Alert from Turkey led to detentions

Nine were caught by Turkish authorities on border with Syria

Alert from Turkey led to detentions

A group of nine persons were detained immediately after they landed at the Kempegowda International Airport on Saturday, following their reported attempt to visit Syria, the stronghold of the Islamic State.

The detentions were made based on the inputs provided by Turkish authorities, police said.

Of the nine who have been detained, one worked in US for more than 10 years after completing a Masters in Computer Science from Kennedy-Western University, California, USA and two others are engineers by qualification, police said.

“ We took a total of nine persons into custody. They are Mohammed Abdul Ahad, 46 and his family members, who include his wife and five children, all natives of Chennai and Javeed Baba, 24, a native of Khammam district, Telangana and Ibrahim Nowfal, 24, a native of Hassan,” said a senior police officer. 

“Javeed and Nowfal are engineers by qualification,” the officer said.

Tourist visas

The group had arrived in Istanbul on tourist visas on December 24, 2014 from Bengaluru and were sent back to India on January 30, 2015, by the Turkish authorities.

On their arrival at KIA, they were questioned by Bengaluru City police along with Central agencies on the circumstances of their visit to Turkey. Inquiry is going on into their background and motive behind trying to travel to Syria via Turkey, the police said.  

It is too early to conclude about their objective for visiting the most sensitive and violence-hit part of the world. The very purpose of travelling on a tourist visa towards the Islamic State has given rise to many questions. 

They were caught by the Turkish authorities, while attempting to enter neighbouring Syria. They failed to give a convincing reply regarding their visit to Syria.

The local authorities recovered all documents from the nine persons and verified them. They alerted their counterparts in India and sent them to Bengaluru, police said.

US assistance

The police are likely to seek the assistance of US authorities to ascertain the background of Ahad. A team of the Chennai police is expected to arrive in Bengaluru on Sunday for an inquiry. The purpose of a computer scientist and two engineers trying to visit Syria is a matter of concern.

There are alerts that the IS is trying to pool in as many doctors, engineers and scientists from India as possible to strengthen its base and expand its activities across the globe, police said.

The nature of relationship that exists between Ahad and Javeed Baba and Ibrahim Nowfal is not immediately known. The police are collecting details on situations that led Ahad to end his assignment in the US and return to India, said the police.

Undisclosed location

“We are interrogating them in an undisclosed location and a clear picture will emerge in a couple of days. We are not giving them a clean chit as the motive and the manner in which they were detained in Turkey are highly suspicious. If need be, the police will recover computers, laptops and other gadgets that Ahad, Baba and Nowfal are using to ascertain more details,” said a senior police officer probing the matter.

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