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Rediff.com  » News » 16-year-old girl from Pune stopped from joining Islamic State

16-year-old girl from Pune stopped from joining Islamic State

Last updated on: December 18, 2015 16:14 IST

According to the police, the girl was drawn to IS after watching a documentary on TV, after which she researched online about its activities and even tried contacting it through Facebook. 

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad on Thursday night managed to dissuade a 16-year girl in Pune from being recruited by the Islamic State (Daesh).

The Class XI ‘highly intelligent’ student belonging to a good family, was planning to exit the country to join the IS.

The girl revealed to the ATS officials that she was in touch with around 200 IS sympathisers on social network. Shockingly, she also told them that she wanted to be a suicide bomber for the IS.

The girl is currently being provided counseling by the police and the investigating agencies are also keeping a watch on her, officials said.

ATS’s Pune chief Bhanupratap Barge confirmed the development and said that after the police were informed of her, they contacted her family members who were shocked as well at the news. The police have not filed any case against her; instead, officials and religious leaders are counselling her. “She is being taught about the true teachings of Quran and Islam and she has shown much improvement in a week,” Barge said.

The police stumbled upon the girl following the arrest of Mohammed Sirajuddin, a manager with Indian Oil who was arrested in Rajasthan two weeks ago for IS links. The girl’s profile was found in his social network accounts.

ATS chief Vivek Phansalkar and Niket Kaushik, the special police inspector general, were informed about the girl, and a team headed by Barge collected all information on her after tracking her for 10 days.

Soon, she started communicating with other IS sympathisers through Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram and email, sources said. According to the ATS, the girl was radicalised to such an extent that she changed her personal lifestyle within a short span of time.

The girl is now undergoing a de-radicalisation programme with the help of her family members and community religious leaders, who are fully cooperating with the police.

According to the police, the girl was drawn to IS after watching a documentary on TV, after which she researched online about its activities and even tried contacting it through Facebook. She first came into contact with a handler in Sri Lanka who is currently behind bars in that country.

The handler got her introduced to Sirajuddin. After her indoctrination in IS’s doctrine, she changed her lifestyle as per their dictates. Her family members too were surprised to see the changes in her attitude. According to the police, she was being mentally prepared to become a suicide bomber.

The girl was to be taken to Syria next year and was told that she would be provided medical education the cost of which would be borne by IS. She was even instructed on how to answer police queries in case of arrest. The investigators found that the girl tried to draw other girls as well to the terror group.

Photograph: Reuters.

Devidas Deshpande in Pune