Ahead of the Republic day, police on Friday arrested at least 14 alleged ISIS ‘sympathisers’ from across the country.
The arrests were made in Karnataka, Hyderabad, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh by National Investigation Agency (NIA) and state police forces.
The crackdown comes days after the arrest of a madrassa teacher from Karnataka for suspected links with al-Qaeda. The office of the Consulate General of France had also received a threat letter against French President Francois Hollande’s proposed visit to India on the occasion of the Republic Day.
Six suspected terrorists were arrested in Karnataka in coordination with the state police, Home Minister G Parameshwara said.
“I have been informed that NIA and State Police have arrested six suspected terrorists in the state. Interrogation and gathering of information from them is still going on,” Parameshwara told reporters here.
He said among those arrested four were from Bengaluru, one from Tumkuru and one was from Hubli. They have been identified as Asif, Afzal, Syed Mujahid and Ahad.
The suspect nabbed from Maharashtra’s Mumbra is said to be in his 30s and was arrested in a joint operation by sleuths from the Maharashtra ATS and the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
With increased activities of ISIS supporters online, the government has taken the threat of the dreaded terror group seriously and asked states to remain alert.
“The ISIS threat is real. As per our input, the days leading to the Republic Day are crucial. We have instructed everyone to be alert against the possibility of ‘lone wolf attack’ anywhere in the country,” a senior government official said.
Mohammad Sirazudin, an executive of the Indian Oil Corporation, who was arrested in Jaipur in December 2015 for allegedly spreading ISIS activities online and trying to recruit Indian youths in the Middle-East terrorist group, was allegedly on the verge of turning into a ‘lone wolf’.