Nine Indians, including five children, were deported to India from Turkey on Friday on suspicion that they planned to travel to Syria in order to join the Islamic State (IS).
“A flight carrying computer science graduate Abu Ahad, his wife and five children and two other men landed in Bengaluru yesterday afternoon after they were sent back to India from Istanbul,” a counter-terror official told HT requesting anonymity.
The group was deported on the charge that it planned to cross over to Syria from Turkey to join the terrorist group IS, but this is yet to be confirmed, the official added.
Bengaluru police commissioner MM Reddi confirmed the group was escorted into the city on Friday but refused to divulge details. “We are still conducting preliminary investigations. No criminal case has been filed yet,” he said.
A multi-agency debriefing session continued Saturday as security officials questioned the group members to find out the intention behind their trip to Turkey.
Two senior police officers said Ahad, 46, and his family were from Chennai while the two men — Javeed Baba, 24, and Ibrahim Nowfal, 24 — came from Telangana and Karnataka, respectively.
Ahad has a masters in computer science from Kennedy-Western University, California, and worked in the US for more than 10 years. Javeed and Nowfal are also engineers, they said.
The group left Bengaluru and reached Istanbul on December 24, 2014 on tourist visas.
There have been a dozen-odd cases of people trying to leave the country with the intention of join IS ranks. In at least one case, four students from Kalyan in Maharashtra reached Iraq last May and disappeared in IS-held territory. One of them, Areeb Majeed, came back in November after crossing over to Turkey and getting in touch with the Indian embassy. He was arrested on arrival in India by the National Investigation Agency.