NEW DELHI – There are 23 Indians fighting with terror group ISIS in Syria and Iraq and another six are dead, says a report from a recent assessment by security agencies.
The report – drawn up with the help of the British Mi6, the Central Intelligence Agency of the USA and some Arab countries and shared at topmost level of the government – says in the ISIS, Indian, Pakistani, African and Bangladeshi fighters are considered “inferior to Arab fighters.”
They are “paid less” and are given inferior equipment in comparison to their Arab and Western counterparts. “There appears to be a clear hierarchy” among the fighters and “Arabs” are preferred, the report says.
Indian, Pakistani and African fighters are also considered less motivated and therefore are generally “tricked” into carrying out “suicide bombings”, the report says.
It describes how: these fighters are likely to be given an explosive-laden vehicle and asked to go near “the target and call a certain number” for further instructions. However, the phone call activates a “pre-set mechanism” triggering an explosion, the report says.
It also notes that Indians are more likely to be used as cannon fodder “forced to fight in the frontline” as they are considered expendable.
The ISIS is known to lure fighters by promising them marriage to Syrian women, but even here, Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are “lowest in the priority for Jihadi brides since they are considered ethnically inferior,” the report states.
Islam in India – perhaps because of a softer approach – is considered “apostate and a departure from the original teachings of the Quran,” the report says and adds that there is a “clear trust deficit” between the dominant Arab fighters and fighters from South East Asia.
The terrorists who struck Paris last week in a wave of violence killing 130, were all French or Belgian nationals who had joined the ISIS. Nearly 2,000 of the 6,000 European Union Jihadi volunteers who joined the Syrian wars were from France. Comparatively, India’s 23 is far less.
Amid reports that the ISIS, which seeks to establish a caliphate and controls large swathes of Syria and Iraq, has been attempting to lure more Indian youth to join it. More than a 1000 Indian Islamic scholars and clerics have issued a fatwa against the terror group, describing its acts and actions as against the basic tenets of Islam.