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: http://english.manoramaonline.com/news/kerala/2017/09/12/fr-tom-uzhunnalil-kerala-priest-freed.html

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

Read more at: http://english.manoramaonline.com/news/kerala/2017/09/12/fr-tom-uzhunnalil-kerala-priest-freed.html
Thank you, God: wishes pour in as Fr Tom Uzhunnalil is finally freed ...

Read more at: http://english.manoramaonline.com/news/kerala/2017/09/12/fr-tom-uzhunnalil-kerala-priest-freed.html

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.


For the latest updates, visit #2016YemenAttack



Previous Posts

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Pakistani Agency Collecting Details Of Those Waging Jihad Abroad

Pakistani Agency Collecting Details Of Those Waging Jihad Abroad

Updated: August 30, 2017 

Islamabad:  Pakistan is collecting data of its nationals who are suspected of waging jihad abroad along with terror groups, a senior official said, amid fears of blowback from them especially after the defeat of the ISIS in parts of Iraq. About 100 Pakistanis have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join the ISIS since the rise of the dreaded terror group in the Middle East, a media report had said.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior was told yesterday that National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) has begun the process of compiling the data. The authority had completed the task of data compilation on suspected militants who had fought in conflict zones such as Yemen, Iraq or Syria, NACTA chief Ihsan Ghani was quoted as saying by the Dawn news.

"We are in the process of having the data verified from federal and provincial departments," he told the committee during a briefing on the status of implementation on the National Action Plan (NAP) to counter terrorism and extremism.

The verification process would help shift those who went to these areas to earn a livelihood from those who posed an actual threat. The aim of the exercise was to minimise the blowback on Pakistan as the ISIS fighters are returning to their native countries after the group's defeat in part of Iraq.

Mr Ghani detailed measures to choke terrorists' financial networks, saying that a task force had been established under the authority to coordinate efforts in this regard. However, the number of such terrorists was not immediately available. Progress on updating the list of those individuals who were placed on the Fourth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997 was also shared with the committee.

The bank accounts of around 5,000 of the more than 8,000 individuals on the list had been frozen, he said, while they could no longer be issued passports or gun licences.

Mr Ghani revealed plans to develop a mobile phone app to assess hate speech, where local authorities could upload any suspected speech on the app, which would relay it to the authority for vetting.

He also apprised the committee of a national policy to counter violent extremism, which had been approved by the government. Iraqi forces reseized second city of Mosul from ISIS in July after a nine-month battle. They are now fighting the last pocket of jihadists in the northern province of Nineveh.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Indian IS recruiter Abu Yusuf al-Hindi killed in Syria

Indian IS recruiter Abu Yusuf al-Hindi killed in Syria

The official media channel of Islamic State, Amaq Agency claimed that an Indian suicide bomber Abu Yusuf al-Hindi killed many Kurdistan fighters in an attack in Syria's Raqqa area.

In a statement in Arabic via its Amaq propaganda agency, the IS identified the Indian suicide bomber as Abu Yusuf al- Hindi, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, a US-based monitoring firm.

The terror group claimed killing and wounding a "number" of what it described as "Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) apostates" in the suicide attack involving the Indian bomber.
However, there was no confirmation about the IS claim by the Indian agencies.
Abu Yusuf al-Hindi was the fugitive chief recruiter for the IS in the Indian subcontinent and was known as Mohammed Shafi Armar, who had many aliases like 'Chhote Maula' and 'Anjan Bhai'.
The 30-year-old was named a 'Specially Designated Global Terrorist' by the US in June, becoming the first Indian leader of the dreaded terror outfit against whom America slammed sanctions. An Interpol Red Corner notice was also pending against him.
Al-Hindi, a native of Bhatkal in Karnataka, was a leader and head recruiter in India for the Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) group, ISIS, according to the US State Department.
While announcing sanctions, it had said that he cultivated a group of dozens of ISIS sympathisers who are involved in terrorist activities across India, such as plotting attacks, procuring weapons, and identifying locations for terrorist training camps.
He was said to have left for Pakistan along with his elder brother after crackdown on Indian Mujahideen cadres.
There have been many reports of him having been dead in a drone attack or crackdown by the allied forces. However, every time intelligence agencies began giving credence to such reports, his name or voice cropped up in intercepts.
Tech savvy al-Hindi has been operating on Facebook and other personal messenger services to contact, brainwash and recruit youths from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
His links to the ISIS were also the highlight of the interrogation of Yasin Bhatkal, who was arrested near the Nepal border in 2013.

