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NIA arrests ISIS operatives in Karnataka and Jammu & Kashmir

The National Investigation Agency arrested four people on Wednesday while conducting simultaneous searches in Jammu and Kashmir and Karnataka related to terror activities carried out by a group propagating the violent ideology of ISIS, officials said. According to an NIA spokesperson, the searches were conducted with assistance from local police at five locations – three in Kashmir and one in Bengaluru and one in Mangaluru. According to him, the four arrested were Obaid Hamid of Srinagar, Muzammil Hassan Bhat of Bandipora, Ammar Abdul Rahman of Mangaluru and Shankar Venkatesh Perumal of Bengaluru.

According to the official, the case involves terrorist activities committed by a group led by Mohammed Ameen of Kerala. After preliminary examination, three people – Ameen, Mushab Anavar and Rahees Rashid – were arrested in March. The NIA official said that the group has been running several ISIS propaganda channels on different social media platforms including Telegram, Hoop and Instagram to spread the violent ideology and radicalize and recruit new members into the terror module.

On March 5, 2021, the National Investigation Agency filed a case against seven unnamed and known individuals under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. NIA officials said the radicalized individuals have identified certain people in Kerala and Karnataka for targeted killing under the leadership of Ameen, and have pledged allegiance to the proscribed terrorist organization ISIS.

Ameen visited Kashmir in March of 2020 for Hijrah’ (religious migration) after the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. The authorities allege that he raised funds on behalf of the terrorist organization in collaboration with Jammu and Kashmir-based suspect, Mohammed Waqar Lone. On Ameen’s behalf, the accused in the case transferred funds to Lone through banking channels and digital payment methods as part of the conspiracy, the official said. NIA officials said Ameen and his associates were radicalizing gullible Muslims to participate in unlawful activities in India, and they had expanded their network in Kashmir and parts of Kerala and Karnataka.

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Searches were conducted on Wednesday at the premises of those who were in continuous contact with Ameen and his associates through various groups and channels on encrypted chat platforms and had raised funds for the advancement of ISIS activities, he said. Many digital devices were seized during the search, including laptops, mobile phones, hard drives, pen drives, multiple SIM cards from different service providers and incriminating documents, the official said. Further investigation is being conducted.



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