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Tauseef Ali Farooqui, IIT Guwahati student who pledged allegiance to ISIS, was engaging with ‘Islamist’ ideas for several years through dark web

Tauseef Ali Farooqui engaging with “Islamist” ideas for several years through the dark web, even before he had joined IIT Guwahati

Tauseef Ali Farooqui, the IIT Guwahati student who was detained by the Assam Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) for uploading a post to pledge allegiance to ISIS, is currently in ATS custody. Based on the investigation and Farooqui’s questioning, a Police officer said that it appears that he had been interested in studying and engaging with “Islamist” ideas for several years, even before he had joined IIT. 

The officer added that the engagement intensified in the last three or four months, with most of it taking place online “through the dark web”. 

Additionally, the police also seized a ‘black flag’ from his hostel room, along with a manuscript. Additional Superintendent of Police Kalyan Kumar Pathak had earlier said that “prima facie, it appears to be similar to the ISIS flag”. He, however, added that the specialised agencies would confirm what organisation the black flag belongs to.

Police referred to Tauseef as “very intelligent” noting that they are not aware why he announced his pledge to ISIS in such an apparent manner that it led Police to nab him. A Police officer said, “We still don’t know what his motive was to announce his desire to join the organisation in a manner that would lead us directly to him.” 

ASP Pathak referred to Farooqui as a “loner” who kept to himself, and “left his room only for classes and had a very limited friend circle”.

On Friday (29th March), Tauseef’s parents reported to the STF police station in Guwahati to meet him. According to reports, his parents are separated. His mother runs a boutique in South Delhi’s Batla House, while his father stays in Patna. Apart from Tauseef, his elder brother is also a graduate of IIT-Kanpur and runs a start-up.

A fourth-year student who resides in the same hostel in which the accused resided, noted that students in the third and fourth year of B.Tech are given their individual hostel rooms, so Farooqui had not had a roommate for the last two years.

Further, a member of the institute’s administration said that he was an above-average student who would have graduated in a month, adding that the developments have surprised the faculty.

Earlier on 23rd March, Assam Police detained Tauseef Ali Farooqui for pledging allegiance to the terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS) via an open letter on the social media platform LinkedIn. Farooqui is a final-year biotechnology student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati. 

In the email, which police said he had marked to some colleges and IGP Partha Sarathi Mahanta, he wrote that he would make hijrat – which refers to migrating from one’s own land – towards the “region known as Islamic State-Khorasan Province” to pledge his allegiance, beginning the journey on foot from Guwahati, The Indian Express reported

(Image Source – LinkedIn)

In the open letter on LinkedIn, Farooqui claimed that he had disassociated himself from the “Indian-Construct that includes the so-called Indian Constitution, its institutions and so on”. It added that he “disassociates” from “infidels, all of them, from every land”.

Later, Farooqui was caught by locals and Hindu Jagaran Manch workers in Damdama in Hajo, near Guwahati. He was seen carrying a black flag and chanting Islamic slogans, and when people confronted him, he said that he supported ISIS. He was then handed over to the police by the locals. A case has been registered with the STF and it includes sections of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act UAPA. Since Sunday, he has been in police custody for 10 days.

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