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Gujarat ATS arrests three Kashmiri youths as they were leaving for Afghanistan to join ISKP

Gujarat ATS has nabbed three Kashmir youth who were heading to join ISKP

Three youths from Srinagar Kashmir, along with a young woman of Surat, have been dramatically arrested by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of the Gujarat Police in Porbandar on Friday, while they were about to leave for Afghanistan to join the ISIS affiliate Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP).

Director General of the Gujarat Police, Vikas Sahay, disclosed to media persons on Saturday that the ATS launched the operation over a specific information according to which three Kashmiri youths were planning to leave for Afghanistan by sea, via Iran, to join the ISKP. He said that two persons, namely Sumaira Bano Malik of Surat and Zuber Ahmad Munshi of Srinagar, played a key role in motivating the trio to join the ISKP. The Kashmiri youths were identified as Ubaid Nazir, Hanan Hayat Shawl and Mohammad Hajim Shah.

While Sumaira Bano Malik has also been arrested, a manhunt has been launched in coordination with the Jammu and Kashmir Police, to arrest Munshi. One Abu Hamza of the extremist terror organisation is said to have indoctrinated the Kashmiri youths.

Top Police officials in Srinagar told India Narrative that all the three youths arrested in Gujarat were residents of the Soura area of Srinagar. They were identified as Ubaid Naseer Mir (21) son of Mohammad Naseer Mir, Hanan Hayat Shawl (20) son of Abdul Qayoom Shawl and Mohammad Hazim Shah (21) son of Abdul Rashid Shah.  Officials said that the antecedents of the three detained youths were being ascertained.

A top official said that the trio was believed to have been in touch online with the dismembered network of the ISKP commander Aijaz Ahmad Ahangar, son-in-law of the Tehreekul Mujahideen founder-commander Abdul Gani Dar aka Ghazali. While Ghazali of Russu, Budgam, was killed by unidentified persons inside a mosque at Maisuma Srinagar years after his release, Aijaz Ahangar of Nawakadal Srinagar reportedly died alongwith some family members and ISPK cadres in Afghanistan. For over two decades, Ghazali was a top preacher of the Ahle-Hadith school of thought in Kashmir. His son-in-law Aijaz and a grandson reportedly acted as terrorists and they played a key role in the establishment of ISKP, an affiliate of ISIS, in Afghanistan.

Sources said that Sumaira Bano of Surat, Gujarat, was arranging logistics for the Kashmiri trio’s travel to Iran and Afghanistan when the ATS Gujarat received a tip off and got them arrested in the coastal town of Porbandar on Friday. However, their arrest was declared only after a day of their sustained interrogation. The operation was carried out under the leadership of DIG Deepan Bhadran and SP Sunil Joshi.

According to the police, some jihadist literature was recovered from the three Kashmiri youths during the raid. The ATS also recovered some banner flags of ISKP, videos and audio clips of Kashmiri youth giving speeches to ‘Ameer ul momineen’ (Commander of the Faithful and Leader) from their mobile phones and taking the oath of allegiance to the Amir and his organisation.

Some jihadist Islamic literature was also seized from the mobile phone and tablet of Sumaira Banu at her house in Surat. The Kashmiri youths were reportedly working as labourers in Porbandar. They were supposed to work as captains and GPS coordinators on fishing boats. Along with this, the ATS have reportedly recovered some weapons from them. Zuber was also scheduled to travel with the four detainees from Porbandar to Afghanistan.

Gujarat Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi congratulated the Gujarat Police for the success of the operation and said the crackdown on such terror modules found operating in the state will continue.

“The operation conducted was in line with the Modi government’s zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism. Such terror modules were detected and busted earlier. Such operations to crackdown on terror modules in the state will continue,” he said.

Also Read: The Pakistan connection: How ISKP became Pakistan’s latest proxy