ISIS is one of the most-dreaded terrorist entities of the world, known for its barbaric treatment meted out to various hostages, some of whom have achieved significant fame following their gruesome death at the hands of the Sunni terror group. Till date it has mostly beheaded all its various hostages. Its most gruesome killing was that of Moath al-Kasasbeh, a pilot from Jordan, who was literally bathed in petrol before being taken to a cage and then burnt alive. The entire ordeal was also broadcast. Under normal circumstances one would assume that such heinous acts would only serve to keep more people from joining them but their increasing numbers prove otherwise. Even youngsters in India are now being inducted by the terror outfit.
How Was ISIS Born?
In spite of its self-professed war against terror, it is ironic that the US, George Bush Jr to be more specific, is the main architect behind the formation of ISIS. When the US armed forces under his command destroyed Iraq it presented a major opportunity for terrorists of various denominations to come and set up shop over there. This development also fostered the growth of sectarian entities in the country that eventually broke it up from inside. The situation in nearby Syria was no better. Now, the repercussions of such developments have reached India as well.
Situation in India
Narendra Modi has stated quite firmly that Indian Muslims will not become a part of ISIS. However, since 2014 there have been several reports stating that Indians have been going to Iraq and Syria to fight along with ISIS. In certain cases their families have migrated with them as well. While it is true that there have not been too many such incidents, yet the few occurrences that have happened so far are pretty disturbing as well. Evidently, Hyderabad leads the pack with Maharashtra following close on the heels. There is also a significant chunk of NRIs who are making a beeline for the terror group.
It was during January this year that a 19-year old girl from Hyderabad had been heard to have almost joined ISIS only to change her mind at the last minute. She had been staying in Qatar for 10 years and was convinced by a neighbour of hers to be a part of the terror group. Together they had gone to Turkey from where they would have ventured to Syria and joined ISIS. A few days later after this incident, Turkey deported 9 people who were trying to cross over to Syria to join ISIS. A fortnight before the last incident a US-educated engineer was apprehended in Hyderabad en route to joining ISIS. He was arrested along with his girlfriend based in Dubai. It is being suggested that he was acting as a recruiter.
The Case of Mehdi Biswas and Others
Mehdi Biswas was working for ISIS on Twitter and from the looks of it he had taken this responsibility a tad too seriously. During September 2014, Telangana Police tracked 15 engineering students, including a girl, at West Bengal. Incidentally, their parents had reported that these youngsters had gone missing. They had been planning to fly to Iraq and join ISIS from West Bengal. During March 2014, a gentleman at a village located near Cuddalore was informed by his son that he, his 3 children and his wife had joined ISIS in their war against Al-Assad. He described it as a dream come true experience.
What Does One Do in ISIS?
There are many responsibilities that a member of ISIS is supposed to fulfill. The primary activities – as is evident from various television clippings – are killing and beheading people, raping women and burying children alive. They also have to murder people as and when the need arises. Then there are additional responsibilities like cleaning toilets. It is presumed in certain circles that women have to play the role of sex slaves.
Preventive Role of Intelligence Agencies
Indian intelligence has played a major role over the years in stopping people from joining ISIS. The ones who look to join the group following interaction with ones who have already become part of the fraternity are not aware of the fact that at every step they are being watched by the intelligence agencies. Thanks to their prompt action a lot of young people have been saved and now there are some such individuals whose only aim in life is to ensure familial betterment. Most of them accept now that their decision to join ISIS was similar to walking into a death trap.
The way the security agencies are operating in order to deal with such instances represents a sea change from the methods that were followed previously. These people are not being arrested but rather given a chance to return to mainstream life. The powers-that-be are looking to take out the radical elements from their thought processes through such actions. However, they are still vigilant and keep a close eye on what they are doing on a daily basis. From the looks of it, their actions are seemingly bearing fruit as well.
What Is the Main Reason for Joining ISIS?
In a nutshell, the predominant reason for Muslims in India to join ISIS is to do service to Lord Almighty and become part of an Islamic state. The handlers of ISIS are fairly active on various social media channels and they lure youngsters – even the most promising and educated ones – with the promise of being able to attend heaven by serving the divine cause. From the looks of it these radical elements are supposedly rather well versed in the art of convincing young and gullible minds to join their cause. The Sunni group has already laid thousands of lives to waste in order to establish its Caliphate or kingdom.
Some other people have different reasons for going to Iraq or Syria. They wish to help people afflicted by the conflict in Syria. There is a gentleman named Ibn-Al Bara, an Australian citizen born in Syria, who is undertaking aid in the strife-torn country. Some of the individuals in question have also got in touch with him. An interesting fact about these individuals is that most of them are not the stern-religious ones who are associated with such entities. They are carried away with graphic representation of atrocities perpetrated against Muslims in various countries and join such groups as a way to get even with the world. What further helps is that there are always people ready to provide them instructions on how to go about things.
Some of the youngsters who wish to join terror groups such as ISIS are highly motivated to do so and this can be understood from the pains that they take to reach their preferred destinations. They are not easily dissuaded if their first plan does not work out properly as they always have a Plan B ready.
Recently, some youngsters attempted to get visas to Turkey but the intelligence agencies had been tracking them. Their visas were cancelled. However, they now decided to get to Kolkata from where they would reach Bangladesh illegally where a handler was supposed to make it easy for them to get to Turkey. At times, these youngsters are attracted by things such as mobile ringtone. The youngsters in question realize the unity of their purpose and always keep in touch.
The handlers – who are the single-most important people in this entire chain of events – use technology such as social media websites, Skype and even telegrams to keep in touch with them!
Most of the people who were on the verge of joining the ISIS are now thankful that the Indian intelligence officers were able to apprehend them before they became a part of the terror group. For most of them, their families have provided a way to get assimilated once again into a normal life. Some of them wonder what their families may have experienced if they were successful in joining the terror outfit. Such thoughts literally give them nightmares.
How Is Life Working Out for Them?
From the evidence, it cannot be said with certainty that life has been kind to all of them. Some of them – really educated people – have had to leave their educational institutions and look for alternative paths to get their lives back on track. A computer engineer, who was caught before he could join ISIS, is now studying interior designing and looking to get into the furniture business of his family. However, there are also instances where some of these youngsters have been so overwhelmed by the cordial behaviour of police that they have joined the police force instead. One thing though can be said for sure – the path for these deviant youngsters to be brought back to the fold is indeed a long one.
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