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Not just Twitter: How IS is using social media, apps to recruit in India

india Updated: Jan 25, 2016 11:52 IST
Presley Thomas
Presley Thomas
Hindustan Times
Islamic State

The focus of ISIS or al-Qaeda on India is not new

The recent crackdown on Islamic State of Iraq and Al- Sham ( I SIS) operatives across the country has once again brought to focus the group’s online presence — in particular the numerous social networking accounts that members of ISIS have formed to hunt and recruit more members.

Read more: Scouting on Whatsapp, Twitter: Terror outfits look for recruits online

One of the recent ISIS documents — available online despite the central government’s assurance that access to them will be restricted — has a list of Twitter accounts for male recruits and a separate one for women.

These people live in t he Islamic State, the document states. “They have Surespot and other private messaging apps. If their Twitter is banned, they will always make a new one. Remember to use the anonymous TOR browser or the ChatSecure app!” the document states.

Read more: NIA crackdown reveals arrested Mumbra man is chief of ISIS India wing

A senior anti- terrorism officer, who was part of the crackdown said, “Once they make initial contact on a social networking site like Twitter, they move to private messaging apps, and then the indoctrination begins, and it ends with a call to join ISIS in Iraq.”

The focus of ISIS or al-Qaeda on India is not new, said the officer. “Though al-Qaeda has never claimed any terror strike, there always was a tacit understanding between terrorist organisations like LeT and al-Qaeda.”

The major issue that concerns security agencies is the proliferation of the ISIS media wing, which has been constantly releasing e-books. “It i s worrying to see ISIS analyse the Paris attacks in an e-book,” said a senior ATS officer, on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Read more: ATS blocks 94 websites for being pro-ISIS

Another recent ISIS document released names Ilyas al Kashmiri, who ISIS identifies as the world’s most fearsome guerrilla expert, as the person who has encouraged LeT, Taliban and al-Qaeda to start a terror campaign in India.

“The AQ knows t hat by spreading terror in India, it will attack Pakistan for ‘harbouring terrorists on its Afghan border. Pakistan will retaliate and al-Qaeda and the Taliban will support their Muslim neighb ours, and possibly even Bangladesh [another Muslim majority neighbour]. This full regional war will make a Muslim vs Hindu conflict, finally giving Muslims a victory as promised by Prophet Muhammad,” reads the document as the reason to spread terror in India.

The document makes it a point to comment on the beef ban, ‘ In India, a movement of Hindus is growing to kill Muslims who eat beef. The people who fund these organisations want a huge following of Islam-haters, who can turn i nto potential recruits f or future wars in their countries. They have a political wing for the propaganda to get more recruits, and armed militias who can start a terror campaign against their number 1 enemy — the Muslims.’