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11 people from Kerala go missing in Dubai, families fear Islamic State link

As many as 21 people, most of them hailing from upper-middle class and well-educated families, had disappeared from the state under suspicious conditions in 2016.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2018 19:55 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Islamic State,ISIS,Dubai
Islamic State fighters take out a march in Syria. Eleven Keralites who went missing from Dubai are believed to have joined the terror outfit.(AP File Photo)

Eleven people from north Kerala are said to have gone missing from Dubai, and family members fear they may have joined the Islamic State like 21 others two years ago.

The missing people belong to two families, sources in the Kerala police said. The first complaint filed by Abdul Hamid, a resident of Chemnad in Kasaragod district, stated that six people including his 28-year-old daughter Nazeera have been missing since June 15. The second complaint mentioned five names – Nazeera’s husband Mohamad Sabad (35), his second wife Rahanath (28) and their three children (all below six years of age). Kerala police have filed two cases in this regard.

Relatives in Kerala said Sabad ran a mobile repair and perfume shop in Dubai, and his family members had left for Dubai last month to meet him. There has been no contact with them since June 15, they added.

“Sabad seemed a little radicalised, given how he would always talk about the so-called holy war. We fear he may have slipped into Yemen with 10 others, including his two wives and eight children,” a relative of Nazeera said.

Another relative said he has received an audio message from Sabad, stating that he has joined a religious school in Yemen and will be back after completing his course. Police are yet to verify the claim.

District superintendent of police Dr A Sreenivas said an investigation has been launched.

The latest incident has come as a shock for the police as well as the local administration, who claimed to have effectively plugged Islamic State recruitments in the region. As many as 21 people, most of them hailing from upper-middle class and well-educated families, had gone missing from the state in 2016. Two men and three women among them had freshly converted to Islam.

Intelligence agencies later traced them to Afghanistan. Of the 21, six were believed to have been killed in attacks launched by the United States.

In the following months, Kerala police arrested Arshid Qureshi and Rizwan Khan – two Mumbai-based operatives who were allegedly involved in recruiting people into the Islamic State and dispatching them abroad. Qureshi – an associate of controversial preacher Zaka Naik – was held in connection with the disappearance of Merin alias Mariyam, a resident of Kochi. Merin’s brother had filed a police complaint stating that Qureshi allegedly tried to convert him too during a meeting in Mumbai two years ago.

Most of the relatives of the missing people have disowned them on the grounds that they have brought disrepute to the state and community.

First Published: Jun 27, 2018 14:59 IST