Mumbai, Nov 29: The 4 youth from Maharashtra who had been radicalized on the internet before leaving for the ISIS were being monitored on a daily basis by the Indian Intelligence Bureau and during each of the conversations with their families they were weeping un-controllably seeking help to return.
In other words, Areef Majeed and the rest had literally begged to be brought back to India.
An officer with the Intelligence Bureau tells OneIndia that Majeed and three others had gone off the radar for a while after they reached Iraq. They stayed in a camp which was specific to Hind recruits and were imparted training for a couple of days.These youth who were fully radicalised on the internet before leaving for Iraq held up for a while but started to give up as they found themselves to be in a situation of complete lawlessness and also doing jobs that they had not expected they would have to do.
When the fighting became intense, there was no command or instruction for any of them and each one had to fend for themselves.
There were airstrikes and indiscriminate firing. The injury marks on Majeed were all shots fired by the ISIS-not intentionally, but due to indiscriminate firing. According to Majeed, he escaped to Turkey to seek medical help.
By this time many had thought he was dead and even one of his accomplices Shaheen Tanki had called home to say that Majeed had become a martyr. However, Majeed managed to make contact with his family around 20 days back. He was weeping, sounded scared and tired of the situation. He constantly told his family to contact the Indian agencies and rescue him from the situation that he was in.
Not an easy task:
For the Indian agencies it was not an easy task to get him back. Any wrong move by them would have meant him being killed. Some officers of the agency even flew into Turkey and managed to establish contact with him before ensuring he flew out of there and reached India.
During the questioning, Majeed sounded disturbed. He said clearly that he had gone there to do God's work as he believed that only the ISIS could have provided him a platform. However what disturbed him the most was the manner in which the entire issue was being handled. He realised that he needed to fend for himself and each one was on his own especially when the fighting intensified.
He said that he strongly believed in the cause of the ISIS and on reading all the material posted by the outfit online he was sure that only they had the solution. He strongly believed that only they could impose the Sharia law and hence had joined them.
Recounting his journey, he also said that Indians are not given the tasks in Iraq and Syria that they would have hoped for. The Indians figure way below in the hierarchy and are expected to do jobs that are demeaning in nature. A source informed that Majeed continued to say that he believed in the cause of establishing an Islamic State, but was clearly scared and fed up after he reached Iraq- a classic case of "the grass is not always green on the other side".
An Intelligence Bureau official said that the material that is available on the web posted by groups such as the ISIS is very strongly worded. Some youth are bound to get swayed and there is a blood rush in them, which prompts them to leave their homes in the first place.
While questioning Majeed, we found that he was confused on a lot of aspects. At times he broke down and then suddenly he acted stubborn. It was clear to us that he felt strongly for the cause, but realised that that the ISIS was not the solution to his problem.
Attempts on to bring the rest back:
Like Majeed the other three youth have also begged their families to ensure their safe return. The agencies are working on this and would want to have all the rest back in India. Shaheen Tanki has been the one making all the calls to his family and urging them to speak with Home Minister Rajnath Singh to facilitate their return.
Indian agencies who have tracked their location are working on a plan to ensure that those youth too come back to India at the earliest.
They have loads of information on them and we would like to get as much as possible. We want this to be an eye opener for all those youth wishing to leave for iraq/Syria and join the ISIS. The message we want to convey is that they will end up doing jobs they hate over there and when it comes to a bloody battle, the ISIS will be the last to save them. The attitude of the ISIS at the time of intense firing is to let people fend for themselves.
Cases were necessary:
The National Investigating Agency was in consultation with the Home Ministry yesterday and only after a green signal was given, did they file the case against Majeed.
Cases were filed under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act or the UAPA. A case was also booked under the Indian Penal Code.
The NIA says that the cases were necessary for various reasons. Although the ISIS is not a banned outfit, the cases were booked as this was required for legal purposes to question him. Several youth also should realise that it is a crime to go and battle in another nation and not try to get away with technicalities such as a ban not being in place in India.
The NIA, which has prepared a dossier on the ISIS has been pushing for a ban for sometime now. Several cases in the past where the youth have come out openly in support of the ISIS have resulted in counselling with no cases being booked. The Indian government, which is trying its best to bring down this ISIS phenomenon has succeeded in its attempts to a large extent by bringing down the number of youth wanting to join the ISIS from 300 to 20.
Majeed had bullet injuries made by ISIS unconscious, but indiscriminate firing
The case against Majeed:
Majeed has been booked under the following sections. Sections 16, 18 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act of 1967. He has also been booked under Section 125 of the Indian Penal Code.
Section 16 of the UAPA: Punishment for terrorist act.-(1) Whoever commits a terrorist act shall,-if such act has resulted in the death of any person, be punishable with death or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine. In any other case, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
Section 18: Punishment for conspiracy, etc.-Whoever conspires or attempts to commit, or advocates, abets, advises or 3[incites or knowingly facilitates] the commission of, a terrorist act or any act preparatory to the commission of a terrorist act, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
Section 20: Punishment for being member of terrorist gang or organisation.-Any person who is a member of a terrorist gang or a terrorist organisation, which is involved in terrorist act, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
Section 125 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) : Waging war against any Asiatic power in alliance with the Government of India.- Whoever wages war against the Government of any Asiatic Power in alliance or at peace with the Government of India or attempts to wage such war, or abets the waging of such war, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.