COIMBATORE: National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials from Kochi searched the houses of two alleged ISIS sympathisers in the city on Thursday. Later, they interrogated the youths till late at night at the Office of the Coimbatore Police Commissioner. The police had to tighten security there as a large number of people started gathering in front of the office.
A 13-member NIA team led by ADSP Sowhath Ali, DSP Radhakrishnan and Vikraman reached Coimbatore on Thursday afternoon, acting on specific intelligence reports. They first searched the house of Abdul Rahman (27) of Kottai Pudur in Ukkadam for about five hours. In the evening, they searched the house of S Adbullah (24) on Pallivasal Street in Karumbukadai.
The NIA officials also searched an internet browsing centre on Saramedu Street in Karumbukadai belonging to Abdullah. They plan to search four more places in the city, Intelligence sources told Express.
During the searches, the officials seized 70 DVDs with speeches of Zaheer Naik on Islam, two mobile phones and two laptops.
Abdul Rahman has completed MCA and was in search of a job while Abdullah has completed Plus Two and was running the browsing centre. The youths were active on social media and were spreading ISIS ideology, the intelligence sources said.
“They had invited other Muslims youths to support the ISIS. As Abdullah was planning to go on Haj on Friday along with his friend, the officials obtained a search warrant from the NIA Court and come to Coimbatore to execute it,” the sources said.
The NIA team is trying to recover the digital footprints from the seized electronic gadgets to find whether the two have any official links with ISIS or are only self-motivated.
NIA officials said the searches were conducted as a part of the investigations following the arrest of some youths from Tamil Nadu and Kerala for allegedly trying to create an ISIS module in India in 2016.
After arresting six persons from Kerala, the NIA had filed a charge sheet on March 29. Those arrested had been booked under sections 17, 18, 18B and 20 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The NIA suspects that the two city youths have links with one Abdul Rashid Abdullah, who was arrested earlier this year in connection with the case.
While investigating the case, the NIA had found that one Shajeer Mangalassery, one of those charge-sheeted in the case, had gone out of India and hatched a criminal conspiracy to form a terrorist group to attain the objectives of ISIS in India. Shajeer migrated to ISIS-controlled territory in Afghanistan from UAE in June 2016, the officials said.