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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Sri Lanka launches probe after 4 Lankan nationals with IS links arrested in India: Report

Public Security Minister Tiran Alles and Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Deshabandu Tennakoon said they were taking these reports seriously and closely monitoring the developments

PTI Colombo Published 21.05.24, 03:48 PM
The four Sri Lankan nationals after being arrested by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) for their alleged links to the Islamic State (IS), during a press conference, in Ahmedabad.

The four Sri Lankan nationals after being arrested by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) for their alleged links to the Islamic State (IS), during a press conference, in Ahmedabad. PTI picture.

Sri Lanka has launched an investigation to obtain information on four of its citizens with links to the banned Islamic State, who were arrested in India when on an alleged mission to carry out terror activities in the country, a media report said on Tuesday.

Acting on a tip-off, the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on Sunday apprehended four Sri Lankan nationals at the Sardar Vallabhai Patel airport in Ahmedabad after they travelled from Colombo via Chennai.

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The men travelled to India to carry out terror activities at the behest of the banned terror outfit Islamic State (IS) and are members of IS radicalised by a leader from Sri Lanka who is living in Pakistan, according to the Indian police.

Sri Lanka’s state intelligence has asked for further information from its Indian counterpart to verify the background of the suspects and probe their links to the IS, the Daily Mirror newspaper reported.

Sri Lankan authorities will "immediately investigate" to take further action once the information is obtained, the newspaper said, citing sources.

Public Security Minister Tiran Alles and Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Deshabandu Tennakoon said they were taking these reports seriously and closely monitoring the developments.

Alles and Tennakoon said they would initiate discussions with Indian authorities to gather detailed information about the suspects and their activities, the report said.

“We are working in close coordination with our Indian counterparts to ensure that all necessary measures are taken to address any potential threat," Alles was quoted as saying.

The accused, Mohammad Nusrat (35), Mohammad Faarukh (35), Mohammad Nafran (27) and Mohammad Rasdeen (43), informed investigators that they were earlier associated with the banned Sri Lankan radical militant outfit, National Thowheeth Jamath (NJT), and joined IS after getting in touch with Pakistani handler Abu Bakr Al Bagdadi, said Gujarat Director General of Police Vikas Sahay.

The ATS team recovered three Pakistan-made pistols and 20 cartridges lying abandoned at a location in the city's Nana Chiloda area based on geo-coordinates and photographs found on the mobile phone seized from the accused, Sahay said, adding that the men were allegedly directed by their Pakistani handler to collect these.

"They got in touch with Abu (the IS leader in Pakistan) in February this year and remained in contact with him through social media and were completely radicalised by the ideology," he said.

Their leader ordered them to carry out terrorist activities in India, to which they agreed, and even showed readiness to carry out suicide bombings, Sahay said.

The men were paid Rs 4 lakh in Sri Lankan currency to carry out the activities, he said.

The mobile phones recovered from the accused had photographs and documents showing their association with IS, and an IS flag was also recovered from their bag, and two such flags were recovered from the abandoned parcel containing weapons, the official said.

The men were instructed to leave these flags at the site of their terror activities, he said.

Interrogations revealed that Abu had informed the accused about the weapons hidden at the given location in Ahmedabad for their use, he said.

The pistols carried star marks, and cartridges were prima facie found to be made in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) of Pakistan, he said.

One of the four arrested terrorists, Mohammad Nusrat, also holds a valid visa for Pakistan.

The men were booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Indian Penal Code, and Arms Act, and further investigation was underway, Sahay said.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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