ISIS Voice of Hind magazine calls for destruction of idols in India
ISIS-backed Voice of Hind magazine released a new issue with a cover of a computer-generated shattered idol of Bhagwan Shiv. Underneath the idol, the cover reads: “It’s time to break the false gods”. Along with a distorted image of the idol, an ISIS flag was also placed at the top. The coverage circled across social media platforms, sparking concern among internet users. The idol in the picture resembles the idol of Bhagwan Shiva installed in the Shiva temple in Murudeshwara, Karnataka.
MP BJP Dinakar Keshav Shetty from Kumata, Karnataka took note of the image. He shared the image on his Facebook account and urged the government to take appropriate action. In his article in Kannada, Shetty wrote: “I noticed via social media that a ‘Voice of Hind’ magazine from the terrorist organization ISIS announced the destruction of the statue of Shiva at the Murdeshwara temple. The protection and development of Hindu temples is one of the main principles of our party. Our Department of Defense is strong and empowered to act against such threats. The information has already been transmitted to the Interior Ministry by telephone, and additional security will soon be provided at the Murdeshwara temple.
Voice of Hind and the Indian government’s action against the magazine
In February 2020, Al-Qitaal Media Center, a pro-ISIS media outlet, and Junudul Khilafah al-Hind launched the “Voice of Hind” magazine. According to a September 2021 report in The Print, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said the propaganda magazine was being carried out in a “call center-like setup” in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Qualified graduates and translators are working on the development of this magazine.
Initially, it was believed that the magazine originated in Afghanistan, but later, with the help of technical experts, they established a link with South Kashmir. The magazine is published in Pakistan and content creators have been hired in the Maldives and Bangladesh, the report adds.
In July 2021, the NIA arrested three Anantnag men, identified as Umar Nisar, Tanveer Ahmad Bhat and Rameez Ahmad Lone, on charges of collecting and disseminating propaganda material among young people. VOH circulated through a complex network made up of fake online entities and hiding real identities via VPN. Investigations have established links between Indian mobile numbers and these fake online accounts. The NIA said it seized a large number of digital devices such as cell phones, hard drives, SD cards, etc., which were used for distributing the magazine.
In August 2021, the NIA arrested a key ISIS operative identified as Jufri Jawhar Damudi aka Abu Hajir Al Badri from Bhatkal, Karnataka. Another agent identified as Ameen Zuhaib was also arrested. These arrests were made as part of the agency’s investigation into VOH magazine.
In October 2021, the NIA carried out several raids in Kashmir in connection with the publication of the ISIS propaganda magazine.