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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Radicalized on net chat room, given Mosul contact: ISIS man..........

MUMBAI: Arif Majeed, the 23-year-old ISIS recruit from Kalyan who returned to India on Friday, told interrogators that his indoctrination began after he visited an internet chat room. He was inspired to join the terrorist group and given the phone number of a person, whose men picked him up from Mosul in Iraq.

The three other youths, all in their twenties, who left their Kalyan homes with Majeed to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria were also reportedly indoctrinated through chat rooms.


Majeed, who was arrested on Friday and booked under the anti-terror law and for waging war against a friendly Asian country, was produced before the notified National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in south Mumbai on Saturday and remanded in police custody till December 8.

In the chat room, he got the number of one Abu Ali and was told to contact him only when he reached Mosul, Majeed has told his interrogators. After he joined the ISIS in Iraq, he was asked to supervise construction work in their territories since he was studying civil engineering. But he expressed a desire to fight and was trained in operating AK-47s and rocket launchers. He got injured during practice and was sent to a treatment facility where he was reportedly ignored, prompting him to flee.



A senior official in the security establishment told TOI that Majeed had a few gunshot wounds. "During interrogation, Majeed claimed he used to read a lot about jihad. He came in touch with a group in an internet chat room which motivated him to work for jihad and join the cause of ISIS. He told police that after chatting with the group for over a month, he expressed his desire to work for ISIS. He was given the mobile number of one Abu Ali. He was strictly told not to contact Abu Ali before he reached Mosul," said the official.

Majeed told the police that he thought for days together on what to tell his parents before going to Iraq. "During this time, the idea of joining a group of pilgrims for Baghdad came to his mind. He immediately began collecting information about it," the official said.

Asked whether Majeed, Shaheem Tanki, Fahad Shah and Aman Tandel all went to the same chat room, the official was non-committal. The other three are still said to be holed up in ISIS-controlled areas.

"When the tourists' group, including the four youths, reached Iraq in late May, they discussed their plan in a hotel and Majeed called up Abu Ali. They were directed to reach a mosque-like structure in Mosul, where they found five men waiting for them. Abu Ali was not among them. The youths were taken in a jeep to a jungle on the outskirts and stayed there. Next day, they travelled to some other place, where the group was first put through an indoctrination programme," the source said.


Arif Majeed's family members during their meeting with home minister Rajnath singh in July this year. (TOI photo) 

Majeed reportedly told the police that there were over a dozen youths and the lecturer was talking to them in English. "After a 25-day training session, Majeed was asked to supervise construction work, which he did for nearly two months. He was one of the supervisors looking after the construction of roads and buildings in ISIS-controlled areas," the official said.

Not satisfied with the job, Majeed told his handlers he wanted to fight. He was sent to an arms training ground. "He went on some mission but it is still not clear whether he actually participated in it. After a few days, he got shot during a practice session and was admitted to hospital. "Majeed said he was in a bad situation and the Iraqi cadres ignored him. He was highly frustrated and felt he was useless there. In the hospital, he planned to flee and escaped after he was allowed to roam around. We are interrogating him about others who joined him in his escape, if any. Interrogation about the three other Kalyan youths is also on," the source added.



On Saturday, Majeed was produced in the notified NIA court at 1.10pm amid tight security. He wore a henna-colored Pathan suit and looked nervous. His face was covered with a veil which was removed in court. Geeta Godambe, the public prosecutor, told judge P R Deshmukh that Majeed and his associates had joined ISIS, which is banned by the UN for mass killings. He was planning to promote terrorism in India and had waged war against Iraq and Syria.

"He has some bullet injuries on his body. They actively participated in terror activities in Iraq and other areas. Police want his custody to interrogate him about the role played by him and his associates and his handlers,'' the prosecutor said.

Majeed has been kept in the same lock up at Bhoiwada, Parel, where 26/11 handler Abu Jundal and Indian Mujahideen's country head, Yasin Bhatkal, were kept. He is being interrogated at the NIA office on Pedder Road.

The deportation of Majeed from Turkey was a joint operation of NIA, IB, R&AW and state ATS. Sources said before leaving for Iraq in May, Majeed had deleted everything from his laptop. "The laptop is being checked and we will try to retrieve information from it," said the official.

Majeed and three others have been booked under sections 16 (punishment for terrorist act), 18 (punishment for conspiracy etc), 20 (punishment for being a member of terrorist gang or organisation) of the Unlawful Assembly Prevention Act (UAPA) and section 125 of IPC which deals with waging war against any Asiatic country which has friendly ties with India.