ISIS recruiter Shafi Armar's death not yet confirmed:IB

Indian Intelligence Agencies have not been able to confirm the news relating to the death of Shafi Armar, the recruiter in chief for the Islamic State in India. Earlier this week the ISIS declared that Abu Yusuf al-Hindi alias Shafi Armar a resident of Bhatkal was killed in Syria's Raqqa area.

We are still working on it and ascertaining the correct picture, an IB officer said. Such news has come out in the past as well, but it turned out to be false. We are observing the chat channels to ascertain whether the ISIS faked his death.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Kerala Man Kandy Attempts to Join ISIS for 2nd time, Arrested at Delhi Airport

Kerala resident’s bid to join IS foiled second time

Published:July 13, 2017

The Delhi Police have arrested a Kerala native who was deported from Turkey while allegedly trying to join the Islamic State in Syria. The police have also arrested a passport agent who had helped 32-year-old Shahjahan Velluva Kandy procure fake travel papers. The police said Kandy, who was deported from Turkey for travelling on a fake passport, is being interrogated in Delhi about his activities in Syria. “Kandy had gone to Turkey last year in June with his wife, but was deported from there in February after trying to cross over to Syria for joining ISIS.

His wife was also deported,” a police officer said. Deputy commissioner (special cell) P S Kushwah said: “A case under Sections 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery) and 419 (impersonation) under the Passport Act has been registered against him. Further investigations are on.” He was arrested from the airport with the fake documents on July 1.

According to intelligence sources, Kandy was an activist of the Muslim outfit Popular Front of India (PFI). Sources said the Kannur resident had first been deported from Turkey four months back. This was his second attempt to allegedly join the Islamic State. Last time, he was let go by Delhi police after he pleaded mercy and sought release saying his wife was in an advanced stage of pregnancy.

“Subsequently, the NIA issued a notice for him to appear before the agency for recording his statements. However, the notice could not be served to Kandy as he was missing from the house. We have been trying to locate him since then,’’ said an officer. There is no criminal case against him.
Police had questioned him in connection with the arms training camp allegedly conducted by the PFI in Kannur in 2013. But the police couldn’t find any evidence to link him with the case.

ISIS man was member of banned NDF outfit


Custodial interrogation of the arrested ISIS operative Shahjahan Velluva Kandy revealed that he was a former member of the proscribed NDF, an outfit in Kerala whose objective was to focus on socio-economical issues of minorities, with special emphasis on Kerala Muslims. NDF had also announced a plan to aggressively propagate Islam.

Delhi Police on Wednesday said it had also arrested the person who had made the fake passport for Shahjahan, but refused to name him. Police said the accused was in the jute manufacturing business. Delhi Police teams had been tracking his activities for the last one year. Investigation also revealed that Shahjahan was accused of destroying CPM flag masts in Kannur. Shahjahan, who used to live with his mother and two brothers in Koddali Village in Kannur, shifted to Chennai in 2011 after getting married.

“Shahjahan had gone to Turkey with his wife last year in June and was deported this February along with her, after which he disappeared. It was during this time that he became even more radicalized. In March again, he went to Turkey and tried to go to Syria but he was again deported in July after which he was arrested,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police, Special Cell, Pramod Singh Kushwaha.
Shahjahan was arrested from the Indira Gandhi International Airport on July 1 this year after he was deported by Turkey for the second time.

During interrogation Shahjahan told police that he attempted to go to Syria to join the ISIS. He also disclosed that he had links with some of the ISIS terrorists who were arrested in Kerala in October last year. Also, police came to know that Shahjahan was in touch with several ISIS sympathisers in India and Syria through the Telegram Application as hundreds of Telegram IDs of ISIS sympathisers were found on his mobile.

