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NIA raids location in downtown Srinagar to unearth Kerala-Iran-Kashmir- ISIS link

File Photo of National Investigation Agency (Photo: IANS)

With a raid in downtown Srinagar on Monday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is investigating the activities of an ISIS terror module linked to Kerala, Kashmir, the Gulf and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The NIA team under the protection of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), swooped down on the residence of one Uzair Azhar Bhat at Karfali Mohalla, in the interior of Srinagar, and conducted a search operation which lasted for several hours. An agency spokesperson said that some digital devices were seized which were being examined.

The NIA spokesperson said that Monday’s raid was in connection with an investigation into the activities of a Kerala-based Hindu woman who had converted to Islam, married a Muslim, visited the Gulf and the Islamic Republic of Iran and enrolled herself into an ISIS network over a part of South Asia. For a brief period, she also stayed in Kashmir.

In 2021, the NIA started investigations into the activities and background of one Mohammed Ameen aka Abu Yahya, resident of Kadannamanna, District Malappuram, Kerala. According to the inputs, he was running various ISIS propaganda channels on different social media platforms, such as Telegram, Hoop and Instagram.

Through these channels, he was propagating violent Jihadi ideologies of ISIS and was radicalizing and recruiting new members for his ISIS module. He and his associates had even identified certain individuals for targeted killings. They had also made plans to undertake Hijrah (migration) to Jammu & Kashmir for engaging in terrorist acts and raised funds from various sources for this trip.

During the investigation, Mohammad Ameen was detected to be in touch with one Deepthi Marla of Kerala, a converted Muslim married to Anas Abdul Raehman of Mangalore, Karnataka. In 2015, Deepthi flew to Dubai to pursue studies where she met with a woman, Mizha Siddeeque.  The duo developed an inclination towards the Khorasan chapter of ISIS.

In 2019, Deepthi and Mizha flew to Iran and visited Khorasan and Tehran. However, their contact in Iran was not established with the ISIS operatives. Both the women returned to India where Deepthi established contact with Ameen, Madesh Shankar aka Abdullah a Kashmir domicile Abdul Hamid Matta. Deepthi conducted Hijrah to Kashmir where she is known to have stayed at certain places with the help and facilitation of Obaid. In January 2020, Deepthi stayed at Uzair Azhar Bhat’s house at Karfali Mohalla, near Habbakadal.

Uzair, according to the NIA spokesperson, operated as a contact between Obaid and Deepthi. The same house was subjected to a thorough search on Monday under tight security arrangements.

Also Read: NIA raids 5 places in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra to smash Islamic State Khorasan Province modules in India