Islamic State in Kerala? Police arrest one more for alleged IS links

Kerala Police on Saturday arrested a 24 year-old man for his alleged links to the Islamic State group, reported CNN-News 18. According to the report, the man allegedly coached at least 10 of the missing youths who are suspected to have joined the militant group.

The arrested man would also be interrogated by Mumbai Police, the report said.

Islamic State in Kerala? Police arrest one more for alleged IS links

Representational image. AFP

Firstpost's TK Devasia wrote in July that Kerala Police had launched a high-level investigation into reports suggesting that 20 youths from Kasaragod and Palakkad districts, who had been missing for more than a month, may have joined Islamic State.

The reports were based on complaints made by parents of some these youths with Kasaragod MP, PK Karunakaran, who took up the matter with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Terming it very serious, Pinarayi had directed the police to conduct a thorough probe into the matter.

The parents had approached the MP after they received a series of messages from their children indicating that they had reached the Islamic State camp. The youths, all in their mid-twenties, are well-educated and come from well-to-do families. A few of them were converts from Christianity to Islam.

Almost all the youths had left their homes at the beginning of the fasting month of Ramzan. Some of the youths said they were going to the Middle East for religious studies while few others said they were going to Sri Lanka to attend a religious meeting.

The National investigation Agency (NIA), which has investigated several terror cases in the state, described Kerala as a highly volatile state with a huge presence of Indian Mujahideen and the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) elements. The agency found that they have been operating in the state under micro modules.

Though there are no major incidents of blasts in the state, Kerala came to be known as a hub for training terror operatives after four persons from the state were killed in an encounter in the India-Pakistan border in Kashmir in 2007. These youths were found to be trained in Kerala.

Subsequent investigations had revealed that some terrorist outfits have been regularly training and recruiting unemployed youths from the state. The police found that two camps organised by the SIMI at Vagamon and Binamipuram in 2006 were for recruiting youths into terrorist outfits.

The radicalisation in Kerala is taking place mostly through social media, Devasia wrote in his piece. A youth in Kasaragod had alerted the police about attempts made by supporters of the Islamic State to lure youths to join the terror outfit using social media tools particularly Whatsapp. The youth said that he was flooded with propaganda materials after he was included in a group supporting the Islamic State. The state cyber police are investigating the complaint.

Recently, Kerala Police had indicated that Arshid Qureshi, a member of Mumbai-based preacher Zakir Naik's Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) who was arrested from his house in Navi Mumbai for his alleged links to IS might have a role in the radicalisation of the missing youths.

The recent development comes after Maharashtra Police arrested a youth from Parbhani for his alleged IS links on 7 August. On 6 August, Kuwaiti authorities had arrested Islamic State recruiter Abdulla Hadi Abdul Rehman Al Enezi on a tip-off given by NIA. According to reports, Hadi had allegedly funded the Indian Islamic State operative Areeb Majeed.

Reports suggest that Hadi had paid upto $1,000 to the Indian IS recruits. He reportedly admitted his involvement in the terror organisation after his return from Pakistan in 2013.

In November 2014, Areeb Majeed was brought back to India from Iraq-Turkey where he had gone earlier that year as an IS recruit. NIA had brought him back to Mumbai through diplomatic channels after they had tracked Majeed to a city in Turkey based on a call.

Majeed, a civil engineering student from Kalyan in Mumbai, was part of a group of four who had left India on 23 May 2014 to join and fight for the IS in Iraq. While, Majeed went to Mosul to fight for the IS, his other three friends Fahad Sheikh, Shaheen Tanki and Aman Tandel had opted to work for the social media wing of the IS.

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Updated Date: Aug 13, 2016 19:02:47 IST

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