Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The Areeb Majeed Trial: 2018 Updates

Areeb Majeed challenges bail-rejection order

Updated : Jan 10, 2018, 3:53 am IST (Asian Age)

Mumbai: Kalyan youth Areeb Majeed, who was arrested in 2014 for allegedly joining the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria, has filed an appeal in the Bombay high court challenging the sessions court order rejecting his bail plea. Majeed has contended that the National Investigating Agency (NIA) court failed to consider the fact that sections pertaining to being member of a terrorist organisation have been dropped against him and other ‘discrepancies in the prosecution’s story’ that makes him eligible to get bail.

According to a source, Majeed in his bail application has contended that dropping of stringent sections, which deal with allegations of being a member of a terrorist organisation is indeed a change in circumstance but the NIA court while rejecting the bail has relied upon the rejection of bail in the past. “The court has not taken into consideration the fact that there is a change in circumstance,” said the source.


Rohini Salian to appear for Kalyan youth Areeb Majeed

Updated : Jan 11, 2018, 4:45 am IST (Asian Age)

Mumbai: Former National Investigation Agency (NIA) special public prosecutor Rohini Salian will appear as defence lawyer of Kalyan youth Areeb Majeed, who was arrested for allegedly travelling to Iraq and Syria to join the ISIS. “I have filed my vakalatnama (authority paper filed by an advocate to appear on behalf of client judicial proceedings) for Majeed on Tuesday,” said Ms Salian.

When asked about case details, Ms Salian said that she was going through the case papers and did not judge an accused beforehand. Advocate Farhana Shah is already appearing as Majeed’s defence lawyer. With Ms Salian joining in, Majeed will have two experienced feisty lawyers appearing for him.


Tuesday, 5 December 2017

'Can wage Jihad even if I am in jail', says ISIS operative in West Bengal

For the latest on Mohammed Mosiruddin, visit #West Bengal 002.

'Can wage Jihad even if I am in jail', says ISIS operative in West Bengal

Officers privy to the interrogation informed OneIndia that Musa is highly radicalised. He said during his questioning, " do you think you can bar me from waging jihad just because I am in jail. There is no place and jihad can be waged from anywhere," he also said.
He further said that he had been planning this for over a month now. Musa who was in solitary confinement further said that when the warden came to check on him, he first hit him with a stone and then slit his throat. The jail security was immediately roped in and they managed to overpower Musa.


Saturday, 28 October 2017

Kannur Five from Kerala Killed in Syria

Five from Kannur fighting for ISIS killed in Syria

Updated Oct 28, 2017, 7:01 am IST (Deccan Chronicle)

Kannur: The police on Friday released the photographs of five persons, all natives of Kannur who were killed in Syria after joining the Islamic State. It is for the first time the police has confirmed  their  death  though there were reports earlier  of their killings based on feedback received by their kith and kin through communication platform like Telegram
The victims are T.V. Shameer, a native of Pazhanchira near Pappinissery, his son Salman,  A.V. Shahnad from Chalad, Muhammed  Shajil from Mundery, Chakkarakkallu, and Rihsal from Valapattanam. The photographs, which  were given earlier by the central intelligence agencies,  were handed over to the media after perusing the communications of those arrested recently and also getting confirmation from them.

Dy SP P.P. Sadanandan,  who is investigating the case,  told DC that the police had  been trying to  confirm  the deaths though the photographs were received much earlier.

“We have no other evidence  like the body or foolproof visuals of the body. But the deaths have  been confirmed by verifying multiple sources,”  he added.

T.V. and Salman Shameer

It was in December 2015  that  Shameer (45) along with his wife Fousiya, children Safvan, Salman (20) and Najiya went to Syria.

A.V. Shahnad

Shahnad joined IS camp during his job in Bahrain. He was 25.

Muhammed Shajil

Shajil went to Syria in October 2016 along with his wife Shahnas, children Mishva and Abdulla Vahid. It was his wife who first informed the relatives about his death during the IS war. She had also asked the relatives to pray for him and also do other religious ceremonies, according to police.

“We came to know about the death of five men from the district through their relatives. We are trying to confirm news about their death,” Mr. Sadanandan said.
“The news about the death of one of them, Muhammed Shajil, 25, was conveyed by his wife in a foreign country, to his uncle.

Last month, a WhatsApp voice message sent by Shajir’s wife Hafziya from Syria to his relatives had informed that Shajir became a shaheed (martyr). According to the information, he died of bullet injuries in his leg. Hafziya is believed to be staying on in Syria with two small children.

