Father says he is innocent, couldn't be anti-national

Even as Mehdi Masroor Biswas, the youth allegedly behind the Islamic State (IS) Twitter handle, was arrested by the Bangalore Police on Saturday, his father Mikhael said he believed in his son's innocence.

Defending Mehdi a day after news broke that security agencies were looking for him, Mikhael said his son was not linked to any jihadi activity.

Talking to Deccan Herald by phone on Saturday, Mikhael said: “I have just heard from the media that my son has been arrested. I had no clue about such things, and refuse to believe he is involved in anything illegal or anti-national.”

A homoeopathic doctor by profession, he said his son had always been studious and even cracked the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination to get through for electrical engineering. A resident of Kaikhali near the city's airport, the Mikhael said Mehdi used to call up the family a few times a week, and their last conversation was on Friday night.

“When he was talking to me last night, he told me his email account had been hacked. Maybe that’s why the police think he is behind whatever he is being blamed for. I don’t know much about computers. I know nothing more,” he said.

An erstwhile state electricity board engineer who picked up homoeopathy after retirement in 2010, Mikhael said he had been trying to contact his son after seeing the news.

“Mehdi’s phone has been unavailable since today (Saturday) morning,” he said.
He added that Mehdi had graduated as an electrical engineer from Guru Nanak Institute of Technology at Sodepur in the North 24 Parganas around two years ago, and then taken up his first job at a multinational company in Bengaluru.

Despite the father’s doubts, the police are confident that Mehdi had been leading a double life, where he was a normal 24-year-old youth but tweeted on behalf of IS and gained an overwhelming support base from across the globe, particularly among young Muslims in Europe.

Although intelligence agencies admit that they are yet to trace the IP address of Mehdi’s Twitter account, they are scanning the alternative twitter handle—@ElSaltador—he used from time to time.

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