Following A high-level meeting held in New Delhi on Saturday to discuss the threat of Islamic State (IS) radicalisation, sources said that as per fresh government estimates, a total of 13 Indians have joined the IS so far — six of them have died. The 13 included some Indians residing overseas.
According to sources, 17 youths who intended to leave India to join the IS were stopped by intelligence agencies and police forces. The youths hailed from Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka and other states.
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“Among the seven alive who are still with the IS are an Australian citizen who is originally from Kashmir, two of the four youths who left from Kalyan, one from Bengaluru, one from Telangana, and one each from Singapore and Oman,” said a source.
The two youths from Kalyan are Fahad Shaikh and Aman Naeem Tandel, who went with Areeb Majeed and Saheem Tanki to Iraq and Syria in May last year. Majeed returned to India in November 2014 and was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), while Tanki has reportedly died.
Adil Fayaz, who hails from Kashmir, is believed to have joined the IS after completing his MBA from Australia’s Queensland University. Fayaz’s case came to light when the Australian Secret Intelligence Organisation told the Intelligence Bureau in March 2014 that he was among over 600 Australian citizens, mainly of West Asian origin, who were serving with jihadists in Syria.
Haja Fakkurudeen Usman Ali, a Tamil Nadu-born Singapore resident who left for Turkey along with his family on January 22, 2014, had disappeared across the Syrian border and is believed to have joined the IS. “However, of those alive, only one youth from Kalyan is engaged in active combat, while the others are believed to have been assigned menial and odd jobs by their handlers,” said the source.
Among the six Indians who are reported to have died after joining the IS are: Saheem Tanki from Kalyan, who reportedly died in a suicide bombing in the northeastern Syrian city of al Hasaka in January; Sultan Abdul Kadir Armar from Bhatkal, who was reportedly killed during fighting at Kobane on the Syria-Turkey border on March 6; Indian Mujahideen commander Muhammad ‘Bada’ Sajid from Sanjarpur in UP; and Haneef Waseem, a student from Hyderabad who had gone to London for higher studies and reportedly died fighting in Syria.
Another Indian jihadist reported to have died fighting overseas is Anwar Husain, a one-time minivan driver from Bhatkal, who was killed in 2014, fighting alongside jihadists near Kandahar in Afghanistan.
Last month, Twitter accounts of known IS sympathisers had reported the deaths of two other Indians in Syria. They were identified only by their pseudonyms, Abu Talha and Abu Muhammad.
A ministry source said that during Saturday’s meeting with police chiefs and home secretaries of 12 states, chaired by Home Secretary L C Goyal, the states were told “not to go by surface assessments” of the IS threat in their backyard, but to make a genuine assessment based on ground intelligence. Social media cells comprising 15 police personnel will be set up in each state and UT, and will be trained by the Centre to analyse patterns after trawling the internet and IS-linked social media accounts.