Al-Qaida leader Ayman al Zawahri has announced plans to open terror cell in India according to Times of India. In a video which was posted on the internet, Zawahri said Al Qaeda will open its operations in the Indian Subcontinent and will “raise the flag of jihad.” He plans to spread Jihad in Burma, Bangladesh, Assam, Gujurat, Ahmedabad, and Kashmir” and said the new wing would rescue Muslims there from injustice and oppression and also pledged his allegiance to Mullah Omar
This is a clear sign of trying to gain some influence again ever since the Islamic State has taken over Iraq and Syria. Since Al Qaeda has a safe haven in the Afghan-Pak border, the logical choice would be India which has the world’s third largest Muslim Population. Also Zawahri is not very pleased with the IS for forming a Caliphate and its leader Abu Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi calling himself a “caliph” or head of state, which by virtue would make him the leader of all Muslims. The Al Qaida leadership is not happy with the brutal tactics of IS which kills anyone who disagree with them.
In the video there was no mention of IS or its achievement, however Zawahri said “If you said that you are doing jihad to defend the sanctities of the Muslims, then you must not transgress against them or their money or honor, and not even transgress your Mujahideen brothers by word and action” and “Discord is a curse and torment, and disgrace for the believers and glory for the disbelievers,” he said. “If you say that by your jihad you do not want but the pleasure of Allah, then you must not race for governance and leadership at the first opportunity.”
But his ambition of starting a Jihad in India will not be that easy because the security apparatus is much stronger and support from Indian Muslims will be slim pickings. This new development will certainly be a new challenge for the Modi government and how they would go about tackling it. One thing is clear, with Indian Mujahideen floundering, this will be a new opportunity for Pakistan to push its proxy war agenda and escape from the current civilian discord. Also in India Mr. Modi would have to control the rightwing of his party from spreading more anti Muslim rhetoric which would further complicate matters.
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