Hyderabad: The National Investigation Agency (NIA), on 2 September, filed a charge sheet against five alleged ISIS terror operatives, including Hyderabad-based Abdullah Basith, for their links to the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP). The investigation revealed that Basith and others were conspiring to use the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests to instigate Muslims against the Indian government.
According to NIA sources, Jahanzaib, an engineering graduate from Ferozpur in Punjab, was radicalised after reading about the ISIS/ISKP on the Internet. In 2017, he established contact with ISIS handler Huzaifa-al-Bakistani and his father-in-law Abu Usman-Al-Kashmiri, who is the head of ISKP’s Indian affairs, on a secure messaging platform. Huzaifa-al-Bakistani further introduced Jahanzaib to Hyderabad resident Abdullah Basith, who was already lodged in Tihar jail in connection with another NIA case registered against him.
The investigation also revealed that Hina Bashir, who completed her higher education from Pune, was radicalized during 2014-15 after she read ISIS-related content on social media. Jahanzaib and Hina married in 2017 as both supported the ideology of ISIS. Further, Jahanzaib, Hina, Abdullah Basith, and Sadiya were continuously in contact with ISIS operatives based in Khorasan and Syria.
As per the instructions of ISKP head Abu Usman-Al-Kashmiri, Jahanzaib, and Basith prepared a magazine titled ‘Voice of Hind’ inciting Muslims against non-Muslims and exhorting them to rise against the government of India and join ISIS. The magazine eulogised ISIS/ISKP terrorists, including Huzaifa-al-Bakistani who was killed in July 2019 in a drone strike in Afghanistan, and denigrated the Indian Constitution and democratic system.
It was also found that Jahanzaib, Hina, Basith, and Sadiya were conspiring to use the anti-CAA protests to instigate Muslims against the Indian government by coining seditious slogans and putting up graffiti at public places and highlighting the same on social and international media. They were also provoking some gullible youth to participate in anti-CAA protests. In case these protests failed to provoke the Muslims, they were planning to set fire to government buildings and public property to trigger riots and exploit the sentiments of the Muslim community.
Jahanzaib, Hina, Basith, and Nabeel Siddick had tried to make an improvised IED and were planning to carry out mass-killings in crowded places to further the activities of ISIS/ISKP in India, the NIA probe revealed. They had also conducted reconnaissance of a few sensitive locations in Maharashtra that are frequented by foreigners.
Meanwhile, the NIA had already arrested another accused, Abdur Rehman alias Dr. Brave, from Bengaluru in August 2020 who was in contact with Jahanzaib and were conspiring to promote the activities of ISIS/ISKP. Rehman had also visited ISIS medical camp in Syria in 2014. An investigation into the activities of Abdur Rehman and other suspects in this case is underway.
The case was initially registered by the Delhi police special cell in March 2020 after the arrest of a Kashmiri couple, Jahanzaib Sami Wani and his wife Hina Bashir Beigh, from their rented accommodation in Okhla Vihar, Jamia Nagar, in Delhi. Later, the NIA re-registered the case and took up the investigation. In the charge sheet filed under Sections 120B, 124A, 153A, and 201 of the IPC and Sections 13, 17, 18, 38, 39, and 40 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the accused have been charged for their affiliation with the proscribed terrorist organisation ISIS/ISKP and for conspiring to create disaffection against the Indian government, promoting enmity among different religious communities, and for committing subversive activities.