Investigators have unearthed evidence to show that the now-banned Popular Front of India (PFI) was acting as a feeder source for the most-dreaded global terrorist organisation Islamic State (ISIS), CNN-News18 has learnt.
PFI was the initial stepping stone of many potential terrorists joining the Islamic State from India. It has been observed that so far 21 Islamic State terrorists who migrated to foreign-based ISIS territories or were arrested in India were linked with PFI.
The ideological indoctrination and training provided by PFI to its cadres prepared them for their future adaptability in terrorist outfits such as Islamic State, said sources.
CNN-News18 has accessed details of several former PFI workers who were later killed in India and abroad because of their ISIS and terror links:
Mohammed Sameer, resident of Valapattanam, Kannur, Kerala
Mohammed Sameer joined Islamic State in Syria/Iraq in 2015. He left for Syria along with his wife and three children. Prior to joining Islamic State, he was the Valapattanam (in Kannur) sub-divisional convener of PFI. He was a senior-level functionary who may have influenced many PFI cadres on the same lines. Sameer was part of the ISIS fighting brigade in Syria/Iraq. He and his family were reportedly killed in the Syrian warzone fighting for ISIS.
Muhammed Shajil, resident of Munderi, Kannur, Kerala
Muhammed Shajil left for Syria/Iraq in 2016 and joined Islamic State (ISIS). Prior to his departure, he was an active full-time member of PFI and was involved in local criminal cases for the outfit. He was part of PFI’s local criminal hit squad, say officials. It is reported that he got killed in Syria while fighting for Islamic State (IS).
Abu Thahir Abdul Rahman, resident of Palakkad, Kerala
Abu Thahir left for Syria via Turkey in 2014. He joined a terrorist organisation in Syria, namely ‘Jabhat al-Nusra’. He reportedly got killed in the chemical attack in Syria In April 2017. He was an active PFI cadre and was working for ‘Thejas’ Daily, the mouthpiece of PFI, as a reporter for Palakkad district, Kerala, prior to his travel to Syria.
Shajeer Mangalassery, resident of Wayanad, Kerala
Shajeer Mangalassery departed for Afghanistan to join the infamous ISIS regional affiliate Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP). He was an active member of PFI and was one of the core members of Facebook groups linked to the outfit, ‘Thanal’ and ‘SDPI Keralam’. Shajeer was instrumental in creating a pro-ISIS network of Kerala youth through online motivation and recruitment. He had even planned to target RSS/BJP leaders, judges, police officers, etc. He reportedly got killed in Afghanistan.
Muhammed Shabeer, resident of Kannur, Kerala
Muhammed Shabeer left for Syria/Iraq to join ISIS in 2015-16. He was the main activist of PFI in Manna in Valapattanam, Kerala. Shabeer was killed in an ISIS-held territory of Syria in 2016.
Abdul Manaf, resident of Kannur, Kerala
Abdul Manaf left for the ISIS conflict theatre in Syria/Iraq in 2016. He was the main organiser of PFI events in Manna in Valapattanam, Kerala. He possibly got killed in Syria, say officials.
Mohammad Rishal, resident of Kannur, Kerala
Rishal left for Syria/Iraq in 2015 to join the ISIS conflict theatre. He was locally associated with PFI before his departure to Syria. He possibly got killed there, according to officials.
Anvar Athakkan, resident of Azhikode, Kannur, Kerala
He was a member of PFI’s frontal organisation SDPI. Anvar departed for Afghanistan to join ISKP in 2018. He reportedly got killed there, sources say.
Pottachira Nizamuddin, resident of Kadalayi, Kannur, Kerala
He joined ISKP in Afghanistan in 2018. Pottachira was locally associated with the PFI prior to his departure. He was reportedly killed in Afghanistan.
Thasleem (aka Abu Bilal), resident of Pappinisseri, Kannur, Kerala
Thasleem was an active PFI cadre and even financially supported PFI-linked ISIS cadres. He joined the ISKP in Afghanistan in 2017 and was killed there.