GUWAHATI: Two suspected Islamic State (IS) members have been arrested by the Assam Rifles personnel in Manipur and handed over to the police.
The duo was apprehended from a Maruti van at Khudengthabi check post near the Indo-Myanmar border town of Moreh on March 14.
Based on their Aadhaar card details, they were identified as Nainamohamed (56), son of Haja Alawdeen, resident of 10/Old, No 13, Subramaniya Street, Chepauk, Triplicane, Chennai, and I Abubacker (46), son of Ibramsa, resident of 51/a/25a, Sevenwells Street, Sevenwells, Chennai.
The personnel seized 14 SIM cards, including six of foreign origin, and currencies of some countries from them. The two allegedly have contacts in a number of countries and embassies. The police registered a case against them under Sections 121, 121 (a), 511 and 34 of the IPC. “They claimed they reached Moreh on March 12. They said they started their journey by train from Chennai on March 9 and reached Howrah (in West Bengal). From there, they travelled by the Kanchenjunga Express and reached Dimapur (in Nagaland) on March 11. They said they reached Moreh the next day,” the Assam Rifles said in a note, a copy of which is available with New Indian Express, to the officer-in-charge of Moreh police station.
The duo told their interrogators that they visited Moreh to meet their aunt Hamida, and for some business purpose and that it was their second visit to the town since January 2016. But on inquiring with the “Tamil Sangam”, the personnel learnt that they were not related to anyone in Moreh and that no woman by that name lived there. Moreh has a sizeable Tamil population.
“CCTV footage collected from Khudengthabi check post revealed they were travelling from Moreh to Imphal on March 9 and as such, them taking the train from Chennai on March 9 is impossible,” the Assam Rifles said. The two have contacts in Dubai, Sri Lanka and Qatar as well. The Assam Rifles said they constantly changed their statements. It said some SIM cards were from Sri Lanka, Dubai and Singapore, while they had the numbers of the embassies, including the US, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand. They had the currency notes of Cambodia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Kuwait and Qatar. “They claimed they are very poor but the fact that they have contacts with foreign nationals is a matter of suspicion. They are constantly travelling by air which is in contrast to their claim of travelling by train. Abubacker also had a flight reservation on March 14 but he gave the journey a miss. This can be found from his mobile phone,” the Assam Rifles said.
The force did not rule out the possibility of their nexus with the IS.
"Their frequent visits to Moreh for smuggling and the possibility of them working for the Islamic State for recruitment cannot be ruled out. It is clear they were here to carry out some nefarious activities," the Assam Rifles said.