A fortnight after the National Investigation Agency arrested a suspected Al Qaeda terrorist in Bengaluru, six suspected ISIS sympathisers were detained by the NIA in the wee hours of Friday during raids held across the state.
Four persons were picked up from different areas in Bengaluru city, while the other two suspects - Nazmul Huda (25) from Permude village in Bajpe, Mangaluru and Syed Mujahid (25) from Tumakuru were arrested by NIA with the help of the Anti-Terrorism Squad and state police.
According to sources, the police recovered laptops and arms and ammunition (two AK-47 rifles) during the raids in Bengaluru. While Nazmul is a chemical engineering dropout, Syed has studied till the SSLC. They allegedly spread ISIS propaganda among the youth.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Home Minister G. Parmeshwara, who confirmed the arrests, refused to elaborate, stating "NIA is handling it and there is no information with us."
However, the home department has confirmed that at least 40 youths were under the radar and the online surveillance (monitoring of social media) was an ongoing exercise to check online radicalisation of the youth.
The investigators are likely to probe the possible links of the suspects to a threat letter received by the French Consulate in Bengaluru warning against French President Francoise Hollande's visit to India to attend the forthcoming Republic Day celebrations in Delhi.
The arrests are believed to be based on the information given to the police by Maulana Anzar Shah Khasmi (61), a terror suspect and a Madarasa teacher, who was picked up by the NIA on January 6 for his alleged hate speeches and radicalisation of the youth.