Thanks to the democratically elected honourable members, the smooth running of the legislative business in both houses of the Indian Parliament has become a distant dream during the current spell of the NDA government under Mr Narendra Modi. This trend started with the disruptions led by the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) during the UPA-II regime under Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister Consequent to the alleged multi-billion scams like Coalgate, 2-G Spectrum, Commonwealth Games and a host of Defence deals. Then they did it mainly to force the reluctant government to set up inquiries for fixing the responsibility for the alleged irregularities, nepotism and kickbacks.
Ever since the Indian National Congress (INC or Congress), which couldn’t garner enough seats during the General Elections in 2014 to be formally recognised as the main opposition party, adopted the same tactics to disrupt the proceedings of both houses of the Parliament and they are merrily doing so, undoubtedly in vengeance with a far greater pitch and intensity. The only difference between two regimes remains that in the absence of any reasonable issue or scam during the NDA regime, the Congress has become too inventive and innovative making an elephant out of a mole from every incident of some significance. In their resolve to oppose and embarrass the NDA government, the most unfortunate and regrettable part of the strategy of the Congress led opposition is that they are acting with utter disregard to the all decency and ethical norms. It is the result of such deterioration that they are playing politics with utter insensitivity even on the dead bodies of the Indian nationals brutally massacred by the ISIS in Mosul, Iraq.
The Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj ( referred as ‘the Minister’ hereafter) informed the Parliament on 20th March 2018 that 39 Indians abducted by the ISIS in Iraq in June 2014 are confirmed dead and the mortal remains of the deceased Indians will be brought back home by the Minister of State General VK Singh soon. The kind of din and pandemonium was created in the Upper House by the Congress led opposition making allegations on the Minister and the ruling party about misleading statements in the house by constantly spreading falsehood on the issue, she could hardly finish her statement with constant interruptions. The situation in the Lower House was even worse where the proceedings of the house were disrupted not allowing her even to complete her statement.
The case relates to missing 40 Indian nationals working for a construction company in Mosul Iraq. The majority of workers were from Punjab and at various points of time they had gone to Mosul, Iraq under own arrangement through private agents seeking employment, details of which were initially not known to the Indian Embassy in Baghdad. After the dreaded ISIS militants captured Mosul from the Iraqi forces in early June 2014, these Indian nationals too were reportedly captured by them. While one of them managed to escape and ultimately return home with the official assistance, efforts to locate and find the ultimate fate of the remaining people could be initiated only after the state forces recaptured and established control over Mosul.
What is ISIS aka Daesh?
The ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq & Syria), also known as ISIL or simply Islamic State or Daesh, is a Jihadist militant group in Iraq and Syria influenced by orthodox, Wahhabi and heterodox doctrine of Sunni Islam. Its immediate objective is to establish a caliphate, or Islamic state in Sunni majority regions of Iraq and Syria, and gradually spread its influence over the other regions of the world, including India. By June 2014, they had seized the control of Mosul (second important city in Iraq), Fallujah and Tikrit in northern-Iraq in a large scale military offensive and violence.
World leaders and the media are increasingly using the term 'Daesh', an acronym for the Arabic phrase al-Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham, in place of the earlier more commonly used terms 'ISIS', 'ISIL' or 'IS'. This term reportedly is not favoured by the ISIS militants who consider it as a derogatory term that people should not use even if they dislike them. The militant group came in prominence in 2014, after it defeated Iraqi forces to occupy many key cities in Iraq including Mosul and executed genocidal Sinjar massacre wherein thousands of Yazidi men were abducted and killed.
This dreaded Islamic group has been designated a terrorist organisation by the United Nations (UN) and many individual countries. These militants are infamous for mass murders with a view of ethnic cleansing, brutal and gruesome killing of their victims by beheadings and other types of torturous executions of rival soldiers, civilians, journalists and other workers, and destruction of cultural heritage sites. The UN has listed them for grave human rights abuses and war crimes. As a caliphate, it claims religious, political and military authority over all Muslims worldwide. The ISIS is currently headed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and had an estimated annual budget of more than US 1$ billion and a strength of more than 30,000 fighters in 2015. It is known to actively promote religious violence, and regards Muslims who do not agree with its interpretations as infidels or apostates.
