Terror Scare as Three Mumbai Youth Suspected to Join ISIS
The country’s Anti-Terror Squad has made an arrest earlier this week, on suspicion of a group of young men who were allegedly to make their way to join the Islamic State.
The ATS are investigating the case of the missing trio, who were identified as Ayaz Sultan (aged 23), Wajid Sheikh (aged 25) and Mohsin Sheikh (aged 26). They were from a western suburb in Mumbai.
Three Teens Ran from Home
The parents of the trio had registered a missing persons file on their children with Malvani police, in an effort to find them. “We suspect that the three joined the IS and our probe is on to ascertain this,” said Milind Khetle, Malvani Police’s senior inspector.
Wajid and Mohsin Sheikh went missing on December 16, according to the ATS – but the other man, Ayaz Sultan, had disappeared much earlier in the year on October 30. According to authorities, Sultan told his parents that he was going to go to Pune to meet up with a connection he had made in an attempt to get a job at a company in Kuwait.
Mohsin left under the premise that he was attending a friend’s wedding, whereas Wajid left under the premise that he had to go and renew his e-Aadhaar card, a part of the Unique Identification Authority of India. Police and the ATS strongly believe that all three were in touch with each other and another radicalizing element, and that they were persuaded to join ISIS at the same time. An investigation is still ongoing to determine if the Islamic State personally contacted them, or if they were potentially radicalized through the Internet.
One Arrest Was Made in Pune
Wajid Sheikh was found and detained in Pune earlier this week, and questioned for his involvement with the Islamic State and his possible radicalization, as well as the whereabouts of the other two missing Mumbai youth. According to an ATS official, “Wajid Sheikh was in some part of South India, we followed him and tracked him near Pune.”
After being brought back to Mumbai and questioned, Sheikh was let go the morning after. No charges were filed so far, as no laws have been proven to be broken.
Some Indians Have Already Joined ISIS, Others Under Surveillance
This isn’t the first or last time that ISIS has shown its influence among India’s youth – last year, four Mumbai-based youths travelled to Iraq to fight in the Islamic State, and as many as twenty-three Indians have allegedly left and gone missing to join ISIS. The Indian Home Ministry stated that radicalization of the Muslim youth in India was being perpetrated by ISIS militants, either locally or over the Internet. According to the 2011 census of India, roughly 14.2 percent of the population is Muslim.
Nonetheless, ISIS has previously stated that radicalization in India has shown limited success compared to other targeted regions. As of 2015, most terrorist-affiliated casualties were caused by left-wing extremism, the J&K, and the North East Insurgency according to statistics provided by SATP.
According to Mumbai news reports in November by Divya Bhaskar, about 150 Indians are under surveillance for showing an interest or promoting Islamic State propaganda, or else actively engaging in conversations with ISIS supporters.