The audio clip of a woman who is reportedly trapped in Islamic State territory in Syria with her two children following the death of her husband has turned the focus on the plight of women and children who have been dragged into the dreaded outfit. The woman, identified as Hafziya, described her plight in the audio clip that she sent to her brother in Dubai informing him of the death of her husband Mohammad Shajil (30) who was killed while fighting for the Islamic State in September. The audio clip obtained by the police reveals that she along with her kids were staying in Islamic State territory in Syria with several other women whose husbands have been killed.

Hafziya said that all the women and children were living in absolute anguish and uncertainty as they do not know what awaits them in the war-ravaged area or whether they will ever be able to return home.

Mohammed Rishal (Kerala #002-003 article)

Rishal, native of Valapattanam,  went to Syria in 2014 along with his wife Huda. Later his relatives received a message from the couple that they were  trapped in IS camp and unable to escape. Police also confirmed the death of three persons from Kozhikode and Malappuram who went along with Rishal.

The wife of another Rishad disclosed information about his death to her mother,” he added.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Ahmedabad-Surat ISIS Cell Busted, 2 Arrested

Gujarat ATS Arrests Two Suspected ISIS Operatives from Surat

In the second ISIS plot in India to be disrupted this month, the Gujarat ATS (Anti Terrorist Squad) has arrested 2 suspected ISIS operatives who were allegedly planning to execute attacks in Ahmedabad during the Gujarat elections. This is the second Gujarati ISIS cell to be busted this year. Gujarat is the home state of  Indian PM Narendra Modi. Earlier in the day Kerala police had arrested 3 men who were planning to set off explosives in the South Indian state.

Updated: October 25, 2017 9:30 PM IST  (INDIA.COM)

The Gujarat Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Wednesday arrested two suspected ISIS terrorists from Surat. The ATS said that both the operatives were working for Islamic State (ISIS) and were planning to execute a terror plot in Ahmedabad during the Gujarat elections.

Security across Gujarat has been intensified today after the Election Commission finally announced the schedule for the Gujarat Assembly elections. In Gujarat, the voting for 182-seats will take place in two phases on December 9 and 13 while counting of votes will take place on December 18. The same day results for Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections will also be declared. The ISIS operatives are identified as Kasim and Obaid, both residents of Surat. Kasim was planning to abscond to Jamaica after executing the blast.

As per the information, the two ISIS operatives were planning to execute a blast in Ahmedabad's Khadia area. Kasim was employed with a hospital as a technician, while Aabed worked as a lawyer.

The cops are also on a hunt for two more accused who are on a run.

The duo have been identified as Qasim and Obaid who were in touch with ISIS through social media.  They even conducted recce at some religious places in the state. They have been inspired by terrorist Abdul al-Fazal and were planning to flee the country after executing their plan. Meanwhile, Kerala police too have arrested three youngsters for their suspected links with ISIS. The arrested were K C Mithilaj, K V Abdul Rasaq, AV Rasheed all in their early twenties. All three were natives of Valapattanam, who returned from Turkey a few days ago.

According to police, all three received training in Istanbul and were trying to sneak into Syria. However, this bid was foiled by the Turkish Special Forces and were deported to India. All three were under police surveillance since they returned from Turkey. Some intelligence sources also hinted that two more people were detained by the local police. The investigation is currently coordinated by Kannur DY SP.

In 2016, five men were arrested from Kanakamala in Kannur by NIA while they were allegedly conspiring a terror plot. In June same year, a group of 21 people (#Kerala21) who went missing from Kerala were reported to have joined ISIS in Syria and Afghanistan.

2 ISIS Suspects, Allegedly Plotting Ahmedabad Synagogue Attack, Arrested

Updated: October 26, 2017 09:42 IST (NDTV)

Ahmedabad:  Two suspected ISIS operatives were on Wednesday arrested by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), who claimed that they were plotting an attack on a Jewish synagogue in Khadia area of Ahmedabad in "very near future". The suspects, arrested in Surat, have been identified as Mohammad Kasim Stimberwala and Ubed Ahmed Mirza, an official said.

While Stimberwala used to work as a laboratory technician with a hospital in Ankleshwar town, Mirza is a practicing lawyer with the Surat district court and also owns a hotel there. They were booked under for criminal conspiracy, waging or attempt to wage war against Government of India and other charges, an official said.

According to the complaint registered by the ATS, the two men have been radicalised by the ideology of the ISIS and were planning to carry out a 'lone-wolf' attack on the synagogue, for which Stimberwala had visited Ahmedabad and conducted a recce of the Jewish centre located in Khadia area.

