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SIMI and IM members drawn to Indian wing of IS

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New Delhi: An Indian terror group which pledges allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) is a reorganised group of the virtual Indian Mujahideen and SIMI elements. According to intelligence sources, it recruits new members in order to carry out a chain of terror strikes across the country.

This fact came out during the questioning of 14 suspected Islamic State (IS) sympathisers who were arrested last week from 12 places in six cities in a synchronised raid conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the sources added.

Those inspired by the IS ideology were hooked by Yusuf-al-Hind who, the Indian security agencies believe, is former Indian Mujaheedin (IM) member Shafi Armar, a resident of Bhatkal in Karnataka.

Armar, now believed to be in the Islamic State-held area along the border of Iraq and Syria, formed ‘Janood-ul-Khalifa-e-Hind’ and recruited Mumbai-based 33-year-old Mudabbir Mushtaq Shaikh as ‘Amir’ (chief) of the group.

Official sources to the investigation said that Armar also recruited his brother Sultan and others who had worked for Indian Mujahideen and the now-banned Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

“Apart from former IM and SIMI members, Armar chose those who are basically inspired by the IS ideology. He first recruited his close aides and then inspired them to recruit more supporters,” an official, on condition of anonymity.

“They used social networking sites and made calls through the internet (using VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol) to activate the sleeper cells of IM and SIMI,” the official said.

Another intelligence source declining to be identified said that the outfit members were directed to carry out strikes in multiple cities, including Hyderabad in Telangana, Bengaluru, Manglore and Tumkur in Karnataka, Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, and Aurangabad and Mumbai in Maharashtra.

“They were asked to organise training camps like how to use fire arms before the attack. They were also trying to establish channels for procuring explosives and weapons,” the official source said.

The leadership of Janood-ul-Khalifa-e-Hind, active since April 2015, was following the IM and SIMI set-ups by choosing their organised central, state and city level core groups, the official said.

The 14 men, allegedly influenced by IS and arrested by the NIA, are also said to have revealed that the 20-year-old Uttar Pradesh-based Mohammed Aleem was chosen as Naib Amir, the second-in-command of the group after Mudabbir.

The sources said Karnataka resident Najmul Huda was the military commander and 24-year-old Hyderabadi Mohammed Nafees Khan was the Finance Chief of the outfit.

All these major group leaders were arrested along with their aides Mohammed Shareef Moinuddin Khan, Mohammed Afzal, Syed Mujahid, Mohammed Obedullah Khan, Abu Anas, Asif Ali, Suhail Ahmed, Muhammad Abdul Ahad, Mohammad Hussain Khan, and Imran Khan.(IANS)

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Will India be able to get hold of Zakir Naik? India to now seek Interpol’s help locating the Controversial Islamic Televangelist

Naik, 51, came under the Indian government’s radar after Bangladesh media reported that at least two perpetrators of a terrorist attack at Dhaka’s Holey Artisan Bakery café, where 20 hostages were killed in July 2016, were influenced by his sermons

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Zakir Naik
Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik speaks to Indian journalists in Mumbai during a video conference, July 15, 2016. Benar News

Mumbai, October 29, 2017 : India plans to ask Interpol to help track down Zakir Naik, an Islamic preacher accused of making inflammatory speeches that inspired attackers at a Bangladesh café in July 2016, an official said Friday, one day after the cleric was charged with inciting communal hatred.

In a charge-sheet filed in a Mumbai court late Thursday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) alleged that televangelist Zakir Naik was involved in a criminal conspiracy to foment terrorism and hatred among religious communities by lauding terrorist outfits.

The 61-page document viewed by BenarNews also accused Naik’s now-forbidden Mumbai-based NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and his company Harmony Media Pvt. Ltd. (HMPL) of forwarding his agenda.

Naik, 51, came under the Indian government’s radar after Bangladesh media reported that at least two perpetrators of a terrorist attack at Dhaka’s Holey Artisan Bakery café, where 20 hostages were killed in July 2016, were influenced by his sermons.

ALSO READ NIA to file Chargesheet against Controversial Islamic Preacher Zakir Naik

“We are already preparing papers to get him deported back to India,” an NIA official told BenarNews on condition of anonymity. Naik, who left the country in June 2016, is believed to be traveling between the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) president on Friday defended Naik against the charge sheet filed in India, the Malay Mail reported.

“For Muslim individuals, even when they won by using arguments and not weapons, like Dr. Zakir Naik, they are considered terrorists because their arguments cannot be countered,” Hadi said in an opinion piece on Islamophobia published in Harakah Daily.

Naik had been scheduled to appear at a PAS-organized gathering of Muslim scholars in Malaysia’s Kelantan state in July, but cancelled after India revoked his passport.

Arrest warrant issued in April

In April, the Mumbai court issued a so-called non-bailable arrest warrant against Naik after he repeatedly ignored summons issued by India’s Enforcement Directorate to appear to respond to allegations of misuse of foreign funds donated to his NGO.

The Indian government imposed a five-year ban on IRF in November 2016, citing violations by the NGO under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act and the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

“Since the money-laundering case against Naik hinged on the NIA investigation, it was necessary that the agency filed its charge-sheet,” public prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar told BenarNews.

The NIA’s charge-sheet will allow the agency to approach Interpol for assistance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can then initiate the process of bringing Naik back, Venegaonkar said.

ALSO READ Enforcement Directorate (ED) files Money Laundering Case against controversial Preacher Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation

The NIA accused Zakir Naik of praising late al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, supporting suicide attacks and denouncing Hindu gods during sermons delivered through Peace TV. The channel partly funded by the IRF is banned in several countries, including India and Bangladesh.

The NIA has “firmly established that the incriminating public speeches have been in circulation through electronic media such as CD/DVD and web portals Facebook/YouTube etc.,” the charge-sheet said.

“The minutes of IRF board of trustees’ meeting disclose that IRF has approved, organized, promoted and funded public lectures of accused Zakir Naik, including his incriminating speeches. The seized material such as DVD and books list IRF as the publisher,” it said.

The agency also established the role of HMPL in editing the incriminating material and “forwarding [Naik’s] speeches to the Global Broadcast Corporation Dubai for broadcast in the Peace TV.”

“The derogatory and malicious remarks were not just confined to faiths and beliefs of Hindus or Christians but also included non-Wahabi Muslims, particularly Shia, Sufi and Barelwis,” the NIA said.

The charge-sheet cited cases of several youths who were allegedly influenced by Naik’s sermons and attempted to join the Islamic State.

The accused “never included any reference to alternative interpretations by Muslim scholars of the views he presented nor sought to mitigate the potential offence by providing sufficient context for his remarks,” it said.

Lawyer prepared to challenge extradition

Zakir Naik’s lawyer S. Hariharan said he would wait to decide the next course of action.

“I have yet to receive the charge-sheet. Although as per protocol the charge-sheet is handed to the accused. But in this case, the accused is not present in the country,” Hariharan told Benarnews without divulging Naik’s current location.

“We will most certainly be seeking discharge after we receive the charge-sheet and will also challenge demands for extradition,” he added. (Benar News)