"I believe I have not broken any law in India." These were the words of Mehdi Masroor Biswas who ran the ISIS sympathetic twitter handle @shammiwitness. He was clearly aware of the laws of the country and continued to sit in the comfort of his one-bedroom Bengaluru home and launch a campaign for the blood thirsty ISIS. [Man running ISIS Twitter account picked by Bengaluru Police]
An officer part of the investigation says that he was well aware that tweeting against India would land him trouble and harsher laws such as sedition would apply against him. He deliberately ensured that he did not speak out against India and a tweet by one persons specifically asking him how many ISIS persons in Syria were from India or Pakistan got no response. A screenshot to suggest the same is given below. [India underestimated ISIS's potential to use it as a base]
Not much against Pakistan as well:
Going by his tweets it is also clear that he does not speak much against Pakistan as well. This once again was a deliberate ploy on his part because the Indian agencies watch more closely not just tweets related to India, but Pakistan as well for very obvious reasons.
Agency officials say that he has done a thorough study of the pros and cons of such activity before getting into it. He has seen in many cases that the Indian agencies have not slapped harsh charges in the cases pertaining to the ISIS and this worked as a cover for him.
A recruiter no doubt:
Contrary to the claims that he was not involved in the recruitment process there are indications to show that he supported recruitments in a big way. There were fighters or enthusiasts asking him on his handle on procedures and there is a tweet in fact to suggest that he has give out details. A screenshot of the same is given below:
A double-edged sword:
With the arrest of Mehdi the cries for a ban on the ISIS becomes louder. The approach so far has been to counsel youth who have attempted joining the ISIS. The Tamil Nadu T-shirt case, Jammu and Kashmir flag waving case and also the incident in which several Hyderabad youth including women who had attempted joining the ISIS were brought back and counseled.
This has worked well to a large extent and by the admission of our own agencies the possible recruits which was numbered at 300 in September was brought down to 20 in November. While it may have worked in certain cases, it has also on the other hand given a boost to the likes of Mehdi and the rest of the fan boys to openly propagate the cause of the ISIS.
The fact remains that people like a Mehdi who are propaganda artists and fan boys who tweet regularly are more dangerous than the foot soldiers. After all foot soldiers are remote controlled by such persons as was seen in the case of Ajmal Kasab and Hafiz Saeed.
Used proxy servers:
Bengaluru Police officials say that Mehdi had used proxy servers on several occasions in a bid to conceal his identity. We have found that he is well versed with technology and used it to his advantage. Moreover after his cover was blown he spent the entire day deleting his accounts and wiping out the cache from his system in a bid to destroy evidence.
He continues to maintain that he had just re-tweeted information and had not carried out any recruitment process. However he is extremely vociferous in his denial when asked about any Indian link.
The police also say that he was smart enough not to carry out any activity in India since he was aware that this could have landed him with charges of sedition.