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Al Qaeda handlers used social media for recruitment in India: NIA

Al Qaeda handlers used encrypted social media platforms to disseminate radical material for their recruitment process in India, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe has revealed following the arrest of 11 alleged members of the terror outfit from West Bengal and Kerala last year.

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Al Qaeda handlers used encrypted social media platforms to disseminate radical material for their recruitment process in India, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe has revealed following the arrest of 11 alleged members of the terror outfit from West Bengal and Kerala last year.

The central agency said the arrested persons were in touch with their Pakistan and Bangladesh-based handlers via social media through which they exchanged radical propaganda material, conspiring to radicalise more individuals and “wage a violent jihad in India.”

It filed a chargesheet in a Special NIA Court in New Delhi on Friday against the 11 accused, namely Murshid Hasan alias Sofiq, Mosaraf Hoseen, Mainul Mandal, Lea Yean Ahmed alias Leion, Najmus Sakib, Iyakub Biswas, Samim Ansari, Abu Sufian, Atiur Rahman, Al Mamun Kamal, and Abdul Momin Mandal.

Nine of them were arrested following raids on September 19 last year in Kerala and West Bengal. Two more terror operatives were arrested from West Bengal on August 26 and November 1 last year. They are facing charges under the IPC, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Arms Act.

The NIA said in a statement it had registered the case based on information that an “Al Qaeda inspired module” was sprouting and operating in West Bengal and Kerala under Murshid Hasan’s leadership and its members were in an advanced stage of conspiracy to execute terrorist attacks in different parts of the country.

The investigation has revealed that Murshid Hasan was in touch with Al Qaeda handlers based in Pakistan and Bangladesh and they had received instructions along with radical propaganda material through encrypted social media platforms from them, said a NIA press release on Friday.

Related news | NIA arrests 9 Al-Qaeda terrorists from Kerala, West Bengal

It said, “Murshid Hasan along with his other associates conspired to radicalise and recruit more individuals into the terrorist organisation Al Qaeda. They disseminated radical material through social media and encrypted chat platforms with an intention to radicalise and recruit others for establishing an Islamic State by waging violent jihad in India.”

The agency said their probe has also revealed that the group members planned to attack individuals whom they consider ‘Kafirs’.

It alleged the group members had also held a series of “conspiratorial meetings for raising funds for the purchase of arms and ammunitions/explosive materials, radicalising and recruiting more members and charting out the future course of action including establishing a Markaz.”

Related news | Terror module busted: NIA nabs 2 IS operatives in Bengaluru

“The accused persons were also in active communication with an arms dealer through their foreign-based handlers and were planning to receive a consignment of sophisticated arms and ammunition in New Delhi,” stated the agency.

It said the arrested were also planning to attack among others, an India-based Bangladeshi blogger for his views expressed on social media. The agency said further investigation is on against the absconding accused persons.

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