The ISIS which has four units in Saudi only to target Indians had been in touch with Salman for several months now. They had got him a job in Saudi and he was to leave there on a work permit before joining the ISIS in Iraq, police sources informed.
This was the same modus operandi that the ISIS followed in the case of Tamil Nadu operative Haja Fakkruddin who was first flown out of India on a work permit to Singapore before being launched into the ISIS wing in Syria. As per his interrogation, Munawad who hails from Hyderabad was attracted towards the ISIS and felt that they were serious about establishing the Global Islamic Council and hence decided to volunteer run the social network for the outfit.
Both al-qaeda and ISIS fighting for turf
His arrest by the Hyderabad police indicates a turf war between the ISIS and the Al-Qaeda with both operatives targeting the same turf to get youth enrolled into their outfit. According to his questioning Salman had been attracted to the cause of the ISIS since the outfit became aggressive in Iraq. The ISIS has been making calls through its various touts for Indians especially to join them. Police sources confirm that there are at least four agencies in Saudi Arabia which are luring youth from India to join the ISIS.
The police also say that he was in touch with these touts in Saudi Arabia for the past two months and had set his eyes on joining the ISIS to part of their social media wing. The ISIS has been trying to replicate an Al-Shabab kind of wing which is run by the Al-Qaeda and feels that with the battle heating up there is an urgent need for more youth to run the social media wing.
ISIS luring youth from India
His arrest comes in the wake of 15 other residents of Hyderabad being detained from Kolkata while they were trying to cross over into Bangladesh and then reach Iraq to join the ISIS. The police say that the same touts were in operation in the Salman case. However there is no link between the 15 youth including women and Salman, the police also claim.
Salman who does not deny being attracted to the cause of the ISIS however points out to the police that he was planning to move to Saudi as he had got a job out there. Salman however denied that he wanted to be part of the outfit, but the police say that all the conversation details that they have with them suggests that he was in regular touch with a Saudi based tout who was making arrangements for his travel right up to Iraq.
He was an employee with Google until six months back and worked as a security analyst over there. However once he was sure about joining the ISIS he quit his job and was working out the last minute formalities before he could move to Saudi and then to Iraq, police sources further said.
Hyderabad Police, security agencies in a tizzy
Salman's case has given the Hyderabad police more to work upon. Recently the arrest of two operatives in Hyderabad indicated that they had planned on setting up an Al-Qaeda cell and also recruit for the group through a social networking site. Central Intelligence Bureau officials say that Hyderabad is a hot spot and a turf war between the ISIS and the Al-Qaeda is being played out over here.
Police sources however say that they are digging more information from Salman. It may be tough to book a case against him since the ISIS is not banned in India and he may well be let off after counseling like was done in the case of the 15 others.
The ISIS has been targeting Hyderabad for sometime now. First it was Chennai and now the focus has moved to Hyderabad. In the case of Hyderabad, the ISIS wanted to recruit women as well as they felt that lady operatives would be of great help in spying and running the camps in the war like situation in Iraq and Syria.