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Youth from Mumbai who joined ISIS alive, wants to return home

A 23-year-old Indian youth from Kalyan near Mumbai thought to have died three months ago fighting for the Islamic State is alive and wants to be rescued, his father has told the National Investigation Agency.

india Updated: Nov 26, 2014 00:27 IST
Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times
Islamic State (IS),Mumbai,IS

A 23-year-old Indian youth from Kalyan near Mumbai thought to have died three months ago fighting for the Islamic State (IS) is alive and wants to be rescued, his father has told the National Investigation Agency.

Authoritative government sources said that Ejaz Majid had met senior NIA officers last Thursday in Mumbai and told them he had received a phone call from a mobile phone (number withheld, with a country code in East Europe). It was his son Areeb, who told him he had fled from IS-controlled areas to Turkey after fighting for the terrorist group, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, for nearly three months.

Now Majid has sought the help of the Narendra Modi government to evacuate the jihadist from Turkey. This request has been conveyed at the highest levels and security agencies are verifying the November 20 call.

On May 23 this year, Areeb and three fellow civil engineering students -- Aman Naeem Tandel, Fahad Tanveer Shaikh and Sahim Farooq Tanki —went missing from Kalyan and flew with a group of pilgrims to Iraq. Radicalised over the Internet, the four joined IS’s campaign to create a Caliphate in Iraq and Syria. On August 26, Tanki called up Majid and told him that his son had become a “martyr”, and Pakistan-based terrorist group Anwar ul Tawhid declared Areeb’s martyrdom on its now-defunct website.

The sources said that Areeb requested his father, a homeopath, to make arrangements for his return to India as he had run out of money. Areeb wanted either the Indian mission in Ankara to seek him out or the consulate in Istanbul to help evacuate him to India.

Last Saturday at the HT Leadership Summit, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval had gone on record saying that no more than 10 Indian Muslims had gone to participate in jihad waged by IS in Iraq and Syria.

First Published: Nov 25, 2014 00:27 IST