ISIS bomber detained in Russia wanted to kill Nupur Sharma?
The Islamic State (IS) suicide bomber detained in Russia on Monday had been allegedly hired to kill former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma. Reportedly recruited by the IS, or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), he was to travel to India to attack Sharma for her comments against Prophet Muhammad, CNN-News18 reported. The ISIS is a notified terrorist organization in India.
Why does this story matter?
- The development comes nearly two weeks after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested an engineering student from New Delhi's Batla House on suspicion of being an active IS member.
- Notably, days after Sharma was suspended from the BJP in June, the IS-Khorasan Province, an affiliate body of the ISIS, also released a 10-minute video threatening an attack on India for alleged blasphemy.
'Bomber was going to kill Sharma'
According to a top intelligence source, the bomber, Mashrabkhon Azamov, was given the sole task of killing Sharma. Trained in Istanbul, the 1992-born Uzbek national reportedly believed Sharma should be "eliminated" for insulting Prophet Muhammad. Azamov arrived in Russia to get his visa cleared for India. "In Turkey, the would-be terrorist was conditioned...on Telegram and during in-person meetings...from April-June," Russia's security agency said.
Azamov was expecting to receive help in India
The Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia released a video of Azamov's "confession" on Monday evening. After joining ISIS in April 2022, Azamov said he received training in Turkey and moved to Russia under the special command of Yusuf Tajiki, the self-claimed IS chief. "In India, I was supposed to be...given everything necessary to commit a terrorist attack...for insulting the Prophet," he said.
FSB releases Azamov's confession video
Video released by FSB of IS operative which Russian authorities have said was planning a suicide attack in India: pic.twitter.com/xfxxV0w5lz— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) August 22, 2022
What did the Russians say?
According to the FSB, Azamov is a native of a Central Asian country "who planned to commit a terrorist act by self-detonation against one of the representatives of the ruling circles of India." Notably, this comes months after ISKP and al Qaeda's statements on the issue. Indian agencies are now attempting to determine Azamov's "India contact' who would have supplied him with explosives.
India hampers IS network across India
Reports say India received inputs about the suicide bombings in July. A foreign terror agency informed India about two bombers from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan "getting ready" for a terrorist attack in India. As security agencies of India and Russia coordinated the arrest, the Anti-Terrorism Squad conducted meetings to crack down on the IS network back home. It raided 35 places in two days.
What exactly did Sharma say?
For the unversed, during a debate on the Gyanvapi Mosque row on a TV channel, Sharma stated that because Muslims were insulting the Hindu faith by calling the unearthed Shivling a fountain, certain aspects in their religious scriptures may be mocked as well. She then mentioned the Prophet's marriage. To salvage the situation, she later posted an apology on Twitter.