Ayaz Sultan, the 23-year-old former BPO employee, could be the latest Indian to join the Islamic State, police sources said, after central agencies tracked his location to Iraq by monitoring his messages to family.
Ayaz left his house in Malwani on October 25 last year and took a flight from Delhi to Kabul, Afghanistan, in the first week of November. Central agencies closely monitoring Ayaz and his communication with his family in Mumbai tracked his location to Iraq and told the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), sources said.
“Ayaz talks to his family members using WiFi connections and through mobile messaging apps. By tracking the Internet Protocol (IP) address and analysing other technical aspects of the communications, central agencies recently learnt about his location,” said a senior ATS officer.
Ayaz has been using messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram to communicate with his family and ‘friends’ in India, the officer said.
The ATS has booked Ayaz under sections of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), for supporting and being a member of the banned terror outfit. Sources said Ayaz has been following the ISIS rulebook, which teaches members to mislead the police and security agencies by giving wrong information about their whereabouts, or of their intentions, while talking to family.
“Ayaz has been doing exactly that,” said the officer. In fact, his mother had suspected his activities through his conversations and learnt about his wish to join the Islamic State. This was one of the reasons she had taken away his passport, said police sources.
Ayaz then devised a plan to hoodwink his mother. He spoke to his sister in Kuwait and told her he got a job in Kuwait. He sought her help to convince his mother.
Once he got his passport, he fled the country.
Sources said Ayaz’s family members knew about his plan to go to Iraq, which is why they registered a missing persons complaint at the Malwani police station. The complaint, however, went unnoticed by the anti-terrorist cell of the police station.