Woman arrested in March for alleged links with ISIS tests Covid-19 positive in NIA custody


New Delhi: A suspected operative of terror group Islamic State – Hina Bashir Beigh – has tested positive for coronavirus while in the custody of National Investigation Agency (NIA) following which she had been admitted at a Delhi hospital, people familiar with the development said.

Beigh (39) and her husband Jahanzaib Sami, residents of Srinagar, were arrested by Delhi Police’s Special Cell from the national capital’s Jamia Nagar area in the first week of March for their alleged links with ISKP. The also allegedly instigated protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the police said.

Since NIA is probing several cases pertaining to larger conspiracy involving Islamic State in India, it took custody of Beigh along with Sami and another ISIS operative – Mohammad Abdullah Basith – from Tihar jail on May 29. Basith is a Hyderabad-based Islamic State operative arrested in August 2018 for allegedly inspiring several persons to join the outfit and carry out major attacks in India.

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At the time of NIA taking the custody, Tihar jail authorities had conducted the test for Covid-19 on three accused in which they tested negative. They were brought to NIA headquarters and questioned at length about their affiliation with the terror outfit over the past nine days.

Beigh, during the interrogation, developed symptoms following which she underwent Covid-19 test.

The NIA informed the duty magistrate at Patiala House on Sunday that Beigh has been found “positive” for coronavirus.

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“I urged the court that Beigh should be immediately referred to a hospital and permission be granted for her to talk to me regularly, which was not allowed earlier,” said Beigh’s lawyer M S Khan.

The court has referred her to Delhi’s Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) hospital for treatment. Her husband Sami and Abdullah Basith have not shown any signs of the infection yet.

It is not known yet whom she contracted the virus from within the agency since then whole team investigating the case has been asked to undergo Covid-19 test and follow quarantine. An official said that around 7-8 officials including a Superintendent of Police (SP) had questionned Beigh last week.

NIA spokesperson didn’t respond to HT’s calls till filing of this report.

The agency took their custody on May 29 claiming that it is necessary to unearth a larger criminal conspiracy as they were in touch with several unknown accused people in India and abroad.

“Beigh, Sami and Basith were motivated by ISIS ideology and working for banned terror organization ISKP in India for which they had created a lot of email IDs and secured social media chat platform IDs to interact with the like-minded persons for sharing the contents propagating the ideology of ISKP and ISIS in general,” according to NIA remand paper accessed by HT.

Delhi Police Special Cell DCP Pramod Kushwah, in March, had said, “They (Hina and Sami) are members of banned terrorist outfit ISIS and propagating its ideology of hatred against non-Muslims and, thereby, also inciting Muslims to kill non-Muslims. They are also inciting Muslims to take up violent struggle against the state. They are inciting Muslims against CAA too”.

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The cops had claimed that the couple created several anonymous IDs on social media platforms, such as Telegram, Facebook, Threema, Sure Spot, Instagram and Twitter, to propagate ISIS ideology.

Sami’s sister Sehrish Sami had told HT in March, “We are shocked. They are being framed just because they are Kashmiri Muslims. They are career oriented people and have a very clean record. They had no interest in the Kashmir issue and the CAA is out of question. Why would they instigate other people?” (HT)

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