Days after the arrest of a 24-year-old Islamic State group sympathizer in the city of Bangalore, India, the country on Tuesday declared a ban on the militant group, according to local media reports. India had so far held off on a ban on ISIS as the group has no significant presence in the country.
“We had taken cognizance of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) activities in other countries … as a first step we have banned this outfit in India,” India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, addressing parliament on Tuesday. He, however, reportedly added that the militant group has received “negligible” support from Indian Muslims.
“I would like to make it clear that ISIS's reach is limited to only a handful of young Indian Muslims,” Singh reportedly said. “Unlike other countries like France, Germany, UK and the U.S., where families may be backing young Muslims to fight for ISIS, Indian Muslims, especially parents, have discouraged their young from supporting ISIS activities.”
The ban comes just days after Mehdi Masroor Biswas, 24, was arrested from Bangalore on charges of managing the “@ShamiWitness” account -- one of the most popular pro-ISIS accounts on Twitter. The account, which was suspended on Friday after a UK-based network's report exposed the identity of its manager, is now back online as part of an investigation by the Indian police, according to local media reports.
In his speech, Singh reportedly conceded that the Islamic State group’s online campaign is “a serious issue.”
“There is a clear need to step up our cyber monitoring mechanism,” Singh said, according to media reports. “We are monitoring the activities of ISIS across the world. We are alert and are constantly discussing additional steps needed to counter the threat.”