Image: ThePrint    

A Ranchi engineer, with alleged ties to pro-Jihadi groups and currently lodged in a Turkish jail, had helped upgrade IS drones and missiles, a recent report has claimed.

Arshiyan Haider, an AMU-educated engineer, has been accused of designing suicide drones and short-range missiles that revolutionised the arsenals of the Islamic State or ISIS, a report in The Print said.

The report added that he not only increased the lethality and accuracy of the drone systems, but was also working on short-range missiles which could attack armour and ships.

The Ranchi engineer was working in Dammam, Saudi Arabia when he got in touch with pro-jihadi Indians between 2012 and 2015. He later shifted to Turkey, where he was later arrested in 2017 for his involvement in terrorist activities.

Like Haider, there are at least 40 other Indian nationals, who are now believed to be held in SDF-run camps and in Turkish and Libyan jails. A similar 2021 US State Department report on terrorism stated that there were 66 known Indian-origin fighters affiliated with ISIS.

Hera are some of the instances where Indian nationals joined ISIS and made headlines:

Islamic State Twitter Account Handler

In 2014, Mehdi Masroor Biswas, the handler of a pro-Islamic State twitter account @ShamiWitness, was arrested from Bangalore. According to police statement, the 24-year-old engineer from West Bengal has been working as a manufacturing executive in a multinational company in Bangalore since 2012.

Biswas was close to the English-speaking ISIS terrorists and became a source of incitement and information for the new recruits trying to join ISIS/ISIL.

Salman Mohiuddin

Salman Mohiuddin, a US-trained Hyderabad engineer, was arrested while he was trying to join ISIS. He was held from Hyderabad airport in 2015, while he was trying to board a flight to Dubai, with police saying he was on his way to Syria and then planned to return to India to carry out anti-national activities.

Thayyib Sheikh Meeran

Thayyib Sheikh Meeran, a Tamilian and a Canadian permanent resident whose hails from Vellore in Tamil Nadu, was working for Hewlett-Packard. He held a well-paid position at Hewlett Packard when he decided to migrate to the Islamic State in 2015 with his family.

Kerala Suicide Bomber

Abu Bakr Al-Hindi, a Malayali engineer who joined the terrorist organisation, was learnt to be dead while fighting in Libya. In June 2021, reports said that an IS document titled ‘Know your martyrs’ had the engineer’s details listed.

The report said that Abu Bakr Al-Hindi was a Christian who embraced Islam while working in the Middle East. According to the IS document, he is the first ‘Istishhadi’ (suicide bomber or ‘martyr’ in an attack) from India to be killed on the African continent.