Increase in jihadist messaging targeting country reflects competition between IS, AQIS; immediate operational focus likely to be in Kashmir – India Analysis

Current Situation

Between November 22 and December 13, Islamic State (IS) released a series of online messages calling for attacks in India and indicating that the group was soon to develop a presence in the country. Similarly, al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) released anti-India messages and videos during the period, making references to alleged right-wing Hindu violence perpetrated by the state towards its Muslim population.

The messages follow a claim by IS on November 18 for an attack in Srinagar, Kashmir, where one police officer was killed. On November 14, an audio clip purportedly from an Islamic State (IS) operative from Kerala State was circulated online via social media. Police have reportedly identified the speaker as Rashid Abdullah, the leader of a Kerala-based IS cell who is reportedly now in Afghanistan with Islamic State-Khorasan Province (IS-KP). Abdullah calls for truck, knife, and poison attacks against Hindus at major public religious festivals such as the Kumbh Mela and the Thrissur Pooram.

In recent months, AQI  has increased the frequency of its propaganda messages directed towards India. In July, the group additionally received a pledge of support from Ansar Ghazwatul Hind (AGH), a Kashmiri militant group that broke away from the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM).