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Two from Pune arrested for links with banned terror group IS

The flag of Islamic State. File   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested a 22-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man from Pune for alleged affiliations with the Islamic State in Khorasan (ISKP), a banned terror group active in Afghanistan.

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The accused has been identified as Sadiya Anwar Sheikh, a student of mass communication and journalism, and Nabeel S. Khatri, a gymnasium owner. The names of the accused had surfaced during investigation of a case registered earlier by the Delhi police in March when a couple from Jammu and Kashmir were arrested from Delhi during the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) agitation.

Counselled by Maharashtra police

In 2015, when Sheikh was a student at a convent in Pune, she was detained and counselled by the Maharashtra police as she planned to leave the country to join the Islamic State (IS) in Syria. She was allegedly radicalised on the Internet by a Sri Lankan handler who promised her medical education in Syria.

“It has also been revealed that Sheikh had been in contact with IS recruiters through social media since 2015. She was planning to execute a terrorist attack in Jammu & Kashmir and was detained by the J&K police in 2018,” the NIA said in a statement on Monday.

However, as reported by The Hindu in 2018, she was not arrested by the J&K police as no explosives were found on her. She continued to be on the radar of the police and intelligence agencies and was detained in Kashmir Valley in January 2018 and labelled a “suicide bomber”. The J&K police had to release her after interrogation which revealed that she had travelled there to meet the person she wanted to marry.

The NIA said in a statement on Monday that the case was initially registered by the Delhi police on March 8 after the arrest of the Kashmiri couple — Jahanzaib Sami Wani and Hina Bashir Beigh — from Jamia Nagar in Delhi. “The couple were having affiliations with the ISKP, which is a banned terrorist organisation and is a part of the IS, and were found to be involved in subversive and anti-national activities. They were also found to be in touch with Abdullah Basith, who is already lodged in the Tihar jail in another NIA case,” the NIA said.

Violent terrorist attacks

The NIA alleged that Sheikh was continuously in touch with Wani, Beigh and Basith on various secure messaging applications discussing how to propagate the IS ideology and further its activities in India. “They were trying to build up a cadre of IS by recruiting gullible youth for terrorist activities.”

The NIA said Khatri was also actively involved in planning violent terrorist attacks by arranging logistical support such as procurement of weapons, fake SIM cards, assembling of Improvised Explosive Devices etc.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 8:10:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/two-from-pune-arrested-for-links-with-banned-terror-group-is/article32070711.ece

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