Tightening its noose around the Islamic State (IS) operatives in India, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday arrested three persons after carrying out searches at 11 locations in Kerala, Karnataka and Delhi, including the premises of the mastermind of the module, Mohammed Ameen aka Abu Yahya, whose group had identified several people in Kerala and Karnataka for “targeted killing”.
An NIA spokesperson said that sleuths of the anti-terror probe agency arrested Ameen and his associates Mushab Anuvar and Rahees Rashid after questioning them.
The official said that Ameen was leading the module while the other two arrested accused were his close associates.
Earlier in the day, the NIA carried out searches at 11 locations, including eight locations in Kerala spread over the districts of Kannur, Mallapuram, Kollam and Kasargod, two locations in Bengaluru and one location in Delhi in a case pertaining to terrorist activities of a group led by Ameen, a resident of Kerala.
The official said that the group has been running various IS propaganda channels on different social media platforms such as Telegram, Hoop and Instagram for propagating the violent Jihadi ideology of IS and radicalising and recruiting new members for the IS module.
The NIA had registered a case on March 5 this year against seven known and other unknown accused persons under several sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
The official said that the searches were preceded by extensive verification carried out jointly by the NIA, the Special Cell of Delhi Police and the ATS of Kerala Police.
The official said, “The group of radicalised individuals under the leadership of Ameen had identified certain individuals in Kerala and Karnataka for targeted killing.”
They had also planned to undertake ‘Hijrat’ (religious migration) to Jammu and Kashmir for engaging in terrorist acts.
The official said, “Ameen had travelled to Jammu and Kashmir immediately after his return to India from Bahrain in March last year and had been camping in Delhi for the last two months for establishing connection with J&K based operatives having allegiance to IS.”
The official added that the searches were conducted at the premises of Ameen and his associates, who were members of various groups or channels on encrypted chat platforms.
The official said that during the searches, several digital devices, including laptops, mobiles, hard disks and pen drives, multiple SIM cards of different service providers and incriminating documents were seized.
The official said that the exhibits are being scrutinised and will be sent for forensic examination.