The National Investigation Agency on Monday arrested a 29-year-old man with alleged links to the Islamic State group who was planning to carry out a suicide attack in Kerala. The man, Riyas A, is a resident of Palakkad, the agency said.
The suspect was arrested as part of the agency’s inquiry into the disappearance of 15 people in Kasargod in 2016. Over 20 people from Kasargod and Palakkad had gone missing in July 2016 and were feared to have joined the Islamic State group in Afghanistan and Syria.
The agency said that during interrogation, Riyas had claimed that he followed the speeches and videos of Zahran Hashim, the alleged mastermind of the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka which killed 253 people, and religious preacher Zakir Naik. He also admitted that he wanted to carry out a suicide attack in Kerala.
Riyas also disclosed he had been in contact online with Islamic State operative Abdul Rashid Abdulla and followed his audio clips, including one that he had circulated on social media instigating others to carry out terror attacks in India.
Abdulla was the leader of the group of people from Kerala who had travelled to Afghanistan to join the Islamic State. He is also suspected to have been in contact with Hashim.
“He [Riyas A] revealed that he was also having online chat with Abdul Khayoom alias Abu Khalid [another Islamic State suspect] who is believed to be in Syria,” the NIA said.
The agency also said it had received inputs that a group of four people had been in contact with some of the accused who had already moved to Syria and Afghanistan. Following this, the NIA had carried out searches at three places in Kerala on Sunday in connection with an inquiry into the Islamic State terrorist group’s recruitment network in the state.