Centre on alert after al-Qaeda announces its India branch

New Delhi | Updated: Sep 5 2014, 08:38am hrs
The Centre on Thursday sounded a country-wide alert after al-Qaeda announced the launch of Qaedat al-Jihad, its extremist group which it claims will be responsible for waging jihad in India.

Home minister Rajnath Singh met top security officials as an initial assessment if the Intelligence Bureau (IB) found the video to be genuine. An alert has been issued by the home ministry to

all states and security agencies to take possible precautionary steps, a ministry official said.

Security agencies feel the video could be an attempt by al-Qaeda to carry out fresh recruitments as it stares at diminishing influence vis a vis the ISIS. Singh later said the Prime Ministers Office has been informed about the video. Ministry officials said an assessment is being made about the presence of al-Qaeda in the country. The IB is expected to send the report in this regard within a day or two, the official said.

Earlier, US media reports said, Al-Qaeda established Qaedat al-Jihad, to wage jihad in India, revive its caliphate and impose sharia in the Indian sub-continent.

As Sahab, al-Qaeda's official media unit, announced the group's launch in a video posted on the social media and YouTube.

Pakistani militant Asim Umar will head the group launched by the Al-Qaeda which was so far active only in Pakistan and Afghanistan to take its fight to India, Myanmar and Bangladesh, said Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri in the video.

Umar will report to top Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Qaedat al-Jihad seeks to raise the flag of jihad, return the Islamic rule, and empower the Shariah of Allah across the Indian subcontinent, Zawahiri said in the opening of the video, according to the translation by SITE Intelligence Group, a US-based consultancy group that also provides information to the US government.

Zawahiri said the group will defend the vulnerable in the Indian subcontinent, in Burma, Bangladesh, Assam, Gujarat, Ahmedabad, and Kashmir... and your brothers in Qaedat al-Jihad did not forget you and that they are doing what they can to rescue you from injustice, oppression, persecution, and suffering.