The Islamic State (IS)’s alleged Lucknow-Kanpur module busted recently had been found to be without any foreign handler. The National Investigation Agency (NIA)’s probe has now found that the module may be connected to IS-affiliated Junud-al-khilafa-fil-Hind (JKH), whose over 20 alleged members were arrested in 2016. The interrogation of alleged JKH member Amzad Khan, who was deported on April 5 from Saudi Arabia, has revealed that he was in touch with the module’s leader, Atif Muzaffar. The two had had long discussions about Islam and IS activities.
Khan, a Rajasthan resident, was deported for allegedly motivating youths online to join the IS. “We are verifying his claims. …Muzaffar has denied that he knows Khan. However, Khan had many online identities and Muzaffar may not have known Khan by his real name. We are scanning their online activity. If need be, we will bring them face to face,” an NIA officer said.
Sources said that Khan, who worked in Saudi Arabia as a mason, got radicalised when he was in Rajasthan without work before returning to the country in 2014. “In this period, he joined Ahl-e-Hadis sect and came in contact with some people who held fundamentalist views. Because he had a lot of time… he was also constantly surfing internet over his phone,’’ an NIA officer said. “Through social media, he came in contact with radical elements and was soon hooked to information on IS activities.’’
Sources said that Khan came in contact with former Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative-turned-IS-recruiter Shafi Armar after returning to Saudi Arabia. According to the NIA, Khan was known by online identities of Ayan Khan Salafi, Muhammadi Ayan and Al Wala Wal Bara. He allegedly played a major role in radicalising Indian youths and motivating them to work for the IS. Khan was allegedly in touch with Bengaluru Church Street blast accused and former IM operative Alamzeb Afridi. NIA sources said Khan had helped Afridi hide at the Hyderabad house of IS accused, Nafees. NIA sources said that Khan and Armar allegedly motivated Indian youth online to form JKH and pledge allegiance to IS.
The NIA had filed two chargesheets against 17 accused last year. “Khan had emerged as one of the principal characters in the conspiracy hatched by the absconding accused, Yusuf-al-Hindi @ Shafi Armar, and other members of the newly formed organisation ‘Junood-ul-Khilafa-Fil-Hind’, who pledged their allegiance to the proscribed terrorist organization, ISIS, for carrying out subversive activities in India,” an NIA statement had said.