New Delhi: In what is likely to send the security and various intelligence agencies into a tizzy, a report prepared by the government suggests that a growing number of educated young Indians have either joined the Islamic State recently or are heading to its strongholds in Iraq and Syria.
According to a report published in 'The Indian Express', the government seems to be highly concerned about at least 17 young Indians - mostly educated and hailing from middle-class or affluent families with conventional aspirations – who have gone missing in the recent past.
Some of those who went missing had known links to the Islamist political groups but none had any past connections to terrorism.
Early this month, the Ministry of Home Affairs held a high-level meeting which was attended by the Directors General of Police and Home Secretaries from 12 states to discuss the cases of young Indians who have gone missing.
The intelligence agencies suspect they have either joined the Islamic State or are headed to its strongholds.
The development has raised alarm bells in the establishment as it had in November last year claimed 'negligible' threat from the Islamic State.
According to the report, those 17 missing Indians are believed to be active with the Islamic State or rival organisations like Jabhat al-Nusra.
In addition, up to a dozen Indian Mujahideen cadre have also believed to have joined the Islamic State, while police have stopped at least 22 volunteers from travelling abroad.
The intelligence inputs on missing Indians also suggested that six of those might have been killed fighting for the Islamic States.
The Indians recruited by the Islamic States hail from different states including Telangana, Karnataka and Mumbai, according to government sources.
Involvement of community elders, monitoring of radical social media platforms and real-time sharing of information are a few steps government plans to take to prevent youths getting attracted to radical ideologies, such as that propagated by the terror group.