Hyderabad: Fifteen persons who were allegedly members of the terror organisation ISIS were awarded different jail terms by a special NIA court on 16 October.

In September earlier this year, they had been convicted in a conspiracy case registered in 2016. In the orders issued on Friday, Parveen Singh, the special judge for NIA cases at Patiala House Courts Complex in New Delhi, pronounced sentences against 15 persons, including three who were arrested in Hyderabad.

The three from Hyderabad who were convicted in the case are Abu Anas, a techie from Rajasthan who was then working for an MNC at Hitech city, Mohammed Nafees Khan alias Fatima Khan alias Abu Zarrar of Tolichowki, and Mohammed Obedullah Khan, a resident of the Old City. Anas was sentenced to seven years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 48,000 was imposed on him while Nafees Khan was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a fine of Rs. 1.03 lakh levied and Obedullah Khan was sentenced for five years and a fine of Rs. 38,000 imposed.

Another accused, Mohammed Shareef Moinuddin Khan, an electrical contractor from Tolichowki, who was also arrested at the time, is currently facing trial. Other convicts were given jail terms ranging between five and six years.

In January 2016, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had arrested 19 persons from different parts of the country as part of a nationwide crackdown on ISIS and those working for the organisation and who were engaged in recruiting Muslim youths for ISIS through different social media platforms.

During the investigation, the NIA found that the accused persons had formed an organisation, Junood-ul-Khilafa-Fil-Hind, that sought to establish a Caliphate in India and pledged allegiance to ISIS. The group sought to recruit Muslim youths and commit acts of terrorism in India at the behest of Yusuf-Al-Hindi alias Shafi Armar alias Anjan Bhai who is based in Syria and is purportedly the media chief of ISIS.

This case was the first-of-its-kind in which ISIS terrorists had conspired to carry out terrorist acts in various parts of the country. The evidence on record proved that they had held meetings in Hyderabad Telangana, Bengaluru, Pune, and Lucknow.

The NIA had filed charge-sheets against 16 persons in 2016 and 2017.

The case also had a huge impact on people who were likely to join ISIS. After the arrest of the ISIS terrorists, their activities decreased and their associates were identified and questioned. Several ISIS sympathisers who had gone to join ISIS were intercepted at various locations in the Middle East and deported back to India. The investigation conducted by the agency stopped the facilitation of the ISIS members in India as well as abroad.

This case was also a first-of-its-kind in which an extensive terrorist conspiracy involving online radicalisation was hatched on cyber space in the aftermath of the declaration of the Islamic Caliphate by Abu-Baqar-Al-Bagdadi in 2014.

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