Group of 9, which tried to enter Syria, let off with warning

Last Updated 01 February 2015, 18:43 IST

The nine people, including seven of a family, whom the Bengaluru police had detained at the Kempegowda International Airport on Friday following their suspected attempt to enter the Islamic State-controlled Syria, have been let off with a stern warning. 

The Central Crime Branch (CCB) let them off as it could not recover anything incriminating from them nor was there any evidence against them. Hence, the CCB police decided not to register any case against them but not before giving them a stern warning against making any such attempt in the future. 

The nine—Muhammed Abdul Ahad, 46, his wife and five children, all from Chennai, Javeed Baba, 24, a native of Khammam district in Telangana, and Ibrahim Nowfal, 24, from Hassan, were detained at the airport as soon as they landed from Istanbul, Turkey.

The police had received the tip-off came from Central agencies and Turkish authorities. The group had flown out of Bengaluru to Istanbul on tourist visas on December 24, 2014, but was sent to India by Turkish authorities on Jan 30, 2015. 

“We couldn’t get any credible information from them about their links with IS activists or with any other terrorist group. They were just sympathetic to the happenings in the regions controlled by IS,” a senior office, who interrogated them, told Deccan Herald. 

During their interrogation, the group admitted it had plans to enter Syria and other areas controlled by the IS “for a social cause”. 

When interrogators probed them, they said they had planned to engage in social activities. They claimed they were moved by the plight of thousands of innocent citizens there, especially children and women, and wanted to lend a helping hand, the police quoted them as saying. 

The police admitted they didn’t get a convincing explanation as to why Ahad tried to take his wife and children along to the violence-hit region. They are yet to fathom how Ahad got in touch with Baba and Nowfal. 

Ahad, Baba and Nowfal were working for well-known companies in Bengaluru. While Ahad was earning almost Rs two lakh a month, Baba and Nowfal, both highly talented engineers, had recently joined the profession. It is unclear what made Ahad and two others to resign and try to relocate to Syria, the police said. 

During the interrogation, Ahad appeared highly radicalised whereas Baba and Nowfal are on the verge of radicalisation. The police summoned the parents and family members of all the three and spoke to them.

Police Commissioner M N Reddi and his colleagues detailed them about the consequences if they had landed in Syria. The police top brass urged them to guide the three to give up any plans of working for the IS. The police also explained legal problems and career prospects. They asked them to get the three men counselled by expert psychologists. 

It is unclear if Ahad had made any attempts to radicalise other young men. The police and Central agencies will keep the three under surveillance. 

(Published 01 February 2015, 18:43 IST)

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