A member loyal to Islamic State waves a flag in Raqqa. Photograph:( Reuters )
India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) along with teams of police officials from the southern states of Kerala, Delhi and Telangana arrested six youth on charges of plotting terror attacks. The agency officials said that the youth, who belonged to Tamil Nadu and Kerala, entered into criminal conspiracy and allegedly formed a terror module after being inspired by the dreaded Islamic State (IS) outfit. All the accused are to be produced in a special NIA court in Kerala’s Ernakulam where the probe agency will be seeking their police custody.
The accused have been identified as Manseed (30), Abu Basheer (29), Swalih Mohamad (26), Safwan (30), Jasim(25) and Ramshad Nageelan Kandiyil (24).While Abu Basheer hails from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, the rest of the youth belong to Kozhikode, Kannur, Mallapuram and Thrissur in Kerala. According to the NIA, the accused were allegedly collecting explosives to target important persons and places of public importance.
“Credible information was received that some youth from Kerala and Tamil Nadu along with their accomplices have entered into a criminal conspiracy to commit terrorist acts by collecting explosives and other offensive material for targeting important persons and places of public importance in various parts of south lndia,” said NIA spokesperson Alok Mittal. NIA on Sunday said that the information was passed on to the Central government which directed the agency to investigate the case.
“Acting on the information, the NIA teams along with Kerala Police, Delhi police and Telangana police, launched surveillance on the movements of the accused involved in the conspiracy. During searches conducted today in the districts of Kozikhode and Kannur in Kerala, 6 persons, have been arrested for their involvement in the conspiracy. Five of them were arrested while they were conducting a meeting at Kanakamala hilltop, Kannur district, Kerala. During subsequent searches, another person was detained from Kuttiyadi in Kozhikode district and arrested later on,” said NIA officials.
The agency registered a case at its Kochi branch and booked the accused under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) 121 )Waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India), 121A (conspiracy to commit offences punishable by section )and 122 (collecting arms) of the Indian Penal code and other sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The agency also said that during the searches, incriminating material including electronic devices have been seized from their possession and search of their premises. Follow-up searches are being conducted by NIA in Chennai, Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu and Kannur, Kozikhode and Mallapuram in Kerala with support of Tamil Nadu and Kerala police.
(This piece first appeared in DNA)