ISIL ‘has failed’ to penetrate India

Home minister says India has arrested more than 90 ISIL sympathisers to ward off challenges posed by the group.

Anti-ISIL protest in India
A Muslim boy holds an anti-ISIL placard at a rally organised by a Muslim charitable trust in Mumbai [File: Shailesh Andrade/Reuters]

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS, has failed to establish a foothold in India despite it being home to the world’s second-largest Muslim population, the country’s home minister has said.

Rajnath Singh said on Saturday that the government had successfully warded off challenges posed by the group, arresting more than 90 ISIL sympathisers.

“India is the second-largest country as far as Muslim population in the world is concerned,” Singh told reporters in New Delhi.

“I can say with full responsibility that despite such a large population, [ISIL] has not been able to set foot in India.”

Five members of Indian Mujahideen, a proscribed organisation, had been sentenced to death, underlining the government’s successful efforts to check “terrorism”, Singh added.

His remarks come amid fears from the ruling BJP party that ISIL is trying to establish a presence in Asia as it comes under pressure in its heartland in Syria.

In neighbouring Bangladesh, ISIL has claimed responsibility for a wave of killings since 2015, including a major attack on a Dhaka cafe last year in which 22 people, including 18 foreign hostages, were killed.

The government has consistently ruled out the presence of such groups, blaming domestic attackers instead.

Analysts say they pose a growing danger in conservative Bangladesh, which has been roiled by political turmoil and instability for many years.

Source: News Agencies