ATS officials believe that Srimberwala and Mirza are "highly radicalised by the fundamental ideology of the ISIS for the last many years and are actively planning to cause terrorist acts".

Both the suspected operatives of the ISIS were under the influence of Abdullah el-Faisal, a radical preacher based in Jamaica, the official said quoting the FIR. As per the complaint, el-Faisal was earlier convicted for allegedly spreading hatred in the UK and then deported to Jamaica. He was detained in Jamaica on the charges of persuading youths to travel to Syria to take up the cause of Jihad.

Surveillance of their social media accounts had revealed that the duo were attracted to the extreme ideology since the last three-four years, according to the complaint. They were also in contact with one Shafi Armar, an ISIS handler who is wanted in various cases of serial blasts triggered by Indian Mujahideen (IM) and is currently believed to be out of India, the official said.

Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani links arrested ISIS terrorists with Ahmed Patel, Cong hits back

October 27, 2017 | UPDATED 13:20 IST  (India Today)

The arrest of 2 suspected ISIS terrorists by Gujarat Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) a few days ago has sparked off a war of words between the BJP and the Congress. After it emerged that one of the ISIS terrorists was working in Ankleshwar's Sardar Patel Hospital in Bharuch, Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani demanded Congress leader Ahmed Patel's resignation, saying he was one of the trustees of that hospital till 2014 and hence must be held accountable.

Rupani alleged that Ahmed Patel was part of the inauguration of the renovated Sardar Patel Hospital in Bharuch along with the then President Pranab Mukherjee. According to a statement issued by the hospital, one of the arrested terrorists - Mohammad Qasim - was hired in accordance with its usual recruitment process. He had resigned on October 4 this year and the hospital had accepted his resignation. The hospital claims it was not aware of his links with terrorists. "We believe and work for humanitarian causes and condemn terrorism and terrorist activities", the statement said.


ATS probes ISIS suspects, Kasim Stimberwala, Ubed Mirza's links

The two arrested men - Stimberwala Kasim alias Abu Hamza and Ubed Mirza- had conducted recce of the synagogue and also met a few local boys. The purpose of meeting the local boys though not clear, the ATS have identified one the boys who met with Kasim and Ubed.

ATS right now are probing whether Hamza and Ubed have managed to radicalise the boys they met in the city. Police sources claim that Hamza and Ubed were in regular contact with five persons in Surat- Shahid, Shabir, Mohammad, Sarfaraz and Atiq. The ATS is probing whether these five were radicalised by the arrested duo and if they have been assigned the job of recruiting more youths. Shabir and Shahid were tasked with procuring weapons from Mohammed by Hamza and Ubed. Further investigation revealed that, four youths from Kolkata were brainwashed and were planning to go to Iraq to join ISIS fighters in 2014.

Hamza and Ubed played an active role in radicalising these youths. Ubed and Hamza were also tasked with helping the four, who were planning to cross into Bangladesh on August 28, 2014 with lodging and other expenses. The boys from Bangalore came in contact with one Shazia, who identified herself has a friend of Hamza and was involved in moving them across Bangladesh Border. However, the four were arrested by Kolkata police before they crossed the border.

That apart Hamza and Ubed were also in contact with one Zabiullah in Tamil Nadu who has been tasked with recruiting new members into the terrorists’ fold. Zabiullah was also instructed by Hamza and Ubed to identify Jewish targets in Bangalore. ATS have written to NIA to take over the case as the arrested ISIS agents had been planning strikes across the country.

IS operatives were recruiting more youth

Updated: Oct 27, 2017, 08:20 AM IST, (DNA)

As per the officials, the duo were in constant contact with there IS handler Shafi Armar alias Zahed-al-Hindi. They were also in contact with Abdullah el Faisal, a radical preacher through Facebook and WhatsApp, and were planning to move to Syria to join the terror group. Police recovered a 128-GB pen drive and a Samsung Galaxy Note-4 handset from Stimberwala's possession. The Samsung device's WhatsApp chats revealed that he had shared various posts pertaining to the Islamic State and related development with Mirza. He had also contacted Abdullah-el-Faisal of Jamaica and discussed various facts related to IS.

The pen drive contained videos released by the IS, mujahideen videos of Taliban, volumes of different IS publications, and statements by Abu-Mohammed al-Adani, who is IS' official spokesperson.

The suspects also revealed the names of the other three Surat youth, identified as Sarfaraz, Shabbir, and Shahid, all of whom were allegedly motivated by the duo to join the terror group. The duo would upload images and videos on Facebook to motivate and recruit Muslim youth to IS. ATS officers are also said to have found links and videos from Ubed's account relating to IS.

