NIA and ISD apprehend terror suspect in Bengaluru

A joint operation conducted by the NIA, ISD, and the local police resulted in the arrest of a UP-native software engineer, Mohammed Arif, and Thane resident Hamraz Worshid Shaikh, on suspicion of their alleged links with Al-Qaeda.

On Saturday, February 11, 2023, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Internal Security Division (ISD) detained a software engineer in Bengaluru due to his alleged ties with the banned terrorist organization Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent. A search and seizure conducted in the suspect’s house in Manjunath, Thanisandra Road, Bengaluru, revealed his presumed connections with the Islamic State (IS) and his plans to flee the country.

In a combined investigation, the NIA, the ISD, and the local police nabbed Mohammed Arif, a UP native suspected of associating with Al-Qaeda. Arif is a married father of two who works as a software engineer for an IT company in Bengaluru. Police sources claim that Arif intended to relocate his wife and kids to Uttar Pradesh before traveling to Syria in March to join the Islamic State.

The Starting Point

Image Source : The News Indian Express

The operation carried out on Saturday was a follow-up to a case first filed at the Tilak Nagar police station on July 24, 2022, which involved the arrests of two terror suspects in Salem, Tamil Nadu, and Bengaluru, respectively. 

Akhtar Hussain, a 23-year-old Assamese man, was captured from his leased home in July 2022. He had been an executive in food delivery for nearly a year. The NIA had been monitoring him, and after focusing on one of his associates who was employed in a Salem clothing factory, they eventually detained him.

Officials claim that the accused was coordinating a meeting to discuss potential subversive activities with a terror organization through social media and a Telegram account.

The NIA re-registered the case on November 30 and is now pursuing additional accused parties in collaboration with the ISD.

Remarks Made By The Home Minister

According to Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra, Arif was detained based on specific information. In a statement, the Minister said, “Yesterday night (February 10, 2023), the police in Bengaluru arrested a man named Mohammed Arif from Thanisandra following particular information. He is being interrogated.” 

The Second Arrest

Along with Mohammed Arif, the NIA, in a joint operation with the ISD and local police, made another arrest in Thane, Maharashtra. A man identified as Hamraz Worshid Shaikh was detained on the same day as Arif for the same accusations – participating in a conspiracy to utilize social media platforms to radicalize the youth and encourage them to commit acts of violence and terrorism.

The NIA officials said, “During searches in Thanisandra in Bengaluru and Palghar-Thane in Maharashtra on Saturday, the pair was apprehended for questioning. On Sunday, the two defendants were detained by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with a case involving a terrorist organization’s plot to radicalise adolescents and incite them to commit acts of terrorism and violence.”

The NIA claimed that the search operations were carried out following an FIR filed last year after a few people were detained in the Shivamogga district on suspicion of having ties to ISIS.

Mr. Jnanedra, the Home Minister of Karnataka, also mentioned, “Anyone attempting to affiliate themselves with groups that seek to undermine India by inciting communal feelings will be repressed.”

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