KOCHI: The members of the Islamic State (IS) module busted by the NIA were active in Kochi in the guise of attar (perfume) vendors. Three of the four-member module were attar traders at Marine Drive and Fort Kochi for the past several months.
“The members of the module conducted a meeting at a busy place in Kochi. They met in the guise of a meeting of attar traders. Whether they carried out a recce of any places has to be confirmed in further investigation,” an intelligence officer said.
According to sources, Riyas Aboobacker of Palakkad was motivated to target religious places and tourist destinations in Central Kerala. Riyas was under the radar of the police, intelligence agencies and the NIA following his social media activities supporting jihad in the recent year.
“He quit his job after the company where he worked did not permit him to grow a long beard. He studied BA and worked in some of the private companies. Later, he started selling attar believing it is a noble work as per Islam,” said an officer.
Even though the module members wanted to join the IS in Afghanistan and Syria, they were directed by the IS operatives abroad to stay in the state and conduct clandestine operations for the group.
“Riyas was highly motivated by IS propaganda videos and literature. He was in constant touch with Rashid Abdullah of Kasargod who left for Afghanistan. Rashid directed him to stay in Kerala and carry out local operations, including recruitment,” an officer said.