The transcript of an October 15, 2017, phone conversation between Ubed and one his associates, Shahid, recorded by the techincal and physical surveillance team of ATS by tapping their phones is as follows:

Ubed: Kahaan hai Kasim (Where is Kasim)?
Shahid: Kasim wahi hai Botawala me(He is in Botawala, a mosque according to ATS)
Ubed: Abhi tak wahi hai, kya Khabar Mufti Saab ko pakka Mujahid banna ke hi chhodega wo (seems he will turn mufti sir into a mujahid)
Shahid: Achcha hai na (That's Good)
In another conversation, Stimberwala advised Shabbir not to discuss sensitive issues over the phone.
"Arey bhai tu ye sab phone pe mat puchch gande, mai tereko mil ke batata hu chal (Brother, don't talk about it over the phone, will let you know in person)," Stimberwala said.

IS operative finds love in Kolkata

Updated: Oct 28, 2017, 10:10 IST (Times of India)

A love story came to light during interrogation of alleged IS operative, Kasim Stimberwala. Stimberwala. He and Shazia , who belongs to Kolkata, fell in love and were motivated by Zayedal Hindi alias Shafi Armar, former Indian Mujahideen terrorist and native of Bhatkal in Karnataka, and had decided to move to Syria after marriage.

Sources in the ATS said Stimberwala comes from a poor family and used to earn his living as an echo-cardiogram technician at a trust-owned hospital in Ankleshwar. His mother and he used to live in a rented house in Badekhan Chakla in Surat.

"In 2013, Kasim and Shazia came in contact on a social media site. After chatting for a long time, both developed a liking for each other and later fell in love. Kasim also visited Kolkata to meet her occasionally," said an ATS official. ATS officials further said that in 2014, Kasim and Shazia, who had been radicalised, came in contact with Shafi Armar alias Zyed al Hindi of Islamic States of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on social media.

"Kasim and Shazia decided to spread the ideology of the Caliphate," an ATS official said. "In 2014, Shafi Armar lured four Hyderabad youths to join the IS. The youths were to move to Syria."
They were contacted by Shazia who arranged for their fake passports for which they would have to cross over to Bangladesh. "But the youths were caught before they could cross over to Bangladesh," the ATS official said.


Zabiullah tipped off Mirza, Stimberwala

Oct 29, 2017, 09:55 IST (Times of India)

The case of the two alleged ISIS suspects, Ubaid Mirza and Kasim Stimberwala, who were arrested by the Gujarat ATS could soon be transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Senior police officers said they will soon write to the state home department to transfer of the case.

Senior ATS officials said Stimberwala joined the hospital in March 2017 and resigned on October 4, stating a foreign trip as the reason. Stimberwala was relieved one day before he was arrested by Gujarat ATS.

ATS sources said it emerged during interrogation that Mirza had bought a sophisticated firearm from Chauman village on the border of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh from a man named Uruz.

"We have yet not recovered the weapon as Mirza, a lawyer, was tipped off by his associate Zabiullah of Tamil Nadu about the impending crackdown. Stimberwala and Mirza's named popped up when Zabiullah was being questioned by a security agency. Zabiullah then alerted Mirza a month ago, that they were being scrutinized by security agencies," added an ATS official.

According to ATS sources, once alerted, Mirza and Kasim decided to dispose of the weapon and escape to Jamaica, where they were take shelter with the alleged radi cal preacher Abdullah el Faisal, who was born Willaim Forrest. "Forrest is currently under detention in Jamaica," an ATS official added.  

"Apart from procuring a weapon, Mirza and Stimberwala asked a friend who is currently in Dubai to bring a butchers knife. This was their Plan B. If the shooting attempt failed, they would use the knife to kill Jewish people," said an ATS official.

Surat Mufti picked up for questioning

Gujarat ATS on Saturday picked up Mufti Ishaq of the Botawala Masjid for questioning in the ISIS conspiracy case against Ubaid Mirza and Kasim Stimberwala. He was allowed to leave later in the night. ATS sources confirmed that questioned Mufti Ishaq and will soon record his statement.According to sources, Kasim attempted to radicalize Mufti Ishaq on more than one occasion. "We have to question and record statements of those who Kasim and Ubaid contacted and asked to join ISIS," added an ATS official.

ISIS handlers arrested from Gujarat lured youths by citing atrocities in Kashmir, conflict in Myanmar

Updated: Oct 29, 2017, 07:47 AM IST, (DNA)

Mohammed Qasim Stimberwala and Ubed Ahmed Mirza had been propagating the ISIS ideology for the last three years. The intelligence agencies are in possession of hours of chatter, wherein the duo can be heard prompting the young minds to take up the cause of ISIS.

