A team of National Investigation Agency(NIA) officials on Tuesday arrested two women in Kannur on suspicion of furthering the activities of ISIS and spreading its message on social media. The arrested women were identified as Shifa Harris and Misha Siddique.
The duo was reportedly a part of the group that was operating various ISIS propaganda channels on different social media websites, including Telegram, Hoop and Instagram. The premier agency believes that Harris and Siddique were involved in the online promotion of the terror group’s activity so as to radicalise people and recruit fresh blood for the organisation.
The investigating team from New Delhi arrested Shifa Harris and Misha Siddique, early morning from their house. The two will be transported to Delhi, reports said.
The arrests come months after the NIA had nabbed one of their accomplices, Musad Anwar, who was arrested in March 2021 from Kannur and following which a case had been filed against seven known and unknown people.
Incidentally, the NIA had visited the homes of Harris and Siddique earlier this year as well. However, they were not arrested then. Reportedly, the NIA got the breakthrough in busting this ISIS module following the arrest of Ameer Rehman earlier this month. Rehman was arrested on August 4 from Mangalore and belonged to the same team. Based on the revelations made by Rehman in his interrogation, the NIA team reached the house of the two women and arrested them.
For some time now, Kerala has been a flourishing grounds for Islamic extremism. Extremist ideologies from differing Islamic persuasions have gained currency in the state. Recently, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor took to Twitter suggesting that the Taliban might have recruited some of its members from the Indian state of Kerala. Tharoor quoted a video showing two “emotional” Talibanis converse in Malayalam (as claimed by him) said, “It sounds as if there are at least two Malayali Taliban here — one who says ‘samsarikkette’ around the 8-second mark & another who understands him!”
Kerala a breeding ground for ISIS
Investigations have revealed that ISIS had struck roots in Kerala as far back as 2014 with modules sponsoring religious conversions and trying to motivate professionals to join its fold in Afghanistan and Syria. Last year, in its report on terrorism, the UN cautioned that there are a sizeable number of ISIS terrorists in the Indian state of Kerala, adding that the ISIL Indian affiliate (Hind Wilayah), which was announced on May 10, 2019, has about 180 to 200 members.
Moreover, a charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency in July last year, regarding the murder of Special Sub Inspector Wilson exposed the nexus of the ISIS terrorists active and flourishing in the state of Kerala.