New Delhi: Pro-Islamic State (IS) tweeter Mehdi Masroor Biswas was not involved in recruiting for the terror group and his role seemed to be limited to putting material on social networking sites, the Indian government said Monday.
Mehdi Masroor Biswas
Making a suo motu statement in parliament, union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said during interrogation, Biswas, who was arrested early Saturday, denied recruiting any people for the terror group.
"The interrogation of Biswas has indicated that his activities were limited to posting and reposting of pro-IS material on his Twitter account and social media sites. He has denied having recruited any person for IS," he said in separate statements in Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha.
Rajnath Singh informed that during interrogation, Biswas disclosed that more than 60 percent of his Twitter account followers were non-Muslims and a majority of his Muslim followers were from the western countries, particularly Britain.
"Biswas started closely following the developments in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan through internet during his college days and has been active in the social networking sites since 2009," he said. "Over a period of time Biswas started interacting with people in the social networking sites on matters related to 'Jihad'," the minister said.
Biswas was arrested early Saturday following a British news channel Dec 11 unmasking the 24-year-old executive as a supporter of IS through social media and Twitter handle @ShamiWitness. Biswas was picked from his one-room rented house in the northeast suburbs of Bengaluru early Saturday.
Karnataka Director General of Police Lal Rokhuma Pachau had told reporters that Biswas was found asleep by the police team. He was detained, interrogated and arrested on confessing that he was a radical Islamist. A court Sunday sent him to five-day police custody for interrogation.
Rajnath Singh said Biswas has been arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and provisions of the Indian Penal Code. "Through a Twitter account, he was disseminating information for IS and came to light in electronic media in the United Kingdom," the minister said.
He said Biswas belongs to a middle class family from Kolkata and did his electrical engineering from Guru Nanak Dev Institute of Technology in 2012. He joined ITC following a campus recruitment drive and is currently employed with the company. Biswas' father N. Masroor Biswas, who was employed with the West Bengal electricity board, however refused to believe that his son has any links with the terror group and claimed his account was hacked.
In Bengaluru, a senior police official received a threat tweet Sunday, a day after Biswas was arrested there. The tweet from an unknown Twitter account (abouanfa16) threatened Bengaluru Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Abhishek Goyal of revenge for arresting Mehdi.