The duo first came on the radar in 2014, while they were facilitating the travel of four Hyderabad youths to Turkey. They were to later cross over to Syria to join the ISIS. The police FIR mentioned that the four youths got a call from a woman named Shazia, who introduced herself as Qasim's friend and gave them directions.

The four were apprehended in Kolkata by a team of Telangana Police in August, 2014, and were made to go through a de-radicalisation programme. One of them was later arrested for making another attempt to join ISIS.

"We had been tracking the two for three years. They were not arrested as part of a strategy as several other sympathisers and recruits were identified through them," an intelligence officer said.

"Initially, they did not reveal their identities and claimed they were outside India. But once they were convinced, they told us that they were from Gujarat. After convincing us to join the ISIS, they arranged for our travel and gave us directions. We were told to contact a person who would help us cross over to Bangladesh. They also gave contact details of people in Turkey, who would help us to go to Syria," he said.

"They also put us in touch with a person from Dubai, who sent us money," another de-radicalised recruit said. Mirza, who used Hafio Ahmed as a pseudonym on Facebook, claimed to be based in Mosul, Iraq. This account has now been shut down by Facebook but intelligence agencies have kept a record of his posts.

"The Kashmiris haven't learned that without the call for Sharia, unity is not possible," he wrote on July 8, 2016. Then again, replying to a comment, he wrote, "They should start a full-fledged war, only then will other Muslims from other parts of the world will join them." "Don't celebrate Independence Day. Remain a Muslim," another of his Facebook post stated.

The duo was also in touch with an air hostess, who would help them with gold smuggling to raise funds for their terror activities. The arrested handlers were in contact with Shafi Armar alias Zahid al-Hindi, who is said to have joined ISIS in Syria. Qasim was also planning to leave for hijrat to Jamaica and meet a radical preacher, Abdullah el-Faisal, who had been guiding them, the police said.


3 Men From Kerala's Kannur Arrested For ISIS Links: Police

3 Men From Kerala's Kannur Arrested For ISIS Links: Police

In the first of two arrests on 25 October 2017, 3 men from northern Kerala were arrested for in Kannur. They had attempted unsuccessfully reported to enter Syria and were reported to have trained in Turkey before being deported a few months ago. It may be recalled that in October 2016 an ISIS cell was arrested as they met on a hillock at Kannur they agreed to meet over Telegram. Later in the day, Gujarat ATS arrested 2 alleged ISIS operatives who were planning to strike during the state elections.

Three IS operatives from Kannur held

Updated: October 26, 2017 00:07 IST (The Hindu)

Three youths from the district who are believed to have joined the Islamic State (IS) and left the country to undergo training in Syria were arrested by the police here on Wednesday after four months of police surveillance.

The youths were arrested by the Valapattanam police after they were questioned by police officers led by Kannur Deputy Superintendent of Police P.P. Sadanandan at the police station. The arrested have been identified as Midilaj K.C. (26), Rashid M.P. (23), both natives of Munderi under the Chakkarakkal police station lmits, and Abdul Razakh K. (24) of Chekkikkulam under the Mayyil police station limits.

They had been under surveillance after they returned to the country from Turkey four months ago.
The police said they had gone to Turkey and stayed there for three to four months and had been captured by the Turkish authorities while trying to cross the border to Syria. The Valapattanam police registered a case against the three on charges of joining a banned terrorist organisation under Sections 38 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Hinting that more arrests would be made in the coming days, Mr. Sadanandan said those who had gone to Syria and Afghanistan to join the IS saw themselves as participants in ‘hijra’ (migration) and members of Islamic fighters for ‘ghazwe hind’ (conquest of India). Three months ago, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had arrested another IS operative from Kannur, identified as Shajahan Valluva Kandy of Koodali, at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, on his deportation by the Turkish authorities. He had also been captured on the Turkey-Syria border on his way to carry out alleged terrorist activities.

Meanwhile NIA sources said in Kochi that the agency would take over the case, as the arrested were wanted in connection with a case in New Delhi.

They have been charged under the anti-terror law, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which outlaws people from associating and supporting a terrorist organization. If convicted, they could be jailed for a maximum of 10 years. An estimated 100 Indians have left to fight for the Islamic State in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, many of them from Kerala amid concerns that an extreme form of Islam was taking root in the state. In many cases, it was the families that reached out to the police for help.

The National Investigation Agency has been probing cases of disappearance of at least 21 people are suspected to have joined the ISIS. Among them, 17 were from Kasaragod and four from Palakkad. They include four women and three children.

