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SOURCE: ANI

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested four suspects during its raid at 21 locations across Tamil Nadu in the 2022 ISIS-inspired Coimbatore car bomb blast and the ISIS radicalisation and recruitment case, the agency said on Sunday.

The anti-terror agency search operation conducted on Saturday led to the seizure of a large number of electronic devices, material objects and documents. These included six laptops, 25 mobile phones, 34 SIM cards, six SD cards and three hard discs.

Raids were conducted at 11 locations associated with Madras Arabic College and Kovai Arabic College in connection with the radicalisation case, which involved individuals engaged in the clandestine radicalisation of gullible youth in the garb of Arabic language classes through the preaching of radical ideologies and promotion of violent Jihad at their Regional Study Centres in Tamil Nadu.

Besides the Arabic classes, the agency said, the radicalisation took place online, through social media platforms and mobile applications, such as WhatsApp and Telegram.

“The ISIS operatives were using the classes and the social media to impart radical sermons to propagate Khilafat and ISIS ideologies inimical to India’s constitutionally established principles of secularism and democracy,” said the NIA.

As per the anti-terror agency, susceptible youth were also being recruited to commit terrorist acts and unlawful activities, such as the Coimbatore car bomb blast that took place in October 2022.

The NIA investigations had further revealed that 10 accused arrested in the blast case had been associated with the Kovai Arabic College in Coimbatore.

The NIA teams on Saturday also simultaneously swooped down on another 10 places connected with the car bomb blast case.

“Extensive searches were conducted at various places linked with suspects, who were part of an encrypted mobile platform group, along with the accused arrested in connection with the ISIS-inspired VBIED terror attack in Coimbatore.”

Investigations showed that the suspects had eulogised Zahran Hashim, the dead Sri Lankan terrorist who had been preaching hate and violence and had orchestrated the PBIED attack that killed more than 250 civilians in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2019, said the NIA.

“The suspects and accused were found to have used the platform to discuss ISIS activities and prospects with a view of establishing the outfit’s foothold in India,” said the NIA.

Three of the persons arrested following the raids were linked with the Madras Arabic College, said the NIA, adding “they included one Jameel Basha Umari, who had floated the college to promote fundamentalism, extremism and radicalisation.”

Jameel Basha Umari had spoken vocally in support of Khilafat ideology and had also promoted and advocated the concept of martyrdom for violent Jihad. 

Two others, Maulvi Hussain Faizy alias Mohammed Hussain Faizy and Irshath, are former students of Jameel and Madras Arabic College, and had been responsible for rechristening Madras Arabic College as Kovai Arabic College, said the NIA.

The fourth accused arrested following the raids has been identified as Syed Abdur Rahman Umari, who was in possession of incriminating literature connected with ISIS. 

He was also involved in propagating the tenets of ISIS to the accused connected with the Coimbatore car bomb blast case through secret ‘bayans’ and ‘masooras’.

“Investigations in both RC.No.01/2023/NIA/CHE (TN ISIS Radicalisation and Recruitment Case) and RC.No. 01/2022/NIA/CHE (Coimbatore car bomb blast case), are continuing,” added the agency.