Thiruvananthapuram: Saying terrorists have no religion, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday said an entire community should not be blamed for the alleged links of some with the IS.
Extremist activities cannot be attributed to any particular religion alone, the Communist Party of India-Marxist leader told the assembly.
"Vested interests are creating an anti-Muslim feeling," Vijayan cautioned. "This will not be allowed as a huge majority in our society is against such activities.
"It's a very small segment which does this. To blame one particular community alone is not fair," he said.
The Chief Minister spoke after three legislators raised media reports about several Keralites reportedly going missing to join the Islamic State.
Vijayan said the government would not be able to tackle the problem on its own.
"There has to be an overall awareness against terrorism and extremism and we need to take everyone into confidence.
"The state government will do its job and will work in tandem with the Centre to probe these reports," he said.
According to Vijayan, 21 people, including children, were missing and this included 17 from Kasargode district, in the northern tip of Kerala, and four from Palakkad district.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said: "Overall Kerala is known to be a peaceful state. Even though we have no confirmation (that people are missing), it is disturbing and the need of the hour is to strengthen internal security and all of us would like to know the truth."
Congress legislator P.T. Thomas pointed out a lady from his constituency was missing. She was working in Mumbai and had reportedly attended meetings in Andheri and was reported to be with the IS now, Thomas said.
"One way to bring an instant impact against these subversive forces is to see that this topic is introduced in schools in our state," he said.
The Kerala Police and central intelligence agencies are said to be probing the issue, taking down statements from families which have alleged that their family members have gone missing.