An Islamic State Diary: ‘There are many Indians… but are advised not to stay together’

In his messages, Yahiya admitted that he knew at least two people who are under investigation by the NIA for “instigating” Indian youth to join IS.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: May 3, 2017 7:35 am
Image sent by Yahiya on Telegram purportedly of an IS member who moved to Afghanistan from Kerala

Punishment for anyone found flouting Islamic law, shops controlled by local leaders, income from “war booty”, no salaries, a diet of mostly roti, and green tea at get-togethers. In several messages sent to The Indian Express since September 2016 over Telegram, an encrypted service, Bestin Vincent alias Yahiya, who left Kerala with his wife last May to “join the Caliphate”, drew a rare, detailed portrait of life under an Islamic State affiliate at Nangarhar in Afghanistan.

“(There are many Indian families but)… due to security reasons, it’s not recommended for all Indians to stay together nor work together. Still everyone meets often. I cannot disclose the total number of Indians. And these come under the restrictions. And every do’s and don’ts are taken from Quran and Sunnah. Anybody transgressing these limits would be punished,” he wrote. Last Saturday, Yahiya’s father in Palakkad received information that his son, who was among the 21 people who left Kerala for the Islamic State last year, had been killed in US bombings.

Click here to read part 1 of this series – Days before report of his death, he wrote: ‘Not a fly has been affected by MOAB’

In his messages, Yahiya admitted that he knew at least two people who are under investigation by the NIA for “instigating” Indian youth to join IS. But Yahiya, a Christian convert to Islam, denied that they had played a role in his religious transformation. On Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) employee Arshi Qureshi, who was chargesheeted by the NIA in February, Yahiya wrote: “Qureshi was a very close person to me. It was me who told him about Islamic State and Jihad. He never talked to me anything regarding that. Also he refused to accept that Islamic State is true.”

On Rizwan Khan, another suspect who was arrested last year in Thane by Maharashtra ATS and Kerala Police, Yahiya wrote: “Rizwan brother (did not) have any part in our Hijrah. He was just a witness of my nikah because there were no one else.” In February, the NIA told a Mumbai court that they did not have “enough evidence” to currently file a chargesheet against Khan.

The Indian Express could not independently verify Yahiya’s claims.

Edited excerpts from Yahiya messages:


“(The ruling system gives) us cash and they control the shops. When it’s difficult to arrange cash, they give all necessary things at (the) doorstep. Most people have gardens here. Cultivating basic necessary vegetables. We also have enough space in our compound but we don’t have much experience in it. And not enough time… Mostly we eat roti here. Green tea is also special. Whenever some brothers gather together, green tea is must.”

“I read.. on an international news channel that mujahideen are leaving khilafah (caliphate) because of less salary. So funny.

“The fact is there is no salary in khilafah. And there is not a single mature guy without a job. Either in police or medical… or army units. …the Ameer in charge wants to put us in different departments because everyone of us are educated and capable to control the system. But language is a barrier…

“Major income is ghanimah… war booty. What we get after defeating the enemies in war and conquering their lands. This is divided among the mujahideen. So you do not know when the rizq (provision) from Allah comes. Sometimes big amount, sometimes less… Other source of income is kafala (a sponsorship system for migrants), which is paid for every person, male and female and child in time periods like one month or so. Some people do their own business like selling cakes, weapons etc and make income.”

“We wear only Islamic dress… There are no luxuries here. Local people might not even know what luxury is. There is no tension for anyone even if your area is surrounded by (the) murtad (a Muslim who has rejected Islam) army… In the past few months, we were able (to) participate in jihad…

“Land attacks happen once in two or three months in one border. There will be war all the time either near or in far places. But airstrikes happen very often. Almost 24/7, there would be drones or fighter jets.”

