More than 60 per cent followers of Mehdi Masroor Biswas, the Bengaluru-based executive, who was running a pro-ISIS twitter account, were non-Muslims and a majority of his Muslim followers were from western countries, particularly the UK, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday.
Making a suo motu statement in Lok Sabha, he said 24-year-old Mehdi was arrested on December 13 and during interrogation, he indicated that his activities were limited to posting and reposting of pro-ISIS material on his twitter account and social media sites and he has denied having recruited any person for ISIS.
“During interrogation, Mehdi disclosed that more than 60 per cent of his twitter account followers were non-Muslims from the western countries and a majority of his Muslim followers were from the western countries, particularly the UK.
“Mehdi started closely following the developments in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan through internet during his college days and has been active in the social networking sites since 2009. Over a period of time, Mehdi started interacting with people in social media sites. He has denied having recruited any person for ISIS,” he said.
Singh said Mehdi had come to prominence in the electronic media in the UK on his role in circulating ISIS material through the tweeter account.
The Home Minister said central agencies worked in close collaboration with the Karnataka police to gather information leading to his arrest.
Mehdi used to visit prominent ISIS related sites, mostly in Arabic language and then translate the contents into English and repost the material on his twitter account ‘ShamiWitness’.
Singh said Mehdi belongs to a middle class family from Kolkata and has done his electrical engineering from Gurunanak Dev Institute of Technology in 2012 and joined the ITC, Bangaluru, following a campus recruitment.
Mehdi was working as “manufacturing executive” with ITC Foods and was staying in an one-room apartment in the IT city.
Britain’s Channel 4 News had first aired the report regarding Mehdi’s link with the Twitter account that is followed by foreign jihadis.
Mehdi has been arrested under Sec 125 of IPC (whoever wages war against the Government of any Asiatic power in alliance or at peace with the Government of India or attempts to wage such war, or abets the waging of such war), different sections the of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Information Technology Act.