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NEW DELHI/KOZHIKODE: A recent audio clip transmitted via Telegram app by an Islamic State recruiter who travelled from Kerala to Afghanistan has raised fears about lonewolf strikes as the tape calls for attacks on Hindu religious congregations such as Kumbh or the Thrissur Pooram. The IS recruiter is from Kasargod and asks Indian Muslims to launch attacks by driving a truck through devotees — mimicking similar IS inspired assaults in the West — or poisoning food.
The voice has been identified as that of Abdul Rashid alias Abdulla Abdul Rashid, the prime accused in the Kasargod Islamic State case being investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The case relates to 21 ‘radicalised’ Keralites, the host, including women and children, who left in 2016 to perform hijra (religious journey) to Islamic State-controlled Nangarhar province in Afghanistan. The NIA has already filed a chargesheet against 15. Of them, one is in judicial custody and 14 others like Rashid are absconding.
IS clip about lone-wolf attack an evidence of desperation
“Yes, the voice in the clip is indeed that of Abdul Rashid. This has been verified by the NIA with the help of his friends here and also matches with the voice in around 18-20 clips sent by him earlier, which we had analysed,” said an NIA officer.
Sources said Rashid’s past clips had called on Indian Muslims to perform hijra to an IS-controlled territory, claiming how those who had done so were leading a comfortable and contended life there.
However, Rashid’s latest clip asks youths to stage attacks within India. “If you cannot do the hijra, then you should help the jihad using your wealth. If that too does not materialise, go for attack against the idolators and disbelievers. Use your intellect. Poison their food. Use trucks,” he says, reflecting a realisation that travel to shrinking IS territory may not be possible.
“Islamic State Mujahideen are doing it in several parts of the world. In Las Vegas, one of our supporters killed many people at a music concert. At least you should try to derail a train. Or use a knife,” Rashid can be heard in the clip as saying. No jihadi link has emerged with the Las Vegas shooting. The NIA sees the latest clip as as evidence of desperation. “It seems he is under pressure from the IS as there have been no further migrations from India,” said an officer.
The next Kumbh event, the Ardh Kumbh Mela, is due to be held only in 2019 at Prayag. Thrissur Pooram, however, is held every year and is due in April 2018. According to sources, Rashid had in May 2017 created two Whatsapp groups, one with 212 members and another with 249 participants.