Pune: NIA arrests two persons including a woman in Islamic State case

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Mubarak Ansari

Pune, 12 July 2020: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested a man and a woman from Pune in connection with a case related to Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP).

According to officials, the NIA team from Delhi, Mumbai alongwith Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), Pune unit, in a joint operation arrested the woman Sadiya Anwar Shaikh (20) from Yerwada and Nabeel Siddiqui Khatri (27) from Kondhwa. Pune city police officials assisted the NIA team which made diary entry at the police stations while taking away the two suspects in NIA case no. 11/2020. The case is registered for offences under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province is a branch of the militant Islamist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant active in South Asia and Central Asia. The NIA had earlier registered an FIR against ISKP after it owned responsibility for Kabul Gurudwara attack in March this year.

According to ATS and police officials, the woman had been counseled 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.

On January 26, 2018, she 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.

Speaking about 2015 ISIS connection, she had 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.”

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