KASARGOD: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been grilling Aboobacker Siddique, 28, for the last two days, because he ‘liked’ a speech of Sri Lanka suicide bomber Zahran Hashim on Facebook one year ago, said his brother Farook. On Sunday, the NIA raided the houses of Siddique and his friend Ahamed Arafat in Kasargod, and questioned the duo from 6 am to noon. The agency then summoned the two persons to its office in Kochi, where they were questioned throughout Monday.
Farook said the NIA has nothing against his brother, who is religiously inclined. “Both Siddique and Arafat listen to Islamic preaching online. One year ago, Siddique stumbled upon a preaching by Hashim on Facebook. He liked the video and started following him on the social networking site,” Farooq said.
‘Unfollowed him on FB’
But one month down the lane, he saw “a flag” in one of the videos of Hashim, and took it up with the local scholars and ustads in Kasargod. “They advised him to stop listening the the person, and Siddique immediately unfollowed him on Facebook,” he said. After around 10 months, the NIA has come knocking on their door over the FB ‘like’, said Farook, an accountant and part-time preacher.
Zahran Hashim, alleged to be the mastermind of the Easter Sunday terror attacks in Sri Lanka, blew himself up at the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo on April 21.In an official statement, the NIA alleged that Siddique and Arafat were questioned because it suspected they had links to the Kasargod group of 23 persons who left Kerala to join the IS in 2016.But Farook said the case was not discussed during the questioning on Sunday.
Siddique, fifth of the seven siblings, has studied up to class XII. He and Arafat make a living by selling attar in Kochi. “During the raids, several media reported that Siddique had attended religious classes in Coimbatore. That is far from truth. He hardly has money to make ends meet,” said his brother, who was now waiting outside the NIA office in Kochi.
Siddique had run up a debt while running an used car business four years ago. “When he failed, he went to Dubai looking for job. He returned in a year, and since then he has been selling attar for a living,” Farook said.After the raids, all that the NIA seized was Siddique’s phone to check his browsing history.
“But the media reported that documents were taken away. No documents were seized. The officers sought clarification on the religious books in our library,” he said. Farook has a good collection of books at the house, shared by all the five brothers and their elderly mother. Their two sisters married and moved out.