3 Malad youths have joined ISIS?

Mumbai : Three youths from Mumbai who have been missing – two of them since December 15 and one since October 30 – may have joined the terror outfit Islamic State. The police investigation is in its nascent stage and the sleuths are yet to determine whether the youngsters had left for abroad and, if so, the route they had taken to get in touch with ISIS handlers. Normally, Turkey is the favoured route to the areas in Syria controlled by the terror outfit, but the youth from Kalyan, who had joined the ISIS some time back, had made their ‘contact’ in Iraq.  However, the initial investigation clearly suggests that the three youths were already highly radicalized and driven by the fervent desire to do something for Islam, said a senior officer.

Police sources identified them as Ayaz Sultan (23), Mohsin Sheikh (26) and Wajid Sheikh (25), all residents of Malvani in Malad. They were believed to be friends and resided in the same area. Of the three, Ayaz was the first one to go missing: His mother, in the complaint filed with the Malvani police, states that her son left home on October 30 for an interview at Pune. The next to go missing were Mohsin and Wajid, who left their respective homes on December 15. Mohsin, who is a rickshaw driver, told his family members before leaving that he wouldn’t be home for two days as he had a wedding to attend. Officers are trying to ascertain whether Wajid left with Mohsin at the same time.

Wajid, who assisted his family in their business, had recently got married and told his wife before leaving that he needed to correct his name on his Aadhar card.  Ayaz, who worked as a call center employee in Malad, was the sole earning member of his family and supported the education of his siblings. When he did not return home and could not be accessed, his mother filed a missing person’s complaint. Sources said that Mohsin and Wajid were friends and would regularly; a few months ago, Wajid had introduced Mohsin to Ayaz. Sources said that the family members had noticed a perceptible change in the behaviour of the youngsters but did not inform the police about their suspicions. The police are expected to once again record the statements of the family members of the three missing men.

Sources said that the Anti Terrorism Squad, which is also investigating the matter, is trying to pin down the source of the radicalisation. They are going through the email ids and social networking accounts of the three men to check their line of communication and the sites frequently browsed. They are also not ruling out the possibility of someone known brainwashing the young men. In May last year, four youths from Kalyan had gone to Syria to join the IS. One of them, Areeb Majeed, returned and is currently in NIA custody while the whereabouts of the other three is not known. Besides, a Pune-based 16-year-old Muslim girl, who was reportedly radicalised by her IS contacts abroad and brain-washed into going to Syria, was questioned by ATS sleuths earlier this month and sent to a de-radicalisation programme.

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