Three Kerala returnees from Turkey held for alleged Islamic State links
Police suspect more people from the coastal state to return as the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate is crumbling under sustained military assaults and the group’s base in Syria and Iraq has shrunk.Updated: Oct 25, 2017 17:49 IST
Police arrested three men in Kerala for their suspected links with the Islamic State terrorist group, after an intelligence report said the trio returned home when they failed to enter Syria through Turkey.
The cops anticipate more people from the coastal state to return as the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate is crumbling under sustained military assaults and the group’s base in Syria and Iraq has shrunk.
“Since the situation in IS-controlled areas is bleak we expect more such returns. We have alerted the immigration wing and other agencies,” an officer said.
The arrested trio belongs to the state’s northern district of Kannur. Their identity and details such as when they went to join the Islamic State weren’t revealed.
Kannur police deputy superintendent PP Sadanandan said on Wednesday the trio went to Turkey from neighbouring Asian countries and returned after their attempts to enter Syria failed.
“They said they were detained by Turkish police … and sent back to the countries from where they went,” he said.
The men allegedly stayed some months in the Saudi peninsula, which has a 1.8-million Kerala expat population, before rerunning home.
“Their passports show they travelled to Turkey. They told us five of them travelled together. Attempts are being made to capture the other two,” officer Sadanandan said.
The arrests reaffirm Kerala police’s suspicion that many people working in the west Asian countries might have joined the Islamic State and gone to fight in the war-ravaged region. Their concerns compounded as there’s no mechanism to check these people’s travels abroad.
Intelligence agencies too had warned that young Indians working in these countries were prime targets of headhunters working for the terrorist group.
The UAE expelled five Kerala youth last year for allegedly propagating Islamic State ideology.
Last year, 21 youth from the state reportedly joined the group and intelligence agencies traced them to the Nanghar province of Afghanistan. They reportedly slipped out of India via Sri Lanka and Iran.
Five of them may have died, according to relatives.
First Published: Oct 25, 2017 17:48 IST