A Chennai based travel agent has been arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell for running a fake passport racket, reports The New Indian Express. On Wednesday, reports suggest that police narrowed down on M Mohammed Musthaffa, 26, at his native Adirampattinam village in Thanjavur district. The arrest was reportedly made based on a tip off provided by an ISIS sympathiser who was recently deported from Turkey.

It was a passport apprehended from 32-year-old Shahjahan Velluva Kandy, a native of Kerala that led investigators to Tamil Nadu. Shahjahan was allegedly on his way to Syria to join Islamic State, a banned terrorist group.The passport found on him had been procured by using false documents and had a Chintadripet address, according to reports. This is the same area from where police had arrested a head constable and postman, for colluding in a fake passport racket.

Delhi Police reportedly landed in Chennai a week back and have been looking for travel agents who helped Shahjahan procure the fake passport. Musthaffa has reportedly been running the Well-go travel agency at Mannady in Chennai for the last four years. He had supplied a fake passport to Shahjahan for Rs.1.5 lakh and made it seem like he was residing at Chintadripet.

The passport was reportedly identified as fake only after the flight he boarded left for Turkey.
The Turkish airport was alerted and the passport was then traced back to Musthaffa.
The travel agent was then arrested from Thanjavur, where he had reportedly gone for a wedding.
The Delhi team which made the arrest brought Musthaffa to Chennai on Thursday and conducted a detailed inquiry. They are now reportedly investigating if there are more fake passports that have been supplied by the accused.

NIA to seek inputs on arrested IS sympathiser

15th July 2017 

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will seek inputs from the Delhi police on Shahjahan Velluva Kandy, a Kannur native and IS sympathiser arrested from New Delhi, over his links with other IS persons from Kerala.

The NIA suspects Shahjahan maintained contacts with the perosns who left for Afghanistan from the state and with some arrested from Kanakamala last year.Shahjahan, a PFI activist, travelled twice to Syria via Turkey allegedly for joining IS. However, he was deported on both occasions after security agencies in Turkey intercepted him there.
“The decision to arraign him as accused in the IS case registered in Kerala will be taken based on the facts revealed during the investigation by the Delhi police. There will be information sharing between the NIA and the Delhi police in this regard. It is claimed the arrested person had links with the people who had left for Afghanistan and some arrested from Kanakamala. This will be confirmed by the Delhi police soon,” an NIA officer said.

Meanwhile, the Delhi police are yet to charge the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act(UAPA) against Shahjahan. Offences under UAPA which come in the scheduled list of NIA Act enable the national agency to directly take over the case investigation. “Currently, only offences likely forgery and possession of fake passport are registered against Shahjahan. It is for the Delhi police to find out whether UAPA should be invoked against the accused,” the officer said.

Intelligence agencies had put Shajahan under surveillance after security agencies in Turkey deported him to India while attempting to travel to Syria in February.Currently, NIA investigates five cases related to IS in Kerala.

‘Six Kerala men among Islamic State fighters in Syria’

Updated: July 24, 2017

At least six persons from Kerala are said to be fighting alongside the Islamic State (IS) in Syria since February, according to disclosures by a Kannur resident to the Delhi Police after he was deported from Turkey recently.
Shahjahan Velluva Kandy from Kannur in Kerala, who was arrestedon July 1 at the Delhi airport on being deported, has identified at least six persons from in and around Kannur who were said to be in the IS-controlled territory.

From Dubai

Kandy told security agencies that the six men had crossed over to Syria while two others were deported.
He told interrogators that some of them were working in Dubai and had reached Turkey through Iran, from where they crossed over to Syria on foot. An official said they were interrogating Kandy further to know the exact point from where the Kerala men crossed over to Syria, adding there were many points along Turkey-Syria border to illegally cross over.

All accounted for

“All the men named by Kandy have been accounted for and we are investigating further. Some of them went from Dubai, where they were working, so their families were also not aware. Kandy was caught when a paying guest accommodation where he was living in Istanbul was raided by Turkish authorities,” a senior Home Ministry official told The Hindu. It is not clear whether Kandy and others had the same handler, who was directing them online.
The Islamist organisation, which had captured large areas in Syria and Iraq to establish a ‘Caliphate,’ has been losing territory over the past few months as coalition forces reclaim the areas under their control. While Mosul in Iraq has been declared free of IS control, Syrian forces were in the last leg to recapture Raqqa, the self-declared capital of the terrorist outfit.

