Telangana: Security agencies on alert over Al Qaeda ‘letter’

Hyderabad: Given the current political climate, Hindutva aggression towards Muslims and its reaction from extremist organisation Al Qaeda have alarmed law enforcement agencies of the state and country. In a ‘letter’, Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) threatened to carry out attacks in India.

The Al Qaeda, according to media reports, stated that in the backdrop of disrespectful statements against Prophet Mohammed (by BJP leaders in India), it will carry out attacks in India. The Ministry of Home Affairs, according to sources, has advised the government and police department across the state to be on alert even as intelligence agencies are trying to verify the authenticity of the letter.

The statement issued by the Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent in particular has called for attacks in Delhi, Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, according to reports. “Any such letter or media communiqué is always taken seriously and necessary steps taken to prevent any possible sabotage attempts or attacks. Simultaneously the authenticity and source/ origin of the content is verified,” said an intelligence officer from the state, who did not want to be named,

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Intelligence agencies in the backdrop of growing communal disharmony (like instances of Islamophobia, or cases wherein leaders and Hindutva groups have called for demolition of ancient mosques citing those have been built on temples) across India are already on alert.

“Usually international terror organisations to certain try to use local radical elements/ groups and wait for such situations. It provides a lucrative recruitment ground to enrol members and gain sympathy through sabotages. The letter could just be an attempt to attract men/women into its ranks,” explained the official.

The ongoing controversy over Hijab, Gyanvapi mosque and other religious places, NRC/ CAA, issues made out of usage of Urdu language and recent bout of violence during Sree Ramnavami processions in the country has left the minorities dispirited. The latest statements of the Bhartiya Janata Party and its affiliate’s functionaries against Prophet Mohammed further threatens the existence of peace. 

Moreover, the anger in Muslim nations over the remarks against Prophet Mohammed found mention in International media and no longer is restricted to local coverage in Indian newspaper or publications that have Indian communities as their target audience. Key Muslim nations including Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, etc have condemned the comments.

“Given previous experiences the radical groups were using the Rohingya sufferings at the hands of Myanmmar authorities to reinforce their ranks with fresh recruitments from the subcontinent including India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Similarly, men from the Middle East and European countries were radicalized by highlighting the plight of Muslims in Palestine and elsewhere in the Western regions of the world. Now the present situation in India might become a favorable ground for such radical groups,” pointed out a retired senior police official.

The Counter Terrorism and Counter Radicalization Division of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs coordinates with all State governments and its police departments to initiate steps to prevent radicalization. Scorers of ISIS sympathizers were counselled by officials during the peak of ISIS’s influence across the globe.

“Case studies point out they were radicalized online showing that Islam is under threat and its followers targeted. The current happenings across the country including openly making derogatory remarks against the Prophet Mohammed can become an easy tool to radicalize the youth,” felt another police official.

While the government needs to ponder upon it and put an end to it, the local community heads/ elders should make all efforts to stop any possible attempt to radicalize the youngsters by foreign groups or local radical elements for their own benefit, he advised.

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