Kerala ISIS youth were planning big South Indian strike


The investigation being conducted following the three suspected Islamic State operatives from Kerala has revealed that they were planning on targeting prominent places and personalities in South India.

Sources say that these persons had hatched up a plan and were in the process of collecting explosives in a bid to carry out major strikes in South Indian states. Police sources said that even after the arrests, "claims" had surfaced in jihadi propaganda groups on social media that another unit was actively pursuing the plan.

Police keep tabs on IS ‘indoctrinator’

Updated:October 26, 2017 00:08 IST (The Hindu)

The police in the district are keeping close tabs on a person from Thalassery who is found to be the “main source of inspiration” for Muslim youths in the region who have been radicalised. The investigators involved in probing cases relating to the youths who had gone to join the IS in Syria and Afghanistan have found that the person, identified as Hamza, is the ‘ideologue’ who was indoctrinating the youths. The police said he had been under police watch since they got information that he was brainwashing the youths. “He is well-versed in Islamic theology and is found to have influenced a couple of youths in the region to be recruited as IS fighters,” said P.P. Sadanandan, Deputy Superintendent of Police.

According to the police, most of those recruited to join the IS in the district were either directly indoctrinated by Hamza or by those who were already under his spell. The police said a probe was on to identify people who were part of sleeper cells of the IS. The Malayalam blog ‘Al-Muhajirun,’ now closed, had served as a platform for inspiring people to wage jihad, the police said.

The police said they were expecting more cases of return of IS operatives as the jihadi organisation was fleeing from the territories they controlled. They said that reports of deaths of youths from the region who had joined the IS abroad could never be fully confirmed in the absence of bodies.

Sadanandan said there would be more arrests in the coming days and two more persons were already under police surveillance. Police were trailing the activities of the arrested after they returned to Kannur four months ago.

“The network of IS runs deep in Kerala from blogs to recruiting individuals. Shajeer Mangalasserri, who is reportedly killed in Afghanistan, was the main operator of the now- defunct blog ‘Al Muhajirood'. There is another blog titled ‘Gussway Hind’," the officer said.
Police are also on the lookout for Hamsa, aka Biriyani Hamsa, a native of Thalasserri for his alleged role in recruiting individuals to IS. According to police, he is now the kingpin of  the IS operations in Kerala, especially in Malabar region.

'ISIS Is True Islam', Says Taliban Hamsa, Kerala Police's Key Catch

Updated: October 26, 2017 19:09 IST (NDTV)

An ISIS unit has been exposed in Kerala, the police said today after the arrest of five suspects in Kannur. UK Hamsa or 'Taliban' Hamsa, believed to be the key terrorist handler and recruiter, is among the five men arrested since yesterday. Hamsa, 52, was the main man for indoctrinating and recruiting for ISIS, say Kerala police sources. More arrests are expected in the coming weeks.

During his interrogation, Hamsa reportedly dared the police to call in a religious expert to prove his assertion that the "ISIS is true Islam". The police say Hamsa had operated from Gulf countries since 1998. "He worked at a Bahrain-based religious centre Al Ansar, which we suspect to be a training centre for ISIS sympathisers. Many Indians who are suspected to have joined ISIS, took this route to Syria," police sources said.

42-year-old Manaf Rahman, arrested along with Hamsa, was influenced by him and was supposed to leave for Syria six months back, say sources. He was turned back at the Mangaluru airport based on suspicion. Hamsa was supposed to leave the country after Manaf, but he too, had to stay back.

"We have formed a special team in Kannur to track terror-related modules including ISIS networks. These arrested have been questioned many times before. We have been in coordination with NIA (National Investigation Agency) as well as other state police forces to track the activities and movement of suspects. There are more under our scanner," Kannur Police Chief G Siva Vikram told NDTV.
An estimated 100 Indians have left to fight for ISIS in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, many of them from Kerala amid concerns that an extreme form of Islam was taking root in the state.

PFI Activists Fought For ISIS In Syria: Investigation Team

Arrests put Mundery in spotlight 


 October 27, 2017 00:00 IST (The Hindu) 


Parts of this grama panchayat located about 15 km from the district headquarters in Kerala have been under the scanner of the police and Central agencies for the past few months. The fact that two of the five suspected operatives of the Islamic State (IS) arrested in the district over the past two days has brought the localities under the spotlight amid concerns about the extent of radicalisation of the youth.

