Freedom may remain a distant dream for Islamic State (IS) widows including Nimisha Fathima, as a long drawn battle awaits them in India, if extradited from Afghanistan.
She has been accused of joining IS, a banned terrorist organisation, an offence under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
There were reports that Fathima, a Keralite, was among those who were released from the jail after the Taliban took over the reins of the country. She and three others had accompanied their husbands to join the IS in Khorasan Province. Bexen Vincent, her husband and an IS activist, is believed to have been killed in Afghanistan.. K. Bindu, her mother had recently approached the authorities to bring back her daughter and five-year-old granddaughter, Ummu Kulsu.
Incidentally, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has included Fathima in the list of most wanted persons in the ISIS case of Palakkad. She has also been accused of associating and professing to be associated with IS to furthering and supporting its activities. She will have to face trial for waging war against Afghanistan. All the charges levelled against Fathima are non-bailable ones. In UAPA cases, the court may grant bail only if it is satisfied that the charges levelled are baseless and prima facie appear to be untrue, judicial sources indicated.
The challenge before the NIA is to gather evidence to link Fathima to the offences, which were alleged to have been committed in Afghanistan. Obtaining witnesses and evidence from there to depose against her will be an uphill task for the agency. It may have to bank heavily on digital evidences and witnesses in India to prove the charges. The probability of her turning approver could also be explored by the agency. However, it depends on a host of factors including the evidence available against the other accused in the case, they said.
The NIA had proved similar charges against Subhani Haja Moideen, the first Indian believed to have returned to the country after joining IS. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and fined ₹2.1 lakh by a National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in September last year. The NIA had produced forensic reports indicating that he had a radio-opaque material embedded in his leg. Traces of explosives such as potassium nitrate and potassium chlorate were found on his jackets, indicating that he was in the war zone of Iraq and Syria, sources said.