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18 Jul 2017

Kashmir: ISIS supporters gaining ground, propagating Jihadi attack manuals

How serious is the ISIS threat to India?

Iraq recently celebrated the defeat of ISIS in Mosul but violence has been raging in the Kashmir Valley, creating a real 'situation' for Government of India.

In the meanwhile, ISIS supporters in Jammu & Kashmir have created a group, Ansarul Khilafah Jammu Kashmir.

To make matters worse, the group has put out instructions in Hindi on 'fighting the enemies of Islam' and spread propaganda.

In context

How serious is the ISIS threat to India?


What context is this happening in?

Kashmir has spiralled into chaos resulting in numerous clashes between civilians and forces, since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani in 2016.

Radical Islamist ideology has started to seem attractive to youngsters, often prompting them to fight security forces.

While ISIS has reportedly lost ground in Iraq and its chief Baghdadi supposedly got killed, it has ideologically spread to places including India.

NIA busts ISIS module in Kerala!

The NIA in October 2016 nabbed six men from Kerala who formed a similar group "Ansarul Khilafah Kerala" and were using Telegram for plotting attacks. They were reportedly radicalized online. An ISIS fighter from Kerala was recently killed in Afghanistan in a drone strike.

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Attacking 101

Ansarul Khilafa Jammu Kashmir manuals on Telegram

The group, created on Telegram on June 2, 2017 has more than 100 members.

Numerous manuals including the "Open Source Jihad Trainer" and the "Book of Terror" have already been circulated covering aspects including operating grenades and AK-47s and making suicide vests and car bombs.

On 17 July, they put out Hindi instructions on carrying out attacks similar to Nice (2016) using large trucks.

To the Police, Declare your disobedience to their commands!

In a post dated July 7, the group asked the Jammu and Kashmir police to defy their superiors and redirect their guns against the 'enemies of Islam'.


Ansarul Khilafa calls on IS supporters to organize

The group also called on their supporters to unite different groups under a single banner and choose an 'ameer' for the purpose of carrying out attacks.

It further instructed for tasks to be assigned to the members including 'mujahid' (fighters), scouts to carry out assessments of attacks, fundraisers and a media person to record the attacks and propagate the same using social media.


How serious is the threat from Ansarul Khilafa?

Amarnath Amarasingam, senior researcher notes that groups such as this are a clear sign of ISIS intention to gain ground in South Asia and should be taken "pretty seriously".

The threat is particularly pronounced in areas including Kashmir where they perceive Muslims as sufferers.

If law enforcement agencies do not respond proportionately, ISIS may after all gain a new stronghold in Kashmir after Mosul.

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