UP man trapped in IS-held area in Iraq wants to return

  • Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 09, 2015 22:13 IST
In this photo released on April 25, 2015, by a militant website, young boys hold rifles and Islamic State group flags as they exercise at a training camp in Tal Afar, near Mosul, northern Iraq. (Militant website via AP)

An Indian man who travelled to areas held by the Islamic State (IS) wants to come back, government officials dealing with the case said on Friday.

The man, whose identity is being withheld by the government in order to not jeopardise his return to India from Iraq, is a native of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh and was working in a Gulf country when he joined the insurgent group that now controls large swathes of Syria and Iraq.

“He went to Turkey on an assignment and just disappeared from there last year. We believed that he crossed over to the IS-held areas from Turkey and joined the terror outfit. But his family was denying ever since and claiming that he was at his work place,” said a government functionary requesting anonymity.

Officials familiar with the development said he soon got frustrated with activities of IS and wanted to get back home.

“His family has now come out of denial mode and accepted that their boy was in the IS-held area along the border of Iraq and Syria and sought the help of security agencies for his extraction from there,” the official said.

The recent bombing by Western forces in IS-held areas prompted him to frantically call his family and ask them to ensure his early return, PTI reported.

Read: Senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards general killed in Syria by IS

The man is believed to be holed up in the Syrian town of Raqqa, considered the capital of IS. He has no past criminal or terror-related record.

He was helped in his travel to Iraq by an Indian origin man based in the United Arab Emirates, who is under watch of security agencies of India and the UAE for his online activities.

At least three other young men from Azamgarh – Mohammad Sajid, Khalid Khan and Dr Shahnawaz – also joined the IS fighters. They were allegedly associated with terror outfit Indian Mujahideen. At least one of them – Sajid – is believed to have been killed during combat there.

If the Azamgarh man, in his late 20s, manages to come back to India, it will be the second such case after Kalyan the return of Areeb Majeed from Kalyan almost a year ago.

Around two dozen Indians, residents as well as non-residents, are believed to be in IS areas. These include two youth from Mumbai outskirts Kalyan, an Australia-based Kashmiri, one youth from Telangana, one from Karnataka, one Oman-based Indian and another Singapore-based Indian.

Among six Indians who fought alongside the IS and got killed were three Indian Mujahideen terrorists, including Sultan Ajmer Shah and Bada Sajid, who had joined its ranks after being in Pakistan, two from Maharashtra and one from Telangana.

On September 15, UAE deported four Indians suspected to have links with IS and it is expected to send back the same number of people soon.

About a fortnight ago, the UAE had sent back a 37-year-old woman, Afsha Jabeen alias Nicky Joseph, who was allegedly involving in recruiting youths for IS.

(With agency inputs)

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