Syria travel wish, talk of plane hijack helped NIA nail IS suspect

Abid was tasked to search for people who wanted to work for IS. He was introduced to one Moosa through his friend Farooq who works in Dubai. The trio met when Farooq came to India last year. After a brief discussion, Moosa agreed to join JKH.

Written by Rahul Tripathi | New Delhi | Published: July 21, 2017 4:24 am
Abid Khan, Junood-e-Khalifa-Hind, JKH, Islamic State, Syria, NIA, india news Abid had links with JKH, an IS-inspired module

Abid Khan, 23, who has been convicted of having links with Junood-e-Khalifa-Hind (JKH), an Islamic State-inspired module, wanted to join the caliphate in Syria and made five attempts to travel to the IS-controlled territory. While the special NIA court at Shimla will announce the quantum of sentence Friday, here are details from his interrogation that helped NIA build its case:

First attempt

In September 2015, Abid set his mind to find a person who could facilitate his travel to Syria to join IS. He came in contact with Afzal, a resident of Sarapallya in Bengaluru, who is among those arrested. Abid also said he knew about IS through video or other literature and wanted to confirm that it is an original caliphate by going there — by performing Hijrat (migration). Later, he was introduced to JKH member Asif who invited him to join the group. Asif told Abid that they work for an IS handler based in Syria who had tasked them to form groups for separate tasks — (i) recruit people (ii) train people for war and arrange weapons (iii) collect funds and (iv) collect information about those working against IS in India.

Abid was tasked to search for people who wanted to work for IS. He was introduced to one Moosa through his friend Farooq who works in Dubai. The trio met when Farooq came to India last year. After a brief discussion, Moosa agreed to join JKH. Abid introduced another friend, Faizan, to the group, but he distanced himself later.

Baptism

After the crackdown on the group by NIA and other agencies, Abid took refuge at All Nations Church in Bengaluru. He told church employees that he was disturbed and wanted to leave behind old connections and follow Jesus Christ. Abid, according to interrogation details, shaved his beard and changed the way he dressed. He told people at the church that “he was being tracked by a evangelistic Muslim organisation which had hacked his e-mail account and there was a danger to his life.” He thought that if he was baptised, the church would send him abroad. Abid was baptised on March 17, 2016.

He reportedly befriended an Indonesian woman on the social media and wanted to travel to Indonesia to be with her. The church sent him to Sri Lanka instead to learn more about Christianity. In March 2016, he left for Colombo and stayed at a base camp in Madampet. Thereafter, Abid went to a base of Youth With a Mission at Kandy, where he stayed for about 14 days. All expenses were borne by the church but Abid refused to extend his stay to study Bible.

Talk on plane hijack

On his return, Abid asked his friend Sameer to meet him at Chennai airport. Sameer asked Abid why he was not arrested in this crackdown. Abid replied that he did not do anything wrong. Abid also discussed the news regarding arrest of Afzal, Mujahid and Asif and others linked to JKH. Abid also told Sameer to watch the movie Neerja where militants hijack a plane. He told Sameer about hijack of Israel Airline and Air India planes. Abid asked Sameer for financial help to go to Indonesia, but Sameer refused.

Later, Abid went back to the church and was sent to another church in Kullu. Before his arrest, Abid claimed that for the past five years, he has been following speeches of cleric and All India Muslim Personal Law Board member Sajjad Nomani. He also enrolled himself in a madrasa and in 2014 came in contact with Hizb-ut-Tahrir, an Islamic fundamentalist group run by South Asians living in the UK.

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