A 35-year-old Filipino national, Karen Aisha Hamidon, has emerged as the biggest honey trap recruiter for ISIS in India and is likely to be the brain behind getting protesters wave ISIS flags in the Kashmir valley. According to officials, Aisha is an expert in luring young men towards jihad for ISIS and is presently in touch with at least 15 Indian nationals from different parts of the country.
The name of Aisha first emerged after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) started interrogating Mohammad Sirajuddin (33), a marketing manager with the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) posted in Jaipur, who was arrested last December for his alleged links with ISIS terrorists.
The NIA, which had sent a letter rogatory (LR, a formal requests from a country’s court to another country’s court) to Philippines seeking more details about Aisha, is yet to get any response. As a result of this, the agencies are likely to seek diplomatic assistance from the Ministry of External Affairs to put pressure on Philippines.
Sources said that it was Sirajuddin who first gave the name of Aisha as a mysterious woman who had contacted him through Facebook and WhatsApp and convinced him to work for God by going to Syria.
According to officials, Aisha, who is in direct touch with the top ISIS leadership, is now handling the responsibility of recruiting young Muslims from the Indian subcontinent.
“The interrogation of ISIS operatives and our investigations have revealed that she is the brain behind the waving of ISIS flags in Kashmir valley on a regular basis,” said an official familiar with the development.
“She is in touch with youths from Mumbai, Tiruchirappalli, two men from Hyderabad, three youths of Srinagar, one from Sopore and one each from Kanpur and Kolkata,” added the official.
Officials said that Aisha’s father, who passed away when she was 20 years old, was a Muslim, while her mother is a Christian. She has five siblings. She was brought up by her mother as a Christian, but converted to Islam with her two sisters about 10 years ago. “She identifies potential targets by way of looking through posts and profiles on Facebook, contacts them and starts chatting with them. They don’t even realise that they are being radicalised. However, once they become ready, she hands them over to handlers who then take them to the ISIS controlled areas,” the official said.
“Though we have enough evidence to show her links with ISIS, she has managed to evade the Philippines police because she has not actively participated in any violent activities there. Our latest information is that she is now motivating young Muslim girls to join ISIS, while continuing her online radicalisation activities to target young Muslims in Asia,” added the official.