Government’s Perspective of Missing Indians
In her statement in the Parliament, the Minister summarized the sequence of events leading to the discovery of the mortal remains of the abducted Indians since 2014. Some 40 Indians were working with a construction firm in Mosul, Iraq when the city fell to the ISIS militants who defeated the far bigger Iraqi army and forced them to retreat during early June 2014. After more than three years of occupation and bloody struggle, finally the Iraqi forces were able to recapture the city in July 2017 which was formally announced by the Iraqi Prime Minister himself from Mosul on 9th July 2017.
There was a lot of concern and anxiety about the safety and well-being of the Indian nationals among the family and government, hence General VK Singh, the minister of state external affairs visited Iraq on 12 July 1917 to seek state assistance in finding whereabouts of the missing persons. While the top Iraqi authorities conveyed their assurance for full cooperation simultaneously issuing instructions to all relevant Iraqi agencies, the visit didn’t yield any concrete result but the constant efforts through diplomatic and other channels were kept on. On finally getting confirmation about the death of the Indian nationals, the sequence of incidents was divulged by the Minister in the Parliament.
During the last visit to Iraq in search of the missing Indians, General VK Singh met the company owner where the Indian nationals were working. The employer informed that 40 Indians and some Bangladeshis were working for his company. When the ISIS started capturing Mosul in 2014, he told them to leave. Iraqis were first to leave, the members of other nationalities too left but, somehow, Indians and Bangladeshis remained. The food caterer of the company told that one day when the Indians and Bangladeshis were going to his place for food, they were spotted by the ISIS who inquired about their identity. Being known of their identity, their men took these workers to a textile factory where they first separated the Bangladeshi and Indian nationals then one day they asked the caterer to take the Bangladeshis to Erbil.
An Indian worker namely Harjit Masih allegedly asked the owner of the company of a favour to give him a Muslim name and he managed to go out to Erbil with the Bangladeshi workers with the acquired name ‘Ali’. After Ali escaped and the ISIS men noticed that there were only 39 men, then they decided to take all Indian captives to Badush. The company owner said he was not aware of what happened to them thereafter as he had no further contact with them. Reportedly, around 700 people captured by Islamic State at Mosul were taken to Badush prison and executed.
During the visit of the Indian Minister of State, India’s Ambassador to Iraq and Iraqi officials to Badush in October 2017, they were informed by the locals about a mound where a mass grave was expected of the people killed by the ISIS. Accordingly, with the help of deep penetration radar, it was ascertained that there were indeed some bodies beneath the mound. Following the Indian request, the Iraqi authorities engaged skilled personnel and equipment to dig the mound and exhume the bodies. Some ID cards, non-Iraqi shoes and long hairs too were found at the site of burial; the mortal remains were sent to Baghdad and Martyrs Foundation informed. On demand, the DNA samples were later collected from the close relatives of the missing nationals from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, and sent to Iraq for matching with the mortal remains.
It was a tedious process and the Martyrs Foundation finally informed recently that the 38 DNA samples have completely matched with the dead while in one case it matched only up to 70% because the sample was not directly of the parents but other relatives. The Minister added that the entire process was extremely difficult and painstaking. When Mosul was freed from the ISIS, it was all littered with bodies and mess everywhere, and it was really difficult to organise things. General VK Singh would now finish the remaining task, obtain certificates of the dead from the Martyrs Foundation and bring home the mortal remains of the Indian citizens.
The Minister also added that the story earlier put forth by the only survivor Harjit Masih was fake and concocted. Masih said that fourty Indian compatriots were taken to a jungle and shot at by the ISIS and he survived because he was shot in the leg. There are several inconsistencies in his version and his answers to many queries were evasive and unsatisfactory. He called from Erbil but he did not have answer how he reached there. With the capture of Mosul in June 2014, the Indian officials had lost all contacts with fourty construction workers; all of them were abducted by the ISIS along with some Bangladeshis. Few days later, the ISIS had released all the Bangladeshi workers and Harjit Masih (Indian) had managed to flee along with them masquerading as a Muslim.
The Lone Survivor’s Account
The only Mosul survivor, Harjit Masih claimed in Mohali in May 2015 that all the hostages, except him, were dead. He said they all of them were killed in front of his eyes Recently too he reiterated that he has been saying this for the last three years but the government did not accept his version. Narrating the incident, Masih aged about 28 now said that the Indians workers were kidnapped by the ISIS militants and they were kept hostage for some time. After a few days in June 2014 itself, they were all taken to a jungle and the militants indiscriminately fired at him killing all but him. He was fortunate to manage in escaping from the clutches of the militants by pretending to be dead after getting a bullet shot in his leg.
