By S Hussain Zaidi
May 23, 2016
Two days after Daesh released a video highlighting the Indian jihadists in its ranks, it has emerged that Kalyan youths Fahad Tanveer Shaikh and Aman Naeem Tandel, featured in the video, have been promoted to the top echelons of the terror outfit.
Fahad, who is now called Abu Bakr al-Hindi, has been named Naib Khalifa (deputy caliph) to lead Daesh's operations against India, while Aman, renamed Abu Umar al-Hindi, and is the governor of ‘Hind wal ‘Sindh’, a Daesh usage for India and Pakistan, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) sources said
The chilling 22-minute video, in Arabic, shows Aman -who escaped to Syria to join Daesh in 2014 along with Fahad, Areeb Majeed, and Shaheem Tanki - warning the Indian public of retaliation for "committing atrocities against Muslims".
Aman, bearded and wearing an Islamic turban, is seen in the video saying, "We will return (to India), but with a sword in hand, to avenge the Babri Masjid, and the killings of Muslims in Kashmir, in Gujarat, and in Muzaffarnagar." The NIA sources said that Fahad and Aman were "rewarded with promotions" for being steadfast in their allegiance to Daesh, unlike Areeb Majeed, who panicked and handed himself over to the Indian Consulate at Istanbul after escaping to Turkey.
Aman and other fighters also pay homage to Shaheem Tanki, who is said to have been killed in a bomb attack in Raqqa last year. The senior NIA officers said that Aman and Fahad were more orthodox and far deeply radicalised than Majeed and Shaheem Tanki.
This is the first time that Daesh has released a video directly targeting India, and the NIA officers said its release on Friday was timed to 'celebrate' two years of the four Kalyan youths leaving the country in the guise of pilgrimage to Iraq. The four had left India on May 25, 2014 through Ajmeri Tours in Mumbai, although they had been making efforts to join Daesh since January 2013.
Interestingly, it was Areeb, now in the NIA custody, who was the first in the group to have attempted to join Daesh, and was directed to a man named Abu Rami in Iraq, and another person called Abu Fallujah in Turkey. Fahad got in touch with Areeb, and also roped in Aman and Shaheem, and the four travelled to Iraq as pilgrims. Within a few days of reaching Baghdad, the four youths separated from the group of pilgrims and checked into Hotel Burj Al Salaam at Sadoon Street. The group coordinator from Ajmeri Tours lodged a complaint with the Baghdad police and returned to India on June 1, 2014. However, the youths' struggle to join Daesh continued for weeks after they landed in Baghdad.
The NIA sources said that their induction into Daesh was facilitated by a woman named Tahirah Bhatt, who was based in Syria and was in touch with Fahad. "The four could officially join the Daesh ranks only in June 2014, after their Tazkiyah (purification) was completed. They were finally inducted at Mosul by top Daesh leader Umar Shishani," an NIA officer said.
The NIA interrogation of Areeb has revealed that Fahad and Aman "excelled" at training and tasks allotted to them, while he (Areeb) and Shaheem "couldn't display the martial initiative despite being assigned the Fidayeen (suicide) mission on a few occasions."
According to NIA sources, Fahad was highly proficient in technology, and was inducted into the Daesh media cell, while Aman proved to be an inspirational orator. "The progress of the two youths within Daesh was so rapid that Abu Rami gave them new names and started trusting them with bigger assignments," the NIA source said.
"Daesh intends to make Fahad and Aman its poster boys in India. Those radicalized by its ideology believe it will introduce a caliphate, like the one that existed in medieval times. And that's the reason these youths have been given titles like Naib Khalifa," an NIA source said.