Escaped scrutiny

The official said the escape of the four persons to Syria at a time when the hold of the terrorist organisation was shrinking was a cause of concern as security agencies had till now no knowledge of this development. Kandy managed to slip from the radar of security agencies even though he had been questioned by the authorities in February and was under “scrutiny.”

Last year, 21 men, women and children from Kerala had left for Afghanistan via Iran to live in the IS controlled territory. Mainly comprising defectors from Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP), the Wilayat Khorasan of Islamic State in Afghanistan came into existence in 2015. Three of them are learnt to have been killed in drone attacks.

Earlier, agencies had information about 30 Indians who were said to be fighting for IS since 2014. Most of these fighters included former Indian Mujahideen members who fled India after the serial bombings in 2008.

Police said, the last was Kandy’s third attempt to cross over to Syria from Turkey in the past one year. Kandy made the first attempt when he went alone to Malaysia in 2016 but he returned as he couldn’t get a contact in Turkey. He went to Malaysia again in February 2016 and travelled on to Turkey in June the same year with his wife and children. He and his family were caught by the Turkish authorities and deported to India.

In 2017, he again went to Malaysia on a forged passport, travelled to Iran and then reached Turkey with hopes to cross over to Syria, when was caught again and handed over to Indian authorities.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

'Bahrain circle' case: Five from Kerala killed in ISIS' Syria territory

'Bahrain circle' case: Five from Kerala killed in ISIS' Syria territory

The Intelligence Bureau has found that five from Kerala had been killed while fighting for the Islamic State in Kerala. The five hailed from the Malabar region and were killed four months back, an Intelligence Bureau report said. The first news came out when the relatives of Sibi from Kanjikkode in Palakkad were told about his death. The family were under the impression that he was working in Bahrain. Later on the IB found that he was linked to Yahya alias Esa who had joined the ISIS in July 2016.
Another person by the name Muhadis hailing from Vandoor in Malappuram was also killed in Syria. The news of his death was conveyed by his brother Manaf who is working in Bahrain.
One person hailing from Chalad in Kannur and two from Vadakara in Kozhikode are also suspected to have been killed in Syria. All the above five persons had gone missing over the past two years. The police which had lodged a complained had termed the case as the 'Bahrain circle.'
The Kerala Intelligence has received reports of death of five persons from Malabar while fighting for Islamic State in Syria, but the news cannot be authenticated as the information was first received by the victims' family, an official has said.

"Such news is not authenticated, it is only information. But the reports could be true as they were received by family circles," a senior officer in the intelligence wing said.
He said relatives of one Sibi from Kanjikode in Palakkad district, had received the news of his death a few days ago. Sibi was working in Bahrain before joining the Islamic State in Syria. "Further details could not be known," the official said.
Similar is the case of one Muhadis, reportedly killed in Aleppo in Syria in military operations.
His brother who works in Bahrain broke the news of Muhadis' death to family members at Vaniyambalam in Mallapuram district when he came home about a month ago, the officer said.
Abu Tahir from Palakkad district was reportedly killed in US military strikes in Syria in April this year. The intelligence official, however, did not give details of the other two persons reportedly killed in Syria.
The official said the earlier deaths of four others from Kasaragod and Kozhikode districts of Kerala at Nangahar in Afghanistan have been confirmed.
"But it will be difficult for us to confirm the present deaths of five persons reportedly killed in Syria," he added.

Keralites radicalised youth before being killed fighting for Islamic State in Syria

Updated: Jul 6, 2017,

KOZHIKODE: The Kerala youth, who were killed while fighting for the Islamic State in Syria, were the members of an extreme Salafi group in Bahrain before they joined the outfit (IS).

Sources told TOI that the two Salafi preachers from Kerala - one from Mankada in Malappuram and the other from Perumbavoor in Ernakulam - were instrumental in radicalising the youth. Four members of the group, including Muhadis from Vandoor, were killed in military operations within a span four months in Syria.

The Salafi preachers had organised classes at a religious centre in Bahrain and at other places where they injected the extreme Salafism in the youth. A few members of the group were working with a catering company in Bahrain.

