NIA probing cyber activities of IS recruits from Kerala, to track down more Keralites following IS ideology

NIA probing cyber activities of IS recruits from Kerala, to track down more Keralites following IS ideology

KOCHI,July5:: Here’s a shocker. The tentacles spread by the Islamic State (IS) in Kerala have more reach than what is originally believed. The Intelligence agencies and the NIA probing the cyber activities of the suspected IS members, who have left for Afghanistan from Kerala, have tracked down more Keralites following IS ideology.  During the probe, the NIA had stumbled upon a WhatsApp group created by the 23 IS sympathisers from Kerala much before they left for Afghanistan. Upon detailed examining, the agency received information about more Keralites who wanted to leave for Afghanistan to join IS.

According to an NIA officer, all the members of the WhatsApp group hail from Kerala and a majority of them had already left for Afghanistan. There were 25 members in the WhatsApp group, ‘Tazkiyan’ (purification of soul) and of them, 14 have already left India.

The group members, include Maulana Haneefa, who was arrested by the Mumbai police, and missing persons Abdul Rashid Abdulla, Dr Ijas, Shihas, Firoz, Murshid, Hafizuddin, Marwan, Besten, Bexen and Mansad. “They used to discuss Hadith (teachings of prophet Mohammed and his explanation) in the group.

Haneefa used to send self-recorded voice messages in Malayalam about teachings of Prophet Mohammed. Many of these group members were later found missing and had allegedly joined IS,” stated the NIA report filed in the NIA Court in Mumbai.  An IB officer said apart from the 23 persons who left for Afghanistan, 10 more Keralites were also closely following IS ideology.

“There were 10 more persons in the WhatsApp group following IS ideology. But, once the sleuths launched investigation against the persons who left for Afghanistan, these persons decided to stay back. They had been interrogated in connection with various IS cases registered in Kerala,” an IB officer said. Among the 23 ‘missing’ persons, Rashid was in touch with IS persons. “He used Darknet and Tor browsers to communicate with them,” the officer said.

During the Ramzan of 2015, Abdul Rashid Abdulla organised Itikaf (Islamic practice of staying in mosque during Ramzan) at Adikiya Salafi Mosque, Padane, for 10 days. Abdul Rashid and Maulana Haneefa had also taken classes during the Itikaf. Dr Ijas, Shihas, Bestin, Bexen, Ashfak, Manzad, Marwan, Firoz Khan and another person attended Itikaf, which brought the group members closer.

Later, Abdul Rashid started collective farming for the group in Kasargod. They also practised leading a pure Islamic way of life. “After the farming activities, the group used to read religious books, offer prayers, discuss views on IS ideology, watch videos released by IS and listen to the speeches of scholars on how IS is on right path,” the NIA officer said.

In February 2016, the group members joined Ad-dur-Salaffiya (Al-qama) centre in Sri Lanka for religious studies. Abdul Rashid Abdulla and Ashfak were expelled in April 2016 after they were found to be propagating IS ideology. They returned to Kerala. A month later, the group moved to Afghanistan and the funds in this regard were arranged by Abdul Rashid Abdulla.