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IS propaganda video over 10 months old, says govt. official

Days after a new propaganda video featuring six Indians was posted by the Islamic State (IS) to recruit jihadists from India, a senior government official said the video was over ten months old and could have been recorded in August 2015.

Officials said they were checking the origin of the video released by the IS through which they seek to recruit Indian jihadists to fight in Homs, Syria.

Online chatter

“As per our analysis, the video is at least ten months old. We were able to decipher the time line with the help of available online chatter of IS groups of that time. For instance, Bada Sajid’s [one of the IM members who features in the video] death was shared in the secure chat groups of the IS at least ten months ago. He now features in this video, we are still checking its veracity,” said a top government official.

The Hindu reported on May 21 that three of the six persons in the video had been identified as Sajid alias Bada Sajid and Abu Rashid alias Sheikh, former Indian Mujahideen members from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh and Fahad Sheikh from Kalyan in Maharashtra.

The fourth person has now been identified as Aman Tandel, also from Kalyan. Both Sheikh and Tandel left India on the pretext of attending a pilgrimage in Iraq with two others from Kalyan in Maharashtra in June 2014.

While one of the three Kalyan men —‘Areeb Majeed’ returned, there was no news about the other three. Last heard, Sheikh was running a pro-IS Twitter handle- @magnetgas, which was suspended by the micro blogging site on India’s request. The fourth man from Kalyan — Saheem Tanki is said to have been killed.

Sajid was one of the six Indians who had been declared dead by Indian agencies in September 2015. He had fled the flat in Batla House in Jamia Nagar in Delhi, minutes before it was raided by Special Cell of Delhi police in 2008 during a crackdown on Indian Mujahideen members. The IS video shows groups of militants on board small motorised boats brandishing Kalashnikovs with an IS black flag in the background. It shows bearded faces of most of the militants. The video surfaced on the night of May 19 but it is not clear when was it recorded.

A senior National Investigation Agency official said they were going through their records to identify the other Indians in the video.

Teams formed

“We have put up teams and they are looking into the old photographs of these suspects to identify them. It’s a time consuming process,” said the official. The video quotes one of the Indians as saying that they would return to avenge the “Babri Masjid [demolition], and the killings of Muslims in Kashmir, in Gujarat, and in Muzaffarnagar.”

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 9:03:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/is-propaganda-video-over-10-months-old-says-govt-official/article8634092.ece

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