KANNUR: Fear and panic have gripped Kannur with more cases of suspected Islamic State (IS) recruitments and related news surfacing prompting police officers to maintain a hawk-eyed vigil. Triggering the panic is the news of the reported killing of P C Mohammed Shijil aka Manaf, 30, of Kamal Peedika, Munderi panchayat, in Syria. The message of his death was sent by his wife Hafsiya from Syria to his younger brother working in Dubai.
DySP (Law and Order) T P Sadanandan said the police are tracking incidents related to similar cases. “Shijil’s death was confirmed as we have a voice message of his wife Hafsiya on record. We are tracking the issue,” he told Express. The department is studying the issue closely, he said. Chakkarakkal Sub Inspector P Biju said senior officers and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) are investigating the incident. The voice message states Hafsiya is now is Syria with their two children. “I am sending this message as the news of Shijil’s death has to be conveyed to his mother.
The message added: “I am here with other widows of fighters who have sacrificed their life for the sake of Allah.”
Who is Shijil aka Manaf?
Tracing his roots, Express found Shijil was an active member of the Popular Front of India (PFI) - earlier known as the National Development Front (NDF) - banned for its aggressive propagation of religion fanaticism and extremist activism. According to Biju, there are four cases against him with serious charges in the Chakkarakkal police station limits. Two of the cases are charged under IPC Section 308 - attempt to commit culpable homicide. In another case, he is accused of kidnapping a college student. He was indicted in another case in 2016 at Mayyil police station for illegal possession of arms with the intention to harm and create unrest in society. An active member of the PFI, Shijil was an accused in many political cases as well, Biju told Express.
According to officers, Shijil vanished from his home town by the end of September 2016 without even informing his parents. “He had applied for a tatkal passport on September 27, 2016, and fled by the end of the month,” said the officer. It is believed Shijil had first gone to Dubai and then to Abu Dhabi. “He had gone to Syria from there. He also took his wife and children with him,” said the officer.
A sympathiser of extremist movements
Munderi panchayat president A Pankajakshan remembers Shijil as a staunch and active PFI activist. Munderi and nearby Koodali and Kanhirode are active centres of PFI activists, he said. ‘’Shijil was in close contact with extremist forces,” he told Express. “He is married to the sister of P C Fahad, one of the convicts in the Narath arms training case. In all, 22 PFI activists were arrested by the NIA for conducting an illegal arms training camp at Narath in Kannur. It is obvious Shijil was a sympathiser of such extremist movements,” he said.
Pankajakshan said Shijil was also a great friend of Shahjahan Velluva - a suspected IS operative from Kannur arrested by the Delhi Special Cell in July 2017 at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. He was apprehended on his way back from Turkey as he failed in his mission to reach Syria after being caught in Turkey and was deported.