Adnan Hussain alias Adnan Damudi, a former SIMI activist from Bhatkal who was deported from the UAE recently for alleged links with Islamic State, has explained to NIA interrogators why agencies across the world seem unable to stop IS propaganda from spreading through the Internet.
Damudi, who worked as an event manager for a telecom company in the UAE, has explained how, with the help of a Serbian national, he was able to resurrect his pro-IS Facebook page minutes after it was blocked several times.
Damudi launched a Facebook page, ‘Islamic News Around The World’, about a year ago to discuss radical Islam and spread IS propaganda, said NIA sources. He also launched a WhatsApp group by the same name. His Facebook page was very popular and had pro-IS members from Nigeria, Serbia, Malaysia, Syria, Iraq and India.
Months after the launch, the page was red-flagged by agencies and blocked by Facebook. When Damudi tried to relaunch it, he was asked for a mobile number and a one-time password (OTP) sent to the mentioned number. This is a safeguard introduced recently to ensure Facebook pages are not misused.
After Damudi exhausted all the local numbers that he owned, he reportedly discussed the matter with members of his WhatsApp group.
“That’s when a Serbian national, who Damudi suspects worked for a telecom company, came to his rescue. The Serbian gave Damudi a new number each time the Facebook page was blocked, and supplied him an OTP almost immediately. Due to this, despite best attempts, Damudi’s Facebook page could never be blocked permanently,” said an intelligence officer.
Damudi, who was deported to India along with J&K-born Azhar Al Islam and Mumbai-born Farhan Sheikh on January 29 for allegedly propagating IS ideology and recruiting for the outfit, has also told the agency that he never wanted to join the IS in Syria. “He says when he saw videos of IS beheadings, he could not take it. He says he asked other members of the group whether it was justified, and nobody could give a satisfactory answer. He says that’s why he decided he would just work for it from UAE,” the officer said.
Damudi has reportedly told his interrogators that though he was in touch with former Indian Mujahideen member Shafi Armar over the Internet, and the two often discussed pro-IS agenda, he was not taking any financial help from him. “He says he had enough money of his own and he was helping youth interested in going to Syria with his own money,” said another officer.
Damudi is suspected to have sent Rs 50,000 to four youths from Hyderabad who were detained in West Bengal last year for trying to cross over to Bangladesh, from where they reportedly planned to go to Syria.