Delhi Police's probe against Kashmiri couple for 'Islamic State' links reveal terror groups' machinations, raises questions on 'organic' anti-CAA protests

The planning, execution, sustenance, longevity and multiplicity of the protests against the CAA were always incompatible with the projected image of an organic movement.

Sreemoy Talukdar March 10, 2020 19:28:53 IST
Delhi Police's probe against Kashmiri couple for 'Islamic State' links reveal terror groups' machinations, raises questions on 'organic' anti-CAA protests
  • The recent detention from Okhla, New Delhi, of a Kashmiri couple linked with the Khorasan module of Islamic State has ripped apart the mask that anti-CAA protests were 'organic'.

  • The planning, execution, sustenance, longevity and multiplicity of the protests were always incompatible with the projected image of an organic movement.

  • The high-impact, low-cost machination by India’s adversaries and global terror networks has achieved some measure of success.

  • The political Opposition, Muslims and liberals must be careful so as not to become their force multipliers.

The recent detention from Okhla, New Delhi, of a Kashmiri couple linked with the Khorasan module of Islamic State has ripped apart the mask that anti-CAA protests were “organic”. It isn’t really a surprise — except for those who had willingly suspended their disbelief — to note that external forces were working behind the scenes to incite violence in India. The planning, execution, sustenance, longevity and multiplicity of the protests were always incompatible with the projected image of an organic movement led by vociferous voices from the ground.

According to media reports, the web-savvy couple, who were associated with “senior” Islamic State members in Afghanistan, were at work through incendiary literature and planning to carry out suicide attacks in India.

The cops seized four mobile phones, a laptop, a hard drive and other “incriminating material” from their residence. The couple apparently operated several social media accounts on different platforms to propagate the Islamic State's ideology.

Delhi Polices probe against Kashmiri couple for Islamic State links reveal terror groups machinations raises questions on organic antiCAA protests

Jahanzaib Sami and his wife Hina Bashir Beigh. ANI

The story doesn’t end here. Jahanzaib Sami, the husband, told police during interrogation that he was earlier in touch with Khorasan-based Huzaifa Bakistani — the chief of Wilayat al-Hind, who has since been killed. What is Wilayat al-Hind? It is literally an Islamic State province in India — the new branch of the terror group established last year in May to focus on India-specific ‘activities’, as declared by its news agency Amaq. Sami, and presumably his wife Hina Bashir Beigh, were allegedly coordinating with Islamic State’s India module.

Sami was not only arranging arms and ammunition to unleash terror in the country. His task also allegedly included propagation of Islamic State ideology and online indoctrination of Muslim youth. Interrogation made it clear that Sami was involved in propagation of the Islamic State magazine ‘Sawt al-Hind’ (Voice of India) that came out in February 2020.

Media reports also indicate that the couple were behind the protests in Shaheen Bagh and ran a Twitter handle called @Kashmirosint (now deleted) — that shared “OSINT”, news and stories from Kashmir, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

As the external machinations behind the anti-CAA protests become clear, we also have a better idea now of the funding that ostensibly sustained these demonstrations and sit-ins.

We now know that Pakistan’s deep state has been actively promoting anti-CAA protests in India, nurturing it with funds, amplifying it inside India (in terms of organising demonstrations and acts of violence) and abroad (activism and campaigning) to execute its plan of proving before the world that the current Indian leaders are a bunch of genocidal maniacs out to cleanse the country of its Muslim population.

The genesis of Pakistan’s actions, of course, lies in India’s decision to abrogate Article 370 and read down the semi-autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate it into two Union territories for better Centre-based control over its administration.

It not only ended Pakistan’s Kashmir project, more importantly, it challenged the Pakistan army’s role in its polity. The army holds control over other institutions in Pakistan not just because it “protects” Pakistan’s territory from India, but also because it shall “seize the territory of Kashmir from Indian control”.

This construct not only makes Kashmir central to Pakistan’s two-nation theory, but also reinforces its claim that Kashmir is an unfinished business of Partition. By abrogating Article 370, the Indian government ended Pakistan’s claims over Kashmir as a “disputed territory” and made it India’s internal business to be dealt within the framework of Indian Constitution.

This leaves little maneuvering space for Pakistan, which has since been fuming — hoping to turn Kashmir Valley into a South Asian West Bank. Pakistan’s best policy in this scenario is to instigate unrest and protests within India over communal lines so that the Indian government uses force to curb the unrest and allow Pakistan the opportunity to showcase “human rights violations”.

The abrogation of Article 370 wasn’t challenged by India’s Muslim community to the extent that the enactment of CAA was (it left Muslims out of the ambit of fast-track citizenship), which provided Pakistan with an opening.

If Pakistan’s job was to amplify the protests within India to implement its ‘policy’, it seems to have stuck to the job with admirable precision. Media reports say Indian intelligence agencies have picked up chatter that indicates Pakistan operatives are unhappy with their agents in India for not being able to gather enough crowds for anti-CAA protests despite infusion of funds. In one such call, reported by Hindustan Times newspaper, “the handler curses his contact and adds that he has to explain the lack of crowds to his higher ups.”

These unfolding developments highlight another home truth. The Islamic State's plan to propagate its ideology and unleash terror in India or Pakistan’s plan to foment trouble within India’s borders, amplify the protests and then use the optics to launch diplomatic onslaught against New Delhi to achieve its geopolitical objectives — not to forget the role of China that has acted as Pakistan’s force-multiplier at the UN — wouldn’t have been possible had they not found an opening.

That opening was provided by a section of Muslims who suffer from a trust deficit vis-a-vis the Modi government leading to a fear-psychosis over the citizenship legislation. The unwillingness to read and understand facts have resulted in many Muslims and liberals (who also suffer from a distrust of the government and antipathy towards the current regime) falling prey to insidious propaganda and manipulation by external forces. The result is a predicament where the most politically stable government in decades led by an executive determined to mitigate legacy issues has paradoxically been caught firefighting and projecting an image of instability.

The high-impact, low-cost machination by India’s adversaries and global terror networks has achieved some measure of success. It may embolden Pakistan’s deep state to step up its game and unleash a spate of unrests and terror attacks inside India’s borders. The political opposition, Muslims and liberals must be careful so as not to become their force multipliers.

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