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Kerala: NIA arrests trigger concerns over ISIS sleeper cells, increased propaganda over social media

Recently, in a leaked internal document, the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Kerala also raised grave concerns about pro-Taliban sentiment among the Muslim community.

Amidst growing concerns of rise in extremism among Muslims in the state of Kerala, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) apprehended several persons in the state over terror-related charges. This also led to a rise in suspicions about the existence of Islamic State sleeper cells operating in the state according to a The Hindu report.

Recently, the NIA also filed a charge sheet against Mohammed Ameen of Malappuram, Mushab Anwar of Kannur and Rahees Rasheed from Kollam. A suo motu case was filed against a group of individuals involved in terrorist activities with Mohammed Ameen. Ameen had been running Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) propaganda channels on a number of social media platforms like Telegram, Hoop and Instagram, to spread violent jihad, radicalization and recruitment of new members.

It is said that Mohammed Ameen visited Kashmir to spread terrorism after ISIS Caliphate activities abated in Syria and Iraq. He worked with Rahees Rasheed and a known accused Wilson Kashmiri to raise funds and cultivate ISIS in India.

NIA also arrested two women, Mizha Siddeeque and Shifa Harris from Kannur for having connections with Ameen and spreading ISIS terrorism using social media platforms. Mizha also went to Tehran in order to join ISIS in Syria and later ran an Instagram page to propagate, motivate and radicalise and recruit Muslim youths for ISIS.

The investigations conducted by the NIA revealed that IS is trying to spread its tentacles in India through extensive online propaganda. According to reports, NIA had investigated 37 cases of terror attacks, conspiracy and funding that were inspired by the IS ideology. 168 accused were arrested in these including 31 charge sheets filed and 27 accused convicted after trial.

Recently, in a leaked internal document, the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Kerala also raised grave concerns about pro-Taliban sentiment among the Muslim community. CPIM Kerala accused the radical Islamist outfit, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) for promoting ‘radicalisation and communalism’ through social media and publications. The party had warned its cadres, “Jamaat-e-Islami, whose goal is to establish an Islamic state, is now trying to spread their ideas in the Muslim community as well in Kerala society. They are using not only their publications but also the social media platforms to spread their ideas.”

The document said, “It is a matter of serious concern that discussion supporting the Taliban is happening in Kerala while it is being condemned by the believers of democracy across the world, including the Muslim community at large.” CPIM has therefore directed its student union and party cadres to reorganise itself and counter the growing radicalisation. It warned of a ‘conscious effort to turn Christians against Muslims in Kerala, who constitute 26% of the population (2011 Census data).’

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