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IS, Al Qaeda threat perception high in State
R Dutta Choudhury
 NEW DELHI, June 24 - Footprints of modules of dreaded terrorist outfit Islamic State (IS) have been found in different parts of India and though no activity of the outfit has been noticed in Assam, the threat perception cannot be overlooked because the State has long international boundary with Bangladesh, while, vast areas of the State near the border are virtually out of the security radar.

Highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that the security agencies have found footprints of IS modules and supporters in different parts of the country. The IS is facing serious problems in the countries where the outfit originated and that is why, its modules are trying to spread their activities to other parts of the world and India is definitely one of the main targets.

Sources said that all the security and investigating agencies of India are working in close coordination to thwart the game plan of the IS and other such outfits including Al Qaeda but the threat perception increased as the outfits are increasingly using the cyber space to radicalize youths. Though efforts are being made to keep a watch on the social media platforms, it is almost impossible to scan all the information and hate messages spread through the cyber space and the outfits like the IS are taking advantage of the situation, sources added.

The National Investigating Agency (NIA) has so far registered more than 30 cases involving modules of IS in different parts of the country. Though no such case has yet been registered in Assam, one case has been registered in West Bengal. Among the eastern India states, Assam and West Bengal are considered most vulnerable not only because of the fact that the states have long international border with Bangladesh but also because of the presence of a large number of people who are vulnerable to be targeted by outfits like IS to work as their modules and sympathizers, sources pointed out.

According to assessment of the security agencies, apart from Jammu and Kashmir, south Indian states, particularly Kerala, are most vulnerable as a large number of people from those places live in the Middle East countries and they can be easily approached by moles of the IS and other such outfits. Moreover, internet literacy in Kerala is also much higher than other parts of the country, sources pointed out.

On threat perception in Assam, sources said that vast areas of the State particularly the char lands near the international border are out of the security radar and no one knows what actually is going on there. “It is too early to say whether any illegal activity is going on in the chars. But the fact remains that such places are outside the security radar. Moreover, the IS and Al Qaeda have set up bases in Bangladesh and elements of such outfits may try to cross over to Assam. The outfits may also try to poison the minds of a certain section of people by using the cyber space,” sources added.

Sources further said that the Assam Police should also try to augment its intelligence gathering mechanism and all minor incidents should be followed up. “Before the foot prints of Jammat Ul Mujaheedin Bangladesh (JMB) were found in Assam there was an incident of clash over the way Namaaz was to be performed. Some people wanted to do it in a traditional way and some in Arabian way. Police went to the spot to bring the situation under control but the matter was never followed up and later it was found that the person who was insisting on Arabian way of performing Namaaz was one of the main man of the JMB in Assam. Similarly, same kind of case was reported in Nagaon district and later it was found that an youth, who later joined a Kashmiri militant outfit was involved in the dispute. All such minor cases should not be overlooked by the police,” sources added.

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