Indian police arrest man allegedly behind pro-Isis Twitter account

The Twitter account backing Isis had more than 17,000 followers

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A man believed to be the handler of a popular Twitter account supporting the self-proclaimed Islamic State has been detained by police in southern India during the early hours of this morning.

Mehdi Masroor Biswas, a 24-year-old engineer who was working as a manufacturing executive, was being questioned by authorities in Bangalore after being apprehended at his one-room rented property.

A senior police officer gave no other details and spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak to journalists – however it is believed that Channel 4 in the UK had yesterday exposed his identity. In an interview given to the Indian Express, Biswas said his claims to Channel 4 were simply meant to get reporters off his back.

It was not clear whether Biswas, who had 17,000 Twitter followers, was being questioned for his role as a supporter or whether authorities have reason to believe that he had actual links to the militant group. 

A statement released by Bengaluru Police said the suspect became interested in the developments of the Middle East and Levantine regions from 2003 onwards and “became active on internet late into the nights.”

 

It says: “He was particularly close to the English-speaking terrorists of Isis and became a source of incitement and information for the new recruits trying to join Isis/Isil.

“Through his social media propaganda he abetted Isil in its agenda to wage war against Asiatic powers.”

His Twitter account (@shamiwitness) has been deleted, but Channel 4 described Biswas as one of the militant group's most influential Twitter supporters with more than 2 million views each month. 

When asked by the British channel if he believed he did anything wrong, he said : “No I haven't done anything wrong. I haven't harmed anybody, I haven't broken any laws of the country. I haven't raised any war or any violence against the public of India. So no.”

He is further reported by Indian Express to have claimed that “somebody must have hacked my email account and used it to upload stuff. I have been framed. Someone must have planted this.”

Channel 4 described the account as a "leading conduit of information between jihadis, supporters, and recruits.”

The Islamic State group that has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria and declared a self-styled caliphate, or Islamic empire, in areas under its control embraces social media platforms such as Twitter and YouTube.

Comments