Al-Qaeda video alert: DGP orders ‘extra measures’

SRINAGAR: In the wake of a recent Al-Qaeda video threatening to take the international militant outfit’s campaign to India, Jammu and Kashmir Police chief Thursday said that the security grid would take extra measures to foil any attempt by the militants to set up base in the state. This follows an urgent advisory flashed form the Union Home Ministry to almost all the states in India, asking them to gear up security to meet any “eventualities.”

 “We will step up security measures to meet any challenge. For us every militant (irrespective of affiliation) is a threat which has to be neutralised,” Director General of Police (DGP) K Rajendra Kumar said.

 The DGP said the security establishment is taking the development very seriously and will meet the challenge.

 Kumar was responding to questions about the latest video in which Al Qaeda has claimed that it has established a new branch to wage jihad in India, return Islamic rule and impose sharia in the Indian sub-continent.

The creation of the group called “Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent” was announced by As Sahab, al-Qaeda’s official media outlet, in a lengthy video posted on social media outlets including You Tube.

 Al-Qaeda is active in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but the group’s leader Ayman al Zawahiri said “Qaedat al-Jihad” would take the fight to India, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Home Ministry officials said as per the initial assessment of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) the video appears to be genuine.

The Home Ministry has issued an advisory to all states and asked the Intelligence Bureau to assess the authenticity of the 55-minute video, in which Zawahiri described the formation of the “Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent” as glad tidings for Muslims “in Burma, Bangladesh, Assam, Gujarat, Ahmedabad, and Kashmir” and said the new wing would “rescue Muslims there from injustice and oppression.

Intelligence sources said the move was not unexpected, with the Al Qaeda losing ground to the Islamic State or ISIS which is now challenging it for leadership of transnational Islamist militancy.

Sorces say the mention of places like Assam, Gujarat, Ahmedabad and Burma – which are communally sensitive – is designed to attract radicalised youth, who are now being drawn to the ISIS.

The ISIS, a breakaway faction of the Al Qaeda, has galvanized young followers around the world by carving out tracts of territory across the Iraq-Syria border. Al Qaeda affiliates are in direct military confrontation with the ISIS in Syria.

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