Recent arrests of Hyderabad-based youths by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with their links to the Islamic State, signal the deepening presence of Islamic terror organisations in the country. In the recent years, the terror organisation has had a visible change in its operative strategy in the recent years to use internet to attract youth.
The NIA, on Wednesday, took 11 persons into custody after identifying them as Islamic State operatives.
“They came under the scanner after behavioural changes were noticed in them. On the basis of information passed on by the locals, the NIA kept a tab on their activities", The Hindu quoted an official as saying.
More worryingly, those arrested were also found to be in possession of ammonium nitrate and other chemicals that are used in making highly destructive IEDs, The Hindustan Times reported.
The development is also critical since at least two of those detained were engineering graduates while one is believed to be a management graduate. Their handler, Yusuf al-Hindi, is reported to be in Syria.
Add to it, the city of Hyderabad is increasingly becoming the terror back office of India.
Besides the Islamic State, in the last few years, militants belonging to Islamic terror outfits such as Lashkar and SIMI have also been caught in Hyderabad.
Building a homegrown breed of militants seems to be the new strategy of the terror outfit. Up till now, 54 suspected IS sympathisers have been arrested across India. The prospect of "freelance jihadists" is worrying intelligence agencies.
"ISIS modules being set up in India is more dangerous than some youth wanting to travel to Syria," a counter-terror official was quoted by the India Today as saying.
In January this year, the NIA arrested six suspected IS sympathisers from across the country. Union Home Ministry officials also believed that they might have been radicalised online, The Hindu reported.
The report also added that several low intensity explosives, detonators, wires, batteries and hydrogen peroxide and other material that can be assembled into IEDs.
The Islamic State has repeatedly invoked the 2002 Gujarat riots, Babri demolition, Kashmir and the 2013 Muzzafarnagar riots to incite Muslims to revolt against the dispensation. In a video released in May this year, the Syria-based terror group for the first time trained its guns against New Delhi.
“We will return,but with a sword in hand, to avenge the Babri Masjid, and the killings of Muslims in Kashmir, in Gujarat, and in Muzaffarnagar”, Aman Tandel, a Mumbai based student who escaped to Syria was seen threatening.
According to Intelligence Agencies, six Indian nationals have been killed in Iraq and Syria. A total of 23 Indians have gone to Syria, while only two of them have returned.