NEW DELHI: The multi-faceted extremist threat in India is on the rise. And, the worry is not confined to increasing number of misguided youths but of those who are travelling to the so-called Islamic state–Syria and Iraq—to wage Jihad.
The swelling number of radicalised youths making Hijrah and those under the watch of security forces show that despite recent rout in Mosul, IS Chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has retained certain traction among growing breed of alienated youths.
While 23 radicals had travelled to Syria and Iraq in 2015, the figure for 2016 has gone up to 70. In 2015, around 200 youths were under watch for their suspicious online links with IS. However, the number of those under the watch for pro-IS leanings increased to 450 in 2016. Multiple new Salafi outfits such as Niche of Truth (Kerala), Peace Educational Foundation (Kerala), Jamiat ul Muflihaat (Hyderabad), Discover Islam Education Trust (Bengaluru), Tauheed Educational Trust (Bihar), Islamic Research and Dawah Centre (Mumbai), Islamic information Centre (Mumbai) have emerged during the last few years, which have provided direct access to indoctrination materials.
Cadres of radically inclined Popular Front of India, Jamat-e-Islami Hind, Tamil Nadu Tauheed Jamat and Kerala Nadwathul Mujahideen factions are increasing in numbers significantly besides the increase in preacher Zakir Naik’s followers. Others are also getting motivated by reading material available online.
In the North, affiliates of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and Wahadat-e-Islami are engaged in radicalisation in a major way. “While Wahabi vectors have had an established presence in India even prior to Independence, there has been an unequivocal growth in the numbers and geographical spread during the last few decades.
For example, the Facebook page of Dr Zakir Naik even today has 1.56 crore likes. Another example is the immense growth in the membership of Kerala Nadwatahul Mujahideen factions whose combined strength has grown from about 25,200 in 1993 to 65,200 till date. In the last decade, the membership of Tamil Nadu Tauheed Jamat has increased from 20,000 to one lakh. Another radically inclined outfit PFI has grown from a cadre strength of about 45,000 during 2009 to over 1,20,000. The Rukun strength of Jamat-e-Islami Hind has increased from 6,158 in 2008 to 8,753 in 2016,” according to an Intelligence dossier on radicalisation.
In addition, Salafi Dawah platforms have been established in several parts of the country. “SIMI affiliates are vocal in espousal of jehad and Khilafa urging Muslim youths to emulate the valour of iconic Muslim warriors.
To compound the problem, radical clerics are involved in espousal of jehad and even offering GaibanaNamaaz-e-Janaza for Osama bin Laden and Afzal Guru. Growth of Wahabism-Salafism undermines Indian Islam which is based on Sufi-Barelvi practices that so far have been the most-effective counter to radicalization,” the dossier said.
The Intelligence Bureau has also prepared a structured response—counter-radicalisation and de-radicalisation strategy—consultation with the states to deal with the threat.