Global terrorist Shafi Armar read newspapers and reported atrocities against Indian Muslims
Today he has been declared a global terrorist. A few years, Shafi Armar back, Armar then with the Indian Mujahideen was tasked with reading newspapers and reporting atrocities against Muslims.
Shafi who now heads the Ansar ut-Tawhid, the Indian recruiting wing of the ISIS broke away with the Indian Mujahideen a couple of years back. Shafi was in Dubai when the founder of the IM, Riyaz Bhatkal got in touch with him.
Riyaz assigned him the job of a media manager. While in Dubai, his job was to source Indian news and find out if there were atrocities being committed against Muslims.
Shafi would then pass on all the details to Riyaz based on which the IM would set their strategy and propaganda. After breaking away with the IM, he joined his brother Sultan Armar and began recruiting for the ISIS.
Shafi alive and in Afghanistan:
The latest update given by an Intelligence Bureau official was that Armar is in Afghanistan. The ISIS has set up the Afghan Khorasan and is looking to recruit scores of Indias. The outfit has already managed to rope in at least 2 dozens persons from Kerala. He was presumed deed a few years back. However his trail was found when the NIA conducted a country wide raid to bust ISIS modules.
He became the chief recruiter in India after his brother Sultan Armar died in March 2015. The state department also listed his numerous aliases, including Anjan Bhai, Chote Maula and Yousouf al-Hindi.
"He has cultivated a group of dozens of ISIS sympathisers who are involved in terrorist activities across India, such as plotting attacks, procuring weapons, and identifying locations for terrorist training camps," said a statement from the state department.
Shafi Armar is the second among the three children of a family that hails from the coastal town of Bhatkal in Karnataka. His elder brother Sultan Armar is said to have taken him along with him and together they had joined the Indian Mujahideen.
Joining the IM:
Hailing from the same place, both Shafi and Sultan were taken into the IM by Riyaz Bhatkal. While Sultan was active in IM operations, Shafi was more of a second in command for the operations undertaken by his brother.
Shafi does not have any record of taking part in terrorist activities in the real sense. His activities were online and he was in charge of the media operations. A lot of literature concerning the ISIS posted on the Ansar site were said to be the handiwork of Shafi. When for the first time, Riyaz Bhatkal had roped in the Armar brothers, they were called to Pakistan. At Pakistan it was decided that the Armar brothers would go to Oman set up a base and then focus on Indian recruitments.
Breaking away from the IM:
An argument broke out over certain issues relating to Iqbal, the elder brother of Riyaz Bhatkal. The Armar brothers found that a sum of Rs 60 crore given to the Bhatkal brothers to carry out terror activities was misappropriated and not being put to the right use.
Further the Armar brothers also raised objections about Iqbal being involved in an illicit affair. They felt that this was anti Islam and objected to the same. A fight broke out and the Armar brothers decided to split. These incidents have been narrated to the police by Yasin Bhatkal who is presently in jail.
The Armar brothers then spoke with Yasin who was in India and told him about their intentions of breaking up with the IM. They said that they would want to shift loyalties to either the Al-Qaeda or the ISIS which had real concern about the religious cause.
The journey into ISIS:
After breaking away from the IM, the Armar brothers decided to join the Al-Qaeda. However at that point in time, the ISIS was growing fast and they felt that this outfit was a better bet. Also the fading prospects of the Al-Qaeda was another reason for them to consider the ISIS.
Both the brothers then went up online and began posting literature for the ISIS. They managed to get the attention of the top rung of the ISIS and one fine day as the Global Islamic Council was announced the Armar brothers became the choice for the ISIS. The Ansar-ul-Tawhid was floated and while Sultan decided that he wanted to battle along with the ISIS, Shafi decided to carry out activities online.
The Indian ISIS module:
Shafi's name cropped up in Indian investigations for the first time when a module in Rajasthan was busted in 2014. Shafi's name had cropped up briefly and the NIA felt that it was he who had carried out these recruitments.
When the module at Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh was busted in 2015, Shafi's name cropped up prominently. The members of the module headed by Irfan Khan said that he was in touch with Shafi and it is together that they planned a series of attacks in India.
The intention was to launch the first dedicated module in India for the ISIS. All these days the ISIS has only been recruiting out of India, but by setting up a dedicated module, they felt that they could boost up the recruitment drive.
According to Shafi, the module would provide the right platform for those youth who believed in the ISIS ideology but did not wish to travel to either Iraq or Syria.
IntelligenceBureau officials feel that Shafi has taken the mantle from his brother Sultan who was killed last month in a combat at Kobane in Syria.
Over the past year his name has cropped up several times. Several modules of the ISIS have been busted. All the members of the module have said that they were being recruited and handled by Yusuf al-Hindi, an alias that Shafi Armar uses.