Documents that show the conversion of three youth from Kerala who later went on to join terror group Islamic State were found at the Kalyan home of one of the men arrested in the case - a development that officials said will add teeth to the radicalisation case.
The documents were found at Rizwan Khan’s house, who is alleged to have converted the youth along with Arshi Qureshi, another accused and former employee of televangelist Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation.
Crime branch sources said the conversion documents were of Bestin Vincent (now Yayha), Merin Jacob (Marriyam) and Nimisha (Fatima), who were allegedly forcefully converted to Islam and later radicalised to join ISIS along with 21 others from the southern state. The case is also being probed by the National Investigating Agency (NIA).
The documents, said investigators, will help prove the complaints and testimonies given to the Kerala police, which led to the arrests in the first place. “These are crucial documents to prove the complaint received by Kerala police was true and that these people were converted by the accused. The papers will be handed over to the NIA and it will boost their investigation,” said a crime branch officer.
Bestin, Merin and Nimisha are believed to have travelled to Dubai and then to Tehran, from where they went off the radar. Sources said the documents are part of conversion documents of at least 60 other people, some from interior Maharashtra too.
“Most of the conversion documents are of those from Mumbai, but from Jalgaon and other parts of state were also found,” said a crime branch officer.
A case of forceful conversion was registered by the Palarivottam police station in Kerala after Merin’s brother Ebin Jacob approached them.
As per the complaint Merin, who is from a Christian family in Edapally, Kochi, met Bestin while she was working in Mumbai in 2015.
They got into a relationship and eventually married. Bestin and Arshi converted Merin to Islam and radicalised her during her stay in Mumbai. Merin initially resisted but finally relented after she was taken through various classes, the complaint stated.
The complaint further revealed that Bestin and Arshi then forced Merin to consider joining ISIS, which she also resisted at first, expressing her desire to return to Kerala. Ebin claimed that Bestin and Arshi had tried to compel him to convert to Islam too.