She, is 38, hails from a Hyderabad Muslim family, married to a Hindu real estate dealer and a mother of three young daughters, and was settled in Dubai. He, is 32 an unemployed electronics engineer who returned to Hyderabad from US after his visa was not extended, is married with two children, and was spending most of his time browsing the internet while searching for a job.
Both of them met on Facebook seven years ago, their common interest being discussions on various online forums about Islam and Christianity, that eventually led them to Islamic State (IS) propaganda websites last year. What followed was a dramatic story of two Hyderabadis allegedly joining hands to indoctrinate and recruit youths online to join IS-one working from Dubai and the other from Hyderabad.
On Friday morning, when Cyberabad Police arrested Afsha Jabeen, after she landed with her family from Dubai, her alleged partnership with Salman Mohiuddin finally ended. Afsha Jasbeen was deported by UAE authorities for activities in support of the IS. While Afsha knew Salman by his original name, Salman knew her only as Nikki alias Nicole Joseph, a British national living in Dubai who converted to Islam and is an ardent supporter of IS.
By the time, Salman decided to go to Dubai in January, this year and seek to help her go to Syria and join IS, he was so smitten by Nicole that he proposed to her online and wanted to marry her. After her arrest on Friday, Afsha flatly denied knowing Salman. “She says she does not know him and was unaware that Salman was going to Dubai to meet her. She has countered all of Salman’s claims as false. It will take some time to peel the layers and expose the lies,’’ Shamshabad Division ACP R Sudershan says.
On January 15 this year, Salman Mohiuddin was arrested at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport just as he was about to catch a flight to Dubai. Cops say he intended to go to Syria via Turkey eventually. It was US authorities who alerted Indian central agencies about his activities and his plan to travel Dubai, who in turn tipped off Cyberabad Police that led to his arrest.
“When Salman was in the US he joined online groups discussing Islam and Christianity and he came in touch with a woman known as Nikki alias Nicole Joseph. She pretended to be a British national who converted to Islam. She posted messages on various forums urging non-Muslims to embrace Islam. Conversations between Salman and Nicole turned to Islamic State after she openly started propagating on behalf of the militant group and urged youths to go to Syria and Iraq and join IS fighters. Salman had come under the scanner of US authorities who noticed his online activities and keen interest in ISIS and jehadi websites and when his work visa expired last October, they refused to extend it forcing Salman to return to Hyderabad. At home most of the time, Salman joined Nicole in online indoctrination and recruitment. Both of them created several groups and pages on social networking websites and started to spread ISIS propaganda to attract youth. He himself got thoroughly brainwashed and decided to leave his wife and kids and his parents and to go to Syria to join IS,’’ an official said.
Salman Mohiuddin, is a resident of Bazaar Ghat under Habeebnagar Police Station, where he lived in his parents’ house. Salman had done his B.Tech in Electronics and Communications Engineering in 2008 from Anwarul-Uloom College of Engineering and Technology at Vikarabad, on the outskirts of Hyderabad. In October 2011, he went to US to do an MS degree in Transportation Planning and Management at Texas Southern University. After graduating from the university, he worked at various places in Houston as a sales executive before he was forced to return to Hyderabad.
About five kms from Salman’s home, Afsha Jabeen’s parents live in Towlichowki, completely unaware of what their daughter was up to in Dubai. “As far as they know, although Afsha married a Hindu against their wishes, she was well settled and happy in Dubai with three daughters and her husband doing well as a real estate dealer.
Afsha’s father had migrated to Abu Dabhi for several years and took his wife and children along. Afsha studied till class 12 in Abu Dabhi and returned to Hyderabad to do a degree course from Shadan College. In 2001, she got a job in Dubai, where she met Devender Bhatia and married him in 2002. Devender was totally unaware of his wife’s activities until UAE authorities decided to deport her accusing her of being a top recruiter for the Islamic State. She, of course, is denying everything but she was identified and her true identity was established after seven months of investigation and tracking. The investigation will reveal everything,’’ ACP Sudershan says. Her husband and three daughters have been allowed to go while Afsha was arrested. Salman, who was booked under various provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and IT Act is in judicial custody. Afsha who was accused number 2 in that case was sent to judicial custody Friday evening.