Masih worked as a pipe fitter in the same construction firm and now works in Gurdaspur, Punjab as a labourer in the grain market. He there also added there were 51 Bangladeshi workers too and initially all were detained by the militants in Mosul; later they allowed Bangladeshis to leave and shot only the Indians. He questioned the motive of the government in subjecting him to interrogation and not believing his version inter alia complaining that he was jailed for six months. Reportedly, a Bangladeshi worker too spoke to Indian media in June 2014 quoting Masih about the alleged killing of the Indian hostages by the militants.
The Opposition Politics over the Dead
The current trend in politics is that the opposition parties, particularly the Congress which is out of power for almost four years now, spare no opportunity to create din and pandemonium even over the non-issues. The relation between the party in power and those in opposition have never been pleasant in Indian politics but many leaders in the past had at least followed some decency and ethics over the issues but in the current spell it is like enemies fighting in the battle field with no bars and no strings attached as can also be seen from the utterances of the Congress president describing own party and the BJP as Pandavas and Kauravas.
The obvious question for any sane and unbiased person would be what is the reason for this attitudinal change. This of course is a subject of the detailed analysis but, as I see, partly it is because the Congress is seeking revenge for what the BJP and their allied parties did during the Congress UPA-II regime in the Parliament over the alleged scams and partly because of the frustration of the party over the constant rejection by the electorate following the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Obviously, it is unpalatable for a party which has ruled the independent India for most of the time, to remain out of power for long. However, the chief difference remains that the NDA government under Mr Narendra Modi so far has not left any significant corruption trail or other serious failure for the opposition to capitalise upon. Consequently, the opposition is satisfied constantly taking non-issues or minor issues to disrupt the legislative business and furore in the Parliament to achieve their intended goal.
So it is not surprising that as soon as the news about the death of 39 Indian nationals in Iraq at the hands of ISIS was broken by the Minister in the Parliament, the opposition instantly picked up the issue to capitalise as an opportunity to blame and malign the image of the ruling party citing it as a serious failure the government. Few Congress leaders alleged that the Foreign Minister repeatedly told them lies that the abducted Indians were alive whenever the issue was raised. They demanded that the Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and another Union minister Harsimrat Badal must personally apologise to the families of the 39 people killed in Iraq for misleading them over the last four years and should also publicly admit that they kept them in dark while there was no concrete information.
Amidst the row and furore created in the Parliament with the revelation, the Opposition also accused the Modi government of being insensitive in not informing the victims' kin first. The Congress leaders described the Modi government as "heartless" over misleading the country about the deaths and sought apology from the ministers for keeping the kin and country in the dark for so long. The left parties too were not for behind in joining the protest while accusing the government of the failure in not informing the families first.
While lashing out at the government for not informing the families of the Mosul victims before informing Parliament, Mohammad Salim, the CPM Member of Parliament, said that it showed the insensitive and inhuman face of the government. He stated that the government should have contacted the families of victims first before the Parliament was informed. Also the government cannot counter and criticise the opposition when it has not been able to perform its own duty.
Commenting on the death of 39 Indians in Iraq's Mosul, Salmon Khurshid, a Congress veteran leader and ex-Foreign minister blamed the Modi government for misleading the nation regarding the killing of 39 Indians in Iraq's Mosul by the ISIS. He lashed out at the external affairs ministry and said that they took too long to confirm the same. The former External Affairs minister said, "It is tragic. To an extent what External Affairs minister is saying is understandable, what is difficult to understand is inability all these days to have ascertained the truth and to have in sense misled people of India about how terrible the truth was".
Another Congress leader Shashi Tharoor told news agencies that the news was saddening for every Indian and he would like to ask why this information was delayed by the government and why they (government) kept misleading the nation all along. The government should tell us now how it happened, and when they (39 Indians) died. Also, the way government gave high hopes to the families was not right. Congress leaders Surjewala and Ambika Soni, criticising the government for its failure, demanded compensation of rupees 10 million for each family; the latter going to the extent of even threatening to move a privilege motion in the Parliament against the Minister.
