14 years in jail for IS plot
A special NIA court here on Wednesday sentenced to 14 years’ rigorous imprisonment a man arrested in connection with a conspiracy to carry out terror strikes across Kerala and neighbouring states in 2016.
The court had on Monday found guilty six persons, including prime accused Manseed Mehmood, under various sections of the IPC and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), including offences relating to conspiracy and membership of a terrorist organisation and support given to a terrorist organisation.
One of the accused, Jasim N.K., was acquitted.
The six had been arrested by the National Investigation Agency in connection with the Kanakamala Islamic State terror plot to target prominent persons and foreign tourists.
Special judge P. Krishna Kumar said they “arrogate themselves to the merchants of death for flourishing their perverted ideas in this land of literature and secularism”.
The judge handed 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment to second accused Swalih Mohammed and seven years’ rigorous imprisonment to third accused Rashid Ali.
While fourth accused N.K. Ramshad and eighth accused Moinuddin were sentenced to three years’ rigorous imprisonment, fifth accused Safvan was handed eight years’ rigorous imprisonment.
The court also slapped fines of varying amounts on each of the convicts.
It has found that they had not joined the IS but made it clear that they were qualified to be called members of a terror gang. “…All the convicts had orchestrated a plan to support the IS, a terror outfit,” the court said.
It is almost an inviable rule that in such cases, while deciding punishment, “a sympathetic approach is out of place”, the judge said.
The court appreciated chief investigating officer A.P. Shoukkathali’s work on the case.
It observed that prime accused Manseed, who had masterminded most of the criminal acts in the case, deserved more stringent punishment than the others.
“When the chat conversations in the Telegram group were examined, it was found that he had motivated, enticed and incited all others into his plan, apart from devising a detailed plan to execute their task,” the court said.
Highlighting the role played by second accused Swalih Mohammed, the court said he was ready to receive gun and poison, apparently from IS mercenaries, for the attack they had planned on foreign Jews at Vattakkanal in Kodaikanal.
“It is disheartening that some of the convicts arrogate themselves to the merchants of death for flourishing their perverted ideas in this land of literature and secularism. It is often said that sunlight is the best disinfectant.
“Let us hope that sunlight will also instill sanity to these young men who mistook the sacred religious sanctions for a call for crime,” the court said.
The NIA had busted the IS module at Kanakamala in Kannur district in October 2016 when the operatives were holding a meeting to plan attacks on prominent persons, including judges, police officers and politicians, and foreign tourists.
A case was registered at the NIA police station in Kochi on October 1, 2016, against eight persons from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, besides other unknown persons.