Court convicts 6 for plotting terror strike
A National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Kerala’s Kochi on Monday found six persons guilty of hatching a conspiracy to carry out terror strikes in the state and beyond its borders. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on Wednesday.
The case came to light in 2016, when NIA raided a hideout in northern Kerala’s Kannur and busted an alleged plan to carry out a series of attacks in Kerala and other states.
NIA said investigations revealed that the men were planning attacks on foreigners, especially Jewish tourists in Kochi and Kodikkanal, two high court judges, and senior leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and political parties.
Of the nine accused in the case, two are absconding. One of them is suspected to have been killed in a terror attack in Afghanistan two years ago, according to NIA.
Those convicted on Monday were Manseed Mohamed, Swaliah Mohammed, M Ramshad, P Safvan and Subhani Subhani Haja Moideen and Rashid Ali. The seventh accused, Jasim NK, was set free by NIA court judge P Kirshnakumar. All accused were arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
The court said they had not joined the IS terror group, but made it clear that they were qualified to be called as members of a terror gang.
The NIA prosecutor contended that the men formed a group on a social media to wage a war against the country, fomented tension between different communities and tried to attack important personalities.
During investigation, NIA said it also found that one of the accused, Moideen, returned from Syria after fighting for terror group IS in 2015. Moideen, who later changed his name, was arrested from Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu) two years ago.
The six men have been found guilty under various sections of UAPA, including offences relating to membership of a terrorist organisation and support given to a terrorist organisation.
During the hearing on quantum of punishment, the prosecution argued that they should be awarded life imprisonment as they did not show any remorse or repentance for their act.
The prosecution said it will also send across a message to society that such acts would be dealt with seriously.
Opposing the prosecution argument, the defence sought maximum leniency citing that no arms or ammunition were recovered from them.
During custodial interrogation, it was disclosed that they had communicated with co-conspirators within and outside India over online social media platforms and had also collected funds to wage war against the Government of India, the agency said.
(With agency inputs)