In Mumbai, ISIS tag used on Muslims to settle scores

Among hundreds of episodes recorded over the past year that show how young Muslims have been branded IS recruiters, sympathisers or active members by people looking to settle personal scores. The state ATS, crime branch and city police in the last eight months have received around 300 such bogus complaints, including one against an 80-year-old imam of a Vikhroli mosque. None were arrested and all released after verification, but the incidents traumatized the families who had to suffer for weeks before they got a clean chit.

“We just do our job of questioning and have not arrested a single person against whom the complaint was found to be fake,” said Deven Bharti, joint police commissioner, law and order. “At Kurla, a kabab-pav seller was said to have been in touch with IS people who allegedly would sit before his hand-cart for hours and ‘plan’ things. We questioned the person, didn’t find anything. Soon, it emerged that his stall was a major obstacle for a grocery shop-owner, who was reportedly losing customers. The shop-owner was then summoned,” added Bharti.
The IS came into the limelight in Maharashtra after four Kalyan youths went to Iraq to join the banned outfit. Later, counter-terror agencies zeroed in on several IS modules in the country and have arrested around 18 persons so far, many for planning to join the IS. Indian Muslims denounced the outfit and fatwas have been issued terming the IS as “against humanity and religion”.
“Crying IS” is an emerging modus operandi, said cops. “If A has a problem with B, he sends a letter to the police and for some time, A faces problems and police inquiries. You can’t blame the police since they are doing their job and release the people when they don’t find anything suspicious,” said DCP Dhananjay Kulkarni, spokesperson of the city police.
“After receiving so many ‘tip-offs’ we have now learnt to gauge the authenticity of information. But there cannot be any slip-ups, so we also follow up on complaints; we conduct discreet inquiries about a person, checking previous police records, call data records, bank transactions, number of times he has travelled outside the city, his friends, activities etc. In many cases, we do not even call a ‘suspect’ and close the inquiry on being satisfied,” said an ATS officer.
A few months ago, an anonymous letter to the ATS said the imam of a Vikhroli mosque and his relatives were recruiting youths for IS. The police made discreet inquiries at the mosque and were shocked to find that the 80-year-old imam could barely hear and took time to respond due to old age. Investigators found the imam was with the mosque for 20 years and had a clean record. The allegations about his son and relatives also proved false. “In a dispute within the mosque’s trust, one faction suspected the imam to be close to the rival faction. This enraged them and they made the allegations,” said a senior ATS officer. The imam’s visitors, relatives’ call records and other details were scanned and corroborated before they were considered “clean”.
In Khaleel Ahmed’s case, when he did not stop meeting his lady colleague even after a warning from a rival for her affections, the latter called the ATS about Ahmed’s “IS connections”. After a month-long inquiry he was found “clean”.
Similarly, Kamal’s family initially accepted a marriage proposal from a Bengaluru-based girl but rejected it a few months later. “This enraged the girl’s family who informed the Mumbai crime branch about Kamal’s “IS connection” and that he was about to board a flight. Later, we found it was a bogus complaint,” said a crime branch officer.
“Our department alone has received over 150 such complaints, mostly anonymous, but we worked on each of them to verify the details. We did our job, mostly discreet inquiries, and allowed people to walk free when nothing was found against them,” said Niket Kaushik, inspector-general of ATS.
REASONS FOR FAKE COMPLAINTS
Personal enmity

Source: Islamic News Daily

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