The Islamic State or ISIS threat continues to loom over India. With the terror group and its various manifestations spreading base in 12 Indian states in recent years, the Sunni jihadists' group is now "most active" in these states across the country. Apart from southern states like Telangana, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu -- where the Iran and Syria-based terrorist outfit penetrated years ago -- investigating agencies have found their links in states like Maharashtra, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir as well.
The government on Wednesday said Many instances of individuals from different states joining the group have come to the notice of the central and state security agencies. The information on IS was provided by Minister of State of Home G Kishan Reddy in the Rajya Sabha in a written reply to Bharatiya Janata Party MP Vinay P Sahasrabuddhe's Unstarred Question.
"The cyberspace is being closely watched by Indian agencies and action taken as per the law," the Minister said.
The Islamic State or ISIS, which has taken control over much of Syria and Iraq since 2014 and has branches in countries like Bangladesh, Mali, Somalia, and Egypt and links with other terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Al-Qaeda, is using various social media platforms to propagate its ideology in India.
Reddy said that probes by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) have revealed that the IS is most active in Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir.
The NIA -- India's anti-terror agency -- has registered 17 cases related to the presence of IS in Telangana, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It has arrested 122 accused, Reddy replied.
"Islamic State, or Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), or Daesh, or Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP), ISIS Wilayat Khorasan, or Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham-Khorasan (ISIS-K) and its manifestations have been notified as terrorist organisations and included in the First Schedule to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 by the central government," the Minister said.
Asked whether the government has any information on how these group members are funded and whether they are getting any foreign funding for terror activities, the Minister replied in the positive.
However, Reddy did not explain what information the Ministry of Home Affairs -- which is responsible for internal security and law and order in the country -- has on the IS and which foreign country is funding for their terror activities.
MHA officials indicated the role of neighbouring Pakistan in such activities. In August 2014, the US and Iran started a campaign to conduct airstrikes on ISIS targets in Iraq.
Since then, 14 countries in a US-led coalition along with local Kurdish and Arab forces in the area have also executed airstrikes on ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. It has led to the killing of several top ISIS leaders, weakening their grasp on many of their strongholds.
(With IANS Inputs)