NIA's busting of an ISIS-inspired terror module is laudable, but we cannot afford any complacency now

The NIA arrested 10 people in the raids across Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. They have also recovered explosives, arms and a rocket launcher. In all this, they have been aided by valuable intel on radicalised youth inspired by the deadly ISIS.

 |  3-minute read |   27-12-2018
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In a major boost to Indian security and intelligence agencies, a significant terror module was busted in Delhi on Wednesday. The terror module — reportedly having direct links with ISIS — was busted in a well-coordinated joint operation by Uttar Pradesh's coveted Anti Terror Squad (ATS) and the National Investigative Agency (NIA), following a tip-off by intelligence outfits. 

One aspect that comes out of this operation is that the ISIS-inspired groups are continuing to radicalise the youth periodically.

Furthermore, the 10 arrests and the reported recovery of explosives indicate that this was probably a plot meant to cause devastation in Delhi, possibly during the New Year or in the run-up to the Republic Day celebrations. Any untoward incidents on these dates would have given ISIS and its affiliates huge mileage in bolstering their image. If the terror plots had been carried out, it would have also inspired other radical youth to join the bandwagon of terrorist violence.

main_nia_122618080742.jpgUndaunted: NIA officials conduct raids in Jafrabad. (PTI photo)

Now that the latest reports are suggesting that ISIS bastions in Syria are crumbling, and there is a noticeable slow-down in fresh recruitment in ISIS cadres, these arrests mean there is much happening undercover and things are not so simple as would ordinarily seem. 

Radicalisation continues — and the agencies should shun their ostrich-like demeanor. They should continue to keep a sharp eye on radicalisation and intercept any terror financing from abroad. This said, the efforts of the Indian agencies — particularly intelligence agencies — have to be lauded for providing preventive and actionable intelligence, leading to the successful busting of the module. Furthermore, it was due to the acumen of the Indian intelligence fraternity that the flight of indoctrinated youth to fight in Syria and its neighborhood could be effectively detected and stalled. 

This is no mean achievement.

main_isis-search-up_122618074305.jpgFar and wide: The ATS and the NIA conducting searches in connection with the module in Amroha. (Photo: ANI)

Containing terror plots is a stupendous task. In this respect, the UP ATS has been adding multiple feathers in its cap by repeated arrests at regular intervals. Such successes also include the raiding of several espionage-syndicates that were allegedly operated by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the recent past. In these syndicates, the spies were reportedly targeting our military installations.

With 117 arrests, UP ranks top in the number of people held on allegedly being associated with ISIS — the maximum number of arrests were in Amroha district in the state during the recent crackdown as well.

Sentinels contained in the ATS deserve full motivation and support from the government and central agencies, so that they continue to preempt strikes by the terror outfits which have stretched their activities into Kashmir too. The new outfit that has surfaced after the latest attempts is named 'Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam', and its association and linkages with other terror groups are expected to come to the fore after sustained interrogation.

Seemingly, a lot more has to be uncovered, calling for close monitoring to prevent further damage. The terrorists reportedly had extensive plans including fidayeen attacks, and sources close to intelligence circles say that rocket launchers, bulletproof jackets and sophisticated weapons were also in the scheme of things to hit Delhi with extreme fury. 

One will know more on the terrorists’ plans, and their nexus with their foreign handlers, after the questioning. It will not be surprising if local names also come up for their complicity in the larger blueprint of planned terror attacks. Since the case in reference is nipped in the bud, at least for the time being, it is high time that the NIA and ATS UP work in flawless concert together to thwart the evil designs of these hostile elements to spoil the New Year in India or, a little later on, our Republic Day spirits.

Also read: Why NaMo supporters are angry

Writer

Shantanu Mukharji Shantanu Mukharji @shantanu2818

The author is a retired IPS officer who has held key positions in the Government of India handling sensitive security issues within and outside India.

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