A little over a month after Sri Lanka was rocked by a series of eight coordinated blasts that killed at least 253 people, India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) has begun aiding the island nation in the probe into the bombings.
A person familiar with the development said the NIA was “likely to share and discuss with Sri Lankan authorities all details of its probe in India against various IS (Islamic State) modules, including evidence collected from searches in Kerala, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu. This could include pamphlets, documents, hard drives, laptops and CDs that were recovered by the agency."
At the same time, NIA’s operations against the Coimbatore module of the Islamic State (IS) will also be of key interest.
On 26 February, after months of investigation, the NIA chargesheeted six IS recruits –Mohamed Ashiq, Ismail S., Samsudeen, Mohammed Salauddin S., Jafar Shadik Ali and Shahul Hameed— in India after it was found that the arrested accused “had got radicalized on the violent extremist ideology of the proscribed terrorist organization--ISIS/Da’esh--and they had been propagating the same ideology over social media."
While the IS had claimed responsibility for the attacks in Sri Lanka, prior investigations by the NIA had revealed that the Coimbatore group had gone through videos of the National Thowheed Jamaat leader Zahran Hashim, who had been calling for the establishment of Islamic law in Sri Lanka, following which on 26 February India had passed on the intelligence to Sri Lankan authorities.
The development comes after the Kerala coast was put on high alert, late last week, following intelligence reports that boats carrying nearly 15 IS terrorists had set sail from Sri Lanka to India’s Lakshadweep slands.
There has been significant and growing movement of Islamic State cells and workers in pockets of Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Kerala and any suspicious movements are being closely monitored, according to intelligence units.
Earlier this month, both the Union home ministry and the state authorities from Tamil Nadu and Telangana said India was always on “a state of high readiness."