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Thursday, June 20, 2024

32,000 ISIS sleeper cell members in Kerala?

As per a new report based on intelligence sources, interrogation of two women suicide bombers of the ISIS Kerala module has revealed that up to 3200 ISIS sleeper cells could exist in Kerala. 

Each cell supposedly has 10 members, so Kerala could now have around 32,000 openly jihadi Islamists, of which 40% are women. Of those women, many are converts to Islam through grooming or narcotic jihad. The NIA charge sheet said that Mizha Siddique and her accomplices traveled to Tehran in Iran in the hope of crossing over illegally to Syria, but failed. 

A group of seven Keralites was all set to migrate to Kashmir and indulge in terrorist activities. The NIA team from Delhi arrested Mizha Siddique and her cousin Shifa Harris from a house at Thana in Kannur, in mid-August.

Mizha was working as per Mohammad Ameen’s (the Kerala ISIS kingpin, now behind bars) instructions and was “recruiting gullible Muslim youth for ISIS.” She radicalized her cousin Mushab Anwar and Shifa Harris and motivated them to join ISIS. Shifa transferred funds to their Kashmir module and they planned Hijrat (Islamic religious migration) to Kashmir. 

Such a large-scaled penetration of sleeper cells would mean that ISIS is embedded in Kerala society and has now become very difficult to contain or monitor the conventional way. For now, most are part of the ISIS cyber brigade. They are all highly radicalized and it seems just a matter of time before they pick up arms for the cause of the ISIS-led caliphate.

Many of the radicals are modern, highly educated, use the latest technology and devices. Some have weapons training and most were recruited using grooming, money, sex, drugs, positions or foreign jobs. The Kerala brigade actively involves media and film personalities and both are working closely.

Other than recruitment and raising funds, these members propagate jihadi ideologies covertly. They use social media to exchange information and propaganda. They hold secret meetings and secretly assist their ‘military brigade’, a kill squad. They work as the main mediators of ISIS and notorious foreign intelligence agencies like the ISI. 

The Talibanisation of Kerala and the utter radicalization of some well-educated people over the past few years is not a coincidence. It is a discreet and deliberate strategy of the jihadi Pakistani state. The local jihadis in Kerala are to be used by Pakistan to launch terrorist attacks all over Bharat.

The Kerala-based Islamists and their Pakistan-based handlers have operated in Kabul and their next stop could be Kashmir and Kerala. They could renew the terrorist insurgency in Kashmir and order sleeper cells in Kerala to move.

Mohammed Ameen aka Abu Yahya

In March 2020, a group led by Mohammed Ameen aka Abu Yahya and his accomplices were arrested by the NIA for their ISIS links. Ameen from Kerala reached Kashmir as soon as he returned to Bharat from Bahrain and met another accused Mohammad Waqar Lone aka Wilson Kashmiri and his associates. 

They were running pro-ISIS propaganda channels on social media and recruiting new members for their ISIS module. Along with the Kashmiris, the new modules started to raise funds. Ameen was holed up in New Delhi, awaiting instructions from his ISIS master, when he was caught, along with a few others. 

The group of highly radicalized members under Ameen’s leadership owning loyalty to ISIS planned targeted assassinations in Kerala and Karnataka. They planned to undertake Hijrat (religious migration) to Kashmir and engage in terrorist acts. 

Of the 11 locations that were raided simultaneously, 2 were in Bengaluru, 1 in Delhi and 8 in Kerala that included Ameen’s district of Kannur, besides Malappuram, Kollam, and Kasargod districts. Multiple terrorists have been arrested later for their association with this ISIS module. 

Illegal telephone exchanges that these terrorists use are being unearthed on a regular basis all over Bharat and many of them have a Kerala link.

The ISI connection

The speedy advance of the Taliban in Afghanistan could not have been achieved without the active support of the Pakistani Army. 

Late last year, US President Donald Trump announced troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by April end.  This is when Pakistan activated its plan to ensure that its proxy, the Taliban, emerged as the ultimate winner, notwithstanding sound-bytes about power-sharing agreements with the incumbent Afghan government.  

Jan this year began with ‘talks’ being arranged between Afghan and Taliban negotiators in luxurious Doha. Pakistan called for a ceasefire with Bharat and Bharat agreed at DG MOs level meetings (most likely at the prodding by USA) by the end of Feb. Pakistani troops were redeployed to its northern borders to assist the Taliban. 

In between May and June, Pakistan crudely started to paint a rosy picture of the Taliban on the international stage. The Pakistani Foreign Affairs Minister said that though they still wear baggies, they had ‘intelligent brains.’ The brain part was never in doubt, even cruelty needs extreme intelligence. 

Their Interior Minister openly claimed that the new breed of Taliban was a ‘moderate’ one when compared to 1996. All this while, Taliban commanders working out of Peshawar and Quetta in Pakistan, were moving both their troops and Pakistani ones towards Kabul and other major cities.  The Pakistani ISI was controlling these terrorist cells, just like like Bin Laden was operating out of their own backyard.

Our investigative agencies have done a tremendous job in keeping us safe for the last 7 years. But unless we start tackling the socio-religious, media and political outfits that create the fertile breeding ground for Islamic terrorists to operate, this war cannot be won.

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