The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday conducted raids on the residences of two people at Nainmarmoola and Bandaduka villages in Kerala. It is reported that the two were suspected to have links with Islamic State (ISIS) through social media websites, such as Facebook.
Earlier, quoting Indian intelligence official The Hindusthan Times reported that one of the nine suicide bombers, in the Easter Sunday carnage in Sri Lanka, visited India twice in 2017. Identified as Mohammad Mubarak Azaan, he was the second attacker from the gang to have travelled to India.
From day one of the dastardly attacks in Sri Lanka, it is being reported that Zahran Hashim, an Islamic preacher and leader of Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) had links with an organisation by the same name based in Tamil Nadu.
Incidentally, Zahran Hashim was reported as the mastermind of Sri Lanka bombings. He was seen delivering oath to other attackers with covered faces to pledge allegiance to ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the video released by the global terrorist organisation.
The video has unequivocally confirmed the presence of Islamic State (ISIS) in the Indian subcontinent. Going by the fact that Sri Lankan police are still looking for a large number of missing terror suspects, it is clear that the island nation is not yet out of the woods.
The question is how close India is to ISIS terror threats. Many southern cities and towns have been already put on high alert. Hopefully, ISIS ideology is kept at bay by every one in the community concerned.
Heads are rolling in Sri Lanka for failing to act on intelligence alerts shared by foreign agencies on the possible suicide bombings. The failure has resulted in coordinated deadly attacks on Churches and luxury hotels killing over 350 people on the Easter Sunday on April 21. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has asked for the resignation of the police chief and defense secretary.
The much quoted intelligence input with specific warnings about the target (churches) and timing (Easter) was shared by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA). The information was extracted while NIA was probing an ISIS module, based in Tamil Nadu
In September 2018, the Coimbatore police had arrested five men who were allegedly plotting to kill Hindu leaders in the state. One of the arrested confessed to being a ‘secret member of ISIS’.
The NIA took over the case in October 2018. The probe revealed that the accused men had been radicalised on the extremist ISIS ideology, and propagating it through the social media. It was found that they wanted to further their objectives by carrying out terror attacks on Hindu leaders, specifically, Coimbatore-based Arjun Sampath of Hindu Makkal Katchi and Anbu Mari of Sakthi Sena .
The accused are Mohamed Ashiq A, Ismail S, Samsudeen, Mohammed Salauddin S, Jafar Shadik Ali and Shahul Hameed.
During the probe, NIA team came across videos of National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) leader Zahran Hashim, which hinted at a possible terror attack on the Indian High Commission in Colombo. The videos also showed Hashim call for Islamic rule in the region comprising Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The team dug deeper with cyber trailing of some accounts associated with the ISIS, and stumbled upon clues to NJT’s plans to target churches. NIA promptly shared the inputs with Sri Lanka through diplomatic channels. Sri Lanka police chief, in turn, sent out a warning letter to district police officers, as reported, but the warning went in vain.