Sources said the preachers are members of a splinter group among the Kerala Salafis and have no connection with any of the established Salafi organisations in the state. One among them is currently in Mangaluru and his activities are closely monitored by the security agencies.

After getting initiated into extreme Salafism, the youth were learnt to have contacted some well-known Salafi scholars from Kerala who went to Bahrain at different times. "The Salafi scholars did not entertain the youth as they were found to have strong leanings towards the Islamic State," sources said.

The youth later came into contact with Abdul Rashid Abdulla, the former employee of the Peace International School in Kozhikode, who had already become a full-fledged IS cadre. It is suspected that the Salafi preachers had a role in helping the youth in establishing contact with Abdul Rashid, who is learnt to have steered them to the IS stronghold in Syria. Rashid himself has landed in Afghanistan and is co-ordinating the propaganda activities of Kerala module.

The unravelling of the Bahrain group has confirmed the suspicion of the security agencies that the influence of the IS runs deep in Kerala than what was initially thought to be. The number of Malayalis who joined the terror outfit could be much higher than the official estimate which is based on missing cases. IS is suspected to have recruited more Malayalis working in the Gulf countries. Authorities feel that the members of the families of the IS recruits are either unaware of their migration to IS strongholds or are keeping mum due to fear of being ostracized by the society.

Insights gained regarding the Bahrain group have once again forced the law enforcing agencies to sharpen their focus on the Salafi groups in Kerala. Many youth in the Salafi organisations have lost sense of direction after the innumerable splits in the movement.

Some of these Salafi groups are indirectly propagating the ideology of the Islamic State though they vehemently oppose the activities of the terror group in the open. Many of the youth who are associated with these extreme Salafi groups finally end up in the tentacles of the Islamic State.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Abu Dhabi ISIS Recruitment Cell: 2017 Updates (Part II)


'We're young, unmarried; want to return to mainstream' - Two Islamic State suspects plead guilty before Delhi court

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 (Zee News)

New Delhi: Two suspected members of the dreaded terror outfit Islamic State (IS) on Wednesday moved an application before a court here, pleading guilty to the charges levelled against them. Sheikh Azhar-ul-Islam alias Abdul Sattar Sheikh and Mohammed Farhan alias Mohammed Rafiq  Shaikh have pleaded guilty to the charges before District Judge Amar Nath. The judge has listed the matter for April 10. The court has asked National Investigation Agency (NIA) to file a reply on the plea.

What's the case?

The NIA had arrested Sheikh, Farhan and Adnan Hassan alias Mohammad Hussain in January last year for involvement in a conspiracy to identify, motivate and radicalise, recruit and train Indians in the country as well as other countries. Both Sheikh and Farhan in their application said they were remorseful for the alleged acts. They told the court they are of young age and unmarried, and that "we want to return to the main stream and be productive for the society and want to rehabilitate ourselves".

"The applicants (Sheikh and Farhan) are pleading guilty without any pressure, threat, coercion or undue influence," they said. "It is, therefore, most respectfully and in the interest of justice, prayed that the plea of guilt of the applicants may kindly be taken and after the sentence of the accused, they be directed to be transferred to their parent state prison for serving the sentence," the application stated, which was moved by their counsel M.S. Khan.

Sheikh Azhar hails from Jammu and Kashmir and Farhan and Hassan are residents of Maharashtra and Karnataka, respectively.

2 men plead guilty to working for IS in India, sentenced to 7 years in jail

Updated: Apr 21, 2017 15:39 IST (Hindustan Times)

A special court on Friday awarded seven years in jail to two men after they pleaded guilty of criminally conspiring to raise funds and recruiting people for the Islamic State (IS). District judge Amar Nath convicted 24-year-old Azhar-ul- Islam from Jammu and Kashmir and 25-year-old Mohammed Farhan Shaikh from Maharashtra, following their U-turn more than a month after the court framed charges against them.

The accused had moved an application through advocate MS Khan saying they “are remorseful of the acts alleged against them. There is no prior criminal record against them and they want to join the mainstream and want to be productive for the society and want to rehabilitate themselves”.
“The applicants are pleading guilty without any pressure, threat, coercion or undue influence,” the plea had said. The court had last month framed charges against both the accused and 36-year-old Adnan Hassan for allegedly hatching a criminal conspiracy to raise funds for the ISIS,as the Islamic State is otherwise known, and recruiting people for the terror outfit. The trial against Hassan is continuing separately before the same court.

