Two more men of Indian origin are learnt to have travelled to Iraq-Syria recently to fight alongside the IS, taking the number of Indians who are believed to have joined the outfit to 25, an official said. Till August, the number of Indians in the IS stood at 17. Now, it stands at 25. Six of them are learnt to have died.
No blanket filing of terror charges
Unlike other countries, India does not adopt a hard stand against men and women stopped from joining the Islamic State or those who even returned before they could reach the battlefield. The State police decide whether to file terrorism charges on a case-to-case basis.
Even at the special session of the Plenary of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body to combat money-laundering and terror financing, held in Paris a few days ago, India asked all other 33 member countries to focus on “non-discriminatory and undifferentiated action” against all terror groups, including the IS.
The special session was called in the wake of the Paris terror attacks last month to discuss measures to dismantle the IS finance network. When it comes to IS, the aim is deterrence, rather than arrest, said a senior official of the Home Ministry.
The central intelligence agencies are keeping a watch on various social media platforms to keep track of vulnerable young men as the Internet has so far been the only mode of recruitment for the IS. A senior official of the Home Ministry explained that many of the youth who managed to join the IS could do so as they left India on tourist visas and travelled to Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Bahrain. After they reached there, they travelled to Turkey to cross over to Syria.
A senior Telangana Police officer told The Hindu t hat the police were yet to decide whether to book the three young men who were detained at the Nagpur airport with plans to join the IS. Two of the three from Hyderabad were stopped last year at the Kolkata airport before they could leave the country.
Tip-off from parents
On both occasions, the tip-off came from parents.
“We have not decided yet whether to slap terror charges against the three. The parents of the two school dropouts had kept a strict surveillance since they came back from Kolkata, and they were not allowed access to mobile phones or the Internet. They were reportedly radicalised by their maternal uncle, who has been the president of the Students Islamic Movement of India, a banned outfit. While they were under watch, they convinced a cousin of theirs to travel to Srinagar where they could meet some Hurriyat leaders to join jihad. They had no idea whether the Hurriyat had any links to the IS at all,” said the officer.
According to a presentation on the Islamic State made by Telangana DGP Anurag Sharma for Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Rann of Kutch last week, 33 Indians have been stopped from joining the outfit, including 21 from Telangana.