KOCHI: In the past three years, over 100 people have been suspected to have left Kerala for Syria to join the Islamic State (IS). After analysing each missing case, the police have found that West Asia, mainly the UAE, has become one of the main transit points for Malayalees to move to Afghanistan and Syria. Even in the latest incident of two Kannur-based families reportedly leaving for Syria, the police have found they have reached UAE from India before moving to Afghanistan.
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State Police Chief Loknath Behera told 'Express' they have apprised the gravity of the issue to the Central agencies as the state police can't do much in checking this aspect.
"A lot of Malayalees are going to West Asian countries for employment. But some are mysteriously disappearing from there. We have reported the matter to the Centre," Behera said.
As per an assessment by the intelligence wing, many Malayalees are being indoctrinated into IS ideology while they are in West Asia. "They also convince their family members back home about the need to
move to Afghanistan or Syria to complete their mission," said a senior police officer.
Another development the state police has been perusing was that the missing cases only come to light when family members come forward to lodge complaint after they fail to get any details of their
"Many families are still hesitant to report the details of people who are in West Asian countries and have not been in touch with their families for over a year or so," the officer said.
Both the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the state intelligence have ascertained the details of Salafi groups operating in West Asian countries to indoctrinate vulnerable Malayalee youths.
Investigation has revealed that a Bahrain-based Salafi wing was behind influencing four Malayali youths who were killed in Syria in 2017 while fighting for the IS.