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Pro–ISIS Twitter handler sent to judicial custody

Bengaluru, January 2: A special court on Friday sent ISIS Twitter handler Mehdi Masroor Biswas to 14 day judicial custody after his 15–day police custody expired, a top police official said. “Our probe team has collected sufficient evidence from him (Mehdi) on his pro–ISIS propaganda for the banned terrorist outfit (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) during his police custody over the last two weeks,” city Police Commissioner M.N. Reddi told reporters here. The 24–year–old executive in a private firm was arrested on December 14 and a case was registered against him under sections of the Indian Pel Code (IPC), the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Information Technology (IT) Act for waging war against a friendly country.

“With the help of social media experts, we have so far alysed about 12,000 messages Mehdi tweeted/posted on his Facebook account, in which he encouraged youth to join ISIS though it is difficult to establish if recruitment took place,” Reddi said. British News Channel 4 on December 11 unmasked Mehdi as a radical supporter of ISIS through social media and Twitter handler @ShamiWitness where he was regularly tweeting from here on the group’s unlawful activities in Iraq and Syria.

“Investigation so far has revealed that Mehdi is a propagandist of ISIS ideology and has been instrumental in influencing minds against our friendly countries and against whom the terror group is at war,” Reddi said. Mehdi, who hails from Gopalpur town in West Bengal’s dia district, is employed in the foods division of the Kolkata–based ITC Ltd here. “We know Mehdi was in touch with one combatant in Iraq and was of some help to him, informing him of movement of forces and availability of passages. He is a highly radicalised person and has deep knowledge of what he was doing,” Reddi said. Mehdi confessed to the investigation team that he had been operating the Twitter account after he got interested in the developments of the Levantine region comprising Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Gaza Strip, Egypt and Libya. He has about 17,000 Twitter followers and used to aggressively tweet by collecting information and watching developments in the desert region. Mehdi’s Twitter handler was shut on December 12 after the news channel revealed his identity and reported about the terror activities he was carrying in the virtual world beyond office hours. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita

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