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Sri Lanka suspects 46-yr-old man acted as handler of 4 Lankans arrested in India for ISIS links

Acting on a tip-off, the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on Sunday apprehended four Sri Lankan nationals at the Sardar Vallabhai Patel airport in Ahmedabad after they travelled from Colombo via Chennai.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Published on: May 28, 2024 23:41 IST
Sri Lankan nationals arrested in India
Image Source : X/ HARSH SANGHAVI Sri Lankan nationals arrested in India

Sri Lankan security forces suspect that a 46-year-old man acted as a handler of the four Sri Lankan nationals who were arrested at Ahmedabad airport in India last week for suspected links with the banned Islamic State (ISIS) outfit, according to a media report. Sri Lanka Police revealed that the wanted suspect, identified as Osmand Gerrard - a resident of Dematagoda, often changes his appearances, and these are some of his appearances that detectives suspect he may be using now, Newsfirst news portal reported on Monday.

Gerrard is believed to have facilitated the movement of the suspected Sri Lankans from the country to India, the news portal said on Tuesday. Sri Lanka Police recently announced a cash award of Rs. 2 million for any credible information on the whereabouts of the wanted suspect.

Joint operation 

The exchange of information between Sri Lanka and India has commenced concerning the Sri Lankans arrested in India. This collaborative effort involves both the Sri Lanka Army Intelligence Division and the Police Terrorist Investigations Division, the news portal said on Tuesday.

The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on May 19 arrested four Sri Lankans with links to the ISIS 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.

Among the arrested individuals, Mohammed Nusrat is a businessman involved in importing telecommunication devices and electrical equipment from countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Dubai, the news portal said.

How did Sri Lankan terrorists operate in India  

Nusrat operated within Colombo, where he sold these imported goods. Mohammad Nafran, 27, who was also arrested, has been identified as the son of the first wife of Niyas Naufer aka 'Potta Naufer' the notorious underworld criminal who was sentenced to death for the killing of High Court Judge Sarath Ambepitiya.

The other two Sri Lankans are 35-year-old Mohammad Faris from Maligawatte, Colombo and 43-year-old Mohammad Rashdeen from Colombo 13. Mohammad Faris had worked as a 'Nattami' or cart puller in Pettah, and was arrested by the Colombo Crimes Division on March 11, 2023, and November 1 of the same year. On May 21, his close associate Hameed Amir was arrested by the Terrorist Investigations Division. Mohammad Faris left for Chennai, India on May 19.

The other suspect is Mohammad Rashdeen, a three-wheeler driver. Security forces suspect that he is linked to trafficking crystal meth or ICE. On September 16, 2022, Rashdeen was arrested by the Foreshore Police and was later released on bail. Last week, the Sri Lankan authorities launched a high-powered operation to investigate the four Sri Lankans arrested in Gujarat.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: Sri Lanka's top police officer to lead team probing 4 Lankan nationals arrested in India


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