Mehdi, an advertisement executive from Bangalore, ran one of the most popular Twitter accounts for ISIS under the handle @shamiwitness. His now-defunct account had close to 18,000 followers and nearly two million visitors a month. His blog and Facebook account have also been deleted.
Some media reports said he hailed from West Bengal and that he lived in Bengaluru with his parents.
Mehdi was tracked down by UK's Channel 4, which led to a dash by India's intelligence agencies to nab the man, who had reportedly fled the city.
"If I had a chance, I would have left everything and joined them. But my family needs me here," he told the channel.
He later told the channel that he "doesn't know what to do" after the police started looking for him.
HuffPost India dug up some of his Twitter messages and tracked reactions on social media.
What they said on Twitter:
Shami Witness cheered when people were beheaded - but when outed by the news, he begged for privacy claiming his life would be endangered.— Shiraz Maher (@ShirazMaher) December 11, 2014
The islamic State outsourced to Bangalore. The jokes pretty much write themselves.— Angry Brown Man (@AListRap) December 12, 2014
Thank You Channel 4 for tracking down #ShamiWitness and doing what our Intelligence Agency / NSA is not capable of doing— Joy (@Joydas) December 12, 2014
Find him and eliminate the germ---> Bengaluru man who operates ISIS Twitter handle may have fled the city: Cops http://t.co/oRxcBhfXCK— Axomiya Jiyori (@SouleFacts) December 12, 2014
Acc to his (now deactivated) FB-page pro-ISIS tweep Shami Witness wrote on March 18 2011 that he "is in a relationship and it's complicated"— Harald Doornbos (@HaraldDoornbos) December 11, 2014
Shami Witness... Anjem Choudhary. Funny how some of the biggest advocates for Islamic State are too cowardly to move there— Sunny Hundal (@sunny_hundal) December 11, 2014
i am so relieved and happy that @jakefogelnest has never been a member of the terror organization ISIS. good on him for not being in it ever— jon hendren (@fart) December 12, 2014
ISIS top Twitter account being managed by a Bengaluru executive but we must maintain our secular credentials & ignore http://t.co/WXiIRPW5Gl— Priti Gandhi (@MrsGandhi) December 12, 2014
Whatever the Indian company is that Shami Witness works for, forget the ISIS fanboyism: when did this gimp actually do any work?— Michael Weiss (@michaeldweiss) December 11, 2014
Bengaluru man who operated isis twitter handle has fled the city
Wow 👍👏👏 good work intelligence agencies lemme know wen u guys wake up— GEETA KAPOOR #HDL (@geetaSkapoor) December 12, 2014
It's ironic that the most modern communication medium twitter is being used to propagate the most retrograde cause. http://t.co/qcmVamyjiR— AWADHESH KUMAR (@awadkum) December 12, 2014
Offence is the best defence against these people
" Executive from Bengaluru operates ISIS twitter handle http://t.co/KoSVqRDyNr "— Vivek Pandey (@Bharat_Putra) December 12, 2014