His activities were confined to social media

The government on Monday told Parliament that the “pro-Islamic State” activities of Mehdi Masroor Biswas were limited to posting jihadi material on social media after translating it from Arabic into English.

In both Houses of Parliament, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the 24-year-old electrical engineer from West Bengal used to visit IS-related websites that were mostly in the Arabic language, which he would then translate into English and post to his Twitter account @ShamiWitness.

The home minister acknowledged that Mehdi’s name had come into focus after UK-based Channel 4 reported that the “IS handle” was based out of Bengaluru. The terrorist organisation’s tweeter, who was working as an executive in ITC, was arrested by the Karnataka police three days ago.

Although the police have slapped stringent provisions like waging war against the country on Mehdi, Singh said: “The interrogation has indicated that his activities were limited to posting and reposting pro-ISIS material on his Twitter account and social media sites.”

Mehdi has denied having recruited any person for the IS, but further investigation is in progress, the Home Minister said. “Mehdi started closely following the developments in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan through the Internet during his college days and has been active on social networking sites since 2009. Over a period of time, Mehdi started interacting with people through these sites on matters related to jihad,” he said.

Singh said the youth had told the police that over 60 per cent of his followers on Twitter were non-Muslims from western countries.

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