A report by The Indian Express has revealed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is on the lookout for Sajeer Mangalachari Abdullah, who had allegedly influenced several people from Kerala to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in July this year.
So far 67 Indian have joined the ISIS through the diaspora, though the NIA suspect the number could be higher. The men recruited by Abdullah are all educated professionals, some of whom have moved to West Asia with their wives and children.
According to reports, Abdullah, son of a truck driver in Kozhikode, had headed back to Dubai in April after a holiday at home. After reaching his destination, he seemed to have vanished without a trace.
The NIA, on the hunt for Abdullah, say he may have moved his operation to the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan — described by one intelligence source as "about as close as you can get to a black hole" — believed to be a destination of choice for Indians keen to join the ISIS. With raging offensives in Raqqa and Mosul, the focus of training seems to have shifted to this obscure base, where DIY instructions on "manufacturing explosive devices" are being dispensed.
According to the NIA, Abdullah asked his men to strike out against Israeli tourists, leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and judges seen to have given anti-Muslim verdicts in Kodaikanal.
Another recruiter, Doha-based Manseed Bin Mohamed, who also moved from Kerala a few years ago, had tracked the activities of Hindu organisations for a few years, before he decided to opt for direct action. He is believed to have co-opted several men from his family into the ISIS.
Subhani haja Moideen, a resident of Tamil Nadu, was also arrested this month on charges of planning attacks on instructions from ISIS leaders. His task was to kill foreigners visiting South India and to carry it out, he had contemplated using machetes to decapitate his victims.
Moideen, who had allegedly been recruited online in 2015, and had moved to Turkey, was imprisoned by the ISIS after he fled the battlefield, following a missile attack. He was released after he paid a fine and allowed to return home.
The Indian consulate issued him emergency papers as he had lost his passport, but security officials back home were not notified of the fact that Moideen had failed to account for his time in Turkey. As a result, he returned home and resumed normal life, even found a job with a jewellery store in Tirunelveli.
Also on HuffPost: