With the aim to spread its terror network deep in India, Janood-al-Khilafa-e-Hind (JKH) – the India wing of the Islamic State – had planned to target Bollywood stars for extortion. According to a report in Indian Express, faced with the question of funding terror activities, ISIS discussed a plan to target Bollywood stars in a September 2015 meeting of members of the Lucknow module.
Two alleged top commanders of the module busted by security agencies earlier this year, Rizwan Nawazuddin alias Khalid and Muddabir Sheikh, have revealed this in an interrogation. Rizwan, who is just 19, is the ‘head of the operational wing’ of ISIS in India. However, the plan to target Bollywood never came to fruition because security agencies which had been monitoring JKH’s online activities carried out mass arrests.
Rizwan and his associates had also planned to carry out lone-wolf attacks against top Sangh Parivar leaders like RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and VHP leaders Pravin Togadia and Ashok Singhal (since deceased). The NIA had arrested 23 alleged IS sympathisers in a joint operation with six state counter-terrorism agencies earlier this year.
Rizwan’s two uncles are in the Indian army, but the 19-year-old revealed to intelligence agencies that he had been drawn to extremism after ‘surfing the internet to kill time’. He then planned to blow up some army bases in Meerut, but the plan never saw light of day.
The JKH module’s current handler, Shafi Armar alias Yusuf, routed Rs 6 lakhs through hawala channels in Mumbai to one Muddabir Sheikh, a techie who had been jobless since September last year. Muddabir reportedly got in touch with Yusuf through encrypted chatting apps Trillian and Sureshot. Yusuf allegedly made him the Amir (chief) of the Indian module, in October last year. In the Lucknow meeting of JKH, training locations were also discussed. The module had considered the jungles of Panvel on the Mumbai outskirts, and the forests of Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.