The National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted raids at eleven locations in Bharat yesterday to uncover a cell of the dreaded Islamic State (ISIS). That many locations were linked to the Popular Front of India (PFI) did not surprise many but the organized protests that followed the raids did. The PFI threatened the media against ‘dragging’ their name into the raids and demanded those who did should tender apologies.
The local ISIS agents are accused of recruiting young radicalized Muslim youth and their families for terrorist operations to establish a global Caliphate during the 2015-2019 period in terrorist-infested countries like Syria and Afghanistan. Many of the recruits were killed in action while their families (women and children) rot in various jails in countries like Afghanistan. The survivors have requested our government to let them back into Bharat.
Mohammed Ameen, an ISIS operative who was detained a few days ago from Delhi, apparently spilled the beans on his co-conspirators. Mushab Anwar, Dr. Rahees Rashid, and a woman, have also been detained from Kerala and at least two more are being interrogated.
Mohammed had returned last March from Bahrain and was hiding in Delhi, trying to establish connections with Jammu & Kashmir-based collaborators. This batch was planning to migrate to J&K to engage in terrorist activities. They are also accused of indulging in these nefarious anti-national activities as per instructions from their handlers in Pakistan.
The group was allegedly handling the ISIS-linked channels on social media and was using encrypted chat platforms for propaganda. The group was also planning to form an organized terror unit to create havoc in Bharat and many of their accomplices are based out of Kerala. They are also accused of planning to assassinate high-profile targets in Bharat.
These early morning raids conducted in secrecy by the NIA in collaboration with Delhi Police’s special cell and ATS of the Kerala police involved multiple intelligence officers. The raids took place at multiple locations in Kerala, two in Bengaluru, and the Jaffrabad area of New Delhi which was a hotspot during the anti-Hindu Delhi riots last year. In Kerala, the NIA raids took place in Malappuram, Kollam, Kannur, and Kasargod districts. It involved most of their personnel attached to their Kochi office and the rest were flown in from other locations.
The residences of PFI Chelari area secretary, Haneefa Haji, and his son-in-law Rahul Abdullah were raided. This was when the PFI Malappuram area president P Abdul Aziz issued a statement that the NIA raids were not linked to the PFI and warned the media of ‘serious repercussions’ if the news is published.
It was also reported that following reports of violent threats and protests, the questioning in Chelari of Malappuram district had to be shifted to the local police station. Chelari is a known hot-bed of radical activities in the Malappuram district and has seen a spurt in anti-national activities off late.
An NIA statement added that the raids have yielded digital devices that include laptops, mobiles, hard drives, multiple sim cards, and incriminating documents which will be scrutinized using digital forensics.
Local radically linked media reports claimed that no official explanation has emerged from investigating agencies suggesting deception, but they probably forgot to check social media. They also forgot the fact that Bharat’s investigating agencies do not report to the PFI anyway.
Such statements also highlight the issue of the kind of penetration that these Islamists have over the local media and the kind of biased journalism that Keralites are exposed to, on a daily basis. Sidhique Kappan, a PFI worker and journalist attached with such online portals was arrested on charges of sedition and conspiracy to promote violence in UP. He is also the Secretary of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists! Charges and evidence were so strong that Kappan who was arrested in October of last year, still languishes in jail.
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