In a bid to bust possible Islamic state modules in Kerala and Tamil Nadu following the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, agencies have identidied around 26 radical preachers and are keeping an eye on their actions.
According to a story in Hindustan Times, The officials, both of whom asked not to be named, clarified that there is no case or terror charge against any of these preachers as of now but that “they are being watched”.
An Intelligence Bureau officer, one of the two, said there are 25-26 Islamic preachers who regularly give provocative lectures on religious fundamentalism, hand out jihadi literature, belittle other religions in their speeches and encourage young Muslims to propagate the Sharia law.
Some, this person added, go far enough to support the activities of global terror outfits like Al-Qaeda and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
These preachers, the IB officer added, operate from different mosques, Islamic centres and offices of different Muslim organizations based across both states.
In some cases, the agencies zeroed in on the preachers because some terror suspects arrested spoke of them. In others, it was on the basis of videos and audio speeches analyses in the past few weeks.
The two officials declined to divulge the names of the preachers but admitted that there is a list and that a crackdown in the near-future cannot be ruled out.
Indian agencies have previously come across instances where Islamic State draftees in India were self radicalized after listening to speeches of different radical preachers within the country and abroad.
The most controversial name, already charged by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), is that of Zakir Naik, who fled the country following a crackdown and is currently residing in Malaysia on a permanent residency status even as New Delhi works on his extradition.