NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian police were trying to track down a man on Saturday that a British television report identified as a publicist for the Islamic State, pumping out a stream of Twitter updates on the militant group's campaign from his base in Bangalore.
Channel 4 said the man behind "Shami Witness", a Twitter handle followed by thousands of people including most foreign fighters for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, was an Indian professional in the country's high-tech capital.
It showed an interview with the man operating the account who wanted to be identified only as Mehdi because he feared his life would be in danger. He told the channel that he would have liked to join the Islamic State but for his family who were dependent on him.
The Twitter handle has since been taken down.
Bangalore's police commissioner said officers were investigating the report and trying to identify the man said to be behind the Shami Witness handle who sent out hundreds of tweets each day, cheering the Islamic State's advances and mocking its enemies.
“We are already following up with this report. Our teams have already started the work trying to verify the veracity and truth in this report and trying to identify the people or the person involved in it. So the work is on," M. N. Reddi said.
India has the world's third-largest Muslim population, but they have largely kept away from global causes. So far, police say only four men are known to have flown to the Middle East to fight for the Islamic State. One has since returned and is in police custody.
But officials say it is hard to track the number of sympathizers of the Islamic State's ideology as there is no central figure or recruiting authority.
According to Channel 4, Mehdi regularly shared jokes, funny images and talked about superhero movies on his Facebook page, posting pictures of pizza dinners with friends and Hawaiian parties at work.
(Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani; Additional reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bangalore; Editing by Nick Macfie)