It’s not that everyone has reacted in the same manner. Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab expressed grief over the death of Indians kidnapped by the Islamic State in Iraq's Mosul in 2014. Rather than blaming the government or making any controversial remark, he offered in a tweet, "My heart goes out to the families who had been living in hope since their reported abduction by ISIS in 2014. Prayers with all of them."
Families Expressed Grief and Shock
Of the 39 dead Indians, the majority of them 27 were from Punjab, 6 from Bihar, 4 from Himachal Pradesh and 2 from West Bengal. It is indeed a matter of grave pain and miseries for the families who lost their earning members and all of them indeed are under deep grief and shock. It is true that no official would like to dishearten or discourage family members, more particularly when the authentic proof of the death is not available. So in all likelihood, they are probably right when some of them express their resentment and anger too that they were given wrong assurances about the welfare of their kin by the officials of the External Affair ministry. Some of them have complained that they were never informed about the whereabouts of their kin even as authorities continued to maintain that they should not give up hope.
The truth is that the bleak ray of hope of the families that kept alive the chance and prospects of their kin being safe and alive somewhere is finally broken with the announcement by the minister in the Parliament. This is a sudden shock and the obvious outcomes are deep anguish grief and anger from the affected families. Irresponsible statements of many politicians have only added fuel to the fire, so the reaction of the immediate families and relatives of the deceased could be seen in that perspective.
Commensurate with their grief and shock, some families have expressed disappointment with the Minister that the news of the death of their kin was given in the Parliament instead of they being personally informed while they were so eagerly waiting to know the fate of the family member for years. Some others have said that even while taking the samples for the DNA test, they were not informed about the exact purpose of it. Some others have also appealed the government to quickly bring back the dead remains of their wards from Iraq to hand over them. A relative of one of the 39 Indians killed by ISIS in Iraq's Mosul has demanded that the DNA test reports of the deceased be handed over to the family.
The media and news channels have also shown some heart-rending scenes visible at the homes of deceased persons in Punjab as bereaved family members are expressing their pain after having heard about the death of their loved ones, and perhaps the only earning member in some cases. Some of them were also found aggrieved and complaining why the government kept them in the dark for so long. One of them was found bitter and agonised while complaining, "We met the Union minister (Swaraj) 11 to 12 times and were told that as per their sources, the missing Indians are alive.”
A Rationalist View Point
The chief reason for the current controversy and discard between the government and opposition parties over the death of 39 Indian workers has arisen from the conflicting versions of the lone survivor and sources of information of the External Affairs Ministry. The opposition parties are blaming the government solely relying on and upholding the version of the survivor Harjit Masih while the government’s information is broad based taking into consideration the versions the employer, caterer, Iraqi officials and intelligent sources after following a prolonged trail and investigation as also discrepancies and inconsistencies of the survivor’s claim.
Let us see the veracity of what Masih narrated to the Indian interrogators and subsequently spoke in media at occasions ever since he was evacuated by the Indian officials from Erbil on his escape from the ISIS. The Minister herself claimed that he was lying on so many counts and his statement had several discrepancies and missing gaps including how he reached Erbil after the escape. Some crucial points emerging from his narrative will indeed fox any person with a sound reasoning and analytical mind:
While his narrative refers to shooting of all compatriots, including his own leg shot and escape by pretending dead, he was found evasive on queries how he reached to Erbil and who helped him in the process.
He was not only allegedly found evasive in his response to the Minister and officials of the External Affairs Ministry but also any of his narrations to the media do not clearly and convincingly explain the above queries.
Another question is where and how he was treated for the leg injury sustained in firing by the death squad. It would be nigh impossible to travel on foot with a bullet injury in a leg for a long distance unnoticed in a war-stricken zone as Erbil is more than 115 Km from Badush. Also it is not easy for a person with bullet injury to clear any check post in a routine manner if opted for a transport vehicle and one is bound to be subjected to a greater scrutiny even risking the disclosure of his real identity.
It is very difficult to accept that the ISIS militants would leave the victims or their corpses unattended without satisfying themselves thoroughly. Besides, the ISIS are known to be innovative and adopting far more cruel and gruesome methods to torture and kill their victims as is also evident from numerous videos purportedly released by them on internet and social media. Hence the contention that they will resort to indiscriminate firing and leave victims unattended to die their own appears untenable.
So if the government doubts Masih’s story considering it fake, it is not without reasons or on flimsy grounds.