These areas have been under the police radar since the arrest of 32-year-old Shajahan V.K., a native of nearby Koodali, in July, by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on his deportation from Turkey after his capture by the Turkish authorities while he was trying to cross the border to Syria. Last month relatives of Muhammad Shajil (30) of Pallikkal House at Kamalpeedika in this panchayat were informed via a WhatsApp message by his wife from Syria that her husband had become ‘shaheed’ (martyr) after he was shot dead while fighting there. She is believed to be still in Syria with her two young children. The people of the localities whose youths are in the news for wrong reasons are in shock as are their parents and relatives.

‘No clue’

“My wife collapsed when she saw police personnel in our house a short while ago,” said Abdul Latheef, father of 23-year-old M.P. Rashid who was arrested by the police on October 25 on charge of joining the IS. Still in shock, he and other relatives at Padannott here were not willing to talk to this reporter about the youth. “We were not aware of his [Rashid’s] activities and therefore do not ask us about him,” Mr. Latheef said.

“Rashid is a decent boy from a decent family and we were shocked to hear about his arrest,” said retired school teacher Abdul Khader, who had been his teacher at the nearby Mundery East LP School. According to Mr. Khader, who is running a small shop at Padannott, the youths could have been influenced by the wrong kind of friends and acquaintances. He also said that Rashid had recently started an optical shop at nearby Kudukkimetta.


Kerala: NIA files case against 5 men from Kannur for being ISIS members

Updated Jan 18, 2018, 5:43 pm IST (Deccan Chronice)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday registered a case against five men from Kannur for allegedly being members of the terrorist organisation, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). A statement from the NIA read, "The case has been registered under sections 38 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The case was registered at Valapattanam Police Station in Kannur district of Kerala.”

"The five culprits have been accused of being members of the proscribed terrorist organisation ISIS/ Daesh and for supporting the organisation by travelling or attempting to travel out of India to join the terrorist organisation in Syria where it is waging war with the Asiatic nation, having friendly relations with the Government of India", it added.

Currently, the Special Court for NIA Cases in Ernakulam has sent them to police custody from January 16 to January 19.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Oman rescues Salesian priest Tom Uzhunnalil after 18 months in IS captivity

Oman rescues Salesian priest Tom Uzhunnalil after 18 months in IS captivity

Published Sep 13, 2017, 1:16 am

New Delhi: Ending the nightmare of 18  months in ISIS captivity in Yemen, Fr Tom Uzhunnalil from Kerala has regained his freedom bringing a huge sigh of relief to his family and friends and the Catholic Church in general.  He was rescued reportedly at the intervention of Oman which utilised its influence in Yemen.  He was brought to Muscat in an Omani military plane on Tuesday morning  and  later flown to Vatican, which had intervened in speeding up the rescue efforts. The Indian government, which confirmed on Tuesday that he had been rescued, had said recently that it was working to get the priest released. “I am happy to inform that Father Tom Uzhunnalil has been rescued,” external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted.

An international newswire report from Muscat had cited Oman’s official news agency as saying that Oman had secured the release of Fr Tom. Some media reports  said Fr Tom had thanked Oman’s ruler Sultan Qaboos for his release and that he had been flown to Muscat. Fr Tom was kidnapped in Yemen by suspected ISIS militants on March 4, 2016, after they attacked a care home operated by missionaries in the southern port city of Aden, killing 16 people. He had, in a video circulated in December last year, blamed India and the Vatican for lack of action in securing his release. 
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India expressed joy over the release of Fr. Tom and said,  “as we thank God for this unique grace bestowed on Fr. Tom and his family and the Salesian Congregation ( Society of Don Bosco) and the Catholic Church in India, we pray for his continued good health and complete recovery to resume active Salesian ministry for God and His people in his congregation and the Church.” The CBCI thanked  Prime Minister Narendra Modi,   Ms Sushma Swaraj  and the government of India for working to obtain the release of Fr. Tom. It also thanked  Pope Francis who took personal interest in Fr. Tom’s release  and Bishop Paul Hinder, Vicar-Apostolic of Southern Arabia, the Bishop in charge of the Middle East, and the Sultan of Oman, for their efforts. “We thank all men and women of goodwill who stood with us with prayer and encouragement.” It said in a statement.

After a video started doing the rounds last December showing Fr. Tom blaming the Indian government and the Vatican for the alleged lack of action in securing his release, India had then said it was  in regular touch with Yemeni authorities and Saudi Arabia regarding his safe release. The video showed him pleading for help and it became viral. The  priest said in the video, "Several  months have gone by and my captors have made many contacts with the government of India to get me released. Honourable President and Prime Minister of India, I am very sad nothing has been done seriously in my regard. Reports say  that everything is being done to get me released quickly but in reality nothing seems to have happened." He further said that had he been a European priest, “I would have been taken more seriously by authorities and people and (they) would have got me released. I am from India and, therefore, I perhaps am not considered as of much value."

