A Kalyan resident was arrested on Saturday by the Kerala police and the Maharashtra ATS for allegedly radicalising youngsters and recruiting them for the Islamic State. This is the second such arrest this week.
Rizwan Khan was arrested after his name cropped up when the police questioned Arshid Qureshi, a guest representative officer working for controversial televangelist Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation. Qureshi was arrested on Thursday from Nerul. The police said their probe showed Khan and Qureshi knew each other since 2009. Khan allegedly helped Qureshi brainwash youth and radicalise them.
“Khan’s primary role was to make documents and to conduct nikahs or weddings. We also suspect he was involved in brainwashing the youth. He has conducted more than a 100 marriages,” said a senior ATS officer.
This is not the first time Khan has been under the police lens. Kerala police sources said they had questioned Khan earlier, when they found his signature on the marriage certificate of a Kochi couple who are believed to have joined the Islamic State. He was, however, let off as the team did not have any concrete evidence against him.
The couple, Yahya, alias Bestin Vincent and Merin Jacob, alias Mariyam went missing from Kochi. The case came into the spotlight when Merin’s brother Ebin Jacob registered a complaint, after which Qureshi was arrested (see box).
Police sources said Khan’s role in the entire process of indoctrination became clear after Qureshi was arrested and questioned. Further, Khan’s signature in both a conversion certificate and a marriage certificate matched, leading to his arrest.
Khan’s neighbours at Suryamukhi Loksurbhi co-operative society at Patripool in Kalyan said he lived there for four years but hardly mingled with anyone. Local youth said he would tell them not to waste time playing games, but watch religious videos on Youtube instead.
“Our group of friends normally hang around near the society gate. Whenever Khan passed us by, he would ask us to stop wasting time playing games. He would ask us to watch religious videos,” said a youngster from the locality, not wishing to be named.
Khan will be produced before a court in Thane, and the Kerala police will seek a transit remand.