A group of 17 people who went missing from Kerala a month ago flew to Iran before going off the radar and possibly joining terror outfits, the Hindu reported on Friday.
New Delhi is now seeking help from Teheran authorities to trace the 17 Indians , including women and children, who travelled on Iranian tourist visas before disappearing, a senior intelligence official told the Hindu.
The official said the missing persons left India in two different groups about a month ago. One group reached Muscat and the other group reached Dubai.
“They took a flight to Tehran from Muscat and Dubai respectively. This might have been done to dodge any suspicion. Since they went on tourist visas and had family members along, nobody suspected them,” said the official to the Hindu.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has informed the state assembly that the whereabouts of 17 people from Kasargode and four from Palakkad could not be ascertained. “The missing from Kasargode included four women and three children. And two women were among the missing from Palakkad,” he said.
Most of these people are highly educated and from affluent families.
Police suspect the role of Salafi groups in radicalising these people. “Most of them are inspired by Wahabism. The IS too is driven by the same principles,” said a Muslim reformist in Kozhikode who did not want to be named.
Sources say the group might have reached Afghanistan, which shares its border with Iran and joined the Islamic State in Khorasan Province. The other possibility is that they have travelled to Iraq and from there on to Syria, the Hindu reported.