Since Areeb Majeed’s return to the country almost six months after his departure, his father Ijaz has only managed to catch a glimpse of his son once. Ijaz spotted Areeb at court on Saturday. Ijaz claims his son had expressed willingness to complete his studies, when he called home from Turkey.
But this was enough consolation for the father, who says he is happy his son is back, though the two are yet to meet.
Areeb, 22, was pursuing a diploma in civil engineering at a Navi Mumbai college, when he left the country with three other young men to join the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIS).
Areeb was brought back to the city on Friday by National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials. “I am happy my son has returned. I saw him in court on Saturday but wasn’t allowed to talk to him,” said Ijaz, speaking to the media for the first time since his son’s return.
“When my son called me from Turkey, saying he wanted to return, he also told me he wanted to complete his studies and get a degree in civil engineering. After receiving his call, I informed the NIA officials,” said Ijaz.
“Areeb told me he had made a mistake, and that he had been misguided. He would like to continue his studies. The government should take a soft stand and think about the young boy’s future,” said Ijaz.
In May, the four youngsters from Kalyan – Areeb, Aman Tandel, Shaheen Tanki and Farad Sheikh – left the country to join the ISIS.
Saying that he was grateful to the NIA and the government for helping his son return to the country, he expressed hope that the other three youngsters from Kalyan too will get similar help.
“A month ago, the government and the NIA assured me they would not take strict action against the youngsters if they return, as they have been misguided. Action would be taken against those who brainwashed them,” said Ijaz. “My prayer has been answered. I just pray now that the other three boys come back safely. And we trust the agencies and government who have supported us from the beginning. Now that Areeb is back, I would like to meet him and talk to him,” added Ijaz.