 nationalities have left the ISIS ranks in the past two years.
Among them, two were Indians – Areeb Majid, a youth from Mumbai suburb Thane and a 17-year-old girl, who was deported from Qatar while she was on her way to ISIS held Iraq-Syria region. Majid was arrested upon arrival and is currently in judicial custody.
The highest number of ISIS deserters belong to Syria (21), followed by Saudi Arabia (9).
The reasons for deserting the ISIS ranks have been described as ill treatment, harassment and force menial jobs, it said.
Tunisian, Palestinian, Saudi Arabian, Iraqi and Syrian fighters were trusted most in the ISIS ranks while Europeans were regarded very highly, the report says.
The ISIS top brass thinks that South Asian Muslims, including Indians, are inferior to Arab fighters in the conflict zone of Iraq and Syria.