Kasargode: In an alarming incident, at least 15 Muslims from Kerala are reportedly missing from the Middle East where they had gone recently for religious studies.
According to reports, the missing included five married couples, one of them with a two-year-old child. Out of 15, 11 hail from Padana and Trikaripur in the northernmost Kasaragod district of Kerala, while the remaining four are from Palakkad district.
They all are feared to have joined the Islamic State.
Kasaragod District Panchayat member VPP Mustafa said that during Eid, the parents of two missing youths received 'WhatsApp' messages saying "we are not coming back. Here there is Divine Rule. You also should join us".
"We have joined IS to fight US for attacking Muslims", read another message, he said adding the veracity of the messages has to be checked.
One mobile number from which the message was sent had the country code of Afghanistan, while another messaged that he was near Syria border.
On being approached by the families, Karunakaran, Thrikarippur MLA M Rajagopalan and Mustafa informed Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan about the matter and sought an investigation into the whole incident.
Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said: "This is a very serious issue. This has to be examined."
Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan said in Kasaragode that a detailed probe would be conducted into the issue.
"If they are trapped in their (IS) net and reached in (their territory), it would be a very difficult issue. A detailed probe would be conducted on this issue," he told reporters.
Reports said that the 15 left their homes for the Middle East on different days in the last one month. However, they are believed to have been in touch with each other.
Rajagopalan told PTI that all those missing were below the age of 30 and highly qualified.
"The Chief Minister has asked police to launch a probe into the matter urgently," Karunakaran said today.
Hakim, the father of Hafesuddin who is among those missing from Kasaragod, told television channels that his son had left a month ago and there was no news from him.
"If he returns as a good man, I will welcome him. If not, I do not want to see even his dead body," he said.
Karunakaran said the family members told him that the youths had left for Middle East a month ago stating that they were going for religious studies.
But for the last one month, their families had no communication from them and so they were suspicious, he said.
Mustafa said among the missing were Dr Ijas and his dentist wife. They had left home saying they were going to Lakshadweep, he told PTI.
Abdul Rasheed, an engineering graduate, had left home with his wife and a two-year old daughter, stating that they were going to Mumbai for a job.
All the youths hail from middle class families and had been showing keen interest in religious matters since the last two years, Mustafa said.
Meanwhile, Kerala DGP Lokanath Behera said: “We can’t come to any conclusions about their whereabouts. If tomorrow they all return, then the case would be a blunder. We don’t know who sent the messages and from where the messages originated. Besides, the families have not approached local police with a formal complaint.”
Notably, a Facebook group had come to light earlier this month which raised the fear of the presence of the Islamic State in Kerala. The page had posts in Malayalam and English. It was deactivated later.