As NIA busts Pune ISIS module and UP ATS busts AMU ISIS module, here is all you need to know about how intricately they are linked, with an aim to burn India

As NIA busts Pune ISIS module and UP ATS busts AMU ISIS module, here is all you need to know about how intricately they are linked, with an aim to burn India

On 11th November, the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad confirmed that they had apprehended four members of the Aligarh module of the jihadi terrorist organisation ISIS. The arrested terrorists were identified as Rakib Imam Ansari, Naved Ansari, Mohammad Noman, and Mohammad Nazim. Three others were apprehended in the case, identified as Abdullah Arshlan, Maz Bin Tariq and Wajihuddin, making a total of seven arrests. The arrests were made based on ATS obtaining critical leads during interrogation. So far, the arrests have been made from UP, Bihar, and Chhattisgarh.

The ongoing investigation in the Aligarh ISIS Module case has shed light on the potential ties of ISIS operatives to Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). It has raised serious concerns about the security of the University and the possible radicalisation of the students studying at the institute. Reportedly, these ISIS operatives not only indulged in distributing Jihadist literature but also provided mental and physical training to recruits. ATS conducted several raids in Aligarh, Sambhal and nearby districts and detained around half a dozen suspects. Later, four of them, Rakib, Naved, Noman and Nazim, were officially arrested by the investigating agency for further questioning.
The Pune ISIS Module

Interestingly, the Aligarh ISIS Module was busted by the investigation agencies on the sidelines of arrests that were made in connection to the Pune ISIS module. In July 2023, the NIA busted an ISIS module in the state of Maharashtra. Four accused, identified as Tabish Nasser Siddiqui, Zubair Noor Mohammed Shaikh, Sharjeel Shaikh and Zulfikar Ali Barodawala, were arrested during raids in Pune, Mumbai and Thane. The central investigation agency received credible intelligence that these accused and their associates were recruiting youth and training them to make Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and weapons. They also shared Do It Yourself (DIY) kits and other relevant materials among themselves for creating IEDs and manufacturing small weapons, pistols and more.

Notably, the accused were also involved in creating content for the pro-ISIS magazine ‘Voice of Hind’. The online magazine led to several raids by the NIA in October 2021 in Kashmir. NIA registered a case in June 2023 and raided several locations linked to the accused. The official press release of NIA read, “Preliminary investigations by the NIA have established that the accused had hatched a conspiracy to further the terrorist activities of ISIS, known by different names, such as Islamic State (IS)/ Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL)/Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)/Daish/ Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP)/ISIS Wilayat Khorasan/Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham Khorasan (ISIS-K).”

On 18th July, Mohammed Imran Mohammed Yusuf Khan and Mohammed Yunus Mohammed Yakub Saki were arrested by Pune Police. They were arrested while attempting to steal a motorcycle. However, later, it was found they were connected to the Al-Sufa terror group. They had a reward of Rs 5 lakh on their arrest. According to the police, the accused stayed in an apartment in Chetna Garden, Mitha Nagar, Kondhwa. Khan and Saki are graphic artists from Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh, and Alam from Hazaribagh, Jharkhand. Police teams searched their Pune residence and found a number of suspicious items, including a box containing “drone material,” a pistol pouch, a live cartridge, some “white coloured pills,” fake Aadhaar cards, and various other documents. Later, it was found that they were linked to the Pune ISIS module.

On 27th July, NIA made another arrest in the matter. A doctor identified as Adnan Ali Sarkar was arrested in Pune for promoting violent activities of the Islamic terror outfit ISIS. The accused worked as an anesthesiologist. According to the NIA press release, various incriminating evidence, including electronic devices and documents pertaining to ISIS, were discovered at Sarkar’s Kondhwa residence during the search. NIA alleged that the accused doctor was involved in furthering ISIS’s violent ideology by recruiting vulnerable youths. Furthermore, the agency said Sarkar hatched a conspiracy to advance ISIS terrorist activities.

On 5th August, the five accused were sent to ATS custody by a Pune court. ATS informed the court they found incriminating material from the accused, including an Indian map with several cities marked, laptops containing material to study the modus operandi of terror attacks and more. The initial probe revealed they have links to the Al Sufa module. However, a later investigation revealed they all were part of ISIS.

ATS also submitted an Indian map to the court with several cities marked as evidence. The investigation agency informed the court that Mohammad Imran Khan and Mohammad Yunus Saki were trained to make bombs by Zulfikar Ali and others among the five arrested by the Pune ATS in the case linked to the ISIS module.