Now let us see what the government would achieve by misleading and giving false information to the Parliament, public and families of the victims. None of the opposition parties and leaders, while abusing the government for the alleged lapses, has addressed this aspect. In author’s opinion, and to put it bluntly, on this sensitive and humanitarian cause the government would gain nothing by hiding the truth or misleading the Parliament or public. Following salient points need to be kept in view on merit in this context:
The ISIS captured Mosul in June 2014 when the Indian nationals went missing. Iraqi forces recaptured the city and their prime minister announced it’s liberation on 9th July 2017, and General VK Singh reached Mosul on 11th July to find out the whereabouts of the missing nationals. Ever since he has made three visits to Iraq to resolve the issue. Hence it would be unfair to blame the government for any laxity or insensitivity in the matter.
Leave aside the present NDA government, for that matter, any government would not simply go by the hearsay or version of a lone individual more so if it is only confirming the worst fear and that too with discrepancies and inconsistencies built in. It is quite obvious that in such case, once the normalcy is restored, the inter-governmental channels including diplomatic and intelligence sources would be activated to find out the truth as was precisely done in the instance case.
It is true that on many occasions, the minister and government officials expressed hope in Parliament and public but it is also equally true that none of them ever categorically claimed having any concrete information or clue of the Indian workers being alive or dead. Keeping the hope alive is a normal and positive human trait and no person or government would like to dishearten or break sad news without enough evidence or confirmation. Even when the sample of DNA was taken, it would have been too presumptive to say with conviction about the identity of the dead.
Even the Section 108 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872 provides that a person missing for long and not heard of for over seven years could be presumed to have died only on the day after the completion of seven years. Indian courts have taken resort to the alleged section in deciding inheritance and other cases relating to the missing persons in the past. Hence declaring a missing person dead whose ultimate fate is yet unknown is a very delicate and sensitive issue having serious legal implications too.
The author does not want to delve into the merit of the various sources of the government information but even the family members have claimed to have talked to their deceased kin till at least middle of June while Mosul was attacked much before and fell in the hands of the ISIS in the first week of June itself. In this context, some discrepancies in the date(s) cited by Masih about shooting and family members having talked to their kin too came in light.
Incidentally, an unblemished sequence of events of Harjit Masih’s escape to Erbil and the mark of the bullet injury on his leg as a crucial evidence could have been decisive points to hold his narrative true but this aspect has not come in public domain so for either from the statements of Masih or the narrative of the government.
Now the question remains why Masih is hiding the fact if he had managed to escape with a fake identity. In author’s opinion, if the life of a person is threatened there is a likelihood that a person would temporarily resort to such manipulations and perhaps there is no harm too in doing so if it saves a precious human life. At best it raises certain moral and ethical issues, and social criticism to an extent. Perhaps this moral dilemma and fear prevented Masih to initially give a misleading account and later he persisted with it.
While the opposition indulged in allegations and indiscriminate criticism of the government, some sane voices were also found to speak reason and truth. The former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal told the ‘Firstpost’ that it would have been wrong on the part of the government to declare them dead before mounting a search in liberated Mosul. According to him, the government did its job properly. Initially, there was no reason to believe that Islamic State could kill Indians the way they were targeting Yazidi and Christians, because India has not been in direct confrontation with them. By attacking the government, the Opposition is diminishing the importance of the issue. It is not about BJP and Congress. What would anybody gain by withholding such information? The announcement by the government has been made after a thorough investigation.
The Opposition in a parliamentary democracy has a very important and crucial role of exercising the check and balance over the Government on policy and governance issues on merit. Their actions should not be indiscriminate; their moves should not be scandalous and preposterous. If they cannot appreciate good work of the government for political reasons, they should not malign too the image of the government nationally and internationally with false and untenable propaganda because it ultimately goes against the nation. Unfortunately, the opposition parties led by the legendary party are not only persistently disrupting the legislative business in the Parliament but also hindering the government to serve the very public on whose mandate they are in the Parliament. Also these disruptions are constantly bringing bad name causing irreparable damage to the healthy parliamentary practices and traditions. Far worse and avoidable is to play politics over the mortal remains of dead beating all values and ethics.
Does Terror Have A Religion?
