India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) said it has arrested a 29-year-old suspect linked to terror group Islamic State for allegedly conspiring to carry out a suicide attack in the southern state of Kerala.
The NIA said in a statement issued on Monday evening that it arrested Riyas Aboobacker alias Abu Dujana, a resident of Palakkad in Kerala, in Kasargode area of the southern state on Monday. He would be produced before a NIA court in Kochi, Kerala, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
The agency statement said that during interrogation, Riyas has disclosed that he has been following the speeches and videos of Sri Lanka’s National Towheed Jamaath (NTJ) leader Zahran Hashim, the mastermind of Easter Sunday terror attacks in the island nation, for more than a year and also followed the speeches of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.
According to the NIA, Riyas said he has been in online contact with absconding accused Abdul Rashid Abdulla alias Abu Isa for a long time and has been following his audio clips including the clip which he had circulated on social media platform instigating others to carry out terror attacks in India.
He also revealed that he was also having online chat with Abdul Khayoom alias Abu Khalid, another suspected IS operative who was believed to be in Syria, the NIA said.
The NIA said it had earlier received inputs that a group of four persons has been in contact with some of the accused Abdul Rashid, Ashfaq Majeed and Abdul Khayoom who had already migrated to Afghanistan and Syria.
The anti-terror agency carried out searches at three places (two in Kasaragod and one in Palakkad district) in Kerala yesterday. Three group members have been interrogated for their suspected ISIS links and their plans in connection with a case registered in July, 2016 following the disappearance of 15 youths from Kasargod and their subsequent migration to ISIS (14 persons to Afghanistan and one person to Syria).
NIA officials suspect the Sri Lanka attacks were part of a bigger plot to foment terror in the region and soon after the incidents in that country the agency conducted raids in Kerala and adjoining Tamil Nadu state to track down suspected IS operatives.
Riyas, according to NIA sleuths, was in contact with Hashim and had sent some members of the Kasargod IS module to Sri Lanka for religious studies.
Indian intelligence agencies said Hashim had visited Tamil Nadu and Kerala in 2017 and 2018 and Riyas may have met him at that time.