As the world takes up the fight against ISIS to Syria and other affected regions, ISIS has been quietly maneuvering around its geographical limitations using the Internet. Sri Lanka has been most recent victim of this new tactic which ISIS has been using to radicalize the youth with the help of existing radical elements in the region. Sri Lanka witnessed the worst terror attack, since its civil war which saw more than 290 individuals losing life to radical terrorism on Easter Sunday.
After failing in the West Asian region, ISIS has now set its eyes on South Asia. Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been on the ISIS’ radars for long now; consequently a number of radicalized youth from these states have gone on to join the radial terrorist outfit in Syria. However as the ISIS looses hold many of these individuals have also been pleading India to help them return back in the country to escape counter terror actions.
Recent raids by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) in Coimbatore also point towards the growing footprint of ISIS in India mainly Kerala and Tamil Nadu. These raids by the NIA were conducted over suspected links between an Islamic State module and the Easter Bombings in Sri Lanka. According to a press release by the NIA these raids were conducted “based on information received that the accused persons and their associates were propagating the ideology of proscribed terrorist organization ISIS/ Daish on social media with the intention of recruiting vulnerable youth into the ISIS/ Daish for carrying out terrorist attacks in South India especially in Kerala and Tamil Nadu”
The prime accused in the case Mohammed Azarudeen also maintained a Facebook page by the name “KhilafahGFX” through which he had been propagating the ideology of ISIS/ Daish. Mohammed Azarudeen is also the Facebook friend of Sri Lankan suicide bomber Zahran Hashim. According to an official “During initial questioning, Azarudeen told us that he had plans to carry out a big attack in Tamil Nadu and Kerala but first wanted to hire more youths who will be ready to take up jihad,” .
Zahran Hashim, the Sri Lankan mastermind of the April 21 Easter attacks in Sri Lanka, has emerged as a common link in at least three Islamic State (IS) related cases, including the latest IS module busted in Coimbatore, an National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe has revealed. Several links between the accused in these raids have been found with other accused in similar ISIS related cases in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
During the raids 14 mobile phones, 29 SIM cards, 10 pen drives, 3 laptops, 6 memory cards, 4 hard disc drives, 1 internet dongle and 13 CDs/ DVDs besides one dagger, one electric baton, 300 air-gun pellets and a large no. of incriminating documents and few PFI/ SDPI pamphlets have been seized from the houses and work places of accused persons.
This is surely more than a superficial issue and has deep rooted consequences if no corrective actions are taken against these Individuals. These individuals pledge their allegiance to the Islamic state and have no regard or respect for their home countries. These operatives are indulged in spreading more of radical ISIS propaganda and violent Isla. Coimbatore, Cuddalore and Chennai are some of their key areas of operation in Tamil Nadu.