The online radicalisation of Mudabbir Sheikh, an alleged Islamic State (IS) sympathiser arrested as part of a nationwide crackdown last week, began when he was drawn to anti-Israel and anti-US propaganda on the internet after being laid off at work for “low performance” in 2012, he has told interrogators.
According to NIA, Mudabbir was the self-styled ameer (leader) of Junud-ul-Khilafa-e-Hind, a pro-IS outfit floated by the 14 arrested by NIA and local police from different states.
A resident of Mumbra in Thane, Mudabbir completed BCom from a college in Nagpada, central Mumbai, in 2003, and while in college attended a web programming course in Thane. Post-graduation, he worked as a computer teacher for two years before reportedly joining an IT firm named CompuTree Infotech in Goregaon, Mumbai, as a web designer.
Mudabbir has said that he worked for six months at the firm, which provides web, desktop and PDA solutions for small- and mid-sized companies.
He subsequently joined Sportz Interactive, also in Goregaon, as a new product development manager and was there until 2012, he has told interrogators. The firm provides sports technology solutions, data and digital services related to sports viewers across media platforms.
Mudabbir has told interrogators that after being “removed” from the job for “low performance” he began spending a lot of time surfing the internet and watching jihadi propaganda online.
A lot of these videos and literature called for attacks and bombings in the US and Israel, a source with knowledge of Mudabbir’s interrogation said.
“In time, he also came in contact with Khalid, alias Rizwan, and his other associates arrested by the NIA. Rizwan was designated the naib ameer, or deputy chief, of the outfit.”
Mudabbir has reportedly revealed that he received Rs 6 lakh through hawala channels to carry out terror attacks in India. Acting on Yusuf’s instructions, the source said, he began making arrangements to make bombs, and stocked matchboxes, a soldering iron and other items to carry out blasts across the country.