Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s statement that international terrorist outfit ISIS is spreading its activities to the state has left the police brass baffled.
Top police officials were ill-at-ease today trying to dispel the notion and put the record straight that there has been “no trace” of any ISIS activity in the state so far.
Sources in the NIA, too, pointed out that they have not heard of any activity or modules of the dreaded group in Andhra Pradesh.
“There could be one or two sympathisers (of the outfit) in Hyderabad (common capital of Telangana and Andhra for 10 years), but not in AP,” they added.
“ISIS…slowly it is establishing its activities (in AP).
If you sanction Rapid Action Force (RAF), it will go a long way to control ISIS,” Chandrababu told Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the foundation-stone laying for NDRF 10th battalion headquarters near here yesterday.
“There is no trace of any ISIS activity in AP so far.
What the Chief Minister said might just be an apprehension,” an Additional Director General of Police-rank officer clarified.
“He (CM) read out from a note prepared by some clerk, so he spoke about ISIS and using RAF against it. It was a clerical mistake,” the Additional DGP said.
RAF is essentially an anti-riot force of the CRPF but the Chief Minister wanted it sanctioned for the state to fight the jihadist group, which is active in Iraq and Syria, where it once controlled large swathes of territory and is known for committing brutalities.
“RAF is not an anti-terror force and it was a mistake by the CM to have referred to it. We wanted an RAF battalion for a different purpose,” the Additional DGP, holding a key post, said.
Police officials aver the Chief Minister might have got confused between SIMI, an Indian outfit, and ISIS.
Recently, some SIMI activists arrested in Pune reportedly told the police that they often held meetings on the beach at Visakhapatnam.
But the Chief Minister’s statement seems to have caused embarrassment for the state police. “For outsiders this may just be a slip of the tongue but as state police we will have a lot of explaining to do,” the Additional DGP observed.