NIA files chargesheet against five people for alleged Islamic State links, instigating anti-CAA protests


The accused have been chargesheeted for their affiliation with the proscribed terrorist organisation Islamic State/Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province and for conspiring to create disaffection against government

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday filed a chargesheet against five people for their alleged association with the banned Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), an affiliate of Islamic State, officials said.

Those chargesheeted include Jahanzaib Sami of Delhi; Hina Bashir, a native of Kashmir; Abdullah Basith, a resident of Hyderabad; and Sadiya Anwar Shaikh and Nabeel Siddick Khatri, both residents of Pune.

The chargesheet was filed in a special court in Delhi.

The accused have been chargesheeted for their affiliation with the proscribed terrorist organisation Islamic State/ISKP and for conspiring to create disaffection against government, promoting enmity among different religious communities and for committing subversive activities in connection with the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests.

They have been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

An article in The Hindu published in July had revealed that Shaikh and Khatri had been arrested by the NIA earlier, and had been on the police radar since 2015 when Shaikh was still a college student. She was intercepted at a time when she was exposed to Islamic State recruiters via social media and was planning to leave the country to join the terrorist organistaion in Syria.

She was counselled by the Maharashtra Police and let go after a brief detention. However, her name cropped up again in 2018 when she was detained by Jammu and Kashmir Police in 2018 after they suspected her of planning a terrorist attack. The Jammu and Kashmir police had to release her after interrogation as they did not find sufficient proof to keep her under detention.

Sami and Bashir are a married couple from Kashmir who were detained on 8 March by the Delhi Police from their rented accommodation in Jamia Nagar. They were detained on charges of instigating anti-CAA protests and for having links to the banned ISKP organistaion. A Scroll report from the time of their arrest said that both had left the Valley for higher education. Sami got a BTech degree and post-graduate degree in management. Bashir had a bachelors in computer applications and a masters in business administration from Pune.

Another Hindustan Times report from the time quoted unnamed senior police officials as saying that the couple had been in touch with senior ISKP members in Afghanistan to exploit the ongoing agitation against the amended citizenship law to incite Muslim youth to carry out terror strikes. They also claimed that Sami had also been in touch with Huzaifa al-Bakistani, the Pakistani commander of the Islamic State’s Khorasan wing who played a key role in efforts to radicalise Kashmiri youth. The report said that the couple were primarily involved in spreading propaganda for ISKP and Islamic State.

Hyderabad-based Abdullah Basith was first arrested by NIA in August 2018 for his alleged links with Islamic State terror modules. A report in The New Indian Express claimed that Basith was in regular touch with Matin Azizi-Yarand, a US teen who was arrested by the FBI in May 2018 for mass shooting at a Dallas mall. The article said that Basith also came up on the Hyderabad Police’s radar in 2015 but was later released on bail after which he started propagating Islamic State propaganda on social media sites, including Instagram, using five different devices and several fake accounts to throw the security agencies off his trail.

With inputs from PTI

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