Chennai: A young man in Ramanathapuram landed in police custody on Sunday after his photo with a group of friends, all wearing T-shirts bearing the ISIS emblem, appeared on a social networking site. Abdul Rahman (22) was later released with a stiff warning after he managed to convince the police that the group had sported the T’s during the Ramzan period only to express joy and gratitude over the ISIS releasing unharmed Indian nurses from their captivity in strife-torn Iraq.
Ramnad superintendent of police N.M. Mayilvahanan said Rahman was released as his claim of innocence seemed right. The group was not composed of ISIS hardcore supporters and appeared to be only celebrating the nurses’ release. Besides, ISIS has not been banned in India, the SP said.
Sources said the state ‘Q’ branch police dealing with extremists and also the central agency, Intelligence Bureau (IB), quizzed Rahman before letting him go. Though it appeared that the group did not have any links with ISIS, it is learnt that Rahman had bought all the T-shirts through a friend by placing an order for 100 of them from a Tirupur hosiery unit. Each T-shirt cost `250.
He gifted them to friends and they had the picture taken posing outside a mosque in Thondi, despite warnings from the mosque officials, sources said, adding that Rahman worked at a textile shop in Bangkok and had come home for Ramzan.
The ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or just Islamic State) is an extremist outfit of Sunni Muslims fighting against the Shia regime installed in Iraq by the US after ousting Saddam Hussain, a Sunni leader. It is believed that several Sunni Muslims from India, including some from Tamil Nadu, are fighting in Iraq as members of the ISIS. The outfit has taken charge of a good part of the northern Iraq.
Asked why Rahman was taken into custody when the ISIS was not banned in the country, a senior official explained that India has not banned the outfit as that could endanger the lives of over 5,000 Indians working in the ISIS-controlled areas in the Gulf. “Other governments and the UN have not banned ISIS so far”, he pointed out.