Half of Indians Believed to Have Joined ISIS are Members of Diaspora: Report

Of the 100 Indians thought to have joined ISIS since 2014, 50 are members of the diaspora, a media report quoted an official as saying.


The number of Indians who joined the Islamic State (IS) terror group make a very small figure, a home ministry official has said. Only 100 radicalized Indians have so far traveled to territories controlled by the group, the Times of India reported.

Of the 100 Indians thought to have joined the outfit since 2014, 50 are Indian citizens while the rest are members of the diaspora, the report cited a home ministry official as saying.

“The limited number of recruits that IS has been able to draw out from India, vis-a-vis other countries in the West, shows that its aggressive online propaganda has failed to ‘radicalize’ Indian Muslims to an extent that they are willing to leave their families and country and join its global jihad to create a ‘caliphate’. A hundred recruits, of which only 50 were Indian residents, is minuscule not only in proportion to the large Indian population but also as a percentage of the country’s large Muslim community,” the official said, according to the report.

While the recruitment is low, the youth in states like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir have interest in the online propaganda, central and state agencies found by tracking online searches.

The United States intelligence agencies have sounded their Indian counterparts about a threat perception from the ISIS group during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) being attended by U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka in Hyderabad this week. The Intelligence Bureau and Telangana Counter Intelligence has been keeping track of 200 suspects in and around Hyderabad since the notification.

“The U.S. has issued possible threat perceptions to the GES Summit and Ivanka. Though there is no specific alert, as advised by the U.S., we are working to prevent a possible lone wolf attack by IS-motivated individuals,” the Times of India quoted a top official of Telangana police as saying.

While there have been instances where ISIS flags have been found in Kashmir, most of the Indians reported to have gone to countries like Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq have belonged to Kerala. In 2016, 21 Keralites went to Afghanistan’s Nangarhar. ISIS sympathizer Shajahan VK, deported from Turkey in July, had told the National Intelligence Agency that 17 others, including women and children, from Kerala were in Iraq-Syria.

Intelligence officers are more worried about the influence of domestic groups like Popular Front of India (PFI), which is active in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. It is reportedly expanding hold over Assam, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The government is working on a proposal to ban the organization.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said last week, “Any Indian Muslim who believes in Islam would not allow any opportunity to the Islamic State to have a base in the country.” He made the comment after ISIS took responsibility for an encounter in Srinagar in which a terrorist named Mugees was killed and sub-inspector Imran Tak lost his life. Singh said that investigation was going on into the involvement of youth in Kashmir with ISIS.

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