NIA Strikes Against Terror: How Bhatkal Islamic State Operative Led to Their 48 Digital Warriors Across India


In a major crackdown against terror, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) raided 13 spots across seven states, including Maharashtra, and detained 48 people – 13 on Sunday and 35 on Saturday – with links to the Islamic State (IS), foiling their plan for “something big” against India.

According to the exclusive details from top intelligence sources, the detentions were a result of the interrogation of Zufri Johar Damodi, who was arrested from Bhatkal in Karnataka in August 2021 for his alleged link to the IS.

With leads from Damodi, the agency was keeping an eye on Voice of Hind, an India-centric IS magazine, for the past one year, the source told CNN-News18 exclusively.

The agency noticed that the magazine had very minute details of the on-ground situation in India, which could not have been possible without local resources, said the source. This led them to the 48 men linked to the IS, he said.

They were all linked to the Islamic State – Khorasan Province (ISKP), he added.

The detentions and interrogation have also led the agency to Voice of Hind network of Kashmir run by Umar Nisar.

DIGITAL CONTENT FOR IS

Sources said the security agencies have been concerned about the threats from ISKP and other networks.

The 48 men, the agency source said, were creating content for the Voice of Hind and other ISKP-related groups.

After the recent insult of the Prophet, it was found that these groups were planning “something big in India”, said the source.

“They were instigating Indian Muslims and Muslim communities across the globe. Hence, this major crackdown was planned. They have confessed to their links to Damodi and Voice of Hind,” said the source.

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According to sources, interrogation and forensic examination of the seized digital media is under way.

The detentions of the major IS supporters will act as a deterrent to their plans and will also stop other modules, said the source.

ISKP’s ANTI-MODI, ANTI-INDIA TIRADE

News18 had on July 14 reported that the ISKP terror group has Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the cover of the latest edition of its mouthpiece.

The regional affiliate of the Islamic State mainly operates in Afghanistan. “Khorasan” refers to a historical region covering parts of modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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Earlier, the publication was mainly Khorasan-centric, but has suddenly started to cover topics connected to it India as well, said the sources.

Top intelligence sources said that the ISKP had also asked its cadres to attack Hindu-centric parties.

The cover of the magazine, Voice of Khorasan, had also said that India is “between pain and hope”.

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