The presence of Islamic State on the Internet remains a serious threat even after the outfit has lost quite a bit of its control in various regions, head of Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad, Atulchandra Kulkarni, said in Pune on Friday. He also said ‘lone wolf’ attacks were a major cause of concern for Maharashtra. Kulkarni was speaking at the first National Workshop on Explosives Detection (NWED)-2018, which was inaugurated on Friday at the High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) in Pune.
Kulkarni spoke about terrorist attacks in the past and said, “There have been some high-profile attacks, mainly those abroad, with the advent of Islamic State. India and Maharashtra, too, have seen terror attacks, and Maharashtra has particularly been affected since 1993. Pune city has seen three different incidents in the last 10 years. As head of the Maharashtra ATS, and considering the current intelligence paradigm in the country and neighbourhood, I feel our major worry is lone wolf attacks in crowded places. A person who is going to get radicalised online, using platforms like dark net, a person who would receive instructions and how-to-do manuals online. I have dealt with such cases… in one of them, in which dark net was used, instructions were sent, targets were chosen online. But we were fortunate enough to intervene at the right time and in spite of taking two chances, the IED didn’t go off.”
He added, “We may feel that the Islamic State is no more a challenge because it has lost control over its geographical area, but it has established a very strong Internet presence, which will continue to haunt us for decades. Further, they also have the so-called ‘wilayats,’ or colonies… in places like Afghanistan, Bangladesh in our neighbourhood, and in the Philippines, where they are very firmly entrenched. So these are the major challenges…”