Kerala

13 missing from Kerala, suspected to have joined IS

"Those missing include nine men, four of their wives, a child and an infant. Three of the women are pregnant”.

At least 13 Muslims from Kasaragod district, who have been missing for a month now, are suspected to have joined the Islamic State (IS) fighters.

Their relatives said they had received messages from them that they had reached their final destination — the ‘Caliphate’ that the IS projects to establish.

They are suspected to have gone in groups via Dubai or Sri Lanka.

“Those missing include nine men, four of their wives, a child and an infant. Three of the women are pregnant. One of the missing is the manager of a local school; he and his wife had recently converted to Islam. All are in their 20s,” said Abdul Salam from Padanna.

His nephew, Haseesudeen, 23, is also suspected to be part of this group.

State and Central intelligence agencies have begun probing the veracity of this information and the background of these youths.

Kasaragod’s CPI (M) MP P. Karunakaran, Trikkarippur’s MLA K. Rajagopal and Kasaragod district panchayat member V.P.P. Mustafa called on Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in this regard on Friday.

‘This is serious. I submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister. I have also messaged Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh urging him to take up this issue,” Mr. Karunakaran told The Hindu.

Couple from Palakkad also missing, says MP

Kasaragod MP P. Karunakaran, who brought the issue of the 13 missing Kerala Muslims to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s attention told The Hindu: ‘This is serious. I submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister. I have also messaged Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh urging him to take up this issue. Besides these people from Kasargod, a couple from Palakkad have also gone missing now.”

A senior intelligence officer, who confirmed being privy to this information, however declined to confirm the apprehensions about the IS link. “We can’t confirm that they have indeed joined the IS. There have been many complaints about youths who went to the Gulf having gone missing. We can’t just assume that they all have joined the IS, though Kerala is a fertile ground for radicalisation,” he said.

When contacted State Police Chief Loknath Behera said there was no “actionable intelligence.”

“The information is not right. I spoke to the SP Kasaragod. The police have no such information as of now,” he said.

But Abdul Salam, whose nephew is suspected to be in the missing group of 13, and who is bringing together the families at Padanna and Trikkarippur, said that many of these youths had frequented radical training programmes at a farm house at Tirur in Malappuram.

“Haseesudeen used to say that he wanted to study religion in Egypt. We suspect that there could be more youths from the State who went that way,” he said.

Incidentally, the Union government had alerted Kerala that a dormant radical module with links to Islamic State militia may plan to recruit fighters for strife-torn Syria and Iraq.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 4:07:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/13-missing-from-Kerala-suspected-to-have-joined-IS/article14479732.ece

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