Islamic State casts its net wide in South India despite reverses

Islamic State casts its net wide in South India despite reverses

Kochi : Even as the Islamic State (IS) is fast losing ground in its former strongholds in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, the terror outfit is continuing to recruit foreign fighters from several countries including India. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) probing the IS module busted in Kerala last year found the IS fighters hailing from the state, who had joined the terror outfit’s ranks in Afghanistan, are luring radicalised youths to join them. The NIA is interrogating several youths in Kerala and Tamil Nadu who were maintaining contacts with those who had left for Afghanistan from Kerala to join the IS.

Basil Shihab of Alappuzha, Abdul Rahman, of Ukkadam in Coimbatore, and S Abdullah, of Karumbukadai in Coimbatore, are being questioned by the NIA team at its Kochi office since Friday. Their interrogation will continue on Sunday too. The NIA had on Thursday carried out searches at the residences of these youths.

“Two of the suspects had been communicating with Abdul Rashid, of Kasargod, frequently for the past several months. It was Abdul Rashid who led the 23 persons hailing from Kasargod and Palakkad to migrate to Afghanistan. He has been urging the suspects to travel to the IS land in Afghanistan and support its activities,” an NIA officer said.The NIA suspects these youths were making arrangements for moving to Afghanistan or Syria to join IS. An NIA team from Kochi is also stationed at Coimbatore, where five more youths – Abdul Razak, of Tirupur; Saddam Hussain, of Pillaiyarpuram; Vasim Khan, Towfeeq Rahman, and Nizar Ahmed (all hailing from Karumbukkadai) – are being interrogated.The NIA claimed two of the suspects have disclosed they were radicalised through speeches of Salafi preachers Zakir Naik and Anwar Al-Awlaki. They have reportedly confessed to following various IS online groups and channels on social media and have also disseminated pro-IS propaganda while being in contact with the absconding accused persons in various NIA cases.

During the raids, the NIA had recovered around 80 CDs containing speeches of Salafi preachers, including Zakir Naik. The mobile phones, laptops, hard disks and pen drive recovered from these persons are being examined by forensic experts.The agency is also trying to retrieve messages sent by suspected IS operatives in Afghanistan and Syria through Whatsapp and Telegram apps.

Source : The New Indian Express

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