Kashmiri couple living in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar detained by police. Police have accused the couple of links with subcontinental branch of ISIS. Couple exploiting anti-CAA sentiment to sign up people for terror activities

According to a senior official, the couple had been in touch with senior ISKP members in Afghanistan to exploit the ongoing agitation against the amended citizenship law to incite Muslim youth to carry out terror strikes.

A couple from Kashmir, accused of links with the Islamic State - Khorasan Province (ISKP), has been detained by the police from south Delhi’s Jamia Nagar on Sunday morning, people familiar with the development said.

The couple, a senior official associated with the intelligence-driven early morning operation in the national capital Delhi alleged, had been in touch with senior ISKP members in Afghanistan to exploit the ongoing agitation against the amended citizenship law to incite Muslim youth to carry out terror strikes.

“Jahanzaib Sami and wife Hina Bashir Beigh, a couple from Srinagar in Kashmir, have been detained. We are in the process of completing the formalities to place them under arrest,” a senior police officer told Hindustan Times.

Jahanzaib Sami had come to the notice of the Indian intelligence operatives some time back for his association with senior members of ISKP in Afghanistan. The ISKP is the Afghanistan-based affiliate of IS. It appears that he intended to carry out terror strikes including a suicide attack and had also been attempting to procure weapons for this purpose.

For the present, however, Jahanzaib Sami’s activities were largely confined to propaganda for the proscribed terror group on cyber space and had been advocating that the group should expand its focus to the Indian hinterland, and not just Jammu and Kashmir.

Intelligence officials say that Jahanzaib Sami had also been in touch with Huzaifa al-Bakistani, the Pakistani commander of the Islamic State’s Khorasan wing who played a key role in efforts to radicalise Kashmiri youngsters to join the terror group. Huzaifa al-Bakistani, a Pakistani national who first joined the Lashkar-e-Taiba before upgrading to the IS, was a well-known online recruiter for IS.

Huzaifa al-Bakistani was killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan. His death was confirmed in July last year by the media channel of IS which claimed he had given “sleepless nights to Indian agencies.

Jahanzaib Sami’s wife Hina Bashir Beigh was also active on pro-IS handles on social media and facilitated in spotting what the group considered ‘talent’ for its terror activities, a Delhi Police officer said.

In his initial questioning, Jahanzaib Sami is alleged to have told a group of interrogators about his role in publishing and publicising the February edition of the IS magazine Sawt al Hind (Voice of India).

In this edition of the digital magazine, the Islamic State’s subcontinental branch had called on Indian Muslims angered by the Citizenship Amendment Act to abandon political protest, and instead turn to jihadist violence.

“Democracy is not going to save you,” the terrorist group’s magazine released online on 24 February said.

“It is assessed that the magazine, which also ridiculed mainstream Muslim leaders for what it considered deceiving the community’s interests, may have influenced a section of society, particularly Muslim youth,” an intelligence official familiar with investigations against Jahanzaib Sami said.

The official said Jahanzaib Sami had spoken about the role of some other people in connection with the magazine that had attempted to provoke the youth to join ‘jihadi violence’. The effort to identify these alleged associates - including one who he has identified as ‘Al Hind’ - is still on.