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A Note on
Ansar-ut-Tawheed fi Bilad-ul-Hind and its implications on the domestic
security senairo

1. The killing of Anwar Bhatkal while fighting US forces in Afghanistan in 2014 had
put the spot light on Ansar-ut-Tawheed fi bilad ul Hind (AuT- Supporters of
Monotheism in the land of India). The news of death of Anwar was circulated
through AuT’s twitter handle, Al-Isabah media. If the reports of killing of Anwar
Bhatkal are true then he is probably the first Indian to have been killed in
Afghanistan while fighting the allied forces.
2. Anwar Bhatkal is an accused in a NIA case pertaining to the activities of Indian
Mujahideen. The killing of Anwar Bhatkal coupled with the flurry of activities by
AuT in the recent months has given credence to the fact that a section of Indian
Mujahideen(IM) operatives in Pakistan were aligning with Al-Qaida and ISIS, to
participate in the Global Jihad and also trying redirect the focus of other
transnational Islamic groups towards India.
2.1 NIA investigations have revealed that Anwar Bhatkal is a distant relative of Riyaz
Bhatkal, the IM chief in Pakistan. Anwar Bhatkal along with another IM operative
Abdul Wahid had provided financial support to Yasin Bhatkal and Asadullah
Akhtar @ Haddi for carrying out blasts in India. Anwar who is also known as
‘Noori’ to Yasin and Riyaz, was working as a driver in Dubai possibly till early
2013. Anwar is originally a resident of Bandar road in Bhatkal.

3. Ascent of AuT

3.1. AuT released its first video in Oct’2013 titled “ In the land of India- Usood-
Al-Hind ( Lions of India)” . The video called for the participation of Indian
Muslim in global jihad. It also urged Indian Muslims to fight democratically
elected secular governments all over the world. A subsequent video entitled
“From Kandhar to Delhi”, talked about the revenge for communal riots in
Gujarat, Assam, Hyderabad and Muzzafarnagar. In this video, AuT chief Abdul
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Rehman al Hindi is seen flanked by seven gunmen with the images of Babri
Masjid demolition, Gujarat rites and Mumbai serial blasts.
3.2. In March 2014, AuT released another propaganda video entitled “Indian
Muslims, if you can’t understand, you will perish”. The video was released
by Al-Isabah media. The 18 minutes video declared that Indian Muslims were
living in fear and dread under the Hindus and it was time for ‘Gazwat-ul-Hind’
(Battle for India) to begin. In its latest video which surfaced in May 17, 2014,
the AuT chief ‘Abdul Rehman aL Hindi’ has urged important Jihadi leaders like
Ayman- aL-Zawahiri, Mullah Omar, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi of ‘Islamic State’, Nasir-
Al- Wuhayshi of AQAP and Abdul Malik Droukdel of AQIM to come forward and
attack Indian government interest and its economic centres in India and
elsewhere, as a means of “protecting Muslims in India”. It may be coincidental
that soon after the call by the AuT the Indian Consulate in Herat was attacked by
the Jihadi terrorists on May 23, 2014.

4. Deciphering AuT

4.1 NIA investigations had revealed that a section/group of Indian Mujahideen in

Pakistan were disgruntled with Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal and this group
wanted to move to Afghanistan and fight in Afghanistan and Syria. The group
included Bhatkal boys like Afeef, Sultan, Maulana Shabir, Saleem Ishaqui and
others. This group was in resonance with the Azamgarh group consisting of
Mirza Shadab Beg, Bada Sajid, Dr. Shanawaz and Abu Rashid, which had also
drifted away from Riyaz Bhatkal and were trying to align with Al-Qaida in
Afghanistan. The internet chat between Yaseen and Riyaz did talk about the
increasing attempts being made by the group led by Afeef to move to
Afghanistan and fight alongside Al-Qaida. The contents of chat in fact did reveal
that some of the IM boys including Bada Sajid were already fighting alongside Al-
Qaida and TTP. Its seems highly probable that this group of Indian Mujahideen
operatives has successfully established a close working network with other
Islamist organisations and has adopted the name of Ansar-ut-Tawheed fi Bilad-
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ul-Hind. The announcement of death of Anwar Bhatkal in Afghanistan only

helped in giving credence to close symbiotic relationship between AuT and the
IM groups.
AuT since then has severed its ties with Al Qaida and pledged allegiance to ISIS
and its leader Abu bakr al Bghdadi. A video released on 20 Th May 2016 shows
that entire leadership of AuT has migrated to Iraq where they are fighting under
the black flags of ISIS. The video also features other Indian boys who seem to
be affiliated with AuT. It is believed that most of the Indian boys fighting in Iraq
are now affiliated with AuT. This video is quite significant as it is the first video
released by ISIS which completely focusses on the need to start “jihad’ in India.
This video would be analysed separately.

