SHAMI WITNESS, ISIS Voice on Twitter Arrested in India

SHAMI WITNESS, ISIS Voice on Twitter Arrested in India
Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:06:25

Mehdi Masroor Biswas, the 24-year-old engineer by training and an executive in an Indian multinational company, was arrested on Saturday, accused of being the key voice of the global terrorist group ISIS on Twitter,Times of India reports.

Biswas had been broadcasting the group's terror missions and luring recruits to fight in the Syrian and other Middle East theatres.

Mehdi Masroor Biswas

A Bengali-speaker from Kolkata, Biswas owned @ShamiWitness, a Twitter handle that propagated the violent ideology of the ISIS. He was arrested by a special team from his residence in Jalahalli in north Bengaluru.

Police described him as a radical ideologue of the terrorist cause, who reportedly told interrogators, "India does not have real Muslims capable of jihad". A senior police officer who interrogated him said Biswas supported ISIS because he felt they were fighting "the real war".

Although police are yet to find a direct link between Biswas and ISIS or any other terrorist group, the officer said, "He told us he wanted to be in the creamy layer of the operations and not fight on the ground. His intentions were to support the cause and play the role of a strategist."

An electrical engineer working as a manufacturing executive for a multinational with a diverse product portfolio, Biswas thought he would never be caught. "He introduced himself as a Libyan man living in the UK to his followers and ISIS members following him on Twitter, and never revealed his real identity or location," the officer said.

Biswas masked his static IP address, preventing police from tracking his location immediately. The cops eventually reached his doorstep by tracking his mobile phone and on the basis of information from intelligence agencies. Bengaluru police commissioner MN Reddi denied his department ignored an intelligence input provided earlier. They acted swiftly and made the arrest, he maintained.

Biswas began posting pro-jihadi information on Twitter in early 2011. Police said he was well read and had in-depth knowledge of the Levant, the French word for the west Asia region that includes Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Turkey. He propagated the ISIS cause, retweeting the extremist group's videos showing beheading of western hostages, and even justifying and defending these acts.

'Biswas abetted English-speaking terrorists'

Karnataka DGP Lalrokhuma Pachau told reporters, "His Twitter handle had become a source of information for new recruits of ISIS. He was in touch with the English-speaking terrorists, thereby abetting them." Reddi, however, said Biswas was not recruited directly by ISIS; neither did he have any role in recruiting cadres for the group. "He never travelled outside India," Reddi added.

Biswas retweeted many Arabic posts translated into English. The Twitter handle @ShamiWitness, now closed, had 17,700 followers.

He is accused of abetting ISIS crimes in Syria and an ardent follower of an extremist ideology, Biswas lived two lives. One was his day job that got him Rs 5.38 lakh per annum; the other was of a terrorist sympathizer propagating the cause in the night. He had a 60GB monthly internet plan.

Hailing from Gopalpur in West Bengal, Biswas led a quiet life in a single-bedroom apartment in Aiyappa Layout, Jalahalli. His father, a retired employee of the West Bengal Electricity Board, and two older sisters live in Kolkata.

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