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Majeed questioned on hostage plans

Islamic State ‘recruit’ Aarif Majeed. Photo: Special Arrangement  

The two sieges — one in Sydney and the other in Belgium — on Monday made interrogators adopt a new line of questioning for alleged ‘IS recruit’ Arif Majeed.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) in whose custody Majeed is, now wants to know if his recruiters had similar plans for India.

Meanwhile, a high alert has been sounded in Maharashtra for the second time in two weeks.

Majeed, who along with his three other friends fled to Iraq in May to allegedly fight alongside the militant group, returned in November and since then has been in the custody of the agency.

“In the past Majeed has told us that the IS had hostage plans for South East Asia, we are now questioning him if there were any specific plans for India,” an investigator told The Hindu.

“Such hostage crisis can be conducted by one or two gunmen at joints that are frequented by a decent number of people and generates a lot of attention from the international press, giving the group the potential platform to send their message in one go across the world,” he added.

The agency wants to know if there are any sleeper cells in India that the terrorist group might activate to carry out similar sieges.

“While most of the propaganda of the group is through social networking, we want to know if there are any direct contacts, sympathisers who are willing to take up their cause,” added the source.

Heightened vigil

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra police have been asked to be on vigil.

The security apparatus in the State has been put on high alert since last week after the Central intelligence agencies shared an input that six alleged SIMI men are planning to carry out an attack in Mumbai and other major cities in the State at the behest of the ISI (Pakistan’s intelligence agency).

“Mumbai has been a victim of the worst terror siege during the 26/11 attack and therefore we are not leaving anything to chance. While both the terror groups have different agendas and work with different motives, the end purpose is to destabilise the Indian government. Therefore we have conducted audits of the sensitive points and provided extra security to vital establishments,” a senior police officer told The Hindu.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 1:12:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/post-the-sydney-siege-maharashtra-put-on-alert/article6694988.ece

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