Former google employee held for trying to join ISIS

Former google employee held for trying to join ISIS

Former google employee held for trying to join ISIS

A 30-year-old former Google employee, who was allegedly plotting to join the Islamic State (ISIS) ranks in Iraq, has been detained by Hyderabad Police.

Software engineer Munawad Salman, hailing from Tamil Nadu, got attracted to jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) through social media networks and had planned to join its forces, a senior police officer said today.

Salman, who had worked at the Hyderabad office of technology giant Google before quitting his job around seven months back, was picked up yesterday following inputs that he was making efforts to procure a visa to Saudi Arabia from where he allegedly planned to flee to Iraq, he said.

He reportedly studied posts of the ISIS and their propaganda on the internet and social media platforms for past six months and had planned to join the group's fighters in Iraq.

"Salman was picked up yesterday and he was bound over also. We have counselled him through his parents and his brother to keep up good behaviour. He was asked to keep away from indulging in those activities. Now he has been let off. We have not registered any case," a senior intelligence officer told PTI.

"He has been asked to desist from such things, and if he is found indulging in such activities again, a specific case will be booked and he will be arrested," he said.

"After quitting his work at Google, he is jobless. He was planning to go out of the country and trying for a visa. He is from Tamil Nadu and for job purpose he came to Hyderabad," the officer said.

The Hyderabad Police had in August "foiled" an alleged attempt by a group of four young men from the city, including two engineers, to join the rank of ISIS after they were tracked down to Kolkata from where they were allegedly preparing to flee to Iraq.

The youth, who were "attracted" towards the ISIS propaganda on social networking sites and net-based mobile messenger, were questioned and let off after counselling.

The Hyderabad Police had on October 22 arrested a suspected SIMI operative and an aide of Indian Mujahideen media in-charge (both youth from Maharashtra) from Secunderabad. They were allegedly planning to go to Afghanistan to get training from militant organisation Al Qaeda for carrying out terror activities in India, police had earlier said.

Meanwhile, reacting to queries on binding over of techie Salman, Hyderabad Police Commissioner M Mahender Reddy told reporters that, "Police was keeping a watch on his activities since four Hyderabadi youth were caught while they were allegedly trying to join the ISIS."

"Yesterday, Salman was bound over. He was asked to appear before police and taken before the Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) wherein he gave an undertaking for good conduct," Reddy said adding that "he has been let off and is not in our custody."

Referring to the recent incidents of some Hyderabadi youth and others allegedly trying to join the ISIS after getting attracted to the jihadist group through social networking sites, the CP said, "This activity is not pertaining to Hyderabad alone. It is there all over the world and different parts of the country, so it's (incidents in Hyderabad are) like any other city in the also it is happening and we are keeping a tab on these things."

Asked if city police was keeping a tab on social networking sites being used as a tool by militant organisations seeking to join youth with them, Reddy said, "We are working with national and state agencies."

"The central and state agencies have been monitoring social networking sites, we have been on the job," he said.

"Just browsing (sites with ISIS propaganda) is one thing. There are different levels of intensity of activity. Depending on the intensity of the activities one is involved in, police will decide on whether to book a case or not, whether to bound over or run a security proceeding under CrPC 108 or to call their parents and counsel...It depends on case to case basis," Reddy said.

When asked how many youth were in touch with ISIS, he said several people were going through the sites. There is so much activity, it cannot be quantified.

Asked if banned organisation SIMI is regrouping and creating a hub in and nearby areas of Hyderabad, he said, "I totally deny that."

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