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India will deal with the 4 ISIS suspects arrested in Gujarat, says Sri Lankan govt

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The Sri Lankan government on Monday said India will deal with the four Sri Lankan ISIS suspects arrested at Ahmedabad airport last week, while authorities here would probe if they have been party to any acts of terrorism in the island nation. The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on May 19 arrested four Sri Lankans with links to the banned outfit Islamic State (IS) who were allegedly on a mission to carry out terror activities in India following the directions of their Pakistan-based handler.

The ATS apprehended the accused at the Sardar Vallabhai Patel airport in Ahmedabad. The ATS also seized three pistols and cartridges abandoned at a location in Ahmedabad based on geo-coordinates and seized a mobile phone from their possession.

The four men had taken an Indigo flight out of Colombo to Chennai on May 19.

“India would deal with them according to their law. Sri Lanka would investigate if they have been party to any acts of terrorism, or aided and abetted any group while being in Sri Lanka, and will deal with them according to our law,” Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe told reporters here.

Last week, the Sri Lankan authorities launched a high-powered operation to investigate the four Sri Lankans arrested in Gujarat. The Sri Lankan police on Thursday last arrested an accomplice of the four arrested IS suspects.

The accomplice, who is the son of a renowned drug lord, was arrested at the central Colombo ward of Maligawatta, police had said, adding that he is being continuously quizzed at the terrorist investigation division of the police. Meanwhile, commenting on the police investigation, Sri Lankan Police chief Deshabandu Tennakloon said the public need not fear any possible attacks by the group in the country. “We have always issued warnings to the public to stay alert for any acts of terrorism. Everyone has a responsibility to ensure national security. If people follow the police instructions diligently there is no need to fear,” he said.

Tennakloon said he is coordinating with his appointed team of investigators daily to track the daily progress of the investigation.

“There is a successful investigation that is being conducted,” he said.

The probe committee appointed by Tennakloon comprises a senior deputy inspector general who works in cooperation with the intelligence agencies and the police’s special task force.

According to Gujarat Director General of Police Vikas Sahay, the accused, Mohammad Nusrat (35), Mohammad Faarukh (35), Mohammad Nafran (27) and Mohammad Rasdeen (43), have informed investigators that they were earlier associated with the banned Sri Lankan radical militant outfit, National Thowheeth Jamath (NJT), and joined IS after getting in touch with Pakistani handler Abu Bakr Al Bagdadi.

The men were paid Rs 4 lakh in Sri Lankan currency to carry out the activities, he had said.

Local Islamist extremist, NTJ, on April 21, 2019, had carried out a series of suicide bombings in Sri Lanka in which 270 people, including 11 Indians, were killed.

Responding to media reports that the four arrested were part of the list in the special presidential commission report on the 2019 Easter Sunday attack that suggested that they must be put through a programme of deradicalisation, Tennakoon said the police legal division is scrutinising the radical Muslims named in the report.

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