South India to Syria Jihad via Singapore


syriaIt all started‎ at the Paranagipettai village in Tamil Nadu. Known for its scenic beauty this scenic coastal village near Cuddalore is today called the place from where Haja Fakruddin hails. He had called his parents seven months back and all he said that his dream had been fulfilled and he has reached the land of Allah. Haja has been tracked to Syria and is a full time fighter for the ISIS.

Haja’s entry into the ISIS inspired many Indians. He was the first one from India to join the ISIS and today the number of Indian militants in the ISIS is a confirmed 80.

The 37 year old Haja lives with his wife Ayesha and three children in Syria. The last time his parents spoke to him they found that the call had come from Syria.
‎Haja like many other Indians who are drawn towards the radical ISIS started off by contributing their salaries to the outfit. The ISIS has fund collection unit in Singapore particularly for Indians. There is a dedicated agency in Singapore which not only manages the Indian contributions to the ISIS but also helps anyone who wants to reach Syria or Iraq. Indian Intelligence bureau officials inform that the funds are being contributed in large numbers. Youth have collected funds from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra and sent it to Singapore. They have sworn to contribute at least half their earnings to the ISIS and this shows how much they have been drawn towards the cause.
Take the case of Haja. He always spoke about an Islamic world. He was attracted towards the Al-Qaeda at first, but with the growth of the ISIS he was drawn towards them. His parents coaxed him not to tread that path. However he was never convinced. One day he informed them that he was leaving for Singapore as he had found employment there. His parents were happy at first but then when he called and told them that his dream had been fufilled, their world came crashing down as it had dawned upon them that he had joined the ISIS‎ in Syria. Haja knew that he was the bread winner for his family, but he felt that contributing to the ISIS and living in an Islamic country was more important, his father Usman says.
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It all began with Gul Mohammad a radical who was deported from Singapore. ‎Mohammad is a key operative who is allegedly responsible for a host of youth from Kerala and Tamil Nadu joining the ISIS. Mohammad was deported to India by the Singapore authorities for distributing Jihadi literature among the impressionable Indian Muslim youth. Mohammad worked as a point man for those youth wishing to the join the ISIS. He was in touch with the youth who showed signs of being radical. At first he collected donations from them. Once they were ready to join he arranged their entry into Singapore. From Singapore they were flown into Syria and Iraq.

The module that has been set up by Mohammad has also been responsible for harbouring Indian Mujahideen operatives such as Ashraf Ali. He had also provided support to Qutubuddin an accused in the murder of a Hindu Munani leader in Chennai.
Indian Intelligence Bureau officials say that they are keeping tabs on 250 youth from India. There is a steady rise in the number of such youth leaning towards the ISIS. 80 have already joined and many are getting ready. Most of them have settled down in Singapore and we are working with the authorities there to track them down. All these youth make a stop over for at least four months in Singapore. They reach there on a work permit and wait before they are sent in batches to either Syria or Iraq depending on the requirement. The ISIS is looking for fighters and technicians from India. Many Indians are working on the social media team of the ISIS.
While there is a close watch on the youth leaving the country to Singapore a new route via Dubai and Turkey is also under the scanner today.

Author: Vicky Nanjappa

just a reporter

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