Indian airports and sea ports have been put on alert, should the man attempt to enter India. They have been given a description of the Tamil Nadu-born Singapore resident Haji Fakkurudin Usman Ali, who is also suspected to have participated in the civil war in Syria.
Officials said Usman Ali could be the first concrete example of a man with an India connection suspected to be involved in the ongoing jihadi war against the government in Baghdad. Several Indian agencies have been closely monitoring the developments in Iraq, but sources said they do not have any case against Ali in India, and cannot even issue a red corner notice against him.
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However, following disclosures by Singapore authorities in January this year, the Indian agencies have collected details of Ali’s contacts in India, all of whom have been put under watch.
According to the dossier provided by Singapore, Ali, who worked as a superstore manager in the city state, took up his religious mission first in 2007, and is said to have made his maiden visit to Syria in 2013. He is believed to have taken Singapore citizenship some years after he moved to that country.
Ali is believed to have been radicalised by another man from Tamil Nadu called Gul Mohammad Maraikar, who was deported to India recently. Gul Mohammad hails from Cuddalore, and was employed with a well known multinational firm in Singapore before he came under the scanner of intelligence agencies of that country.
Gul Mohammad is believed to have revealed that he had financed the trip to Syria of one of several radicalised youths from Tamil Nadu. His disclosures were crosschecked, and investigators discovered that Ali, who had been in touch with Gul Mohammad, had left for Syria in January via Turkey to participate in jihad.
Gul Mohammad was released after Indian authorities failed to press charges against him. He was, however, put under surveillance by local law-enforcement agencies in Tamil Nadu.
Following the arrest of alleged Indian Mujahideen operative Yasin Bhatkal last August, investigators had found evidence to suggest that two youths from Azamgarh in UP had gone to Afghanistan to join al-Qaeda, and were “fighting in Afghanistan-Pakistan border”.
Sources in Indian security agencies said they did not have credible information on the number of Indian jihadis in Iraq and Syria, but they suspected that several youths from India had gone to Afghanistan and West Asia to take up the fight.
“Some of these youths have received military training, while others were inspired by propaganda online,” a top counter terror official said.