Global terror network Islamic State mostly recruited educated Indian Muslims belonging to middle income groups, according to a confidential National Investigation Agency (NIA) data that breaks a common myth that radicalised youth are mostly impoverished illiterates.
As per analysis of the data accessed by IANS, 28 of the 52 arrested Islamic State suspects were in the age group of 18-25. Twenty were between the age of 25 and 40 years and four were above 40.
NIA officials said they were “shocked” to learn that all the arrested persons were educated and were radicalised by the recruiters of the network that has established an Islamic caliphate in its governed parts of Syria and Iraq.
The NIA data said 20 of the arrested Islamic State supporters were graduates and some even had degrees in technology or engineering.
Twelve had diplomas, four had attended school up to Class 12 and 13 were matriculates. Three even held post graduate degrees.
“Eighty per cent arrested IS accused had formal schooling while 20% went to madrasa,” according to the data analysis.
Nine of the arrested suspects belonged to the upper income group, 30 were from middle income group and 13 from the lower income group.
The counter-terror agency said it had filed charges and supplementary charges in six of the 12 Islamic State cases referred to it by the central government last year. It said the agency was still searching for 35 identified absconding suspects.
The agency officials said investigation was on in eight cases.
According to the data, 12 of the arrested were from Maharashtra, 10 from Hyderabad, 11 from Kerala, five from Karnataka and West Bengal each, four from Uttar Pradesh, two from Rajasthan, three from Tamil Nadu and one each from Madhya Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
It further said 50% of the arrested IS sympathisers followed Ahle Hadith -- a puritannic Islamic school of thought, 30% Tablighi Jamat -- a worldwide movement to preach fundamentals of Islam, and 20% Deobandi -- the puritanical, revivalist Sunni Muslim movement that began in north India in 1867 and now carries a huge influence in Bangladesh, Pakistan and also parts of the United Kingdom.
The data pointed out that none of the arrested “are the followers of Barelvi” -- again a north Indian Sunni Islamic movement that believes in the synthesis of Sharia and Sufi thoughts. It also carries a lot of clout in South Asia.
The data said 15% recruits were converts from Christianity or Hinduism.
On January 22 and 23 last year, the NIA conducted over two dozen raids in coordination with state police forces and other agencies across the country and till the end of the year 52 Islamic State supporters, including a foreigner, were arrested.
The agency in its chargesheets had alleged that terror sympathisers were seeking to establish an Islamist caliphate in India -- Junoodul-Khilafa-Fil-Hind -- and recruited Muslim youth to terrorism at the behest of Syria-based Shafi Armar alias Yusuf-Al-Hindi.
According to the NIA, Armar, a resident of Karnataka’s Bhatkal district and a senior Islamic State leader managing India recruitment, was in touch with the accused through social media networks.
He trained them how to prepare IEDs, identify training venues and provide logistics support for terror strikes.