The Union Home Ministry has banned new offshoots of the al-Qaeda and Islamic State under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Both al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham-Khorasan (ISIS-K), an Afghanistan-based affiliate of ISIS, have been declared unlawful.
According to the ministry’s order, AQIS has been promoting and encouraging terrorist acts in the Indian Sub-continent and has been attempting to radicalise and recruit Indian youths.
There are 39 banned outfits under UAPA, including the Islamic State, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and others.
Known as Maulana Asim Umar, the chief of AQIS, Sanaul Haq, belongs to UP’s Sambhal. He was appointed the chief of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent in 2016. Al-Qaeda’s South Asian wing has been attempting to infiltrate India since September 2014, when the al-Qaeda overall chief Ayman al-Zawahiri announced the formation of the South Asia branch.
the group has had little success and was exposed in 2015, when nearly a dozen of its operatives, including Muhammed Asif, Abdur Rehman and Abdul Sami were arrested from Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand. Rehman’s brother was a suspect in the American Centre blast in Kolkata in 2002. He was later acquitted. Another attempt to establish AQIS was made in south India when a group called “Base Movement” (BM) came to public attention with a series of bomb blasts in 2016.
The group existed since 2014 and was responsible for a series of blasts in courts in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Three suspects were identified — Abbas Ali (27), Suleiman Mohd Abdullah (23) and Samsun Karim Raja. The trio claimed affiliation to AQIS, not Islamic State. According to the ministry, the ISIS-K, also known as Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP)/ISIS Wilayat Khorasan, is also promoting terrorism in the Indian subcontinent.
It has been committing terrorist acts to consolidate its position by recruiting youths for “global jihad” and to achieve the objective of establishing its own “caliphate” by overthrowing democratically elected governments, the order said.
The outfit considers India and Indian interests as its targets and is engaged in radicalising and recruiting Indian youths for terror activities, the ministry order said.
The UAPA has strict penal provisions to deal with banned organisations and their members. In 2016, twenty-two Keralites, including six women and three children, reached the bastion of Islamic State terror operations in Afghanistan. Intelligence reports claim that four of them from Kasaragod, including a child, were killed in bombings by the US. They were identified as Mohammad Mansad, Shihas, his wife Ajmala and their child.