The hand of another Indian suspected in Kabul attack

For the first time, NIA files case for terror attack outside India

Vijaita Singh

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered a case on Wednesday to probe the terror attack at a gurdwara in Kabul last week, in which 27 Sikh worshippers, including an Indian, was killed.

Muhammed Muhsin, a 29-year-old man from Kerala’s Kasaragod, is suspected to be one of the three attackers.

A senior official said there were indications that more than one Indian could have been involved in the attack. Also a suspect is Sajid Kuthirummal, a shopkeeper from Kasaragod, part of the group of 21 men and women that left India in 2016 to join the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) in Afghanistan.

While Muhsin was not part of the group, he last spoke to his mother nine months ago. He moved to Dubai in 2018, and the family did not inform the police that he was missing.

This is the first instance of the NIA registering a case for a terror attack committed outside India. The NIA Act was amended last year to empower the agency to investigate terror attacks committed outside India, “affecting Indian citizens or affecting the interest of India”.

The NIA registered the case under various Sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Indian Penal Code and Section 6(8) of the NIA Act.

About 150 persons were present in the gurdwara when the attack took place. An Indian citizen, identified as Tian Singh, was also killed. “Proscribed terrorist organisation, the Islamic State in Khorasan Province claimed the responsibility for this terror attack,” the NIA said. “As per the preliminary investigation, one Muhsin from Trikaripur in Kasaragod, and others who had joined the ISKP, are suspected to have been involved in the terrorist attack,” it said.

The officials had earlier claimed that though Muhsin had never been on the radar, the security agencies noticed his father’s mobile phone number in a WhatsApp group created by Rashid Abdullah alias Abu Isa, who led the group of 21 men and women from Kerala that had left India in 2016 to join the ISKP. Also from Kasaragod, Rashid Abdullah is said to have been killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan by the U.S. led security forces.

A senior official said they suspected that some members of the group were part of the conspiracy to attack the Kabul gurdwara. In the past, the family members in Kerala of most of the men from the group received messages about their death in drone strikes or other operations. “There are four-five persons from the group whose whereabouts are not known. There are indications that one of them, Sajid Kuthirummal, is involved in the attack,” said the official.

Ten women from the Kerala group had surrendered to the Afghan authorities in November-December last year. A team of Indian security agencies interrogated the women at a Kabul prison in December last year.

(This story has not been edited by Kashmir Today staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)