Indian police have arrested a 24-year-old man believed to be behind an influential pro-Islamic State (DAESH) Twitter account followed by many jihadist fighters, officials say.
Mehdi Masroor Biswas is alleged to be behind the Twitter account @ShamiWitness, which had 17,700 followers before it was shut down following a report by Channel 4 News on Thursday.
Tweets from the account contained extremist propaganda – including footage of executions – as well as information for would-be recruits and messages praising fallen fighters as martyrs, The Guardian said.
Police in Bangalore seized Biswas’s mobile phone, laptop and other documents for evidence when they raided the junior executive’s one-room apartment early on Saturday morning.
LR Pachuau, police director general in the city, told a news conference that the arrest of Biswas, who works for an Indian food conglomerate, had followed “credible intelligence inputs”.
“He has confessed to the fact that he was operating [the] ShamiWitness Twitter account for the last many years … he used to work in the office in the day and became active on the internet late at night,” he said.
Pachuau said Biswas used to tweet “ferociously” after gathering information from TV and news websites on the situation in Iraq, Syria and the rest of the troubled region.
Biswas was particularly close to English-speaking terrorists and had become a source of “incitement and information” for young people trying to join Isis.
“Through his social media propaganda, he abetted [Isis] in its agenda to wage war against the Asiatic powers,” Pachuau said.
The arrest will raise concerns about radicalization among India’s population of 150 million Muslims. Social media has repeatedly been blamed for radicalizing recruits and mobilizing support for Isis.