Home minister says al-Qaeda, IS real threats

Home minister says al-Qaeda, IS real threats

Rajnath asserts Muslims have never been in support of extremism

Home minister says al-Qaeda, IS real threats

Growing threat from al-Qaeda and other Islamic terror outfits, along with continued aggravation by Pakistan, continues to remain India’s primary security concerns, said Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the annual internal security conference here on Saturday. 

Singh inaugurated the two-day conference of Directors General and Inspectors General of police forces from across the country and heads of security and intelligence agencies. “The al-Qaeda is a serious threat. We can’t take its threat of turning India into an Islamic country lightly and should consider it as a challenge,” Singh said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the meet on Sunday.  The event, organised annually by the Intelligence Bureau, is taking place outside Delhi for the first time in 49 years.  

Singh, however, said that India’s security and intelligence agencies are ready to face the challenge and contain the situation. “We will not allow them (terrorist organisations) to get a foothold in India. I am confident of the capability of our security forces and I believe we are ready to face any kind of challenge,” he said.

He said the country’s intelligence agencies have come across a new terror organisation, Kaidat-ul-Jihad, which is working as al-Qaeda’s local chapter.  

The  minister pointed out that the Islamic State (IS), spreading in Iraq and Syria, is a new challenge to India. 

“The IS is a major challenge. Misguided youth are getting attracted to join organisations like IS. We’re concerned about such youngsters. The situation is worrying,” he said, referring to the recent incident where some youths from Kalyan in Maharashtra left home to join IS.

He said Pakistan was continuing its attempts to destabilise India by training and sheltering jihadi elements. 

“Pakistan is not willing to relent. Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) continues to act against India. Pakistan claims that non-state actors are behind such incidents. But is ISI also a non-state actor? ISI is aiding terrorists,” Singh stated.  

He rued that Pakistan is not taking initiatives to punish those involved in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks as the case in the neighbouring country is moving at a slow pace. “Pakistan is not helping in the judicial process. In fact, it is trying to scuttle it,” he said.

Referring to the extensive Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen terror network recently unearthed across West Bengal, Assam and other parts of India, he said, “The role our police forces and intelligence agencies have played has been crucial in ensuring security of our people. A terrorist network has been exposed in West Bengal. The state police and NIA are playing an important role.” 

Singh also expressed concern over the growing use of the internet by anti-national elements and said the nation is taking adequate measures to combat such forces by monitoring the cyberspace.

He, however, asserted that Islamic terror outfits will not be able to succeed in India. “Indian Muslims have never been in support of such activities. Muslims in India fought for the country’s freedom just like Hindus did. Al-Qaeda or anybody else won’t succeed in their motives,” he said. The home minister admitted to lack of development in the north-east and assured the police top brass of northeastern states of total support from the Centre.