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NIA conducts searches at 3 locations in Kashmir in ISIS Kerala module case

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Srinagar: The National Investigation Agency on Wednesday arrested four people as it conducted simultaneous searches in Kashmir and Karnataka in connection with activities of a group propagating the violent ideology of the ISIS, an official said.

An NIA spokesperson on a statement said the searches were carried out along with local police units at five locations — three in Kashmir and one each in Bengaluru and Mangalore.

The arrested accused have been identified as Obaid Hamid of Bemina, Srinagar, Muzammil Hassan Bhat of Bandipora; Ammar Abdul Rahman of Mangalore and Shankar Venkatesh Perumal of Bengaluru, he said.

“The case pertains to terrorist activities of a group led by one Mohammed Ameen of Kerala,” the statement said.

He said three people — Ameen and his associates Mushab Anuvar and Rahees Rashid — were arrested in March after preliminary examination.

“The group has been running various ISIS propaganda channels on different social media platforms such as Telegram, Hoop and Instagram for propagating the violent Jihadi ideology, and radicalising and recruiting new members to the terror module,” the NIA said.

The statement said that NIA had registered a case against seven known and other unnamed persons under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on March 5, 2021.

The NIA said “the group of radicalised individuals, under the leadership of Ameen, and having pledged allegiance to the proscribed terrorist organisation ISIS had identified certain people in Kerala and Karnataka for targeted killing.

“After the decline of ISIS Caliphate in Syria/Iraq, Ameen visited Kashmir in March, 2020 for ‘Hijrah’ (religious migration) and for engaging in terrorist acts. He had also raised funds in association with Kashmir-based accused — Mohammad Waqar Lone and his associates,” NIA said.

As part of the conspiracy, funds were also transferred to Lone by the accused in the case through banking channels and digital payment methods on the directions of Ameen, it said.

“Ameen and his associates were also radicalising gullible Muslim youths for joining Jihad and unlawful activities in India, and had been successful in expanding the network in Kashmir and part of Kerala and Karnataka,” the NIA said.

The searches on Wednesday were conducted at the premises of the accused/suspects who were continuously in touch with Ameen and his associates through various groups/channels on encrypted chat platforms and had raised funds for furtherance of activities of ISIS, it said.

During searches, several digital devices, including laptops, mobile phones, hard disk drives, pen drives, multiple SIM cards of different service providers and incriminating documents were seized, it said.

The four people arrested on Wednesday were involved in raising funds, and radicalising and motivating more people to join ISIS, he said, adding that further investigation in the case is on.

NIA files chargesheet against six LeM operatives

Srinagar: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday filed a chargesheet against “six terrorists of Lashkar-e-Mustafa (LeM) outfit, a frontal organisation of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM),” who were planning attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country.

Those chargesheeted include self-styled chief commander of the LeM, Hidayat Ullah Malik, and a woman, Baseerat-ul-Ain, both residents of Shopian in south Kashmir, and Mustaq Alam and his brother Jawed Alam of Deobahuara-Chhapra in Bihar, an NIA spokesperson said.

Others named in the chargesheet are Jan Mohammad Teeli of Anantnag and Mudabir Manzoor of Shopian.

Malik, who was arrested from Kunjwani area of Jammu on February 06, had formed LeM in August last year.

On February 14, the Director General of Police Dilbag Singh had termed his arrest a major breakthrough and said he had forwarded a video of NSA Ajit Doval’s Delhi office to his handler in Pakistan which meant they were planning an attack there.

“Malik had set up a network to get weapons from Bihar and even sourced seven pistols from there and got them distributed among terrorists in the valley,” the DGP had said.

The NIA said the case was initially registered at Gangyal Police Station in Jammu “relating to conspiracy by the LeM, working at the behest of the JeM, to carry out terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir with an intention to threaten sovereignty, integrity and security of India.”

The NIA re-registered the case on March 02 and took over its investigation.

“The investigation has revealed that Malik was the commander in chief of terrorist outfit LeM and he, along with his co-conspirators, was planning terrorist acts in various parts of India. The newly floated terror outfit (LeM) is an off-shoot of proscribed terror organisation JeM,” the spokesperson said.

The NIA said the LeM was tactically formed to evade scrutiny of forces and ease international pressure on the JeM after the attack on CRPF convoy in Pulwama on February 14, 2019, which left over 40 jawans dead.

“The probe has further revealed that the accused led by Malik had also committed a daylight bank robbery amounting to Rs 60 lakh at J&K Bank, Main Branch Shopian in November 2020.

“The looted money was used by LeM terrorists for procuring weapons from Kashmir and Bihar. Malik had also done reconnaissance of many security installations in Jammu and Delhi and was in constant touch with his JeM handlers in Pakistan,” the spokesperson said.

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