Bengaluru police arrest executive allegedly behind pro-IS Twitter handle

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Karnataka Director General of Police L Pachau and Bengaluru Police Commissioner M N Reddi, at a press conference on Saturday said Biwas confessed in custody that he ran the Twitter account, @ShamiWitness.

Biwas, who is working with a multinational food company, confessed  that  he helped new IS terror recruits with his tweets and  was close to English-speaking members of the terror outfit, police said

Son of a retired assistant engineer who worked with the West Bengal Electricity Board, Biswas was tracked to his house through his mobile phone which he did not attempt to switch off.

The Bengaluru police managed to get in touch after getting inputs from their counterparts in Kolkata.The Kolkata police contacted the registrar of Guru Nanak Institute of Technology, Sodepur, where Biswas studied and collected his photographs and admission details from the institute.

Biswas was tracked down by an investigation conducted by Britain’s Channel 4. The channel claimed that he used to run the Twitter account @ShamiWitness with  over 17,000 followers, “two-thirds of whom are foreign fighters” fighting for the IS in Iraq and Syria. His tweets were seen over 2 million times making him the “most influential twitter account” for the IS.

Biswas was frequently seen “advising” people planning to join the IS. One tweet gave advice on how to cross the Turkish border to cross over to Iraq. UK’s Channel 4 contacted him around December 3 following which he shut down his Twitter account.

Biswas has been in Bengaluru from 2012 where he joined a food corporation as a trainee before being absorbed as a permanent employee in 2013.

While India has not banned the IS, it has been designated as a terrorist organisation globally. Spreading their ideology can attract penal provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which is punishable by imprisonment up to life.

“If any of his tweets helped foreign fighters in attacking and killing people, it could lead to a harsher punishment” a senior police officer connected to the investigation told HT.

Biswas was also one of the few to tweet the videos depicting the beheading of US social worker Peter Kessig by the IS within minutes of it being uploaded. Another tweet also encouraged the “deaths and rapes opf Kurdish fighters” fighting the IS in Iraq.

(With inputs from Saikat Datta in New Delhi and Sudipto Mondal in Bengaluru)

http://www.hindustantimes.com/

 

 

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Bengaluru police have arrested the man named by UK-based Channel as the one behind terror group Islamic State’s (IS) most influential Twitter handle, @ShamiWitness, sources said on Saturday.

However the senior police source refused to confirm whether it is Mehdi Masoor Biswas, the man outed in media reports as the man running the pro-terror Twitter handle.

The director general of Karnataka police, Bengaluru city police commissioner and the head of the internal security division are scheduled to share more details at a press conference scheduled for 1pm.

The Bengaluru police managed to get in touch after getting inputs from their counterparts in Kolkata.

The Kolkata police contacted the registrar of Guru Nanak Institute of Technology, Sodepur, where Mehdi studied and collected his photographs and admission details from the institute.

Mehdi was tracked down by an investigation conducted by Britain’s Channel 4. The channel claimed that Mehdi used to run the Twitter account @ShamiWitness with  over 17,000 followers, “two-thirds of whom are foreign fighters” fighting for the IS in Iraq and Syria. His tweets were seen over 2 million times making him the “most influential twitter account” for the IS.

Mehdi was frequently seen “advising” people planning to join the IS. One tweet gave advice on how to cross the Turkish border to cross over to Iraq. UK’s Channel 4 contacted him around December 3 following which Mehdi shut down his Twitter account.

Mehdi’s father, Dr Mekail Biswas is a homeopath who retired from West Bengal State Electricity Board. They live in Kaikhali, Biman Nagar.

According to reports, Mehdi’s mother was with him a few days ago in Bengaluru. He has been in Bengaluru from 2012 where he joined a food corporation as a trainee before being absorbed as a permanent employee in 2013.

While India has not banned the IS, it has been designated as a terrorist organisation globally. Spreading their ideology can attract penal provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which is punishable by imprisonment up to life.

“If any of his tweets helped foreign fighters in attacking and killing people, it could lead to a harsher punishment” a senior police officer connected to the investigation told HT.

Mehdi was also one of the few to tweet the videos depicting the beheading of US social worker Peter Kessig by the IS within minutes of it being uploaded. Another tweet also encouraged the “deaths and rapes opf Kurdish fighters” fighting the IS in Iraq.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/

 

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