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ISIS Sympathiser From Kerala Deported by Afghanistan, Says NIA

The agency has alleged Hamzafar participated in the conspiracy through encrypted social media platforms, with the other absconding accused persons known through college mates.

Arunima | CNN-News18Arunima24

Updated:September 19, 2018, 10:00 PM IST
ISIS Sympathiser From Kerala Deported by Afghanistan, Says NIA
File photo of alleged ISIS sympathiser Nashidul Hamzafar.

New Delhi: In a first, the National Investigation Agency has got the custody of an alleged ISIS sympathiser from Kerala who, along with 21 others, had travelled to Afghanistan to join ISIS.

"This is a big breakthrough in the case. So far we only had second hand information about the Kerala group which had gone to Afghanistan. Arrest of this accused will give us information about who was radicalising the group, why and how?" a top NIA official told CNN-News18.

Nashidul Hamzafar, 26, a resident of Kasaragod in Kerala, was on his way to join the group of 21 when he was detained by Afghan authorities and subsequently handed over to India.

As per NIA spokesperson, "Nashidul was detained by Afghan Security Agencies last year for illegally entering the country to join his associates in proscribed terrorist organization ISIS/Daesh."

It is the first extradition of alleged ISIS sympathiser from Afghanistan.

Top NIA officials told CNN-News18 that Nashidul was in touch with the group of 21 ever since they reached Afghanistan.

"He was in touch with leaders of the group like Abdul Rashid Abdulla and Ashfak Majeed through encrypted social media platforms. Abdullah and Majeed encouraged Nashidul and one of his friends to come to Afghanistan's Nangahar province where the group of 21 and a baby born there were present," the official said.

Three college-mates of Nashidul - Shihas, Firoz Khan and Bestin Vincent - are also under NIA scanner for helping him get in touch with Abdullah and Nasheed.

"Nashidul's friend might turn witness and give crucial leads to NIA in its investigation. The friend had accompanied Nashidul to Oman but because of family pressure he came back," an official in the know about investigations said.

Initial investigations suggest that Nashidul and his friend left for Afghanistan on 3rd October, 2017. The duo travelled to Muscat, Oman before travelling to Tehran, Iran. Officials said they tried to obtain visa for Afghanistan but failed.

"Afghan authorities detained Nashidul in Kabul, Afghanistan. He was questioned not just by Afghan authorities but also US agencies for several months before he was handed over to Indian agencies," NIA officials said.

The NIA has been granted two days’ transit remand for Nashidul. He will be taken to Kochi on Thursday and NIA will seek further custody from the Kochi court.

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| Edited by: Padmaja Venkataraman
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