In a major achievement for India, the US department of state on Thursday designated the chief and principal recruiter of Islamic State in India, Mohammad Shafi Armar, who also goes by his online name as Yousuf-al Hindi, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT).
Shafi has reportedly become an important ally of IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and deputies in establishing the outfit in India. The US move not only verifies the identity and existence of the elusive ISIS India head but also clears rumours about his death in Syria. This also indicates that the report of his proximity with IS chief Abu Bakr al Baghdadi could well be true.
It is suspected that Shafi was in touch with at least 600-700 Indian youngsters on closed Facebook groups and messaging platforms like Trillion, Surespot, WhatsApp and Skype over the past few years.
27-year-old Shafi, a native of Bhatkal in Karnataka, had taken over outfit’s India franchise after his brother Sultan Armar’s death in March 2015 in a US drone strike in Syria.
Listed on the Interpol website, Shafi had recently formed JKH by dismantling the Ansar-ul-Tauhid (AuT). AuT was born out of Indian Mujahideen (IM) after Shafi and Sultan developed differences with Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal, the Pakistan-based chiefs of IM, over misuse of funds received for terror activities.
NIA, during a countrywide crackdown last year, had arrested around 23 recruits of JKH, who had owed allegiance to the IS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi on the directions of Armar. India had approached US and UN to designate Shafi Armar as a “global terrorist”.
“Mohammad Shafi Armar is a leader and head recruiter in India for the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) group, Islamic State.
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