The of a Tamil Nadu police official near the state’s border with Kerala on 8 January this year is leading the investigators to an active network in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala that has been recruiting youth to support the activities of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).
Emerging as the mastermind of the network is Khaja Moideen, who jumped bail in a case in which he has been accused of the murder of a Hindu Munnani leader K P S Suresh Kumar on 18 July 2014 at Ambattur in suburban Chennai.
Moideen and two others — Abdul Shamim and Syed Ali Nawaz — accused in the murder case were let out on bail but they failed to appear for a hearing in the case in December.
Shamim was arrested from Udupi in Karnataka on Tuesday (14 January) in connection with the 8 January murder of the Tamil Nadu police official P Wilson along with another suspect Thofique Yusuf.
The arrest of nine people, including Moideen, Shamim, Nawaz and Yusuf, by police across the country is pointing out to the formation of an ISIS module with Bengaluru as the base. These people planned to set up a front called Al Haidi to support the ISIS network.
On 7 January, the Tamil Nadu police arrested four persons — Mohammed Haneef Khan, Imran Khan, Mohammed Zaid and Eijaz Basha near Bengaluru. This is suspected to have led Shamim and Yusuf to shoot the police official Wilson dead at Kaliyakkavilai town in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari.
New Delhi police arrested Moideen on 9 January along with Nawaz and Abdul Samad from a hideout near Wazirabad bridge. In a related development, another suspect Zafar Ali, wanted by Tamil Nadu and Delhi police, was arrested from his hideout in Vadodara, Gujarat.
Moideen, Nawaz, Samad and Ali planned to recruit people from Jambusar in Gujarat and use them for supporting their activities.
Reports quoting police say that a person from abroad is suspected to have set up the network with supporters being recruited from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
That person had travelled to some states in the country, including Kerala and West Bengal. Even the hand of Al Umma fugitive leader Abu Bakr Siddique is suspected to be behind this.
On the other hand, some details on Moideen have been revealed as he is turning out to be the lynchpin of the entire network.
A scrap metal merchant, he used a trust — Al Hind trust — set up by him to recruit youth to support ISIS. Shamim and Thoufique were roped in by him and they had attempted radicalising more youth in Tirunelveli and Madurai districts in Tamil Nadu, Bengaluru in Karnataka and Pune in Maharashtra.
A native of Ilayangudi in Sivaganga district, Moideen shifted base to Cuddalore. Initially, he was a follower of the Dravidar Kazhagam and then became a member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist.
In 1993-94, he became the district organiser of Manitha Nesai Pasarai, which merged into the radical Popular Front of India in 2006.
Moideen was arrested in 2004 for organising training camps for conversions to Islam before coming out on bail. He was later arrested for the murder of the Hindu Munnani leader in Ambattur.
With Tamil Nadu police set to get custody of Shamim and Yusuf today (Thursday), when they are produced before a local court in Kanyakumari, more details could come out about the network.
The National Investigation Agency will likely take over the investigations as it involves ISIS and terror network.