70 Jihadi social media groups: Why the busting of Bengal’s Lashkar module is crucial
New Delhi, Nov 12: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested a Karnataka based operative of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba in connection with West Bengal recruitment case. Sayyad M Idris was arrested from Uttara Kannada.
The case on hand pertains to Pakistan-based handlers belonging to the Lashkar-e-Tayiba using various social media platforms to radicalise and recruit vulnerable youth for sleeper cells, to propagate their ideology and for abetting and advocating unlawful activities.
The arrested accused Idris was part of various social media groups run by Pakistani-based LeT handlers in their effort to recruit individuals for sleeper cells of LeT and for furthering terrorist activities, the NIA said.
The case on hand is crucial considering the fact that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba was planning on setting up multiple modules in Bengal. The outfit had formed at least 70 Jihadi social media groups. Some of the members were also being trained to lay honey traps and extract information from Indian Army soldiers.
In September the NIA had arrested one Tania Praveen and said that she was part of the 70 Jihadi social media groups. Tania, a resident of District North 24 Parganas, West Bengal had converted to Islam after being radicalised. She was arrested by the West Bengal police, following which the NIA took over the investigation.
She was a college student and got radicalised in the cyberspace by Pakistan based cadres of the Lashkar.
Tania, gradually became part of about 70 jihadi groups on social media, which propagated terrorist ideology advocating skewed version of Islamic Jihad with an aim to further radicalise and recruit impressionable Muslim youth, the NIA said in its chargesheet.
The accused was also active in various Palestinian and Syrian Jihadi social media groups.
Investigation further revealed that the LeT cadres based in Lahore, Pakistan had introduced the accused to the officials of Pak Intelligence Agency, ISI, who tasked her to open fake Facebook profile and befriend Armed Force members in India to obtain sensitive strategic information.
NIA officials said that she was using a WhatsApp number of Pakistan. She was also part of several groups and had many accounts on social media sites.
The police said that she was trying to honey trap Indian soldiers in lieu of information about the Indian Army. The investigation conducted by the police managed to establish her direct connection with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. She was using the dark web to interact with the soldiers.
She is a first year student of masters' degree and she was arrested on March 17 from her house at the Malayapur village, which is on the Bangladesh border. The police found that she was in the process of befriending Indian soldiers. She was trying to honey trap them. However, she had not succeeded.