He had reportedly referred to a kidnapped French journalist who was released and said this had happened because the journalist was from France.   Ms. Swaraj had told concerned Christian priests who had met her last month that "all efforts are made with utmost urgency by the government of India and help is sought from governments, organisations, and people who could assist in this process." Further, she had asserted that "Fr. Tom is  alive and safe for sure and it is the strong hope of the government that he could be released soon."

In December last year, Ms. Swaraj had said that India will spare no effort to secure his release and that the life of every Indian is most precious for the government, pointing out further that the government had got two Indian nationals (including another Christian priest) freed earlier from  Afghanistan. "I have seen the video from Fr. Tom. He is an Indian citizen and the life of every Indian is most precious for us. We got Fr Alex Prem Kumar and Judith D'Souza released from Afghanistan. We have spared no effort and we will spare no effort to secure Fr. Tom's release from captivity," Ms. Swaraj  had said.
Thank you, God: wishes pour in as Fr Tom Uzhunnalil is finally freed ...

Read more at:

Thank you, God: wishes pour in as Fr Tom Uzhunnalil is finally freed ...

Read more at:
Thank you, God: wishes pour in as Fr Tom Uzhunnalil is finally freed ...

Read more at:

Thank you, God: wishes pour in as Fr Tom Uzhunnalil is finally freed

“I thank God Almighty and Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said, for securing the release. I also thank my brothers and sisters, and all relatives and friends for praying for me,” the priest told Oman Observer daily. As soon as the news broke out regarding the release of Uzhunnalil, many prominent people expressed happiness.

Confirming the reports of his release, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted: “I am happy to inform that Fr Tom Uzhunnalil has been rescued.”
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan too joined in the happiness of thousands of people over the priest's release and said: “The news of Fr Uzhunnalil's rescue is heartening. Wishing him well.”

“I understand it was Oman's intervention that helped to secure his release. The government will ensure that all his treatment facilities are taken care of,” he added.


Pope Francis Meets Liberated Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnalil

Sep. 13, 2017 

Liberated Salesian missionary Father Tom Uzhunnalil bowed down to kiss the feet of Pope Francis at his Santa Marta residence this morning, after today’s weekly general audience. The Holy Father welcomed the Indian missionary who was freed yesterday after being held captive for 18 months by Islamist militants in Yemen. The Pope immediately raised Father Tom to his feet, embraced and encouraged him, assuring the priest he would continue to pray for him as he had done during his captivity, according to L’Osservatore Romano. The Vatican newspaper added that the Pope was “visibly moved, and blessed him.”

For his part Father Tom, as he is familiarly known, thanked the Pontiff, saying he had “prayed every day for him, offering his own suffering for his mission and for the good of the Church.” The words “touched the Pope,” L’Osservatore Romano reported.

The religious, who was kidnapped on March 4, 2016 in a terrorist attack at a residential home of the Missionaries of Charity in Aden, also said he was “not able to celebrate the Eucharist,” but every day, he repeated “in my heart, all the words of the celebration.”

Father Tom promised to now continue "to pray for all” who had supported him “spiritually,” and remembered in particular the four sisters of the Missionaries of Charity and the twelve people killed at the time of his abduction.


Kidnapped Catholic Priest Gets a Hero’s Welcome in His Homeland

Oct. 6, 2017

KERALA, India — Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnalil, released from captivity for 18 months in Yemen by unidentified Islamic groups, was accorded a hero’s welcome as he landed Oct. 3 in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of southern Kerala state — and his homeland and the cradle of Christianity in India.

Soon after he landed in the state capital, Father Uzhunnalil met Gov. P. Sathasivam of Kerala, before he reached the office of Major Archbishop Cardinal Baselios mar Cleemis, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, who embraced the Salesian priest in front of dozens of cameras.
“Father Tom held on to hope with his spirit of determination in front of death. He is an illuminating lamp in the darkness of suffering. ... He is a model to us,” acclaimed Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala’s communist chief minister, at a public reception in honor of the priest, hosted by the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church headed by Cardinal Cleemis.

Chief Minister Vijayan attended the reception for Father Uzhunnalil, who was released Sept. 12, along with a host of dignitaries, including former chief minister Ommen Chandy. A prominent Muslim cleric and a Hindu monk were also present, communicating the interreligious nature of the celebration.

For the latest updates, visit #2016YemenAttack



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