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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Wayanad native ISIS conspirator found guilty by NIA court, had been radicalized by Tablighi Jamaat preacher

Nashidul Hamzafar (28) from Kalpatta in Wayanad district of Kerala who tried to join the Islamic State (ISIS/ Daesh) in Afghanistan has been found guilty by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Ernakulam. The verdict came this Wednesday and the quantum of punishment will be pronounced next week. An NIA press release confirmed the same and added that Hamzafar pleaded guilty to all charges. 

Hamzafar had followed several other youths (women included) from Kerala to join the terror outfit in Afghanistan between May and July 2016. The NIA court convicted him of criminal conspiracy, waging war against a friendly country and for being part of a terrorist organization. 

The missing person case was initially registered by Chandera police in Kasaragod and was later handed over to the NIA.  Hamzafar left India on October 3, 2017, traveled to Muscat, crossed into Iran and ultimately reached Kabul. He was arrested by Afghan security agencies that same month for illegally entering the country and attempting to join ISIS.  

Hamzafar was detained in Afghanistan for several months and then deported from Kabul to Bharat in September 2018. NIA officials arrested him and took him to Ernakulam where he was charged, in March 2019. 

His interrogation revealed how the jihadi outfit ran an elaborate system to attract young educated youth from Bharat to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. ISIS used encrypted social media platforms like Telegram and financially sponsored their travel.

Hamzafar is the son of a regional transport office broker from Wayanad. His religious indoctrination began when he met a Tablighi Jamaat cleric in Bangalore in 2011 while pursuing his Bachelor’s in Business Administration. The Islamic preacher transformed Hamzafar and many others into fanaticism, by the end of his course. 

Other classmates of Hamzafar too were drawn into this dirty business. They included Christian converts from Kerala like Bestin Vincent alias Yehya and his brother Bexen alias Isa. Both of them left Bharat along with their wives Merrin Jacob alias Mariyam and Nimisha alias Fathima. Nimisha is a convert to Islam from Hinduism. These ISIS brides were thus indoctrinated and most are still alive while their husbands were eliminated.  

While in college, Hamzafar was following the teachings of Yemeni proselytizer Anwar al-Awlaki and along with his above-mentioned friends organized ‘lectures’ of Islamic preachers like M M Akbar from the Peace Foundation, in Bengaluru. Akbar was later arrested by the Kerala Police after his name popped up in several ISIS-related investigations.

Around 14 people had gone missing from Kerala and migrated to Nangarhar in Afghanistan. They prompted Hamzafar to join them. 

Hamzafar was wired 600 Riyals in Oman through hawala and later 5,000 Dirhams by the Keralites who were already there in Afghanistan. Once in Tehran, Hamzafar was asked to travel to Isfahan, where a man picked him up and put him in a safe house. He was dropped at a deportation camp, headed for Afghanistan.

When he was arrested by the NIA, media houses like The Quint tried to paint a rosy picture by merely reporting his family and educational background. Hindustan Times and The Hindu tried to brush aside these seriously anti-national charges as mere allegations. The church-backed Malayala Manorama and its sister concerns like The Week have also campaigned hard to bring back the ‘children.’

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