NIA says two persons arrested from Pune for propagating ISIS ideology in India

Sadiya Sheikh Khatri arrested
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Mubarak Ansari

Pune/New Delhi, 13 July 2020: Yesterday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) carried out searches in Pune and arrested two accused persons Nabeel S. Khatri (27) of Kondhwa and Sadiya Anwar Sheikh (21) of Yerwada, in connection with Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) case (RC-11/2020/NIA/DLI). The two arrested accused will be produced before NIA Special Court, New Delhi.



According to NIA, Khatri runs a gym in Pune while Sadiya is a 2nd year student of Mass Communications and Journalism at Baramati.


This case was initially registered by Delhi Police Special Cell on 8th March, 2020, after the arrest of a Kashmiri couple Jahanzaib Sami Wani and his wife Hina Bashir Beigh from Jamia Nagar, Okhla Vihar, Delhi. “The couple was having affiliations with ISKP, which is a banned terrorist organisation and is a part of ISIS, and was found to be involved in subversive and anti-national activities. They were also found to be in touch with Abdullah Basith, who is already lodged in Tihar jail in another NIA case (ISIS Abu Dabhi module)”, the agency said.


The investigation, NIA said, has revealed that accused Sadiya Sheikh was continuously in touch with Jahanzaib Sami, Hina Bashir Beigh & Abdullah Basith on various secure messaging applications and deliberating on as to how to propagate the ideology of ISIS and further its activities in India. They were trying to build up a cadre of ISIS in India by recruiting gullible youth for terrorist activities, the central agency informed.


“It has also come to light that along with Jahanzeb Sami and Abdullah Basith, accused Nabeel Khatri was also actively involved in the planning to carry out violent terrorist attacks in India by arranging logistic support such as procurement of weapons, fake SIM cards, assembling of Improvised Explosive Devices etc. to further the activities of ISIS in India. He was continuously in contact with Jahanzeb on various secure messaging platforms.


It has also been revealed that Sadiya Sheikh was in contact with ISIS recruiters through social media since 2015. She was planning to execute a terrorist attack in Jammu & Kashmir and was detained by J&K Police in 2018″, NIA stated.


On January 26, 2018, Sadiya was arrested in Jammu and Kashmir on suspicion of planning attack. However, she was released later when no concrete evidence was found. After returning to Pune, she had addressed media at a press conference and said that she had gone to take admission in a nursing college there.



According to Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), Pune unit, and Pune city police officials, Sadiya had been counselled since she was 16-year-old and wanted to join ISIS. In December 2015, following inputs that some youth from Pune were getting attracted to the Islamic State’s propaganda on social media, the Pune unit of the ATS had identified Sadiya, who was 16 at the time, as one of them. She was found to be “mentally prepared” to go to Syria to join the Islamic State after being influenced by online operatives of the terrorist organisation. The ATS had then provided counselling to her.


Speaking about 2015 ISIS connection, Sadiya had earlier said, “I had got influenced by Islamic State (IS) ideology. I used to chat online with some groups and people on Facebook. ATS came to know about it arranged a deradicalisation session with a local Maulana. They were successful… I continued my college, I was in Class 12 at the time.”