India’s anti-terror agency Wednesday said it had busted a local militant cell inspired by the Daesh group that was planning to carryout bombings and target prominent political figures.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) said 10 members of an obscure militant group “Harkat ul Harb-e-Islam” were arrested in multi-city raids and a further six suspects were being questioned over their alleged links with the outfit.
NIA spokesman Alok Mittal said arms and ammunition were recovered from the raids over 17 locations, including in the capital New Delhi, as the group prepped for striking several targets ahead of the high profile Republic Day national event on January 26.
“They were at an advanced stage of carrying a series of blasts,” Mittal told reporters at a press conference in New Delhi.
Mittal said the group had attempted to make vests and developed a home-made rocket launcher, adding the unknown mastermind of the module was based abroad.
One of the accused is an engineer, he said.
Authorities have previously claimed to have foiled similar Daesh-inspired cells but there is no evidence of the militant group’s presence in the country.
But India’s security agencies have voiced concern over the radicalization of men over the internet.
In 2014, a group of four Mumbai engineering students travelled to Iraq to join the group. One of them later returned to India.
But some activists have accused security agencies of falsely charging Muslim men for terrorism, due to discrimination against the community in the Hindu-majority country of 1.25 billion people.