KOCHI: Another batch of Malayalees from Kannur have reportedly left for Syria to join the Islamic State (IS). For the state police and Central intelligence, it's not the journey of Malayalees from India to Syria that's worrying but the silent return of many of those who have been secretly arriving from West Asian countries to India.
Though the country's enforcement agencies have been keeping a close watch on those who have left India to reach Syria via Afghanistan and Turkey, they don't have details about Keralites who have taken up clandestine activities for IS after camping in countries like Yemen, UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain.
So far, the agencies have been able to get UAE and other West Asian nations extradite a few of those who left India after falling for IS ideology. "It's a big challenge to keep track of those who are coming to India from West Asia after taking up activities for the IS. We only know the details of those who have left from Kerala," said a senior intelligence officer.
Currently, police are verifying the details and claims of a woman in Kasargod who approached the police a few weeks back complaining her husband who was still camping in Yemen allegedly to pursue IS activities had refused to allow her to take her two children when she decided to head back home. Police have been wary of the 'silent' returnees after they got custody of Nashidul Hamzafar, 26, who had travelled to Afghanistan through the Gulf to join IS in October 2017.
Nashidul belonged to Kalpetta in Wayanad and Indian agencies came to know about him when he was picked by Afghan security forces while attempting to proceed to Syria. "Entering India without the agencies noticing is easy through Nepal. Anyone can fly to Nepal from any other country and use the land route to enter India from Nepal," said the officer.
As per the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), UAE alone had deported nearly five Indians between 2017 and 2018 after they were picked up by UAE authorities for their IS-related activities. "We suspect many would have operated for the IS without being traced by the agencies there. With the fall of the IS in its strongholds, these people might have taken a safe exit and have already returned to India," the officer said.