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Danger lurking: ISIS has become primary sponsor for radical groups in Bangalore, Kerala

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New Delhi, May 07: The bombings in Sri Lanka have shown that the Islamic State which lost ground in Iraq and Syria has gone on to become a sponsor of terror. Intelligence agencies who have been analysing the attacks in Sri Lanka tell OneIndia that the manner in which strikes were carried out clearly suggest that neither the National Towheed Jamath (NTJ) or the ISIS could have carried out the attack on its own.

Danger lurking: ISIS has become primary sponsor for radical groups in Bangalore, Kerala

It was clearly an attack that was carried out by the NTJ with the full support of the ISIS.

Who did the Sri Lankan bombers pay a visit to in Bangalore, Kerala, Kashmir

This being the case, India has a lot to worry about. The Islamic State threat that had remained under control in India, could well spin out of control. In order to keep this under check, the agencies are closely monitoring local radical groups especially in Southern India, who could be deriving support from the ISIS.

First and foremost there is now confirmation that the Sri Lankan bomber Zahran Hashim had visited Bangalore and Kerala. It is also said that he visited Kashmir, where he may have undergone training.

Down south there are several radical outfits such as the Popular Front of India (PFI), which follow a very similar ideology of the ISIS as well as the NTJ. The ISIS which has made inroads in southern India could extent support to several radical groups like it did in Sri Lanka, a senior official with the Intelligence Bureau said.

While there has been a considerable build up on the ground, the agencies have tracked the online activities and say that it has been menacing. Radicalisation largely happens through groups on Facebook. Most of the pro-ISIS accounts of Malayalee groups are operated from the Gulf.

Why Kerala must be on guard for the silent returnees of the Islamic State

These groups specifically target Muslims from Kerala. The target audience is not restricted the residents of Kerala alone, but to those Malayalee youth working abroad. The NIA which is currently investigating this case says that there are many such accounts that specifically target those from Kerala. It is a menace and a huge racket, due to which several youth have gone missing and later joined the ISIS.

In 2016, the NIA busted a module comprising six members running an ISIS module. During the probe it was found that these persons had been active on the social media and would use fake identities. They would frequently change their profiles to escape scrutiny.

They were even running a group on Telegram called kudumbam, which means family. During the probe, the NIA learnt that two persons were working with a Malayalee daily Thejas, which is the mouthpiece of the PFI.

One of them Safwan was said to be active in the SDPI, which is the political arm of the PFI. The NIA suspected that the module was headed by one Manseed, a resident of Panur. He was working as an office assistant in Qatar and had come to Kerala after applying for leave. He is said to have organised a meeting of the module, the NIA learnt.

More recently the NIA arrested on Riyas Aboobacker and during the investigation, he revealed that he was plotting suicide bombings in Kerala. In 2016, the NIA busted a module comprising six members running an ISIS module. During the probe it was found that these persons had been active on the social media and would use fake identities. They would frequently change their profiles to escape scrutiny. They were even running a group on Telegram called kudumbam, which means family. During the probe, the NIA learnt that two persons were working with a Malayalee daily Thejas, which is the mouthpiece of the Popular Front of India. One of them Safwan was said to be active in the SDPI, which is the political arm of the PFI. The NIA suspected that the module was headed by one Manseed, a resident of Panur. He was working as an office assistant in Qatar and had come to Kerala after applying for leave. He is said to have organised a meeting of the module, the NIA learnt.

The NIA said that during interrogation, he has disclosed that he has been in online contact with absconding accused Abdul Rashid Abdulla alias Abu Isa for a long time and has been following his audio clips including the clip which he had circulated on social media platform instigating others to carryout terror attacks in India.

ISIS operative plotted Sri Lanka styled bombings in Kerala

With regard to the claim that Hashim had visited Bangalore and Kerala, an NIA official informed that they are now examining the possible links to the Islamic State. The NIA is questioning several persons in connection with the case and is trying to ascertain if there were links between some members of the PFI and the ISIS.

NIA officials say probing this link is necessary as the ISIS is known to tie up with regional outfits. This was seen during the Sri Lanka blasts, where the ISIS had aligned with the National Towheed Jamath.

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