IS video creates panic in Assam, police say it’s a false alarm

  • Rahul Karmakar, Hindustan Times, Guwahati
  • Updated: Jul 15, 2016 18:47 IST
An Islamic State flag is seen in this picture illustration. (Reuters)

Police said a video purportedly released by the Islamic State believed to be a threat of attack on Assam actually referred to a region in West Asia and not the northeastern state, and that there was no evidence of the terrorist outfit’s presence in the region.

A few days ago, the vernacular media reported that the jihadist outfit had vowed bloodbath in Assam based on the video. Alerted by calls about an impending jihad in the state, police went through the video and discovered that the word used was Al-Sham and not Assam.

“There is no evidence that IS members have sneaked into Assam for terror strikes,” Mukesh Sahay, director general of police, said.

An Assam police spokesperson said Al-Sham refers to a West Asian region around Syria, comprising present-day Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Cyprus and parts of Turkey besides Syria. The region bordering the eastern Mediterranean Sea is usually called Levant.

“This was a false alarm, but we are taking all preventive and precautionary measures to deal firmly with any emergent situation,” he said.

The Sham region is sometimes defined as the area that was dominated by Damascus. Sham or Sam is derived from an Arabic word that means “land of the left hand” of Saudi Arabia. The left-hand land used to be associated with ill-luck in the days past.

The reports about the alleged IS video came amid the arrest of four suspected jihadis from Barpeta district on Tuesday night.

The four were arrested by a joint team of the Indian army and police from Rouamri Pathar village, and some religious books and five mobile phones were seized from them.

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