The self-styled Lucknow-Kanpur module of Islamic State, which was busted by Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh police in March, was until now understood to have had very little internet activity and, therefore, no foreign handler.
However, an alleged IS recruiter deported from Saudi Arabia recently has told NIA that the leader of the group, Atif Muzaffar, was very popular among IS sympathisers from both India and abroad and ran some very well-known online platforms in the IS circles.
NIA has now written to US authorities for help in fishing out details of his past online activities. Once it gets the details, it will not only use it as evidence against Muzaffar, but also find out people associated with him and put them under surveillance.
Agency sources said alleged IS recruiter Amzad Khan alias Ayan Khan Salafi, who was deported from Saudi Arabia in April for allegedly motivating youths online to join the IS, has revealed about Muzaffar’s social media platforms that discussed Islam and disseminated news and opinion related to IS activities.
NIA has confronted Muzaffar with these details but he has said he does not remember the handles and platforms anymore as many of them were shut down later, said the sources. “These revelations have been a surprise as the online activity of the group, in the period right before it was apprehended, has been found to be minimal.
They had no foreign handler… Muzaffar apparently had
many followers on the Internet. That’s how Amzad came in contact with him,” an NIA officer said. Muzaffar and five of his aides were arrested from UP and MP on March 7 for allegedly planting explosives in an Ujjain-bound train.