‘Sultan tried to influence us using Dabiq’
MUMBAI: Ashfaque Ahmed, an ISIS recruit who came back to India, has given the NIA a detailed account of how he was brainwashed to join the terrorist group. Ahmed, now a protected witness, had left to join ISIS in December last year.
Ahmed told the agency Ayaz Sultan, alleged to have joined ISIS last year, influenced several young men in Malwani .
Sultan radicalised these men as they were regular visitors of the mosque in Malwani, Ahmed said. Sultan would chat a lot, speak about Jihadi activities and watch videos of Abu Bakar Ali Bagdadi, Mulla Omar and Osama Bin Laden, he said.
In his statement, given in Marathi to the Maharashtra ATS, Ahmed alleged Sultan showed videos about jihad . He used the ISIS magazine ‘Dabiq’ to spread word. He said during Ramzan, he forced the group to follow dates as per Saudi practice and is alleged to have organised a prayer meet to celebrate Ramzan at his sister’s house. After the prayer meet, Ahmed said Sultan motivated all the men to join the ISIS. Ahmed said Sultan’s speech was what made many of them, including him, to join ISIS. Ahmed also alleged in one of the subsequent meetings, Sultan and another accused Mohsin Sayyed, spoke of plans to attack foreigners in India.
Ahmed said the men soon came to know Sultan had already left. Ahmed also said they had met Rizwan Ahmed, a second-in-command of ISIS in India, during his visit to Mumbai.
After Sultan, the youth were contacted by a person using the online identity of ‘Anjaan’ on a social media platform. The agency claimed the ID was used by Yusuf Al-Hindi, who was also Sultan’s handler. It is alleged Anjaan had influenced them to leave the house for jihad through Mohsin Sayyed. Ahmed said in December, Mohsin told two of them to prepare to leave . Ahmed said he and two others and Mohsin Sayyed then left. Ahmed revealed the group was told to move south to escape enforcement agencies, and from there, they were to get further directions. But when they reached a city in the south, Ahmed said they realised they were being followed. The news about their trip was also in the media. This, he said, scared them about the consequences and forced them to see they were on the wrong path.