Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) Monday claimed it had detained an alleged Islamic State (IS) suicide bomber who was planning to fly to India to target a key Indian politician from the ruling party over alleged insults to Prophet Mohammed.
The man is said to be the national of a Central Asian country who was recruited in Turkey and then entered Russia.
“The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation on the territory of Russia identified and detained a member of the international terrorist organization “Islamic State” banned in Russia, a native of a country in the Central Asian region, who planned to commit a terrorist act by self-detonation against one of the representatives ruling circles of India,” the FSB said in a statement.
According to FSB, the man was recruited as a suicide bomber by one of the IS leaders “in the period from April to June 2022, while on the territory of the Republic of Turkey”.
“His indoctrination was carried out remotely through the accounts of the messenger “Telegram” and during personal meetings in Istanbul by a representative of the terrorist organization. As a result, the terrorist took an oath of allegiance to the Amir of ISIS. After that, he was given the task of leaving for the territory of Russia, completing the necessary documents and flying to India to commit a terrorist act,” added the FSB statement.
Russian news agency TASS reported the FSB has also released a video where the suspected terrorist has confessed “that he was preparing an act of terrorism against a member of India’s ruling circles for insulting the Prophet Muhammad”.
According to TASS, the detainee said in the video that he swore allegiance to the IS Amir in April 2022 and underwent special training, after which he flew to Russia, from where he was to travel to India. “I was supposed to be given things there to commit a terrorist attack at the behest of the IS for insulting the Prophet Muhammad,” said the man in the video.
The reason cited by the suspected suicide bomber to travel to India to commit a terrorist act is a likely reference to BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s allegedly objectionable remarks against the Prophet during a TV debate. Sources in the Indian security establishment said they did not yet have the information on who the suspected bomber was going to target in India.
Sharma’s remarks have already been linked to two cases of ghastly murders—one in Rajasthan and another in Maharashtra—where two people were hacked to death by some local Muslim men for allegedly supporting her and her statements on social media.
Notably, in June, the Islamic State had threatened attacks in India over the controversy.
A news bulletin by Al Azaim Foundation, the mouthpiece of Islamic State Khurasan Province (ISKP), said an IS arm operating in the Indian subcontinent, India was on target of the organisation for Nupur Sharma’s “blasphemy” act.
Independent news handle Khorasan Diary had posted on Twitter then: “The video features @NupurSharmaBJP, the national spokesperson of the @BJP4India and houses of Muslims bulldozed. It then features previous statements of ISKP suicide bombers who were Indian. Threatening to conduct attacks against India wherever possible.”
According to Khorasan Diary, the video also criticised the Taliban for engaging with India diplomatically. It criticised Mulla Omar’s son Mulla Yaqoob, acting defence minister in the Islamic Emirate’s caretaker cabinet for his interview with an Indian news channel and Amir Khan Muttaqi, acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, for his meeting with the Indian charge d’ affairs in Afghanistan for beginning new cooperation.
“It then features @narendramodi and the attacks on Sikhs in Afghanistan followed by animations of a suicide bombing. Ending with a message to conduct attacks very soon,” the Khorasan Diary post had said.
Earlier, the ISKP had released a 50-page document on the issue with pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi petting a cow. The document had called for attacks on India and against Indian interests. The ISKP bulletin has videos of Nupur Sharma’s controversial statement, footage of bulldozers demolishing houses of protestors apart from those of Modi, and other issues.