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Assam STF hands over arrested ISIS operatives to NIA

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Guwahati, Mar 21: The Special Task Force (STF) of Assam Police, on Thursday handed over the two arrested ISIS leaders to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), officials said here.

The ISIS operatives, who were wanted accused of NIA, were apprehended during a manhunt launched by the STF along the international border in the Dharmasala area of western Assam’s Dhubri district early morning on Wednesday.

The arrested persons were identified as Haris Farooqi alias Harish Ajmal Farukhi of Chakrata, Dehradun, who is the head of ISIS operations in India, and his associate, Anurag Singh alias Rehan of Diwana, Panipat, who converted to Islam. They were later brought to the STF office here.

Addressing mediapersons here on Thursday afternoon, IGP (STF) Assam, Partha Sarathi Mahanta, who led the successful operation, said, “We have handed the two ISIS leaders to NIA. NIA is proceeding with their arrest and other legal procedures…we will be working together with NIA and, any action that Assam Police needs to take regarding the revelations and other facts that would come up during investigation, we will take in Assam. For other parts of the country, the NIA is already on the job and the investigation agency will be taking follow-up action.”

Notably, the apprehended persons were highly indoctrinated and motivated leaders/ members of ISIS in India. They had furthered the cause of ISIS in India through conspiracies to carry out recruitment, terror funding and terror acts by means of IEDs at several places across India.

Several cases are pending against them at NIA, Delhi and ATS, Lucknow.

Giving details, the IGP, STF said the search operation was conducted on the basis of information received from a central agency 15 days back about the possible movement of top-rung ISIS leaders in certain parts of Dhubri district.

“Since the information was credible, the STF was prompted to take action and, accordingly, we deployed our men in the probable areas of movement of the two ISIS men. However, on March 19, we received specific information about their possible movement. Subsequently, I took an STF team along with additional SP, STF, Kalyan Pathak, to the general area of Dharmasala of Dhubri in the intervening night of March 19 and 20,” Mahanta said.

He further said that on Wednesday morning, the STF team detected two men in the area, who were walking and apparently looking for transportation, and apprehended them. “We had photographs of the top-rung leaders of ISIS with us, which matched them,” Mahanta said.

The IGP, STF further said since the two ISIS leaders were wanted by the NIA in a pending case, the information about their arrest was shared with the apex investigation agency and the two were subsequently handed over to the agency.

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