So far, the accused arrested in the matter were Tabish Nasser Siddiqui, Zubair Noor Mohammed Shaikh alias Abu Nusaiba, Sharjeel Shaikh, Zulfikar Ali Barodawala, Mohammad Imran Khan, Mohammad Yunus Saki, Simab Nasaruddin Qazi, and Aakif Ateeque Nachan. Qazi was arrested for helping Shahanawaaz Alam, who was absconding then. Reportedly, Khan and Saki were taught how to make bombs by Zulfikar. In 2022, they shifted to Pune. They used Aadhaar cards to buy drones, acids and explosives. Furthermore, it was found that they had downloaded and studied literature linked to terror attacks by different organisations.

On 11th August, NIA said in a press statement that they arrested Shamil Nachan in connection with the Pune ISIS module case. Shamil was involved in fabricating improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and collaborating with other accused in the matter.
Pune ISIS Module Chargesheet

A 2,700-page charge sheet was filed by the National Investigating Agency in Pune ISIS Module. The charge sheet revealed details about their activities and plans. NIA revealed that The accused, including Zulfikar Ali Barodawala and Zubair Shaikh, were involved in radicalising Muslim youth, promoting ISIS ideology, and planning attacks against non-Muslims.

A protected witness told NIA that the accused used WhatsApp groups to propagate ISIS ideology and lured Muslims to pledge alliance with the terrorist organisation. He disclosed that the discussions revolved around shirk, Khalifah, jihad, and the establishment of Sharia in India.

Furthermore, it was revealed that the accused tried to convince members, including himself, to join ISIS and commit terrorist attacks. They advocated against democratic participation, deemed the Indian Constitution as non-binding for Muslims, and expressed hostility toward other Muslim groups. Their ultimate goal was to ensure Muslims joined ISIS for the establishment of Islamic State in India. The witness also highlighted the group’s discussions on killing non-Muslims, with statements suggesting a readiness to carry out violent actions against them.

The Pune ISIS Module and Aligarh ISIS Module connection

During interrogation, Arshlan and Tariq told the investigation agency about a person named Wajiuddin. They pointed out that he played a crucial role in recruiting and planning terrorist activities. The revelation led to several raids and arrests in the Aligarh ISIS Module case.
Aligarh ISIS Module

It has been found that these ISIS terrorists aimed at establishing an ISIS module in and around Aligarh. The main focus of these operatives was to recruit and train new operatives for Jihadist activities in India. ATS seized material, including Jihadist literature, electronic devices and other documents. The forensic examination of the electronic devices is underway.

Following the arrests, ATS has intensified efforts to locate two operatives of the module, identified as Abdul Samad Malik and Faizan Bakhtiyar, who remain at large. National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Delhi Police Special Cell are looking into another suspect, Harish Farukhi, in the matter. Farukhi is a former AMU student and associated with the SAMU group. He has been on the run since the investigating agencies in the Pune ISIS Module case arrested Shahnavaz. OpIndia’s sources revealed that Farukhi played a vital role in forming Students of Aligarh Muslim University (SAMU).

Furthermore, ATS is also looking into an MSW student at AMU named Abdul Samad Malik. As per the investigating agencies, Malik is the most radical among the group. On the other hand, Bakhtiyar allegedly used social media to lure youth towards extremist ideology. Following ATS’s crackdown on the module, Malik and Bakhtiyar closed their communication channels.

Two self-radicalised individuals, Abdullah Arslan and Maaz Bin Tariq, were arrested in the matter in connection to the Pune ISIS Module. Shockingly, both of them were married to Hindu girls, hinting towards possible cases of Grooming Jihad. The investigation into how these marriages took place is also underway.
Who is Wajihuddin?

On 8th November, it was reported that ATS detained Wajihuddin in the Aligarh ISIS module case. He was arrested from Durg, Chhattisgarh. Wajihuddin, who is a PhD student at AMU, was arrested by ATS on the charges of radicalising youth. Reportedly, he was teaching social science students, including Hindus, in Aligarh. ATS recovered inflammatory content on his phone.

In a press release, UP ATS said that Shahnawaz and Rizwan, previously arrested in the Pune ISIS module, were closely associated with students from the Students of AMU (SAMU) group. This connection highlights a disturbing trend of ISIS recruiting within educational institutions.

