Zafar Ali Mohammad Haliq, a 25-year-old ISIS operative, and a resident of Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu was nabbed in a joint operation of the ATS and Vadodara Police
There have been a spate of arrests and all have been linked to the Islamic State. While in Delhi three suspects were arrested, in Gujarat one ISIS operative from Tamil Nadu was picked by the Anti-Terrorism Squad.
In this backdrop one must also note that earlier this week, the National Investigation Agency too had filed a chargesheet against several Tamil Nadu operatives, part of the Ansarullah, a group that is a proxy of the ISIS.
The cases in brief:
The three suspects arrested in Delhi have been identified as Khaja Moideen, Abdul Samaj and Syed Ali Navaz. All three were arrested following an exchange of fire at the Wazirabad area of Delhi.
The police said that they were inspired by the ISIS and had planned on striking the national capital and Uttar Pradesh ahead of Republic Day.
The operative arrested in Vadodara has been identified as Zafar Ali Mohammad Haliq. The 25-year-old operative is a resident of Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu. He was nabbed in a joint operation of the ATS and Vadodara police.
While the details relating to the Delhi module appear sketchy, as investigations are at a very preliminary stage, in the Gujarat case, the police say that there was a specific attempt to set up modules.
A Gujarat ATS official confirmed to MyNation that there were six operatives who were a part of this conspiracy. There was intelligence on these persons that they were carrying out nefarious activities. All six were wanted in Tamil Nadu for serious crimes such as murders.
The officer further said that they wanted to span out to the rest of the country and set up modules. Haliq had landed in Gujarat and was in touch with the other likeminded local operatives.
The NIA had said in its latest chargesheet that members of the Tamil Nadu module had planned on striking at various parts of the country. The agency further noted that they were preparing for violent Jihad, both in Tamil Nadu and beyond.
Infiltrating the protests:
An officer with the Intelligence Bureau said that terror groups have been trying to infiltrate the protests against the newly amended citizenship law. We had found in Delhi that members of the proscribed Students Islamic Movement of India had infiltrated the protests. Their presence was also found in Uttar Pradesh.
There is a systematic pattern that we have witnessed every time the protests turned violent. These members from Tamil Nadu too have been trying to enter the protests and turn it violent. Further, they were also looking to undertake a recruitment spree.
The ISIS module from Tamil Nadu had planned on contacting local Muslims part of the protest and roping them in. These persons would then be brainwashed and then be asked to carry out terror strikes, the Intelligence Bureau official also said.
The arrest of Haliq clearly indicates that the ISIS module was moving out of Tamil Nadu and was planning a massive radicalisation drive in other parts of the country. This was in fact a plan that was set up by the pro-ISIS group, Ansarullah.
The members of the Ansarullah had plotted pan India Jihad along with operatives from the United Arab Emirates. During their meetings they discussed Khilafat. Further they had decided to go to different parts of the country and carry out a radicalisation drive. The NIA in its chargesheet says that these members had decided that the only way to establish Islamic rule in India was through violent Jihad.
Further these persons had also conducted religious classes. During these classes, it was decided to open modules of the Ansarullah in various parts of the country. They had planned on recruiting several Muslim youths, brainwash them and undertake violent Jihad.
The Cuddalore connect:
In the files of the Home Ministry, Cuddalore finds a special mention. This is primarily because the first known ISIS terrorist in India hails from this place in Tamil Nadu. Haja Fakkrudin radicalised by an ISIS module in 2013 had left the country the following year and joined the ISIS in Syria.
Further investigations found that the Cuddalore module was set up by an operative in Singapore. He had set up chat groups and invited several persons, following which he began brainwashing them. Haja was one such person who was part of this group.
In just a few months, several Muslim youths from Cuddalore were brainwashed and started following the ideology of the ISIS. During this drive, ISIS t-shirts, merchandise and propaganda material were distributed. The members of this module even posed with these t-shirts and posted it on social media.
The members of the Cuddalore module then started to pan out to the rest of the state and propagate on behalf of the ISIS. During this the Ansarullah was born. They decided at their meetings that the best way to cause panic, recruit and then strike big was by creating communal tensions. They had planned on targeting a series of Hindu leaders and even attacking temples in Tamil Nadu.
Last Updated 1:04 PM IST