NIA to produce deported IS sympathiser in Kerala court

Alleged IS sympathiser entered Afghanistan with 21 others

New Delhi.

The NIA will produce Nashidul Hamzafar, an alleged Islamic State (IS) sympathiser who was deported from Afghanistan to India on Tuesday, in a Kerala court later on Thursday, an official said.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will seek Hamzafar’s custody for questioning, the official said.

Hamzafar was arrested by the NIA after his deportation and produced in a Delhi court on Wednesday.

According to the NIA official, the alleged IS sympathiser had travelled to Afghanistan along with 21 others to join the terror organisation.

He was arrested by the counter-terror probe agency after he landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here from Kabul after his deportation.

In 2017, Hamzafar a resident of Wayanad district in Kerala, was detained by the Afghan security agencies for illegally entering the country to join his associates in the IS.

This is the first extradition of an alleged IS sympathiser from Afghanistan.

A Special Court here where Hamzafar was produced on Wednesday granted the NIA a two-day transit remand.

Hamzafar will be produced before the Special NIA Court in Ernakulam in Kerala that had earlier issued a non-bailable warrant against him.

According to the NIA, the case relates to a criminal conspiracy hatched by the accused from Kasaragod district, along with his associates, since Ramadan 2015 with the intention of joining and furthering the objectives of the Islamic State terror group.

At least 14 accused persons from Kasaragod had left India for their work places in the Middle East between mid-May and early-July in 2016 before travelling to Afghanistan, where they joined the IS.

Hamzafar was part of the conspiracy as he interacted with the other absconding accused like Abdul Rashid Abdulla and Ashfak Majeed through encrypted social media messages.

Abdulla and Majeed were known to Hamzafar through his college mates Shihas, Firoz Khan and Bestin Vincent, a NIA official said requesting anonymity.

According to the NIA this is a big breakthrough in the case as earlier the agency had only second hand information about the Kerala youth group which had gone to Afghanistan to join the IS.

This arrest would reveal much more about who all were involved in radicalising the youths in the state. The NIA said that Hamzafar was in touch with the leaders of the group.

The official said that Hamzafar had left India on October 3, 2017 and travelled to Muscat, Oman before going to Iran and then reached Kabul where he was detained.

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