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Case against Zakir Naik’s IRF staff: Agencies likely to probe foreign handler angle

The agencies are likely to probe if there were cases of online radicalisation through a foreign handler

mumbai Updated: Aug 10, 2016 10:39 IST
Rahul Mahajani
Rahul Mahajani
Hindustan Times
Zakir Naik,Radicalisation,Religious Conversion

The security agencies probing cases of radicalisation and religious conversion registered in Mumbai and in Kerala have found that these were done one-on-one through meetings. The agencies are likely to probe if there were cases of online radicalisation and if a foreign handler is involved.

Sources in the state police said they have found cases involving foreign handlers and online radicalisation. In the two cases filed in Mumbai and Kerala, however, the state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) found Ashfaque — who left Kerala with his wife and son to join Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) — and Haneef — a Maulana — personally met people in Mumbai and Kerala and brainwashed them to join ISIS.

“We do not rule out the possibility of a foreign handler who may have used online radicalisation and the Mumbai crime branch probe is likely to throw light on this aspect,” said a source in the state police.

Authorities conducting the probe found that Ashfaque and Haneef travelled a lot and as many as 21 people may have left for the ISIS controlled territory.

Sources said the process may have been underway for more than two years as Ashfaque’s father Abdul Majid Kader said in the complaint filed at Nagpada police station that he started noticing changes in his elder son for the past two years. And he started being particular about religion and dressing and other aspects. Kader in his complaint has named an IRF employee and three others.

The crime branch is probing the involvement of others, including a foreign handler who ensured the journey of the recruits to Syria.

Ashfaque’s brother told the ATS and the Kerala police that they received a message via internet application stating, “Ashfaque already been in ISIS with his friends and Indians are caffir and he is not returning to India and invites his family to join ISIS.” Sources said they were checking if this may have been from Ashfaque or some handler sent on his behalf.

First Published: Aug 10, 2016 10:33 IST