Fourteen individuals were arrested and charged in India with having links to jihadi terrorist organizations. They later told interrogators that they had orders to go after “political targets, foreigners, vital installations, and government machinery,” as opposed to committing mass casualty attacks.
The men of Ansar-ul-Tawhid (AuT), India’s Islamic State affiliate, have adopted new tactics as part of their terror campaign.
These new instructions, which may have been inspired by the Islamic State (IS), form a new trend for jihadis in India. The Indian Mujahideen (IM), a prominent terror group throughout the country, focused its attacks over the past ten years on heavily-trafficked markets and religious centers, instead of targeting political entities, the Times of India reports.
During court proceedings on Sunday, two of the alleged terrorists revealed details of the recruitment process within the prominent terrorist organization. Reports described the system as Al Qaeda-like, but revamped to enhance the Islamic State.
They were tasked to “shake the government, politicians should be targeted,” a security official told the Economic Times. “IM commanders considered that it was difficult to target a political person and would have also led to lot of backlash against their community.”
The two men told the court they had no regrets for joining IS, nor did they feel badly about the jihadist acts they committed.
“He told us that his arrest does not make any difference to the structure of the IS in the country. He was bold enough to say that some other person will be made the Emir and work to establish IS will be continued,” a police officer said of one of the men charged.
“It is not alone to conduct blasts in the country. From operating like lone wolves who could use anything including a knife to attack a foreigner to organising multiple attacks in the country, Shafi was guiding them,” another office added. “His method is to attack and create confusion, and has told them that the IS from Syria will issue statements owning responsibility.”
Separately, pro-Islamic State slogans appeared on a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in a village in north-west India, according to images that surfaced in the media. Local news outlets added that the graffiti included a threat to carry out a terror attack Tuesday during India’s Republic day festivities.
Republic day celebrates the anniversary of January 26, 1950, when the Constitution of India became the country’s governing document.