Pune girl ‘influenced’ by IS operatives held in Delhi

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A teenage girl from Pune, who was allegedly radicalised by online operatives of the Islamic State and then “de-radicalised” through counselling two years ago, has once again been influenced by the terror propaganda of IS operatives on social media, according to the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS).

The girl had been provided counselling by the ATS in December 2015 after it was revealed that “she had decided to go to Syria” to join the IS. The girl, now 17, was nabbed in Delhi by investigative agencies a couple of days ago. After questioning her, the investigators handed the girl back to her family, but cautioned them that she had been highly “radicalised” and needed counselling by experienced Islamic scholars for “de-radicalisation”.

Investigators suspect that the girl travelled to Delhi from Pune without informing her family, and she was planning to meet some persons in Jammu and Kashmir. The probe agencies are now trying to ascertain who the teenager was in touch with on social networking sites and whether any online terror handlers were trying to indoctrinate her, to make her leave India and join the IS.

The agencies are also keeping a watch on the movement of the girl. In 2015, the girl, a resident of Kondhwa, was found to be connected on Facebook with Mohammed Sirajuddin, who had been arrested from Jaipur for his alleged links with the IS, said ATS officials. But she had not made any attempts to contact Sirajuddin directly, they said.

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According to sources, the teenager, a bright student from a Pune-based college, used to watch news pertaining to IS and had joined the FB group out of curiosity. That’s how she came in contact with a Sri Lankan national suspected to be an IS operative, said sources. The girl allegedly later came in contact with more Indians and foreigners, who were online terror operatives, on social media. She allegedly started communicating with them through FB, Twitter, WhatsApp and e-mail.