Indian federal intelligence agencies have sounded an alert after terror outfit Al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) threatened suicide bombings over remarks by political leaders from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The terrorist organisation said in a letter that these suicide bombings would be to “avenge” the insulting remarks to the prophet Muhammad, reported The Indian Express.
“A few days ago, the propagators and flag bearers of Hindutva – a system and philosophy hostile to the religion and Shariah of Allah – insulted and slandered the purest of beings, the most honourable after God himself, Muhammad al Mustafa, Ahmad al Mujtaba, and his noble and pure wife, the mother of the believers, Sayyidah Ayesha bint Abu Bakr as Siddeeq in the most vile and evil manner on an Indian TV channel,” the letter issued by the Pakistan-origin outfit said.
“In response to this affront, the hearts of Muslim all over the world are bleeding and are filled with feelings of revenge and retribution.”
Al-Qaeda’s arm in the subcontinent threatened “every audacious and impudent foul mouth of the world” in the letter.
The outfit especially warned “the Hindutva terrorists occupying India that we should fight for the dignity of our prophet, we should urge others to fight and die for the honour of our prophet, we should kill those who affront our prophet and we should bind explosives with our bodies and the bodies of our children to blow away the ranks of those who dare to dishonour our prophet”.
In response, all 28 Indian states have been asked to ramp up their security arrangements to high alert. Indian central agencies verified the letter and asked all police forces to be on the look out.
The letter has asked “saffron terrorists” to now “await their end in Delhi, Bombay (Mumbai), UP (Uttar Pradesh) and Gujarat”. The colour saffron is associated with the country’s right-wing nationalists.
They will find refuge “neither in their homes nor in their fortified army cantonments”, the terrorist network warned.
The letter comes shortly after a spokesperson in prime minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party allegedly insulted prophet Muhammad on a live television debate, sparking furore across the country.
It has also sparked a diplomatic row between India and several countries in the Middle East and Asia.
Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran have condemned former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s comment. Ms Sharma was suspended by her party following the controversy.
The statement was also condemned by the powerful global coalition of nations Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which said that the insults come in the wake of an increasingly intense atmosphere of hatred towards Islam and systematic harassment of Muslims in India.
After the global outrage, the Indian foreign ministry claimed the offensive remarks did not reflect the government’s views.
“We have seen the statement on India from the General Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Government of India categorically rejects OIC Secretariat’s unwarranted and narrow-minded comments,” the foreign ministry had said in a statement, adding that the comments “denigrating a religious personality were made by certain individuals”.
“They do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the Government of India. Strong action has already been taken against these individuals by relevant bodies,” the ministry said.
“It is regrettable that OIC Secretariat has yet again chosen to make motivated, misleading and mischievous comments. This only exposes its divisive agenda being pursued at the behest of vested interests,” the Indian ministry of external affairs said.
The rising hate crimes in India were also mentioned by Washington last week, when US secretary of state Antony Blinken said that the “world’s largest democracy and home to a great diversity of faiths” has seen “rising attacks on people and places of worship.”
The US state department said that “some officials are ignoring or even supporting rising attacks on people and places of worship” in India.