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NIA arrests 2 from Kerala, says they raised funds for IS

The arrests, NIA claimed, have been made in connection with a case of IS recruitment and propaganda — the agency had registered the case this March.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi |
Updated: August 18, 2021 7:38:53 am
National Investigation Agency

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday arrested two women from Kannur in Kerala for allegedly motivating young people to join the Islamic State (IS) and raising funds for the organisation’s activities.

Identified as Mizha Siddeeque (23) and Shifa Harris (27), the women were allegedly willing to join the IS in one of the areas controlled by the terror outfit in West Asia or Afghanistan. They were also helping an alleged IS recruit in Jammu and Kashmir, according to the agency.

According to NIA, while Siddeeque has dropped out of Sharjah University, where she was pursuing Islamic Studies after clearing Class XII from Kerala, Shifa is a B.Com dropout from a Kerala college and holds a diploma in teaching. In 2019, Siddique had made an unsuccessful attempt to go to an IS-controlled territory through Tehran, NIA sources said.

The arrests, NIA claimed, have been made in connection with a case of IS recruitment and propaganda — the agency had registered the case this March. It later arrested one Mohammed Ameen, alias Abu Yahya, and two of his associates from Kerala — identified as Dr Rahees Rasheed and Mus’Hab Anwar — in the case. In August, the NIA arrested four more people, including the grandson of a former Karnataka Congress MLA, for alleged connection with the case.

“Investigation has revealed that accused Mizha Siddeeque is affiliated with ISIS. She had travelled to Tehran [Iran] along with her associates to join ISIS in Syria,” NIA said in a statement after the arrests. “On instructions of accused Mohammed Ameen, she had created a page on Instagram to propagate, motivate, radicalise and recruit gullible Muslim youth for ISIS. She had also radicalized other accused in the case namely her cousin Mus’Hab Anwar, Shifa Harris and was motivating them to join ISIS.”

According to NIA, Shifa Haris, alias Ayesha, has affiliation with the Islamic State and on directions of Mus’Hab Anwar and Mizha, she had transferred funds to J&K resident Mohammad Waqar Lone, alias Wilson Kashmiri, allegedly for supporting IS activities.

“Shifa was willing to perform Hijra to ISIS-controlled territory for joining ISIS,” the NIA statement said.

On August 4, NIA conducted searches at five locations across J&K and Karnataka and arrested four people for allegedly raising funds and recruiting for the IS.

The arrested individuals were identified as Obaid Hamid from Srinagar, Muzammil Hassan Bhat from Bandipora, Ammar Abdul Rahman from Ullal, Mangalore and Shankar Venkatesh Perumal alias Ali Muaviya from Bangalore.

Rahman is the grandson of the late Karnataka Congress MLA B M Idinabba.

Rahman’s niece is believed to have been among the 13 residents of Kasaragod, Kerala, who left the country to join the IS in 2016. In a chargsesheet filed in January 2017, the NIA had hinted that Ajmala and her husband, Shifas K P, left India via Bengaluru on May 24, 2016, and allegedly joined the IS in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

Sources said Ajmala is believed to have been killed sometime in 2018. A total of 21 people left Kerala around the time to join the IS.

Idinabba died in 2009.

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