Police detained a 32-year-old man at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad early on Friday on the suspicion that he was flying out of the country to join the jihadi group Islamic State (IS).
Police alleged that Salman Mohiuddin, who returned from the US last October, was to fly to Dubai from where he planned to reach Syria via Turkey to join IS. Officials said the tip-off came directly from a US intelligence agency, which had been monitoring his movements ever since he left the US after being denied a visa extension.
Son of a garments trader, Ahmad Mohiuddin, Salman is a resident of Bazaar Ghat under Habeebnagar Police Station in Hyderabad. He completed his B.Tech in 2008 from Anwarul-Uloom College of Engineering and Technology at Vikarabad on the outskirts of the city. In 2011, he went to the US and joined the Texas Southern University for a Master of Science degree in Transportation Planning and Management.
After completing studies, Salman worked mostly as a sales executive at several places in Houston, including a car rental firm and pharmaceutical company. Officials said he came on the radar of US intelligence agencies after he started visiting websites of IS and other jehadi groups. “He had also left messages on IS websites and on social media pages of jehadi groups in Syria,” an official said.
The official said, “Salman got married before he left for Houston. He claims he has a British girlfriend who also decided to go with him to Syria via Turkey to join IS. That is yet to be confirmed.”
Another official said, “During his stay in the US, he came in touch with a woman named Nicky Joseph alias Ayesha, a British Muslim fundamentalist. We suspect that she is his recruiter and handler.” Officials said Salman and Nicky started taking interest in IS activities last year and their discussions online on that subject were monitored and documented by intelligence agencies.
“They also created various social networking groups under pseudo names and started propaganda and attracting people who were interested in IS,” an official said. “In the last week of October, when Salman was denied visa by US authorities, he returned to India and continued his activities. During his stay here, he tried to attract youth across the country through the social media with an intention of taking them to Syria and Iraq. Further, he intended to undergo training in Syria and after returning wanted to indulge in anti-national activities in the country.”
On October 29 last year, a 26-year-old former Google employee, Munawad Salman, was detained and put under police surveillance after intelligence agencies suspected that he was traveling to Saudi Arabia with the intention of going to Iraq to join IS.
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