The Centre has given the green signal to police for pressing international terrorism charges against Mehdi Masroor Biswas, who was arrested last year for allegedly operating pro-Islamic State (IS) Twitter handle @shamiwitness, according to Indian Express.
The Bengaluru police is scheduled to file a chargesheet against Biswas in the next few days. At first, a preliminary chargesheet will be filed. Police will file a final chargesheet once Twitter furnishes data on some international accounts of IS fighters and supporters, sources said.
Biswas, originally from West Bengal, was arrested last December. At the time of his arrest, he was working as an executive at a multinational food company.
He was initially booked under Section 125 of the IPC for “waging war against any Asiatic Power in alliance with the Government of India’’ and under Section 39 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for supporting a terrorist organisation. Now he is set to be chargesheeted under Section 15 and Section 18 of the UAPA, which refer to actions that are likely to “strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country’’ and to advocating acts of terrorism.
A special court dealing with terrorism cases had rejected a bail plea filed by Biswas two months ago. According to the Indian Express, the government gave the green signal to arrest Mehdi last week. Mehdi would be charged for assisting foreign fighters to join Islamic State by providing leads on how to cross over from the Turkish border to Syria, for tweeting about the possible killing of UK aid worker Peter Kassig before he was actually killed, for using the death of UK jihadist Iftikhar Jaman for IS propaganda and for direct messaging with several known British IS fighters.
A Syria-based IS fighter had consulted Biswas via Twitter about possible routes for entry into Turkey from Syria. In June last year, tweet by @shamiwitness to @TalabAlHaqq stating “Tal Abyad crossing open now’’ is set to be placed in court as key evidence to show that Biswas aided the entry of IS fighters into Syria.
Two Indian youths from Bangalore and Chennai will be produced as witnesses to establish the influence of @shamiwitness in motivating people to join ISIS, says Indian Express.