Global terrorist group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has asked Indian muslims and scholars to join hands and wage jihad against India to defend against what it described as discrimination and genocide. Indian security agencies say the statement by Al Qaeda’s Middle East wing reveals an unusual synergy between the global jihadist group and Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence in building a narrative that accuses New Delhi of discrimination against minorities.
The statement by the terror group spotlights the Citizenship Amendment Act that fast-tracks grant of Indian nationality for undocumented migrants from six minority religious communities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The law was passed five months back, in December 2019.
A senior official in the security establishment said the reference to the citizenship law was only the entry point for the global terror group to lend support to the Pakistan deep state’s shrill social media campaign to adversely influence India’s relations with the muslim-majority Gulf countries and provoke Indian muslims.
“We have been tracking the social media campaign right from the start and have identified the 2,794 Twitter handles that have played the most active role to carry out this information warfare. We have been able to trace every hashtag that has been created to target India or the government over the rights of muslims and every one of them took us to an account in Pakistan,” the official said.
Some well-meaning people in India also get taken in by this campaign, quite like some people in the Gulf without realising the big picture,” the official said.
An intelligence official said the involvement of the Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula in the ISI effort could indicate an effort to build global jihad into the narrative that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan repeatedly tried to build all of last year before the Pak ISI took charge of this project.