IS shadow: families identify 2 of 17 missing Kerala youth

IS shadow: families identify 2 of 17 missing Kerala youth

IS shadow: families identify 2 of 17 missing Kerala youth

Amid concerns that at least 17 people missing from Kasaragod and Palakkad districts in Kerala may have joined the Islamic State, the families of two women in the group have confirmed their identities.

Relatives of the missing people, including four women and a child, said recent messages on WhatsApp “hinted” that they have joined the terror organisation in Iraq or Syria. The missing are learnt to have been in Sri Lanka till early June before their families lost contact. Based on directives from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, police have started investigation.

On Saturday, Bindu, a native of Attukal in Thiruvananthapuram, said her daughter Nimisha converted to Islam after marrying Isa, a resident of Palakkad. Nimisha, who studied at a dental college in Kasaragod, has made no contact with her family since November. Bindu said Nimisha had told her about plans to visit Sri Lanka. “I had contacted the police and hoped they would at least take action on the missing complaint, but no effort was made to track them,” Bindu told reporters.

Isa’s brother Yahya and his wife Miriam are also missing, sources said. Miriam’s parents, based in Kochi, said their daughter had converted to Islam and the couple had travelled to Sri Lanka once. They said they were in touch with her daughter till about three weeks ago. Isa’s parents have filed a missing complaint in Palakkad.

In Kasaragod, 11 people of three families have been missing for about a month. So far, members of only one family have received messages hinting that the missing have reached their ‘final destination’ with IS. On Saturday, relatives of two men, both from Padanna, filed missing complaints.

Kasaragod district police chief Thomson Jose said, “We haven’t received any official order on the probe. The police are acting on two complaints and following up on all potential angles,” Jose told DH.

MLA M Rajagopalan told DH, “These people left home saying they are going to start their own business or pursue religious studies. There is an engineer and a doctor among them. Though there are reports of their increasing involvement in religious matters, there is nothing that suggests they were into anything unlawful.” 

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