Islamic State Jammu and Kashmir’s chief Umar Nisar Bhat aka Qasim Khorasani, arrested on Monday, had been talking on a messaging app about laying out ISIS propaganda in India by recruiting and radicalising “ground soldiers” and through his media outlet – Swat al-Hind (Voice of Hind), according to the exclusive interrogation report accessed by CNN-News18.
Khorasani, who is based in Achabal in Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir as confirmed by the Indian intelligence agency, was arrested on Monday along with two of his associates — Tanveer Ahmed Bhat and Rameez Lone. He has been active in the region since 2016 and was responsible for supplying logistics, procuring arms and explosives and recruiting ISIS cadres in Jammu and Kashmir to carry out anti-India activities.
He has confessed to officials that Swat al-Hind magazine was regularly released in Pakistan and he was in touch with Pakistan-based teams on social media. The magazine was first launched in February 2020 under the guidance of Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) handlers. So far, 17 issues of the magazine have been published. “We have to divide ISIS warriors into two: One is ground and another is media. At times our fighters are killed by enemies, but our media warriors should handle the ground and take guns in their hands,” said Khorasani in a conversation on Telegram.
He also funded ISIS supporters from India and abroad, according to Intel officials. In another conversation on Telegram, he has been cautioning recruits to “follow SOPs” (Standard Operating Procedures) to not get caught by Indian authorities. “Don’t use phone with SIM. Use best VPN and activate Wi-Fi… Don’t keep anything related to radicalism. In case you are arrested, enemy should not reach to your mobile.”
Khorasani also accepted that he had links with Bangladesh- and Maldives-based Islamic Ameer (chief), which he could have used to expand terrorist propaganda networks. “I want to clarify one thing very clearly that in this group we don’t have to use words like ISHP, ISJK or Kashmir. We should use the word Wilayat Al-Hind (Islamic State province in India)…”
He also said he was in contact with Pakistani national Huzaif Al-Bakistani who was killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan and was responsible for radicalisation of Indian youth. Khorasani also communicated with another Aijaz Ahangar, a Kashmiri resident who fled to Pakistan and now lives in Afghanistan and is a chief recruiter of the Islamic State Jammu and Kashmir.