5. AuT and Global Jihadi Focus on India:

5.1 Though India has featured on Jihadist propaganda on a number of occasions

since 2001 but there has recently been greater emphasis on the attempts to
incite Indian Muslim boys with a call for Jihad. The recent Jihadist discourse has
witnessed a number of exhortations to Indian Muslims to participate in Jihad
either abroad or in India. This renewed focus is to ‘create some stir’ within the
Indian Muslims who have typically stayed away from the Jihadi calls in the last
two decades.
5.2 A video released in June 2013 entitled “ Tere Dariya main tufaan kyun nahi
hai” (Why is there no tempest in your river ?) comments on the lack of Jihadi
spirit among Indian Muslims. In this video Maulana Aseem Umar(chief of AQIS),
an Indian from Uttar Pradesh exhorts Indian Muslims to join the global jihadist
movement. Umar exhorts Indian Muslims to associate with the Jihad in
Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt and Libya.
5.3 On Jan 15,2014, Al-Qaida released a video in which Ayman-al- Zawahiri
addresses the Muslims in Kashmir, Gujarat, Assam and Ahmedabad. Zawahiri
expresses the hope that the recent ‘communal riots’ would have exposed the
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“deception and falsity of the national democratic way, which calls for the
participation of the Hindus along with the Muslims”. He said that perhaps
Muslims in India would have now realised that the present system is built to
“present Muslim as an easy prey for Hindus”.
5.4 These calls by global Jihadi ideologues try to exhort Indian Muslims to join
Islamic groups either in Afghanistan or elsewhere, to fight western forces.
AuT’s message on the contrary is a direct war cry against India calling
its Muslim population join the battle of Gazwat-ul-Hind to over throw
the democratic

government. All the AuT’s messages are in Urdu language with sub titles in
Devnagari script which indicate that AuTs primary target audience are the
Muslims communities in India. The AuT twitter handle has also released the Urdu
translation of the address by Abu Bakr-al Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of
the ‘Islamic State’.

6. Gazwat-ul-hind- Battle for India :

6.1 Both AuT’s message and Maulana Aseem video contain the reference to the
‘Black flags of Khurasan’ and ‘Gazwat-ul-Hind’(Battle for India). Khurasan is
medieval name given to parts of Afghanistan and parts of Iran. The Gazwat-ul-
Hind would allegedly start with an army from Khurasan carrying a black flags
would wage the battle in India for the re-establishment of Islamic caliphate.
Gazwat-ul-hind discourse has frequently been invoked by the terrorists
organisations based in Pakistan and Central Asia including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)
and Indian Mujahideen (IM) since last decade or so. This discourse cites a hadith
where prophet said that “Allah has saved two groups of the Ummah from hell
fire; one which will invade India and wage Gazwat-ul-hind and the other that will
accompany Jesus to conquer Damascus and Jerusalem”. These Jihadi ideologues
believe that post Gazwat-ul-hind, an Islamic caliphate will be established with its
seat in Khurasan and the boundaries of caliphate expanding from Caspian sea to
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Bay of Bengal. The discourse on Gazwat-ul-Hind is gaining more and more

ground within a section, though miniscule, of Indian Muslim population.
6.2 The arrest of Indian Mujahideen operatives since 2011 and that of SIMI
operatives like Haider Ali has revealed that these radicalised youth are consider
Gazwat-ul-Hind an immediate reality and believe in it completely. There has been
an increasing desire amongst radical SIMI and IM operatives in India to do Hijrat
(migration) towards Afghanistan and Syria and take Gazwat-ul-Hind to its logical
conclusion. There seems to be increasing synergy among the Islamic groups
across Pakistan and Afghanistan regarding concept of Gazwat-ul-

Hind as it acts as a unifying factor for these organisations having different


7. The appearance of Ansar-ut-Tawheed fi bilad ul Hind (AuT) on the Jihadi scene

and the exhortations by the other Jihadi organisations do indicate that there is a
growing recognition amongst the Jihadis about enticing Indian Muslim population
for Jihad in India. Moreover, it seems that AuT’s primary target is to attack
Indian cities and establishment; to start a Jihadi campaign here. There is a
possibility that AuT’s global Jihadi network may prove to be an invitation for
foreign Jihadist to come and operate in India or target India. The threat now
seems increasingly real and these groups would also try to recruit operatives
from untouched areas of India. NIA needs to be increasingly cognizant of this
threat and act accordingly.
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