Terror attack on TN thwarted; NIA continues searches in Coimbatore

Mohammed H Azarudeen

Chennai: For the second consecutive day, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted searches at three locations in Coimbatore in connection with the deadly terror attack in Sri Lanka in April.

According to sources, sleuths of NIA were raiding the residences of Shajahan at Anbu Nagar, Mohammed at Vincent Road and also at the house of one Shabbiullah.

Yesterday, the NIA had booked six men under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The main accused was identified as Mohammed H Azarudeen (32) of Anbu Nagar in Ukkadam.

His arrest has come as a major development as he was not only a ‘Facebook’ friend of Zahran Hashim – the mastermind and suicide bomber in the Sri Lankan terror plot, but was actively involved in propagating the messages of the suicide bomber on the social media platform.

He was also said to be the leader of the module in Tamilnadu. Owner of a tours and travels agency called KhilafahGFX, he ran a page on Facebook under the same name, in order to propagate the ideology of IS and has also been sharing radical contents attributed to the Sri Lankan suicide bomber, sources said.

“During initial questioning, Azarudeen told us that he had plans to carry out a big attack in Tamilnadu and Kerala but first wanted to hire more youths who will be ready to take up jihad,” said an official familiar with the investigations.

Azarudeen and his associates were arrested after 14 hours of questioning. However, NIA sleuths are yet to establish his involvement in the terror attack in the neighbouring country, which killed more than 250.

The other accused have been identified as Abubacker (29), from Palakkad Main Road in Kuniyamuthur, I Ibrahim alias Shahin Shah (28) and Y Shiek Hidhayathullah (38) of South Ukkadam, A Saddam Hussain (26) and S Akram Sindhaa (26) from Podanur.

These men were found to have been propagating the ideology of terrorist organisations ISIS/ Daish on social media with the intention of recruiting vulnerable youth for carrying out terrorist attacks in South India, especially in Kerala and Tamilnadu, reports say.

During the searches digital devices including 14 mobile phones, 29 SIM cards, 10 pen drives, 3 laptops, 6 memory cards, 4 hard disc drives, 1 internet dongle and 13 CDs/ DVDs besides one dagger, one electric baton, 300 air-gun pellets and a large n umber of incriminating documents and few PFI/ SDMI pamphlets have been seized from the houses and workplaces of accused persons, the officials said.

NT Bureau