25 websites promoting IS propaganda under Mumbai Police scanner

  • Debasish Panigrahi, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Dec 02, 2015 10:35 IST

The Mumbai Police is keeping close tabs on 25 websites that propagate incendiary Jihadi propaganda at the behest of terror group Islamic State (IS), classifying one as ‘extremely dangerous’.

A top source in the Mumbai Police said a majority of the sites were identified during sustained surveillance by the department’s Social Media Lab over the past three-four months, while others were brought to their attention by ethical hackers specialising in hacking such propaganda sites.

“The sites were identified from among 50 such propaganda sites during our routine scouting,” a source said, adding that frequent hits to these URLs (links) by users from Mumbai and elsewhere had first raised suspicion.

An analysis of the sites revealed that Arabic content in most of them was written using Roman script (English), ostensibly to dodge the filter used by enforcement agencies to monitor Jihadi propaganda literature. Some sites also used the Indonesian dialect, again in Roman script. HT is withholding the list from public for security reasons.

All 25 websites, barring a few exceptions, are affiliated to the IS and being used to propagate the terror group’s ideology. “While some of the sites contain videos of preachers appealing to the youth to join the terror group’s fold, others contain plain literature aimed at enticing young men towards the Jihadi ideology,” a source said, adding that most of the sites were interactive to keep the recruitment channel open.

“We have roped in linguists to conduct a thorough analysis of the content of all these websites before blocking some of those if the need arises,” a source said.

Mumbai Police spokesperson Dhananjay Kulkarni refused to divulge information on the findings, but said, “It is a fact that we are keeping a close watch on the happenings on the internet and other community/social media platforms — as well as (messaging) services. This is being done to filter out potentially dangerous materials that are deemed to be spreading communal tension or terror ideology.”

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