Law enforcers stepped up vigilance on Thursday after al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahri announced the formation of a clandestine branch of the militant organization in the Indian Subcontinent.
Al Qaeda will form a new wing 'as glad tidings for Muslims in Burma, Bangladesh, Assam, Gujarat and Kashmir.' Zawahri said the new wing would rescue Muslims there from injustice and oppression. In the 55-minute video posted online, Zawahiri pledged renewed loyalty to Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police Hasan Mahmud Khandaker told The Daily Observer on Thursday that the law enforcers have beefed up surveillance. We have a strong intelligence surveillance system at the field level to root them out," he said.
Col Ziaul Ahsan, Additional Director General of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) told this correspondent that there is nothing to worry about the announcement. al Qaeda will never be able to form any militant group in the country, he said.
Asaduzzman Khan, State Minister for Home Affairs told this correspondent that Bangladesh was looking into the announcement of the formation of a branch of Al Qaeda in the country to ascertain the authenticity of the message. The government would announce its plan on the issue on Friday.
'We are looking into the matter. We have also come to know that India has issued security alert over the issue, the Minister told a local English language daily at his office on Thursday. He also said the government would officially announce its plan over the issue on Friday.
The Al Qaeda leader announced the formation of a new wing when a high profile Asia-Pacific Intelligence Chiefs' Conference participated by the intelligence agencies of 27 countries was going on in the city. The conference was jointly organised by the Pacific Command of the USA and Directorate General of Forces Intelligence of Bangladesh.
Indian Intelligence Bureau has issued a security alert to several states on Thursday after al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahri announced the formation of an Indian branch of its militant group. Quoting two television networks, Reuters reported.
Announcing the formation of "al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent" using a mixture of his native Arabic and Urdu widely spoken in Pakistan, Zawahiri appeared eager to regain some of the limelight, correspondents say.
"[Al-Qaeda] is an entity that was formed to promulgate the call of the reviving Imam, Sheikh Osama Bin Laden. May Allah have mercy upon him," Zawahiri said.
He urged the "umma", or Muslim nations, to 'wage jihad against its enemies to liberate its land, to restore its sovereignty and to revive the caliphate.'
Zawahiri said, 'al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent' would be good news for Muslims in Myanmar (Burma), Bangladesh and in the Indian states of Assam, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir, where they would be rescued from injustice and oppression.
Counter-terrorism experts say al-Qaeda's ageing leadership is vying with IS to recruit followers after the success of militants in the Middle East in attracting young followers worldwide by conquering large amounts of territory across Iraq and Syria. IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi describes himself as a "caliph" - or head of state - and has called for the support of all Muslims around the world.
The two groups fell out in 2013 over the IS expansion into Syria, where Baghdadi's followers have carried out decapitations, crucifixions and other forms of capital punishment.
On Wednesday it emerged that Pakistani militants linked to IS have been distributing pamphlets in the north-western city of Peshawar calling on people to support their idea of creating an Islamic caliphate.
Graffiti and car stickers supporting IS have also started appearing in the city and its outskirts, reports BBC from Pakistan.
The material, published in the Pashto and Dari languages, urges people to support IS in its fight for a grand Islamic rule.