Another Bhatkal man on police radar

Abdul Sultan Armar is said to head recruitment drive for IS

One of the key persons Central Intelligence agencies and Karnataka police are looking for in connection with the recruitment drive of Islamic State (IS) organisation is again from the coastal town of Bhatkal in Uttara Kannada district.
Sources said Abdul Sultan Armar, who has several aliases like Sult, Mulla and Moulana, hails from Bhatkal and had been a close associate of Indian Mujahidden (IM) leader Yasin Bhatkal, who was arrested last year. 

State police on their toes
With the arrest of Mehdi Masroor Biswas, a suspected IS sympathiser whose Twitter handle @shamiwitness had been propagating IS ideology, Karnataka police are on their toes for any development of the organisation now banned as part of the UN resolution. Sources said though Mehdi's direct connection with any of the IS leaders has not come to light so far, the link that is being closely watched by the agencies is the one-time Indian Mujahidden frontline leader Sultan Armar.

His name came up during the interrogation of Yasin Bhatkal and it was revealed that Sultan Armar had undergone training in North Waziristan.

Sultan is a resident of Haji Manzil at Nawayat Colony in Bhatkal and was part of the training camp for Al-Qaeda. Sources said at the time Yasin Bhatkal was arrested, IM was on the verge of severing its connection with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). It was at that time Sultan Armar along with other IM associates decided to merge with IS. There is more evidence to this merger. The IS chief Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi has openly released videos praising IM operatives.

Sources said that Baghdadi also declared Sultan Armar as the leader of the Ansar-ul-Tawhid (AuT), a group comprising IS, IM and Tehrik-e-Taliban. The media unit of IS had also released a video in which Baghdadi announced Sultan as the Emir (leader). It is believed that Sultan, presently in UAE, is heading the recruitment drive for the IS.

Recent incidents of attempts of recruitment suggests that it is Sultan Armar who conducts online interview only after thorough screening of the youths interested in joining IS.

Meanwhile, a senior police official said that there have been no incidents of attempt to recruit youths from Karnataka so far. “Banning an organisation which does not have any office or office bearers is just one step. More than this, we have intensified community policing to tackle the new problem posed by the IS.

We have learnt that IS recruitment or the so called indoctrination process does not take place in places which have been active in the past. The cyber space is used to attract youths. With this changing patterns of recruitment, it is now a psychological issue.

We are going to concentrate more on counselling than using hard measures against the misguided youths. The responsibility is also more on the parents on keeping a watch on their childrens’ behavioural pattern,” the official said.

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