NIA picks up 14 across country in ISIS crackdown

Agency zooms in on nationwide terror modules planning big strikes in crowded locations.

New Delhi: In a major crackdown on the Islamic State and its followers and sympathisers in India, the security agencies arrested or detained over a dozen young men across major cities in the country for allegedly having allegiance to ISIS terrorists and forming modules to carry out terror strikes at vital locations and crowded places.

At least 14 young men were arrested or detained Friday by the NIA and other agencies — five of them were arrested and the other nine detained. All ISIS suspects were somehow connected with one “Yusuf”, believed to be Safi Armar, a former Indian Mujahideen (IM) member.

Of the 14 taken into custody, three belong to Mumbai, four each from Hyderabad and Bengaluru and one each from Mangalore, Tumkur (Karnataka) and Lucknow — all key cities where ISIS’ social media propaganda has been successful due to easy Internet access, raising the alarm within the security establishment of key cities becoming the targets for ISIS recruitment. Some of the youths were said to be software engineers.

Raids carried out in five states
The youths arrested by the NIA and other agencies from across the country were part of a group named “Janood-ul -Khalifa-e-Hind” (Army of Caliph of India), a group whose ideology is almost like that of ISIS.

The NIA gave the names of those arrested as Muttabir Mustaq Sheikh from Thane district near Mumbai, Mohammad Nafees Khan of Hyderabad, Mohammad Shareef Mounuddin Khan of Hyderabad, Najmul Huda of Mangalore and Mohammad Afzal of Bengaluru.

Read: Four held for plot to ‘pipe bomb’ Hyderabad

Mustaq Sheikh is learnt to be the ringleader and an unaccounted sum of Rs 6 lakh was recovered from him by the law-enforcement agencies, which is suspected to have been transferred into his accounts using the hawala route.

The raids were carried out simultaneously in Karnataka, TS, AP, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The raids come at a time when a possible terror attack has been averted. The Punjab and Delhi police forces on Friday sounded an alert after it found the dead body of the driver of a taxi hired by three unidentified persons in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra, in the aftermath of the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase.

Meanwhile, of the nine persons detained in the nationwide crackdown, sources said one may be let off while the remaining eight maybe arrested shortly. However, the families of some of the arrested people claimed they had nothing to do with any terror plot and they were innocent.

The NIA crackdown came in the early hours of Friday. Sources said Sheikh had designated himself as “Ameer” of the group and Huda as “Ameer-e-Wyulat” (finance), and they were in touch on Internet with so-me persons believed to be from ISIS in Syria.

They said these people had been under surveillance for quite some time and the decision to arr-est them was taken as the group received “instructions” for carrying out “some sensational” attacks in the country. All youths, in the age group of 25 to 30, are educated, with some of them having completed studies in software engineering, the sources said. The NIA and other sleuths re-covered laptops, explosive material, detonators, wires, batteries and hydrogen peroxide, besides “jihadi literature”, the sources said.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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