Investigators of the NIA said their probe into the Bhopal-Ujjain train blast on March 7 was increasingly showing that the so-called Lucknow-Kanpur module of the Islamic State was self-proclaimed and, perhaps, had no foreign handler guiding it.
The investigations into the online activities of the module have revealed that the the group had been reading inflammatory IS material over the Internet and planning nefarious actions for over six months. They came in contact with people suspected to be associated with the terror outfit a couple of months back. But there was no proof of the module planning any attacks under the IS banner.
“In the past couple of months, too, there is not much online activity. There are three online identities with whom the group came into contact with recently. However, not much discussion has happened and much of the talk has been limited to religious stuff. No plans were discussed. Nor is there any apparent motivation from their side to launch any particular attack,” an NIA officer said.
The group largely chatted through Telegram and recently began activity on Facebook, the NIA source said.
Recently, they seemed to have taken a formal oath of allegiance to the IS. “Generally, when this oath is given by a handler, each member is given an alias. None of this had happened in this case. They seem to be a bunch of youths fired by a general sense of victimhood among the minority and radicalised by the IS propaganda freely available on the Internet,” the officer said.
This is a significant departure from all the previous modules busted by the NIA where one particular handler had motivated, recruited and guided the group through every step of its activity. “These men were going around the country — from Srinagar to Jaisalmer and Kolkata — looking for a way to reach Syria through a trial method,” another NIA officer said.
The group also regularly listened to speeches of Islamic preachers such as the UK’s Abu Bakr, Maharashtra’s Zakir Naik and Delhi’s Abdus Sami Qazmi, NIA sources said.
Within the group, members largely went to Ghouse Mohammed, a retired IAF soldier, for religious advice and tips on organisational structuring and planning of attacks, the NIA source said.