India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) said on Sunday, 2 October, that it has busted an Islamic State (Isis)-inspired group and arrested six people from the south Indian state of Kerala for allegedly planning attacks on public places and important figures during the Hindu festival of Diwali.
The counter-terrorism agency was quoted by the Indian Express as saying, "Information was received that some youths from Kerala and Tamil Nadu along with their accomplices have entered into a criminal conspiracy to commit terror acts by collecting explosives and other offensive material to target important persons and places in various parts of south lndia."
According to the NIA statement, five people were arrested during a meeting at a hilltop in Kerala and the sixth arrest was made in a subsequent search operation. "During the searches, incriminating material, including electronic devices, were seized from them and their premises," the statement added.
The men were between the ages of 24 and 30, an official at the agency said. They have been identified as 30-year-old Manseed alias Omar Al Hindi, Abu Basheer alias Rashid (29), Swalih Mohammed T alias Yousuf (26), Safwan P (30), Jasim NK (25) and Ramshad Nageelan Kandiyil alias Aaamu (24).
The terrorist group has had very little luck recruiting jihadists from India, which is home to the world's third-largest Muslim population. However, over the past year, the NIA has found small groups in south Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, who were either plotting attacks inside India or have travelled to Syria to join the Sunni terrorist group.
Earlier this year, at least 12 men, six women and three children had gone missing and were later believed to have joined IS (Daesh).