14/05/2016 9:53 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

ISIS Recruits Were Asked To Infiltrate Students' Agitation After Kanhaiya's Arrest: Report

Adnan Abidi / Reuters
Demonstrators shout slogans as they hold placards during a protest demanding the release of Kanhaiya Kumar, a Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student union leader accused of sedition, in New Delhi, India, March 2, 2016. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Three recruits of the Indian branch of the dreaded terror outfit ISIS have claimed in statements made to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), accessed by the Times of India, that they were asked to infiltrate the students' agitation that swept the country after the arrest of JNU student union president Kanhaiya Kumar, to create further chaos and mayhem.

The three -- Ashiq Ahmad, Mohammad Abdul Ahad and Mohammad Afzal -- have told NIA that ISIS's Ahmad Ali, believed to be Shafi Armar, the head of ISIS in India who was allegedly killed in a recent US drone strike, asked 19-year-old Ashiq to infiltrate the movement and "burn vehicles and oil tankers using petrol", the TOI reported. This happened during Kumar's incarceration in the Tihar jail in the national capital on sedition charges.

The 28-year-old left-wing student leader's arrest had triggered massive demonstrations in universities across the country. Even at the hearing in a lower court, lawyers chanting nationalist slogans had barged into the compound and roughed up Kumar, on his way to court. The arrest came after Kumar and other students marked the anniversary of the hanging of Afzal Guru, who was convicted of an attack on Indian parliament in 2001.

"He told me that a student movement is happening in the country and that we should enter and put vehicles, oil tankers on fire," Ashiq said, quoting Ahmed Ali, who contacted him on February 19 through his ID on Trillion app, according to the paper.

He told me that a student movement is happening in the country and that we should enter and put vehicles, oil tankers on fire.

In a sweeping, nationwide operation, the NIA captured Ashiq, a student of a private poly-technique college in Durgapur in Burdwan district, on February 25 from his mess near Panagarh military base, according to reports.

He was operating under the alias Raja Das and wanted to set up a unit of ISIS in West Bengal.

"When I asked Ali for a pistol and sent him a picture of a temple near my place (in Hooghly) where we could have carried out a blast to impress him, he told me that we will not do anything small," TOI quoted Ashiq as telling the NIA. Ashiq said he was drawn towards "jihad" after breaking up with his Hindu girlfriend, according to the paper.

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