Report on AQIS

Prelims level : Terror organisations Mains level : GS 3: “Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism”.
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  • ‘Study by New York-based think tank misleading’A top intelligence official on Thursday dismissed as ‘alarmist’ a U.S.-based think tank’s report that contends that the Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) was exploiting the growing incidents of violence against Muslims in India and attacks in the name of “cow vigilantism” to recruit cadres.
  • Asserting that the study by The Soufan Center, a New York-based think tank, was misleading, the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said: “researchers appear to have extrapolated isolated instances, imaginatively.”
  • The report titled ‘AQIS — The Nucleus of Jihad in South Asia’ asserts that the rise in inter-religious clashes in India due to a changing political discourse had resulted in further divisions between Hindus and Muslims. Increasing incidents of violent attacks on Muslims in India, who are accused of eating beef, was being exploited by groups like AQIS to “incite Indian Muslims to join what is being called a fight for their honour,” according to the study’s authors.
  • “India is a pluralist country with 180 million Muslims,” the intelligence official said. “Indian Islam is based on rich Sufistic traditions of pluralism, inclusivism and composite nationalism. The wave of Al Qaeda in the 1990s and 2000s did not impacts the Indian Muslim. The wave of Islamic State had minimal impact, with only about 108 individuals succumbing to its lure. In the past few decades, global Islamist uprisings and terrorism have not impacted the Indian Muslim, as they were based on Jihadism, born out of exclusionism,” the official added, dismissing the report’s premise on the increasing vulnerability of the Indian Muslim to recruitment by the AQIS.
  • The Soufan Center also said in its report that there was strong evidence of ties between the AQIS and the LeT. According to the report, AQIS operative Abdul Rehman, who was arrested from Orissa in 2015, travelled to Pakistan in 2014 as a LeT recruit.
  • “ISI facilitated his entry into Karachi via Dubai, but once inside Pakistan, Rahman met with several high-ranking AQIS leaders, including its chief, Asim Umar. Through his LeT contacts, Rehman later joined AQIS. The indictment documents of Abdul Rahman reveal that numerous LeT leaders visited AQIS headquarters in South Waziristan including Sajid Majid, ISI operative who masterminded the 26/11 Mumbai attacks,” it said.
  • The think tank said the situation in Kashmir had also taken an “unprecedented turn.” “For the first time since the onset of conflict in Kashmir, the region is responding to the appeal of groups like al-Qaeda.”
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