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  1. N
    Nitin Deolekar
    May 7, 2017 at 12:29 pm
    ISIS Muslim Terror is growing due to Dirty Laws done by Nehru-Ambedkar Like No Common civil code? First Tightly control All Muslims within Indian Borders!! Pseudo?Secular??Nehru-Ambedkar gifted un-due facilities to Muslims in India? Who did not go to Pak and opted to remain in India. Mr.Ambedkar failed to do even common civil code?? He forced 1-wife act by Law for poor Hindu? forcing Hindu to go to courts even for simple mutual divorce; wasting Money as well as Prime Time in Life.. Due to Delay no child after 2nd marriage. So Hindu population is growing very slow compared to Muslims. However same Nehru-Ambedkar allowed 4-shadi Verbal Talak for Muslims !! so their population is growing 50 faster!! so their poverty and then few of them become ISIS terrorists, due to education in Madrassah, teacher ry paid by Great Govt at cost of we Majority Hindu tax payers!! Now better reverse Mr.Ambedkar wrong laws? Dare to Apply 1-wife Law to Muslims and allow 2-shaadi written Talak for Hindu!!
    1. R
      Rajiv Pande
      May 7, 2017 at 9:11 am
      I wonder why this man chose Indian Express. Does he see IE as sympathetic?
      1. ا
        ابو مروان سلفي
        May 4, 2017 at 1:22 pm
        all these fake sites for isii is hosted and operated ts police , first they allure them to join and then arresting and encountering them this is the modus ope i. courtesy ex cm digviyasingh
        1. V
          May 4, 2017 at 5:02 am
          indian katwas cannot be trusted ....nomatter what previlidge you give them ...
          1. S
            Srichand Raheja
            May 3, 2017 at 6:13 pm
            Allah put some sense in these sick minds
            1. N
              Nitin Deolekar
              May 3, 2017 at 3:13 pm
              ISIS Terrorist are growing in India due to the BIGGEST Ever mistake in History of India for last 5000 years. Pseudo?Secular??Nehru-Ambedkar totally failed to do even bare minimal common civil code? for independent India. Unnecessarily Gifted undue facilities to Muslims who did not go to Pak opted to remain in India. Mr.Ambedkar forced 1-wife act by law on poor Hindu, now forcing Hindu to struggle in courts even for simple divorce; wasting Money & Prime Time in Life for years together; so due to delay no child after 2nd marriage? Same Ambedkar left muslims free to do 4-shaadi verbal Talak!! is it Pseudo Secular idea of Equality?? It is resulting 50 fast growth of Muslims in India, hence their poverty & then ISIS Terror taking education in Madr ah! now sad but bad need to reverse Mr.Ambedkar wrong laws! dare do apply 1-wife act to Muslims & allow Hindu 2-shadi written Talak for next 70 years.give reservation to Muslim women for job!
              1. R
                Ronald Peters
                May 3, 2017 at 2:14 pm
                I am a huge fan of Indian Express. Love reading your newspaper. This story is undoubtedly intriguing. However, as mentioned by you that Indian Express could not independently verify Yahiya’s claims, how can we, the general public, believe this? Doesn't it turn it into fiction? On what basis are you publishing it? I know your editorial head must have taken the call as this story makes for a good read. If you have some concrete facts then you must share it with the public, prove that this story is authentic. Otherwise, this is nothing more than fiction.
                1. K
                  May 3, 2017 at 1:41 pm
                  Islam will reform under it's own compulsions in next 50 years.Not saying it will vanish completely but it will get 'modified' as internet has power to challenge the falsehood and Muslims will slowly accept that their religion is just one of many.A rigid militant exclusive Islam will find itself more and more out of place in modern world.At present Islam is surviving only on oil money and ignorance, and both are going to vane in next 30 years.Muslim nations and Muslims elsewhere have not built any HUMAN CAPITAL (i;e; scientists, engineers,doctors,teachers etc) to sustain themselves after 30 years.When oil money is gone, they won't have anything to fall back on to.When they will find themselves behind everyone, without money, resources or skills, an internal churning forced by realities of life will make them move away from a rigid religion to a spiritual private belief.Once religion moves from politics to private spirituality it becomes tolerant and compatible with others.
                  1. Y
                    May 3, 2017 at 2:45 pm
                    Excellent comment brother, The wahaabism funding by the saudis will stop and will have a profound impact on the mooslims. Time is the great destroyer of civilisations.
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