UAPA case accused from Erode booked for keeping ‘ISIS flag’ in Coimbatore Central Prison cell

December 14, 2023 09:34 pm | Updated December 15, 2023 01:23 pm IST - COIMBATORE

A view of Coimbatore Central Prison. 
PHOTO: Siva Saravanan S / The Hindu.

A view of Coimbatore Central Prison. PHOTO: Siva Saravanan S / The Hindu. | Photo Credit: S. Siva Saravanan

A day after the Madras High Court granted conditional bail to an alleged ISIS-sympathiser from Erode, who was arrested and lodged in Coimbatore Central Prison last year, the police on Wednesday booked him for allegedly possessing a flag of the terror outfit, which was drawn on a paper.

Asif Mustaheen (29) from Manickampalayam in Erode district, who was arrested in an Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) case registered by the Erode north police in 2022, was found with ISIS flag drawn on a paper in a surprise check, according to the prison authorities.

The Race Course police on Wednesday registered a case against Mustaheen for offences under Sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 506 (1) (criminal intimidation) and 20 (punishment for being member of terrorist gang or organisation) of the UAPA, based on a complaint lodged by a jailor. The same police station had booked him in October last year on charges of intimidating two jail warders.

As per the First Information Report, the flag drawn on paper was found when the prison staff searched the cell of Mustaheen on November 27. According to the police, he tried to obstruct the prison staff from searching the cell. However, the staff searched the cell and found a piece of paper, with ISIS flag drawn on it, hidden in the pocket of a pair of jeans.

When enquired, he told the staff that he drew the flag on a paper that was provided for writing petitions to courts. As the staff pointed out that it was an offence, the prisoner allegedly claimed allegiance to the terror outfit and stated he was merely keeping his country’s flag. He also allegedly threatened the staff that they would face consequences, if the flag was not returned.

The jailor complained that Mustaheen continued the intimidation when the staff visited the cell again on Wednesday morning. The prisoner allegedly told the staff that they or the prison would not exist when he takes up jihad for ISIS, after his release.

Following the continued threat, the jailor lodged a complaint with the Race Course police against Mustaheen on Wednesday and handed over the ISIS flag drawn on paper.

According to the police, Mustaheen was lodged in the prison on July 27, 2022, following his arrest by the Erode north police for offences under Sections 121, 122 and 125 of the IPC read with Sections 18, 18A, 20, 38 and 39 of UAPA. The arrest was made after the National Investigation Agency searched the residences of Mustaheen and his friend Yasin.

During the hearing of Mustaheen’s bail application in the High Court, the prosecution had submitted that the accused is conversant with Tamil, English and Arabic and he is a supporter of Islam rule in India. It also submitted that the accused is a staunch supporter of Osama Bin Laden and he always wanted to join terror outfit Al-Qaeda.

Accusing him of being an ISIS supporter, the prosecution also submitted he wanted to become a member of the terror outfit, to cause injury to leaders of Hindu organisations in and around his locality.

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