The court had framed the charges for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code and under provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had registered a case against the three accused on January 28 last year. They were arrested the next day on arrival here from Abu Dhabi. According to the probe agency, Hassan and Shaikh had been frequently visiting the UAE in connection with jobs since 2008 and 2012 respectively, while Islam had gone to join them in the UAE in July, 2015. Hassan was earlier allegedly affiliated to the Indian Mujahideen and later became inclined towards IS, it alleged.

The charge sheet filed by NIA had claimed that the accused persons, in connivance with other known and unknown associates, had hatched a criminal conspiracy to propagate the ideology, recruit persons, raise funds and facilitate the travel of those recruited to Syria to join the ISIS and further its activities. The final report said that in furtherance of the conspiracy, the accused had created multiple email IDs, used multiple mobile numbers obtained from their associates from different countries, formed various online forums and groups on Facebook, WhatsApp, Kik, VKontakte, Viber and Skype, using the internet and invited and associated like-minded persons, residents of different countries.

“The accused had formed a terrorist gang and acted as a frontal group of the ISIS and incited, motivated, invited and facilitated people of different nationalities to leave their respective countries and travel to Syria to join, support and further activities of the ISIS,” it alleged.

The agency said the accused persons were actively involved in perpetuating, promoting and propagating ideologies and terrorist activities of the Islamic State. “They had voluntarily advocated and professed to be the supporters and members of the ISIS and actively supported, invited support from others, propagated and promoted unlawful activities and terrorist activities of the ISIS by exhorting, inciting, luring and influencing others to become members of this organisation by disseminating incriminating contents including sharing comments, pages, videos, images, literature and openly endorsing, justifying and glorifying the terrorist acts of the ISIS,” the NIA had claimed.
“They had also raised, collected and received funds in the UAE and transferred it to their associates in India, the Philippines and Tunisia to facilitate their travel to Syria to join ISIS,” the agency said.

Can't believe Farhan Shaikh was part of terror group: Kin

Apr 22, 2017 (Times of India)

THANE: A silence descended on the Natekars fourth-floor residence in Mumbra's Kausa area after they came to know that Mohammad Farhan Shaikh was convicted and sentenced to seven years in jail on Friday for being an ISIS member.

26-year-old Shaikh was living in the Dubai apartment of his maternal uncle, Samir Natekar, when he was picked up and deported to India in January 2016. On Friday , he was convicted by the NIA special court in New Delhi for being members of the terrorist outfit ISIS, recruiting like-minded people and raising funds after he pleaded guilty.

When TOIwent to the Natekars' house in Kausa, Samir's wife, Naziya, said they had come to know of the conviction through TV . "I came to know that Farhan had pleaded guilty .I could not believe it. Later, my sister-in-law from Pune called up and confirmed it," she said.Samir was not at home.

"When Farhan was picked up from Dubai, we were shocked. We had no clue what had happened. Later, we came to know he had been deported to India on the charges being an ISIS member," added Naziya while Shaikh's younger brother Rehan, who had just returned after offering namaz, looked on. Shaikh's mother passed away when he was five ye ars old and was raised by his matermal grandmother Mehrunisa (Naziya's mother-inlaw). Neigbours said that Shaikh's father remarried soon after his mother's death, leaving im with Mehrunisa. They said Shaikh has a elder sister, who is married and settled abroad but not in touch with the family .
While talking to TOI over the phone, Mehrunissa said, "I am in Rajasthan and I am very upset. I have not seen him for two years. I can only pray for him. My family members say everything will be okay ," Mehrunissa said that Shaikh, after having lived for 20 years in the economically underprivileged ghettos of Mumbra, landed a well-paying job in Dubai and moved there.

Naziya said Shaikh had got a job in a computer hardware development company and he often told her that his colleagues were good. "He was a reserved person and would play with my two children, I can never imagine him indulging in such activities," she said. Building residents said they had not seen Shaikh since years.