Bengaluru man who operated ISIS Twitter handle arrested

Monday 15th December 2014 11:13 EST

Bengaluru: Bengaluru police on last Saturday arrested Mehdi Masroor Biswas, 24, from his Jalahalli residence in North Bengaluru, for handling a pro-ISIS Twitter handle. "Mehdi Masroor has confessed that he was operating the ISIS Twitter account, @ShamiWitness," Karnataka DGP Pachau said. The DGP said that his Twitter handle had become a source of information for new recruits of ISIS. He was in touch with the English speaking terrorists from the terrorist group, thereby abetting them.

"Although many of his posts on Twitter were translations from Arabic tweets, but there were some original tweets which we are investigating," the DGP said. The cops, however, said that he has not facilitated any recruitment or even ever travelled outside India.

Hailing from Gopalpur in West Bengal, he worked with an MNC here from 2012 with an annual package of Rs 538,000 and had just been confirmed in March 2014. Mehdi, police said, had an internet package of 60GB which he used extensively to read about Jihadist activities in the Asiatic region and post material that were pro-terror organizations.

An FIR has been registered against him under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and of the IT Act.

Although the cops accused him of abetting terror organizations, police said they've found no evidence to link him to any terrorist organization or of him being a sympathizer. "Investigation has revealed that he was translating posts in Arabic language had that's what it is," police said, adding that he has done nothing about any terror activity in India.

He was only interested in radical Islamic thinking and he just put out things related to the ideology. He has been a voracious reader of events in that region and updated his Twitter handle. Cops said they had no clue of him being in Bangalore and that concrete and reliable intelligence from multiple agencies is what helped them nab him. He was nabbed after the UK’s Channel 4 News reported that the man operating Twitter handle @ShamiWitness “is called Mehdi and he is an executive in Bangalore working for an Indian conglomerate”.

According to the channel, Mehdi was instrumental in recruiting jihadis from the UK using his Twitter handle as the propaganda machine for the Islamic State. The channel said that his tweets were seen “two million times each month, making him perhaps the most influential Islamic State Twitter account, with over 17,700 followers.”

Mehdi told the channel that he was not a member of the Islamic State but approved of its actions. “I am not in contact with any Jihadist… Just because somebody follows me Twitter does mean that I told them to join the ISIS,” he said in an interview.

comments powered by Disqus

to the free, weekly Asian Voice email newsletter