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Mohd Shafi Amar, Chief of Indian ISIS Cell Killed US Airstrike in Syria

Islamic State cell and principal recruiter for IS in India killed in a U.S. airstrike in Syria.

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Mohammad Shafi Armar(alias Yousuf al-Hindi) Image source: Benarnews

Indian intelligence officials said Monday they were working to verify reports that the alleged head of an Islamic State cell and principal recruiter for IS in India had been killed in a U.S. airstrike in Syria.

Mohammad Shafi Armar (alias Yousuf al-Hindi), who comes from the south Indian state of Karnataka, was killed in a drone strike “a few days ago,” according to a report published by the Times of India on Monday that cited top government sources.

An official at India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) told BenarNews that although it had received an intelligence report of Armar’s death from American intelligence officials on Sunday, the bureau was cross-checking to verify the information.

“Prima facie, it seems he [Armar] is dead. But we can’t say anything for sure until we verify [the information],” said the official who requested anonymity.

“The confirmation process may take some time because getting information from Syria, which is an IS stronghold, is not easy,” the official added.

Common link

Armar, 26 (pictured below), is believed to be the common link among at least 25 people arrested by Indian security agencies over the past year for showing leanings toward the Middle East-based terror outfit, according to intelligence sources.

The Times of India claimed to have confirmed the information about his death from three top government and intelligence sources.

The alleged IS sympathizers told investigators during interrogation that they were radicalized and recruited by Armar through online platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype, sources in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) told BenarNews.

Armar allegedly took over the reins of IS’s India offshoot – Ansar ul-Tawhid (AuT) – after his brother, Abdul Khadir Sultan Armar, 38, was killed in an airstrike in Kobane, Syria, in March 2015.

Armar recently dismantled AuT and renamed it as Junud al Khalifa-e-Hind, which translates to “soldiers of the Indian caliphate,” with an aim to establish an IS unit in every Indian state, according to intelligence agencies.

Following the death of Armar’s brother last year, their mother, Hajira, told The Indian Express that her sons had stopped communicating with her in 2010, five years after the brothers left for Oman.

A police official in Bhatkal, the Armar family’s hometown about 525 km (326 miles) from the Karnataka capital Bengaluru, told BenarNews that Armar’s mother and father, Shabbir Hussain, had relocated to Dubai within the past year. BenarNews was unable to locate Armar’s parents for comment.

A total of 23 Indians have left India to fight for the IS in Iraq and Syria, according to an intelligence report released last year. Of them, six had died in battle before reports of Armar’s death emerged.

While at least 25 suspected IS recruits have been arrested by Indian security forces, more than 150 are under surveillance for showing sympathy toward the militant organization, according to officials. (Benar News)

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Actress Richa Chadha Extends her Support to Pride Month

Richa was also recently chosen as the face face by Humsafar Trust, an NGO for the LGBTQ community

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Richa Chadha
Richa Chadha. Wikimedia Commons

Actress Richa Chadha has become a part of a special promotional initiative of the US Consulate here to extend support for the Pride Month in India.

A post on the official Instagram account of the US Consulate General in Mumbai, shows Richa posing in a bright yellow ensemble and making a heart gesture with her hands.

Alongside that is a post which reads: “It’s 2019! Obsolete ideas of morality, misinformation about LGBTQIA+ must go. By repealing Section 377, India has joined the ranks of other progressive nations in the world. For the common man, there’s now a growing understanding that being LGBTQIA+ is normal. But repealing the law on paper and having greater acceptability as an LGBTQIA+ in society are very different things.

Richa
Richa Chadha at an event. IANS

“We need to work tirelessly to remove ignorance, misinformation and stigma attached to the community and its choices. Life must be made easier. An open and welcoming approach to the LGBTQIA+ must percolate down to the tier two cities and villages in India, and not stay restricted to the cosmopolitans.”

The actress added: “As a society, we must become more inclusive and aware about all genders and their needs. The role of LGBTQIA allies is crucial in this regard, as we can help bring issues of stereotyping and harassment to the notice of people and popular media. We should team up with artists who fight for freedom of expression, against censorship, and also join hands with those fighting for marginalised groups.”

Also Read- Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Form Committee on ‘One Nation, One Election’

Richa was also recently chosen as the face face by Humsafar Trust, an NGO for the LGBTQ community, to inaugurate India’s first ever holistic medical centre for the people of the community to help them break away from stigmas of general discrimination they may face. (IANS)