NIA grills 16 youth over suspected terror links in Kovai

COIMBATORE/ KOCHI: The National Investigating Agency (NIA) here has on Sunday questioned 16 youth from the city in the last seven days, as they are suspected to have links with the banned IS module.

On October 1, six persons including a youth belonging to Coimbatore was arrested by the NIA personnel for having links with the IS. Following this, late on October 2, NIA personnel conducted raids in the houses of five youths in the city, suspected to have IS links.

Based on the call records and other digital footprints taken from the mobile phone and laptops of the suspects, police picked 11 youth. Based on their statements, three more were picked on Saturday and two more were picked on Sunday for questioning.

Intelligence sources said that the youths were picked up only for questioning, since some were close to Abu Basheer, who was arrested for having links with the IS. Police are to interrogate the youths for two more days in the city, as they still have not got a clear idea about their links with Abu Basheer.

It is also learnt that police seized mobile phones and laptops of some youths held for questioning. They are also checking for the social media contacts of the suspects, as they might have used it for communication. Police said that few among the suspects had taken passports recently, about which the NIA is enquiring.

Meanwhile, suspected IS operative Subhani Haji Moideen, who was arrested from Kadayanallur in Tirunelveli, was taken to his native Thodupuzha in Kerala on Sunday as part of collecting evidence. The NIA said Subhani’s  family members came to know about his extremist links only after his arrest.

The sleuths recorded the statements of other relatives and friends of Subhani.

According to NIA officers, Subhani was radicalised and recruited to IS by recruiters active on online social media platforms. He was taken to Mosul in Iraq, where he underwent detailed training in Shariya followed by combat training for more than five months. Besides, he was paid $100 per month as subsistence allowed by IS along with common available accommodation and food without any additional charges, NIA sources said.

The NIA team recovered a few documents from the residence of Subhani on Market Road, Thodupuzha, after conducting searches for about one-and-a-half hour.

Meanwhile, a few BJP workers protested by assembling near the house and raising slogans against the IS, when the sleuths were taking Subhani back after the proceedings.

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The New Indian Express