NIA arrests suspected ISIS operatives from Karnataka’s Bhatkal

Pramesh S Jain.Yogesh K Porwar

National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday arrested an operative of the banned organisation from Karnataka in connection with the Kerala ISIS module case.

Jufri Jawhar Damudi,an IS operative wanted in the case has been arrested from Bhatkal by NIA.

Jufri,a resident of Bhatkal in Uttar Kannada district of Karnataka, was arrested in a joint operation of NIA and Karnataka Police.

He had created multiple pseudo IDs on different chat platforms, officials said on Friday.

An NIA official here said that the anti-terror probe agency has arrested Jawhar in connection with the Kerala ISIS module case.

The official said that he was radicalising and recruiting youths to join the group.

The arrest comes two days after the NIA arrested four persons after carrying out searches at the five locations in Jammu and Kashmir,Bengaluru and Mangaluru.

The official said that searches were conducted at the premises of the accused,who were continuously in touch with arrested accused Mohammed Ameen and his associates through various groups or channels on encrypted chat platforms and had raised funds for furtherance of activities of the IS.

On Wednesday,the NIA during searches seized several digital devices including laptops,mobile phones,hard disk drives,pen drives,multiple SIM cards of different service providers, and incriminating documents.

Subsequent to the searches,four accused persons associated with the IS were arrested. They have been identified as Obaid Hamid,a resident of Srinagar,Muzammil Hassan Bhat,a resident of Bandipora,Ammar Abdul Rahman,a resident of Mangaluru,and Shankar Venkatesh Perumal aka Ali Muaviya,a resident of Bengaluru.

They were involved in raising funds and radicalising and motivating more people to join the IS,the official had said.

The NIA had registered a suo moto case against seven known and other unknown accused persons on March 5 this year pertaining to terrorist activities of Ameen aka Abu Yahya, a resident of Kerala and his associates,who had been running various IS propaganda channels on different social media platforms such as Telegram,Hoop and Instagram for propagating its violent jihadi ideology and radicalising and recruiting new members for the module.

Earlier, the NIA had conducted searches and had arrested three accused persons, Ameen, Dr Rahees Rasheed and Mus’Hab Anwar in this case in March 2021.

ISIS terrorists operating from various conflict zones along with ISIS cadres in India have created a network by assuming pseudo-online identities wherein ISIS related propaganda material is disseminated for radicalizing and recruiting members to the fold of ISIS.

A cyber entity ‘Abu Hazir Al Badri’ a key operative of ISIS who is involved in translation of Voice of Hind to South Indian languages and its further dissemination was identified as Jufri Jawhar Damudi,resident of Bhatkal, District Uttar Kannada,Karnataka and arrested on 06.08.2021 in a joint operation of NIA and Karnataka Police. This cyber id was also used to radicalize and recruit people. Jufri Jawhar is the younger brother of Adnan Hasan Damudi who was arrested for ISIS related activities in 2016 and is currently under detention in a separate NIA case.

Jufri Jawhar Damudi was in touch with ISIS leadership currently operating out of Af-Pak region who provided him propaganda material and also gave directions for its dissemination. For this purpose, Jufri had created multiple pseudonymous Ids on encrypted chat platforms and was also a member of various online propaganda channels of ISIS.

The official said that during investigation, it has been revealed that after the decline of IS in Syria/Iraq, Ameen had visited Kashmir in March, 2020 for ‘Hijrah’ (religious migration) and for engaging in terrorist acts and had also raised funds in association with Kashmir based accused Mohammad Waqar Lone aka Wilson Kashmiri and his associates.

As part of conspiracy, funds were also transferred to Lone by the accused in the case through banking channels and digital payment methods on the directions of Ameen,” the official said.

The official said that Ameen and his associates were also radicalising gullible Muslim youths for joining jihad and unlawful activities in India and had been successful in expanding the network in Kashmir and parts of Kerala, and Karnataka.