Further investigation revealed that Wajiuddin was, in fact, the mastermind behind the recruitment of Arshlan and Tariq in the ISIS module. ATS recovered ISIS literature, and the sharing of extremist ideologies among the arrested individuals underscored the magnitude of the threat. These arrests further led to the arrest of other operatives, including Shahnawaz, Rizwan, and Arshad Warsi, in the Pune ISIS Module.

Reportedly, they were planning attacks in Ayodhya, Akshardham Temple, and Chabar House. Warsi, who holds a BTech degree from AMU and is pursuing a PhD at Jamia Millia Islamia, was intricately involved in the Delhi anti-Hindu riots in 2020.

Furthermore, connections to Pakistan’s ISI were also revealed. Shahnawaz, Rizwan, and Warsi had pledged allegiance to ISIS, with their handlers having connections to both ISIS and the ISI, operating discreetly to avoid international scrutiny. Upon further investigation, it was revealed Warsi played a crucial role in the Delhi anti-Hindu riots alongside Sharjeel Imam. He sheltered Shahnawaz and showcased a broader connection between the Pune ISIS module, the Delhi riots, and the involvement of ISI.

Wajihuddin Ali Khan, the recently arrested ISIS terrorist, was associated with the Al Haya Min Allah campaign at AMU, promoting extremist ideologies against democracy, nationalism, and other religions. His connection with Arshad Warsi and their joint involvement in the anti-CAA protests further deepens the web of ISIS influence within educational institutions.
Radicalisation, relatives and how they worked

Interestingly, the mother-in-law of Wajihuddin works as a staff nurse at AMU. Wazihuddin held the position of an “Amir” in the Aligarh ISIS Module. Around ten years ago, he shifted to Aligarh from Durg. After shifting to Aligarh, he came in contact with radical elements at AMU and joined SAMU.

Sources revealed that the information about his links to radical elements dates back to 2010. At that time, Faruqi was trying to establish a terror module in Aligarh. He was also an ‘Amir’ in his group. Wajihuddin quickly gained ranks in SAMU and started making provocative speeches. He not only radicalised his followers against India but also against other religions. He also participated in violent protests against CAA-NRC.

Wajihuddin’s wife hails from Aligarh, and her mother-in-law works as a staff nurse at AMU. Wajihuddin’s religious views significantly influenced his wife. He has two children. One of them is in class 12th, while the other reportedly often falls in. Three months before his arrest, he was living in his mother-in-law’s house, which ATS subsequently searched.

Wajihuddin and Arshlan operated a YouTube channel where they uploaded provocative speeches. When they learned about the arrest of their associates, they tried to escape. Initially, Wajihuddin fled to Mathura and then went to Durg, where ATS arrested him.
The M-Tech terrorist

Another ISIS operative arrested in the case is Raqib, who is an engineer and did M Tech in Mechanical Engineering from AMU in 2020. Following his PG, he started teaching students. During that period, he also taught at Islamic Mission School in Aligarh as a teacher. This is the same school where a parent filed a complaint that his daughter was tortured for speaking Hindi. Furthermore, it was reported that the National Anthem was not played in the school. Initially from district Bhadohi in UP, Raqib also worked as a faculty member at Avanti Learning Center for JEE/NEET.

Along with Raqib, Nomani was arrested by ATS, who works as a fisherman. He is originally from district Sambhal and works at a fish farm in Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand.

ATS recovered a video of Abu Bakr Fazili where he was heard declaring acceptance of the rule not of any human but of God. The speech was given in the Kennedy Auditorium at AMU in 2015. He called for crushing those who come in the way of Islamic rule. Several other videos were recovered by the investigating agencies that included provocative speeches against Hinduism. Wazihuddin can also be seen on the stage in these videos.
The Pune ISIS Module and Delhi Anti-Hindu Riots Connection

The charge sheet further shed light on connections between the Pune ISIS module and the Delhi anti-Hindu riots as Warsi, an ISIS terrorist, was in contact with Sharjeel Imam, one of the masterminds of the riots. He played a significant role in orchestrating the conspiracy behind the communal violence during the CAA-NRC protests in Delhi and setting up the protest site at Shaheen Bagh.

It also revealed how the conspiracy was brewed in December 2019, a day after the introduction of the Citizenship Amendment Bill. It talked about the formation of the Muslim Students of the JNU group by Sharjeel Imam and their role in distributing communal pamphlets. The pamphlets aimed to incite hate in the Muslim community by invoking the Supreme Court decision in the Ram Janmabhoomi case.

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