The Quint Exclusive: The arrest of the 14 suspects linked to ISIS was the result of a 10-month-long surveillance. This is Part II of a conversation with Sarad Kumar, the head of the National Investigation Agency.
During the investigation of the arrested 14 ISIS sympathisers, it has come to light that a honey trap was used in some of the cases to lure them. But how did the ISIS zero down on these potential recruits? One of the suspects was contacted by an ISIS member after he lashed out at the government on a Facebook post. An ISIS member posed as a woman and started chatting with the suspect on Facebook. Slowly, he was led to some Islamic websites. This is how he was radicalised and converted into an ISIS sympathiser.
What After Radicalisation?
Shafi Armar, a former Indian Mujahideen, now an ISIS member located in Syria, was the key recruiter of these 14 men. He was supplying logistics info and finance to all suspects and was aiming at first establishing a Junud-al-Khalifa-e-Hind link (Soldiers of the Indian Caliphate) at the national level and later replicate it at the state level. The 14 arrested were part of the Junud-a-Khalifa with Mudabbir Shaikh as the leader or Amir-e-Hind and Najmul Huda as the military commander or Amir-e-Askari.
The NIA says all suspects were connected online and later several meetings were organised in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Tumkur, Saharanpur, Lucknow and Pune. The last meeting was in the first week of January. The arrested men were instructed not only to plan terror attacks but also to make further recruitment.
Sarad Kumar, NIA Chief
In these meetings they discussed the strengthening and expanding their group at the state level. Shaikh acted as the leader and the mouthpiece of Shafi Armar.
Armar keeps changing his location in Syria, making it tough for the investigators to pin him down. The NIA believes that in coming days he could pose a major threat to India’s national security. They claim that by arresting the 14 men, investigators could thwart Armar’s plan to build an ISIS network in India.
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