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' Mehdi tweeted IS info out of thrill'.

By Aravind Gowda in Bengaluru WAS it the thrill of interacting with frontline combatants of the terror outfit Islamic State ( IS) that prompted Mehdi Masroor Biswas to tweet on behalf of them? The Bengaluru police, which interrogated Mehdi for over two weeks, found out that he had no remorse for the barbaric beheadings of the IS hostages and he endorsed all atrocities committed by the militant organisation in West Asia.

" It did not surprise us when he reiterated the statement that he gave to the UK news channel that he would not mind joining the IS as a combatant. But his hands were tied because of his family compulsions. It is clear that he got carried away by interacting with some IS combatants," sources in the Bengaluru police said.

His Twitter handle @ ShamiWitness had 17,000- plus followers of which 15,000- plus were from Europe. He regularly tweeted exclusive content and information on behalf of the terror network. One of the main allegations against Mehdi is that as a propagandist for the IS, he motivated youths to join the terror organisation.

" We zeroed in on at least 35- plus followers of Mehdi with suspicious names and locations in West Asia. He admitted that some of them were combatants of the IS and that he interacted with them through ' Direct Messages'. They have updated him on their latest achievements and setbacks in fighting the government forces in Iraq and Syria. Most of the information shared by them with Mehdi is genuine and valid," the sources added.

Apparently, Mehdi was thrilled about interacting with these frontline combatants of the IS and drew inspiration from them. " At times, he would feel elated whenever they shared exclusive information about their latest assaults because he was under the impression that he was the only privileged person.

Unfortunately, he could not disclose this to anyone in India. That's why he chose to tweet, as if he was the official spokesperson of the IS," the sources pointed out. Many of the ' Direct Messages' to Mehdi were in impeccable English, which made the police suspect that the combatants were from English- speaking nations.

" Channel 4 clearly blamed Mehdi for recruiting volunteers from the UK and Europe for the IS. An examination of his ' Direct Messages' and the replies show that it might be true. He has had long discussions with the combatants.

We had to go through more than 1,30,000 messages and tweets of Mehdi," the sources added.

The police were shocked to find graphic images and videos that were sent to Mehdi by some of the IS combatants.

" We don't know whether he enjoyed watching them. Some of them are raw and unedited videos, and grotesque. He had tweeted some of them and has no explanation for his actions but claimed that he endorsed the inhuman acts of the IS," the sources said, and maintained that it would be clear evidence against the accused.

Mehdi had adjusted the time zone of his Twitter handle to West Asia to give an impression to his followers that he was tweeting from that region. In the last six months, he had sent more than 12,000 tweets to his followers.

It is not clear whether other governments wanted him in connection with motivating youths to join the IS. Mehdi' Twitter account, @ ShamiWitness, has over 17,000 followers.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jan 4, 2015
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