The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday identified the 14 terror suspects who were deported recently from the UAE and alleged that they were associated with varied ideologies of the al-Qaeda, the Islamic State (IS), and the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
The NIA has alleged that they had come together to form a terror group called “Ansarullah”, had allegedly collected funds and made preparations to carry out terror attacks.
It has alleged that the group members were exhorting others to carry out lone-wolf attacks using knives, vehicles or even poison. The 14 suspects were arrested along with two others from Tamil Nadu. They have been remanded in NIA custody for eight days.
According to the agency, the suspects were booked in a case registered on July 9 “based on credible information received that the accused persons, owing allegiance to the proscribed terrorist organisations ISIS/ Daish, Al Qaida and SIMI, while being within and beyond India, had conspired and conducted preparations to wage war against the Government of India by forming a terrorist gang Ansarulla”.
In a statement, the NIA said, “Accused persons have been actively recruiting individuals to strike terror in India and have also been routinely posting videos and other jihadi propaganda material exhorting their supporters to conduct terrorist attacks using various methods, including use of explosives, poison, knives and vehicles, as means of attack.” Sources said the suspects were deported from the UAE in two batches of seven with the first landing on July 13 and the second arriving on July 15. They were taken in a special flight to Chennai, where they were produced in court.
It is suspected that the individuals owing allegiance to SIMI are associated with Wahadat-e-Islami Hind, an Islamic organisation in Tamil Nadu.
The NIA had last Saturday conducted raids at premises associated with three individuals in Tamil Nadu in connection with its probe into activities of Ansarullah. Among them, was Chennai resident Syed Bukhari, who is also the president of Wahadat-e-Islami Hind (WIH).
On Sunday, the agency arrested two others — Hassan Ali and Harish Mohammed, both from Nagapattinum — “based on incriminating facts revealed during searches and subsequent investigations”. They, along with Bukhari, are already accused in the July 9 FIR against Ansarullah.
While WIH has maintained that it is a religious organisation, in interviews to the local media, sources in Tamil Nadu Police said intelligence agencies suspect the organisation was helping fund activities of Ansarullah.
WIH was established in 2009 in Chennai as a religious organisation and soon ran into controversy, with intelligence inputs suggesting its association with SIMI, a proscribed organisation. WIH had denied the allegations.
The 14 deported from the UAE have been identified as Mohamed Ibrahim (58), Meeran Ghani (33), Gulam Nabi Asath (37), Rafi Ahmed (55), Munthasir (39), Umar Barook (48), Farook (26), Mohamed Sheik Maitheen (40), Ahamed Azarudhen (27), Toufiq Ahmed (27), Mohamed Ibrahim (36), Mohammed Afzar (29), Mohideen Seeni Shahul Hameed (59), and Faizal Sharief (44). All of them come from Tamil Nadu.