Common links have emerged between the group of 20 men arrested by NIA in connection with its case against the Islamic State and three youths deported last month from Dubai for working as alleged IS recruiters. The two groups are said to be linked not only through members but also through a common handler — named by investigators as Yusuf al-Hindi, and suspected to be former Indian Mujahideen operative Shafi Armar.
In the last few weeks, NIA has arrested 20 men from across the country for floating an organisation named Junood al-Khilafa-e-Hind (JKH), which would carry out attacks on vital installations, foreigners and policemen in the name of being an Islamic State franchise. The group is suspected to have been raised and nurtured by Shafi Armar.
On January 28, NIA arrested three youths — Adnan Hussain from Karnataka, Mohammad Farhan from Maharashtra and Sheikh Azhar a- Islam from Jammu & Kashmir — after they were deported from Dubai for suspected dalliance with Islamic State.
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NIA investigations have now found that several members of JKH were in touch with members of the group deported from Dubai. “At least Farhan and Mudabbir Sheikh (chief of JKH) knew each other well. Both are residents of Mumbra near Mumbai,” said an NIA investigator.
The Dubai group too was alleegdly in touch with Armar, through an intermediary. “Yusuf al-Hindi is the common link between the two groups. The Dubai group too took its instructions from Yusuf, an Internet figure whom we suspect to be Armar. Adnan, Farhan and Azhar were constantly in touch with a person who was taking instructions from Armar,” said an NIA investigator.
However, unlike JKH, the Dubai group was not asked to launch attacks in India or anywhere else, NIA sources said. “While JKH members wanted to go and join the war in Syria some day, the Dubai group has no such desire. It just wanted to motivate and send others. Armar had asked them to do so. He had also asked them to arrange for finances and contribute themselves for facilitating travel of youth to Syria,” said an investigator.
The probe has also found that in Dubai, only Farhan and Azhar had met each other. The group was largely in touch with one another over the Internet.
Armar had allegedly sent money to Adnan who, in turn, is said to have wired it to four youths from Hyderabad who were caught last year in Malda, West Bengal, trying to sneak into Bangladesh from where they allegedly planned to go to Syria.