Indian intelligence agencies de-radicalised a young woman hailing from Maharashtra’s Pune twice, but she still went back to the Islamic State (ISIS), said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in its chargesheet.
According to the NIA, the agency had counselled Sadiya Anwar Shaikh, a resident of Yerwada in Pune, when she was a minor back in 2015 and then again in 2018.
The agency arrested Shaikh in July for being a part of a conspiracy pertaining to the ISIS after the efforts to de-radicalise her failed. The NIA filed the charge sheet against her in September.
She had come under the radar of the NIA in 2015 when she was just 15 years old. The agency took note of her for her radical content on social media platforms. Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik is one of her inspirations, said the agency in the charge sheet.
The Pune Anti-Terror Squad de-radicalised her in 2015 and let her off. However, she resumed radical activities on social media. Later in 2018, the Jammu and Kashmir Police de-radicalised her and handed her over to her mother after the process.
The investigation agency has said in its charge sheet that the woman has been in touch with agents of various terror groups like the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), Islamic State in Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK), al Qaeda, Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH) in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, among other countries, since 2015.
She was in touch with a key IS “online motivator” from the Philippines, Karen Aisha Hamidon, who radicalised several Indian youngsters. NIA officials even travelled to Manila in April 2018 and questioned Hamidon.
The NIA has claimed that Sadiya and Nabeel S Khatri, a resident of Pune, were “planning to carry out violent terrorist attacks” and “arranging logistic support” in India and were in touch with “IS sympathisers”. They said that Sadiya and Nabeel were working for the Islamic State Khorasan Province, a banned organisation. A case was initially filed in the matter in March 2020 by a special cell of the Delhi police.
But on 12 July, Raheema still knew nothing about the NIA’s allegations. She kept her calm and cooperated with the police team.