In July, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested three people in south Kashmir for allegedly being involved in a ‘conspiracy’ to Radicalise and recruit the youth from India to join ISIS in ‘violent jihad’, using the said magazine. According to sources in the NIA, three Anantnag residents have been accused of creating a network to collect and disseminate propaganda among the youth and recruit them, namely Umar Nisar, Tanveer Ahmad Bhat, and Rameez Ahmad Lone. During the arrest of the three men, the NIA also found incriminating documents, including a diary that explicitly discussed ‘drawing swords for jihad’. The truth about the Jihad book and clothes bearing the ISIS logo were also recovered.
A source said the diary has notes from 2017 onwards talking about using guns and waging a violent war. Founded in 2020, Voice of Hind is an India-centric online propaganda magazine. The magazine adulations ISKP (Islamic State-Khorasan Province) terrorists, including Huzaifa-al-Bakistani, a Pakistani national and a key recruiter for IS who was killed by a drone strike in Afghanistan in July 2019. In the first issue, Mehmood Pracha was featured on the cover. According to sources, the magazine also discusses attacks on Indian security forces, revenge for Northeast Delhi rioting, and how to attack India in a position of weakness while it is on the defensive, depending on the edition.
The investigators initially believed the magazine was circulated by Afghans until technical expertise, including assistance from a foreign investigation agency, convinced them it is actually published in south Kashmir, according to the source. In Afghanistan, the magazine seemed to be produced and distributed, but the creators were traced to south Kashmir. According to the investigation, the material was sourced from across the country and only sent to Afghanistan. Sources said however that the magazine was being put together in Pakistan.
‘This magazine is designed by a team of Graduates with a good command of the English language, who are working in a call center-like environment. These people are also aware of how the digital space works and how the magazine can be circulated for mass outreach,’ the source said. These people are also being paid between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000 for their services, according to the source.
Sources indicate that Indians and Afghans are responsible for assembling the content for the magazine. As a source told us, these handlers were also responsible for recruiting ‘content creators’ in Bangladesh and the Maldives. ‘The job of these handlers is to collect content from countries like Maldives and Bangladesh, where they are now recruiting people and sending them to their Afghanistan-based heads. After the material has been approved, those heads send it to Pakistan for processing,’ the source said. ‘The articles that appear in this magazine are edited in Pakistan. The magazine’s pages are also designed there. There is one person who is in charge of content and approves all pieces before they are published,’ the source explained. According to the source, some Arabic articles are translated into English as well.
According to the source, there is also area-specific material – such as articles in Tamil, Bengali, and Malayalam, which are being translated. Jufri Jawhar Damudi was arrested in August in Bhatkal, Karnataka, for creating multiple pseudo-IDs on multiple chat platforms and translating ‘Voice of Hind’ into south Indian languages. In order to make the magazine more accessible, Damudi was one of several resources hired to translate its content into different languages. A source said he communicated with Umar, who was arrested in Anantnag, about what was to be written.