Fifteen engineering students, all from Hyderabad, were trying to escape to Iraq from Bengal via Bangladesh and join the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
Just when we diverted our attention towards a more important issue of floods in Kashmir, 15 youth from Hyderabad went missing.
These youth, including a girl, were all engineering students.
These 15 engineering students, reportedly, were trying to escape to Iraq from Bengal via Bangladesh and join the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Thankfully, they have been tracked down by Telangana Police in West Bengal. The police apparently is in shock as it has come across a greater Islamist jihadist outreach in the country than perceived by them.
The Times of India mentions in its report: “The police did not arrest or book any of them, who were brought from West Bengal. Instead, they kept talking to them. As a result, the students gave away more names including of the girl who had said she wanted to join ISIS in Iraq.”
It quotes a cop: “The jihadist propaganda has been effective in luring youth who were told that the proposed Islamic State could become a reality if youth from different parts of the world joined the fight. They have a vague idea of the Islamic State and its objectives or the operation. They thought they would be fighting against tyrannical rulers and creating a new Islamic state.”
According to Times of India, the police has identified one student from Karimnagar who had floated the “jihad” idea to his friends through social networking sites. Among those he was able to influence was a relative of former SIMI operative from the city accused in a terror case.
The report further says that the group was in regular touch through code language. As suggested by the Karimnagar boy, the other group members got passports. Some also received money from unidentified sources. The amount sent to them was in the range of about Rs 3.5 lakh.
Now the police is probing these youth to identify the source of money.
It seems that Hyderabad has become the ultimate source of procuring youth for combat for the IS, and movement from Bengal to Bangladesh a desired one for their journey. It should be noted that last week, four engineering students were detained and brought back from Kolkata airport by the Hyderabad police. They all were trying to leave the country to join the IS in Iraq and Syria.
However, unlike these 15 youth, they were not in touch with the IS jihadists and were attracted to the idea only through social networking sites.
Currently, all cities are on alert because of al-Qaeda’s announcement of formation of an Indian wing and the knowledge that Indian youth are being drawn to the IS through internet. The agencies are keeping a close eye on various literature available on the internet.
According to IB reports, the terrorist groups had initially put special focus on Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. But now the focus seems to have changed. The ever porous Bangladesh border, exploited well by ISI backed HuJI and IM, has now found mention in these literatures.
Also, the internet is proving to be a good tracking device at the same time being a devil luring young minds. The police aims blindly along with the intelligence agencies but the chances of finding the target are very less. The chat rooms, which are generally closed groups, can be infiltrated by the intelligence agencies anonymously. But there is no guarantee that it will lead to a source or help track down a misguided youth. Hours and months of tracking may suddenly be realized as a false lead.
It is still not known how many youth are missing or have joined the IS other than few reported ones. The threat on young minds is larger.
The Indian government now needs to take strong steps towards banning these literature, videos and posts on social media sites.
A crackdown is needed to save the country.