Security forces stand guard at St. Antony shrine, days after a string of suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels across the island on Easter Sunday, in Colombo (Reuters file)
Security forces stand guard at St. Antony shrine, days after a string of suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels across the island on Easter Sunday, in Colombo (Reuters file)

Months after Sri Lanka Easter Day blasts, NIA busts IS cell in Tamil Nadu

  • The NIA searched five locations in Coimbatore, three months after the agency registered a case against six accused from Coimbatore
  • The NIA disclosed that based on Thursday’s searches, it had recovered various digital devices, including a laptop, cellphones, SIM cards, a memory card, and CDs and DVDs

New Delhi: Just days after a terror alert was sounded across Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore region, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday cracked down on sleeper cells of the Islamic State (IS) in the city, which were in the process of radicalizing and recruiting youth, en-masse.

The NIA searched five locations in Coimbatore, just three months after the investigation agency registered a case against six accused persons from Coimbatore, following leads that “these individuals and their associates were propagating the ideology of the proscribed terrorist organization ISIS on social media with the intention of recruiting vulnerable youth into the this outfit and carrying out terrorist attacks in South India especially in Kerala and Tamil Nadu."

With the agency now equipped with the restructured NIA Act that gives it more teeth, the agency said investigations revealed that “some of the accused persons and their associates were in touch with the Sri Lankan ISIS leader Zahran Hashim and his accomplices, over social media, with the intention of furthering the objectives of the ISIS in India."

Hashmi was responsible for establishing the National Thowheed Jamaath, the radical group that executed the Easter Day bombings in Sri Lanka, this year.

“The Agency (NIA) had earlier conducted searches at the houses of six accused persons in this case, on 12 June. Based on the incriminating facts revealed, two accused persons --Mohammed Azarudheen and Shiek Hidayathulla were arrested," an NIA spokesperson said on Thursday.

The NIA disclosed that based on Thursday’s searches, it had recovered various digital devices, including a laptop, mobile phones, SIM cards, a memory card, and CDs and DVDs.

“Incriminating documents have been seized. The seized digital devices will be subjected to forensic examination. The suspects are being examined regarding their association with the arrested accused persons and their involvement in the conspiracy, intended at furthering the objectives of ISIS," the NIA spokesperson said.

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