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Security up in Cuddalore jail after tip-off on IS operation
: Security was beefed up in Cuddalore jail on Monday after an alert saying that a suspected Islamic State (IS) operative arrested by the NIA in February may escape from the correctional facility. The suspect, Ansar Meeran, was arrested for facilitating the travel of the first IS operative from Tamil Nadu — Haja Fakhruddin — in 2014.
Sources said the NIA office in Kochi received a call from a person claiming to be a lawyer saying that Ansar Meeran is planning to escape from the jail on Monday.
Ansar Meeran is to be produced at the Special NIA Court in Poonamallee on Wednesday in connection with the hearing on his bail petition. He was lodged in the Puzhal prison earlier and was shifted to Cuddalore a few months back over security reasons.
Against this backdrop, the latest alert of his possible escape has jolted the Prison Department, which was in the news for the wrong reasons over the last few weeks particularly after photographs of jail inmates in Puzhal prison leading a luxurious life inside the jail surfaced.
Police said Ansar Meeran (29) is an engineering graduate from Kanniyakumari and has close links with IS and Haja Fakhruddin, the first person from India to go to Syria with his family to fight for the IS.
When the NIA arrested him, Ansar was helping his father run his shop. A case was registered by the NIA on January 26, 2017, against nine people. Haja Fakhruddin, who is believed to be in Syria along with his family, is cited as accused number 1 in the case. Haja Fakhruddin is a Singapore citizen of Indian origin and a native of Cuddalore district. He had joined the IS in Syria in January 2014.
Investigation in the case revealed that Haja Fakhruddin had visited India twice between November 2013 and January 2014, when he allegedly conducted several conspiracy meetings with Ansar Meeran, accused number 4, and others at various places such as Chennai and Ramanathapuram with the intention of recruiting more people for the IS. Later, Ansar Meeran facilitated the travel of Haja Fakhruddin and his family to Syria in January 2014.