The gruesome massacre of 39 Indians at the hands of ISIS once again raises often inconvenient and embarrassing question in the international foray if terrorism indeed has a religion. Going by the narrative of the factory owner and caterer in Iraq, the ISIS men inquired about the identity of the workers and based on that the Bangladeshi personnel were separated and the caterer was asked to take all Bangladeshis to Erbil while the Indians were detained as hostages except one who managed to escape with Bangladeshis with a Muslim identity. The factory owner or caterer had no further clue about what happened with the Indian workers but now we all know their nemesis.
Though the version of the lone Indian survivor Herjit Masih is different from those of the factory owner and caterer but one common element between both narratives is that there were 40 Indian and 51 Bangladeshi workers and initially all were detained by the ISIS militants in Mosul; later they allowed Bangladeshis a safe passage to Erbil and killed all Indians except one that survived either by pretending dead after getting a shot in the leg or smuggled out with the Bangladeshis posing as a Muslim. So the obvious corollary and truth is that the Bangladeshi workers were spared by the militants after ascertaining their identity as Muslims while the Indian Hindus and Sikhs were singled out, detained for some time, probably tortured and killed; the mode of execution not clearly known yet.
ISIS: A Serious Threat to India
As per various reports citing intelligence agencies, by late 2015 and even early 2016, some 23 Indians had joined the ISIS and about another 150 individuals across the country were under watch and scrutiny for following the ISIS propaganda through various social networking sites. A majority of those who joined belonged to the Southern states: Kerala, 4; Tamilnadu, 3; Karnataka, 5; Andhra/Telangana, 4; Maharashtra, 4; Uttar Pradesh, 2; and Kashmir, 1. The ISIS is allegedly trying to gain ground and fast spreading it network in the Northern states too, particularly Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and Uttar Pradesh (UP).
Only sometime back, the Director General of Police of J&K admitted that the indications are available about the presence of the Daesh aka ISIS in the Kashmir Valley. This admission was in response to the claim of the ISIS on their publicity website to be active in Kashmir, which only vindicated the earlier reports that the people from J&K have been especially reported to have shown inclination towards the ISIS. Last year, the Amaq News Agency of the ISIS had also claimed the responsibility for the attack in Zakura area of Srinagar on November 17, in which one police sub-inspector was killed and another special police officer injured.
Reportedly, the ISIS is also eyeing up UP as its new terror lab where several youth are under surveillance by cops. UP has a strong potential to become the future breeding ground for the ISIS supporters because of its large Muslim population, high unemployment rate among them and unabated instances of communal tension and violence leading to disillusionment of several youth. The standard methodology adopted by the ISIS to attract and trap such youth is to flood the internet with romantic videos of the life inside the caliphate and brutal execution clips of supposedly kafirs/non-believers.
There is no doubt that India is fast emerging as the prime target nation among the ISIS operatives. With the constant aggressive propaganda, India faces an increased domestic threat from the virtual recruitment and self-radicalization, which has occurred with some Indians officially joining ISIS and many others under the scanner. The other concern is the external threat potentially coming from the neighbouring Bangladesh with the constant rise in the extremist population and radicalized individuals there who might be entrusted or tempted to carry out attacks in India. The porous border with Bangladesh and rising Rohingya refugee crisis may add fuel to the fire. As such there are more than fourty thousand illegal Rohingya in various parts of the country including J&K and they are soft and easy target group for the ISIS recruiters. As such many of them are allegedly having terror links with other jihadi groups and terrorists operating in the Kashmir Valley and elsewhere.
The author is not separately addressing the possible bonhomie and nexus of the ISIS with the other terrorist groups and network operating in J&K, POK and parts of Pakistan and working against India. This is because several dreaded terrorist groups like LeT, JeM, HuM and a score of others are already, individually and jointly, engaged in attacking and harming Indian interests with the active assistance and patronage of Pakistan. The activities and presence of the ISIS has already been felt after a few incidents and the fact that off late the dead bodies of some terrorists were wrapped in the ISIS flag by the separatists instead of their conventional practice of covering them with the Pakistani flag.
If the recent reverses in Iraq and Syria by needful action by the affected countries is of any indication, currently the strength and influence of the ISIS is on decline. This development and Indian intelligence agencies’ constant vigil might certainly act as a physical limitation for the spread of the ISIS in the country yet it will be a mistake to underestimate their potential. After all, so far the ISIS’s unique online media exploitation has been successful in attracting several individuals as well as small groups to get radically influenced and join them. India has no option but to play a significant role in the global fight against the ISIS besides an aggressive strategy at home to defeat their crafty design and publicity campaign.