Delay could potentially worsen things.
ISIS’ notice to India that they are planning to use trucks to carry out killings in India, especially during Hindu festivals like the Mahakumbh, which witnesses the largest human gathering, and Trishoor Puram, has worked up our security forces. And it’s about time. The national security environment of the country has been at its lowest ebb for quite some time now, with the neighbourhood becoming increasingly challenging due to its complexity and unpredictability.
The National Security Guard (NSG) is pushing the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to give them the permission to go and work with a few European nations that have borne the brunt of ISIS’ ‘truck attack’ strategy. The Indian security forces want to learn from Belgium, France and the United Kingdom how they are better prepared today after having endured truck attacks in the past. Wanting to study the best practices in the world is a pro-active move. There is no need to suffer first and learn the lessons later.
In the new audio tapes that revealed the threat, alleged Islamic State terrorist, Abdul Rashid, can be heard telling cadres of the Popular Front of India (PFI), an Islamic fundamentalist organisation based in Kerala, to drive trucks into large gatherings, like during festivals. The audio clip was transmitted via Telegram app that was intercepted by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
Kerala: India’s pain-point
The continued indoctrination of the youth in the State reflects the failures of the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Congress Government. Rashid is already accused of influencing at least 20 Keralites to travel to Afghanistan and to join the Islamic State. Right under the CM’s nose. Three men from north Kerala, prevented from going to Syria four months ago, were arrested In October, 2017, for links to ISIS. An estimated 100 Indians are reported to be fighting for the Islamic State in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, most of them from Kerala.
There is little doubt that Salafism, a regressive, ultra-conservative form within Sunni Islam, is threatening to take shape in the Southern State. And according to Saudi diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks, it is made possible due to an influx of money from Saudi Arabia used for the training of the youth on hardcore Islamic ideology.
It is made much easier due to the apparent sense of alienation among the youth in Kerala. ISIS is feeding on their vulnerability. It is highly astounding, given the State’s social index that boasts of high literacy, welfare programmes, political awareness and remittance economy. People in the State like to call Kerala ‘God’s own country’. It is beginning to lose that image.
PFI’s involvement in mass proselytizing and illegal financing as a service to ISIS has reached danger levels. It is charged with brainwashing Hindu women and marrying them off to Muslim men. They wish for a theocratic Islamic state in India. Such a bold vision reflects how dangerous an entity PFI is and how critical it is for the Government to root it out.
India, so far unscathed by ISIS, is feeling the heat now. We should act before we get burnt. The MHA should get moving and give the NSG the go-ahead without any deliberation.