Arrested Indian Oil engineer charged with promoting Islamic State

  • HT Correspondent, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 04, 2016 20:30 IST
An Islamic State flag is seen in this picture illustration.

A 33-year-old engineer with the state-run Indian Oil Corporation Limited in Jaipur was on Saturday charged with promoting the ideology of the Islamic State (IS) and inciting people to join the terrorist outfit.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) said Mohammed Sirajuddin, an assistant manager with Indian Oil who was arrested by Rajasthan police last December for suspicious online activities, had even wanted to leave his wife and travel to Syria to join the IS.

“He had discussed his travel plans with his wife, who agreed hesitantly to go with him. We have recorded her statement as a witness in the case,” an NIA officer said.

Sirajuddin, an engineering postgraduate, was apparently drawn to the IS through online propaganda. Investigators said he had even asked members of his online group to vote for IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the Time magazine poll for its Person of the Year award.

He used to surf for material about the outfit and came across an IS sympathiser named Ameena in one such sites. He got so besotted with her that he wanted to take her as his wife, investigators said.

Little did he know that she was actually a domestic help for an Indian family in the UAE. When the family shifted to Hyderabad, Ameena tagged along and continued to chat online with Sirajuddin. After his arrest, the woman was deported to her native Kenya.

Sirajuddin was also in touch with a suspected Filipino woman, another IS sympathizer named Karen Hamiddon. “We are going send a judicial request to Manila for assistance to dig out more details about this woman,” the officer said.

Other than these two, the engineer was in chatting online with at least four more women — including one from Mauritius and another from Indonesia. In one the chats, a woman told him she risks getting caught by authorities for being in touch with him. Sirajuddin’s response was patronising, saying she is an “e-mujahida” and nobody can catch her.

A native of Gulbarga in Karnataka, Sirajuddin, was arrested for promoting IS ideology, inciting others to join the terrorist group, and indulging in antinational activities through social media such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Telegram, an NIA statement said.

The case was transferred from Rajasthan police to the NIA because of its “international ramifications”.

The investigation revealed evidence of “his incriminating chats, posts, videos, images and comments on Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram and Twitter” that he shared and circulated in groups and channels.

The probe “also established his association with IS operatives from various countries who were actively propagating, promoting and inciting people” through online mediums to join the brutal terrorist group, the NIA statement said.

This is the NIA’s third charge-sheet in connection with IS activities in India. The agency had charged two alleged recruits — Areeb Majeed and Mohamed Naser — of the terrorist group earlier.

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