ISIS operatives declared village in Maharashtra's Thane as 'liberated zone' part of Syria: NIA
According to the NIA, the ISIS module aimed to motivate Muslim youth to relocate to Padgha to strengthen their base. The accused, operating on foreign directives, were involved in various terrorist activities, including the fabrication of improvised explosive devices (IEDs)
National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials have claimed that suspects linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had self-declared the village of Padgha in Maharashtra's rural Thane as a 'liberated zone' and as 'Al-Sham' (Syria), and that they were motivating impressionable Muslim youth to relocate in Padgha from their place of residence for strengthening the Padgha base. In a major operation against ISIS, the (NIA), in collaboration with Maharashtra Police and ATS Maharashtra, arrested 15 operatives associated with the banned terror organization. The arrests were made during widespread raids across Maharashtra and Karnataka.
NIA teams conducted simultaneous operations at 44 locations in Padgha-Borivali, Thane, Mira Road, and Pune in Maharashtra, as well as Bengaluru in Karnataka. The accused were apprehended for promoting terror-related activities on the instructions of their foreign handlers.
The operatives, acting under foreign directives, were actively involved in various terrorist activities, including the fabrication of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), to advance the violent agenda of ISIS, according to NIA investigations.
The raids led to the seizure of substantial amounts of unaccounted cash, firearms, sharp-edged weapons, incriminating documents, smartphones, and other digital devices. The seized items included one pistol, two air guns, eight swords/knives, two laptops, six hard disks, three CDs, 38 mobile phones, 10 magazine books, over Rs 68 lakh in cash, and 51 Hamas flags.
The arrested individuals, members of the ISIS Maharashtra module, operated from Padgha-Borvali, where they conspired to spread terror and violence across India. The accused, following the path of violent Jihad, Khilafat, and ISIS, aimed to disrupt peace, and communal harmony, and wage war against the Government of India.
Initial investigations revealed that the accused had self-declared Padgha in rural Thane as a 'liberated zone' and 'Al Sham.' They encouraged Muslim youth to relocate to Padgha to strengthen their base.
The main accused, Mohd Saquib Abdul Hamid Nachan, self-declared leader of the arrested persons, administered the 'bayath' (oath of alliance towards the Khalifa of ISIS) to those joining the proscribed organization.
Other arrested individuals include Hasib Zuber Mulla, Kashif Abdul Sattar Balere, Saif Ateeque Nachan, Rehan Ashfaque Suse, Shagaf Safiq Divkar, Firoz Dastagir Kuwari, Adil Ilyas Khot, Musab Haseeb Mulla, Rafil Abdul Latif Nachan, Yahya Ravish Khot, Razil Abdul Latif Nachan, Farhan Ansar Suse, Mukhlis Maqbool Nachan, and Munzir Abubakar Kunnathpeedikal, all originally from the Thane district.
Adil Khot was found in possession of flags, and weapons were recovered from Firoz Dastagir Kuwan, Razil Abul Nachan, Zeeshan Ajaz Mulla, and Mukhlis Maqbool Nachan. Cash was seized from Saif Ateeque Nachan, Rehan Ashfaq Suse, and Atif Nasir Mulla.
NIA has undertaken strong actions to dismantle various ISIS modules and networks, aiming to thwart the organization's violent anti-India agenda. The case was taken over by NIA from the Special Cell of Delhi Police on November 6, 2023, and investigations have revealed links to previous arrests of ISIS terrorists.