Sri  Lanka explosion
Sri Lanka explosion at Hotel Shangri-Latwitter

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested several people in Kerala and Tamil Nadu citing that they were ISIS sympathisers and in constant touch with Zahran Hashim, the mastermind of Sri Lanka bombing which claimed the lives of 250 people.

The suspects have been identified as Mohammed Ashiq, Ismail, Samsudeen, Jafar Sadik Ali and Shahul Hameed. According to The Times of India, they were directly in touch with Hashim for over three years.

However, Ashiq, who is from Tamil Nadu, claims he is being framed by the NIA. He says he has given his Facebook details to the agency to complete the probe. 

The NIA claims that Ashiq was in contact with several National Thowheed Jamaath leaders. He is also suspected to have plotted the murder of several Hindutva leaders in India. He and five others were accused of planning to assassinate Arjun Sampath of the Hindu Makkal Katchi in Tamil Nadu.

"The NIA registered a fake case against innocent Muslims and tried to create a story that Muslims are terrorists. But the NIA won't bother about the real culprits. The case against us in connection with plotting to murder Hindutva leaders is also a false one. We came out on bail because the NIA doesn't have any valid evidence against us," Ashiq told The Times of India.

He added, "I had not heard about ISIS earlier. I came to know about ISIS on after my arrest. I have never contacted NTJ leader Zahran Hashim. I haven't chatted with him. I gave my Facebook details to the NIA for investigation. But I don't know about the others whether they were in touch with NTJ leader."

According to the NIA, they had prior intel of the Sri Lanka bombings through the conversation that allegedly transpired between the six men and Hashim. The NIA then alerted the Sri Lankan government through the intelligence agency. 

Ashiq added that the NIA is biased against Muslims and is trying to prove that Muslims are terrorists on the global front.

The Sri Lankan police authorities have accepted that they sent out an alert on April 11 post-India's warning that ISIS may be planning a terror attack on its soil. But until then, the involvement of Hashim was not speculated since he had not orchestrated a big terror activity in the country.