New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has uncovered a possible romantic angle behind the alleged involvement of a 22-year-old BTech student of Jamia Millia Islamia in raising money for the dreaded terror group Islamic State (IS), according to ThePrint has learned.
According to security sources, the student, who was arrested on Saturday for his alleged links to IS, was “in love” with a Syrian girl who asked him to “raise money through crowdfunding for jihad and then give him”. encouraged them to send them to camps in Syria, including al-Hol (a detention camp for those displaced by the ‘IS’ fighting) in Syria.
Sources said Mohsin Ahmed, a native of Patna, had cashed more than Rs 4 lakh in the form of cryptocurrencies into the account of a leading crypto platform “not only from India but also from Maldives, Bangladesh and Indonesia”. The sources said the money was “sent to Iraq and Syria to continue ISIS activities.”
Let us inform that the NIA had arrested this electrical engineering student from Batla House in Delhi on June 25 for being an active member of ISIS in a registered case related to online and land based activities of the terrorist group across India.
Sources said Ahmed was arrested after another Jamia student “alerted” the agency about his “suspicious activities”.
Good journalism matters, even more so in times of crisis
ThePrint brings you the stories you should be reading, from where they’re happening
We can only maintain this if you support us with our reports, writings and photos.
Sources said the student was in contact with people from Iraq and Syria through Facebook and Telegram for the past three years and during that time he became a fundamentalist.
One such source said: “He was doing an engineering coaching class in Kota and there he came into contact with people online who sent him literature related to Jihad. He often watched ISIS videos, including those of ‘Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (group leader) He had become a complete fanatic and became part of many Telegram channels where the idea of jihad was discussed.
The source also added: “It was around this time that he came into online contact with a girl who lived in Syria. In his interrogation, Mohsin claimed that he fell in love with this girl and asked her to raise money through crowdfunding and sent them to Syria.
After that, Ahmed started an argument with a group of Jamia classmates about it, the source said, even trying to persuade them to “join the fight”.
However, the student’s family has questioned his involvement in these activities for which he has been accused.
Ahmed’s father told ThePrint that his son had a “very sharp” mind. “He had secured 94 per cent marks in his class 10 examination. It is not how he is portrayed everywhere.
Ahmed has three sisters – two older and one younger – who also denied the allegations against him.
When asked about Mohsin’s alleged relationship, one of them said: “It’s a joke. He’s a shy and humble guy. If he was in love, he would know. Also, if he had really become a fanatic , why didn’t we see all this while he was living with us?
His sister said Ahmed had been in Kota for less than a year before his Class 12 exams. He said, “He wanted to be a pilot. Then he planned to study computer science but got admission in electrical engineering instead .We stand firm.It’s coming out soon and has a long life ahead of it.
Meanwhile, investigators have contacted the cryptocurrency wallet company to obtain data on the alleged transactions made by Ahmed.
Also Read: Why Protect Only Sister’s Body? Why not desires and rights
‘The action taken at the level of the whole country’
The sources said Ahmed’s arrest was part of a larger crackdown on a network of grassroots activists spread across India working for IS and “radicalizing the country’s youth” and trying to include ls with us
He further said that the NIA is working on “targeted intelligence” received about youths who want to join IS and how they are being “brainwashed on the internet”.
According to sources, they have identified the areas from where these inductions are made.
The source above said: “These people are spread across different states, but they are part of the same network.” They keep in touch with each other with the help of encrypted social networking platforms. They are given the task of radicalizing and associating with as many young people as possible. Also, some promising recruits like Ahmed are asked to identify their supporters and raise money from them.
Last Sunday, the NIA conducted searches at 13 places in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh in connection with the case and is said to have seized a lot of “objectionable material”.
The NIA also conducted a search operation in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram district in a case related to Bacha, an IS sympathizer. Bacha has been arrested along with four others in Tamil Nadu for allegedly hatching a conspiracy to threaten the general public and the police and attempt to kill police officers who searched his vehicle on February 21.
According to a statement issued by the NIA, Bacha and his accomplices were “involved in inciting hatred to separate a part of India by people like ‘Khilafat Party of India’, ‘Khilafat Front of India’, ‘Intellectual Students of India’. They intended to break the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India by forming an organization. It also associated with the banned terrorist organizations ISIS/Daesh and Al-Qaeda.
Also Read: Modi Govt’s New Energy Bill Aims to Introduce Carbon Trading in India, Increase Use of Non-Fossil Fuels
“They came to stay a few days ago”
In the narrow streets of Batla House Japanese Street, there is a four-storey building where Ahmed lived with his four companions.
One can easily get lost in these interconnected streets. The building appeared largely unassuming until the day of Ahmed’s arrest, but in the days since it has been described by local residents as “the building where the boy called the terrorist”.
Neighbors and shopkeepers keep silent about this arrest. While some of them termed it as “anti-Muslim propaganda”, some others accused the security agencies of stereotyping the Casa Batla area, where an infamous encounter took place 14 years ago.
An immediate neighbor of Mohsin told ThePrint that Ahmed and four other boys, all students, had come to the flat about a fortnight ago.
A 40-year-old man said: “The five of them came here and started living together. There was never any noise. There was no commotion until NIA arrived. They took the first three boys from here but two of them were released shortly after on the same day.Now everyone identifies this building as the building where a suspected terrorist lived.
He said: “These are all students who live far away from their respective families. No one can fully confirm their innocence. But who goes to coach for two years and then becomes a terrorist after entering a university first class engineering?’
He says, “Some links don’t connect. However, no one wants to wait to find out the truth. The whole process (of arrest and trial) becomes punishment in itself. The full details of this guy are in the media. No one thinks about his family.
A shopkeeper recalled seeing these boys from time to time, but never together. He said: “But it is not possible to remember their names or faces, because many students live here.” Mohsin had come for basic necessities. He seemed friendly and polite.
(Click here to read this news in English)
Also Read: Tricolor vs Saffron Flag – DP controversy once again highlighted RSS’ complex relationship with the tricolor