Terrorist Chessboard: Geopolitics of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s Presence in India

Hizb ut-Tahrir logo
Hizb ut-Tahrir’s logo shown on the official website (Credits: Hizb ut-Tahrir)

Geopolitical Report ISSN 2785-2598 Volume 38 Issue 13
Author: Giuliano Bifolchi

The international Islamist movement, Hizb ut-Tahrir, has intensified its propaganda targeting India. Recent arrests of several militants affiliated with the group in Central and Southern Indian states, including Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu, confirm the covert presence of this organisation within the country.

Hizb ut-Tahrir seeks to revive an anti-Indian Islamic discourse through preaching activities. A coordinated operation in May 2023 exposed clandestine networks associated with the group, leading to the arrest of individuals involved in violence against the Hindu community.

Notably, the arrested individuals included highly skilled professionals, such as a dentist, cloud services engineer, and a pharmaceutical biotechnology lecturer, revealing a concerning level of infiltration.

Key Findings

  1. Hizb ut-Tahrir has infiltrated educational institutions in Madhya Pradesh and Telangana, and its members have been involved in violent acts against the Hindu community.
  2. Most arrested individuals possessed professional qualifications, highlighting a potential strategy of embedding operatives within various sectors.
  3. Arrested members conducted secret training sessions in hand-to-hand combat and firearms in the forests of Madhya Pradesh, utilising encrypted communication platforms like Rocket Chat and Threema.

Hizb ut-Tahrir in India:
Background Information

Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation), founded in 1953 in Jerusalem, aims to establish a global Islamic caliphate. Operating in over 50 countries, it focuses on the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. The group advocates for the unification of the Islamic world under a single caliphate, while rejecting secularism and Western influence. It has faced global criticism and numerous countries have banned it, despite being a non-violent political movement.

Hizb ut-Tahrir has faced proscription in several countries, including Bangladesh, China, Russia, Pakistan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Kazakhstan, Central Asian nations, Indonesia, and all Arab countries except Lebanon, Yemen, and the UAE. In July 2017, the Indonesian government revoked the organization’s legal status due to non-compliance with government regulations on extremism and national ideology. Additionally, in January 2024, the UK government officially designated Hizb ut-Tahrir as a proscribed terrorist organization following parliamentary approval.

The recent surge in Hizb ut-Tahrir’ activities in India follows earlier signs of its presence in 2021. Its intensified focus on the country raises concerns about potential long-term impacts on Indian democracy and secular structures because of the group’s inflammatory rhetoric against the Hindu majority.

In May 2023, a meticulously coordinated operation by multiple Indian security agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau, the Anti-Terror Squad of Madhya Pradesh, and the Counter Intelligence Wing of Telangana, successfully exposed covert networks associated with Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Cells infiltrating educational and vocational institutions in Madhya Pradesh and Telangana were part of these networks, which forcibly converted and married individuals from the Hindu community.

The initial phase of the operation resulted in the apprehension of eleven suspected Hizb ut-Tahrir members in Bhopal and Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh, along with five individuals in Hyderabad, Telangana.

Noteworthy is the professional background of the arrested individuals, including a dentist, a cloud service engineer, and a teacher specialising in pharmaceutical biotechnology.

Subsequent police operations led to the arrest of additional operatives, bringing the total to 17 by August 1st, 2023. Investigations revealed these operatives engaged in close-combat and shooting training in Madhya Pradesh’s forests, communicated through encrypted web apps, and listened to extremist speeches on platforms like Rocket Chat and Threema.

Read more | The evolution of the Islamic State propaganda in India. An Analysis of Voice of Hind


Considering India’s geopolitics and regional dynamics, the increased presence of Hizb ut-Tahrir poses a significant threat to national security. The organisation’s ideological opposition to secularism and democracy challenges the core principles of the Indian state.

Infiltration into educational institutions suggests a systematic effort to influence and radicalise youth, potentially destabilising social harmony.

The arrests of skilled professionals underscore a deliberate strategy of embedding operatives within key sectors, amplifying the risk of subversion and internal threats. Using encrypted communication platforms highlights the group’s adaptability to modern technology, complicating counter-terrorism efforts.

This series of arrests in 2023 forms part of an ongoing investigation that traces its origins to earlier apprehensions of Hizb ut-Tahrir “influencers” Ziyavudeen Baqavi and Bava Bahrudeen. Baqavi, identified as the leader and chief recruiter for Hizb ut-Tahrir in specific districts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, was arrested for recruiting Muslim youth through Facebook.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) report showed that Baqavi and Bahrudeen advocated for the establishment of an Islamic state in India, ultimately aiming to institute a Sharia-compliant constitution as per Hizb ut-Tahrir’s central office directives.

This context underscores the gravity of the situation and highlights the connections between the recent arrests and Hizb ut-Tahrir’s long-term objectives in India.

Risk Assessment

India’s democratic fabric and secular structure face a high risk because of the presence of Hizb ut-Tahrir. The group’s anti-Indian rhetoric, coupled with its secretive activities and recruitment strategies, indicates the potential for long-term destabilisation. The infiltration of skilled professionals adds a layer of sophistication to the threat, making it challenging to detect and counteract the organisation’s activities.

Regionally, the situation demands heightened vigilance, as the group’s activities transcend state boundaries. Effective addressing of the cross-border implications of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s presence requires crucial collaboration among Indian states and neighbouring countries.

Scenarios Analysis

  1. Increased Radicalisation. If Hizb ut-Tahrir’s activities persist unchecked, there is a risk of increased radicalisation, leading to social unrest and potential acts of violence against the Hindu majority. This scenario could strain inter-community relations and challenge India’s secular foundation.
  2. International Collaboration. A scenario where India collaborates closely with neighbouring countries to counter Hizb ut-Tahrir’s regional activities. This collaboration could involve intelligence-sharing, joint operations, and coordinated efforts to address the transnational nature of the threat.
  3. Government Crackdown. In response to the heightened threat, the Indian government might implement strict measures to counter Hizb ut-Tahrir’s activities. This scenario could involve increased surveillance, legislative changes, and a proactive approach to prevent radicalisation.


The intensified activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir in India necessitate urgent and comprehensive counter-terrorism measures. Strengthening intelligence-sharing mechanisms between states, enhancing cybersecurity capabilities, and closely monitoring educational institutions are crucial steps.

Fostering international collaboration with neighbouring countries to address the regional implications of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s presence is imperative. The government should review legislation and adapt it to effectively counteract the evolving nature of the threat. Public awareness campaigns highlighting the dangers of radicalisation and promoting communal harmony can play a pivotal role in mitigating the impact of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s ideology.

For those with an interest in acquiring comprehensive insights into the geopolitical dynamics of India and the local security issues related to terrorism or Hizb ut-Tahrir, we encourage you to reach out to our team by sending an email to info@specialeurasia.com. We are poised to facilitate an assessment of the opportunity for you to obtain a meticulously crafted and specialised report tailored to your intelligence needs.

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