KOCHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will take over the investigation into the missing of 10 persons, including five children, from Kannur who are suspected to have left the country to join the Islamic State (IS). An NIA team has carried out a preliminary probe into the incident.
According to sources with the Ministry of Home Affairs, national investigating agencies, including the NIA and the Intelligence Bureau, are coordinating with the Kerala Police which is carrying out the probe at present.
“The NIA headquarters has to give the directive to the agency to take over the probe. The Kerala Police have registered a missing persons case and are yet invoke to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The police are tracking the persons to know whether they have travelled to the IS-controlled area or gone to West Asia for religious studies. The NIA and intelligence agencies are also coordinating with the police to track the group,” said a source.
The 10 missing persons include Poothapara native K Sajjad, his wife Shahina, their two children; Anwar, his wife Afseela and their three children and Kuruva native T P Nissam. The NIA is also checking whether the group has any connection with the accused persons in two cases registered at Valapattanam and Wandoor, in which a group moved to Syria via Iran last year.
One of the missing women is a relative of Shameer of Valapattanam is an accused in the Valapattanam IS case, in which several persons from different parts of Kannur joined the IS in Syria.
“The police have recorded the statements of relatives and close friends of the persons who are now missing. It is suspected the group wanted to lead a life based on Sharia law. Intelligence agencies will coordinate with the police in the UAE, Iran and Afghanistan to track the movement of the missing persons,” said a source.
The NIA in Kerala is already probing seven IS-related cases, while the NIA New Delhi unit has also registered an IS-related case involving a Kannur resident who attempted to join the terror group.
In three cases, people from Kasargod and Palakkad moved to the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan to join the IS. Two cases are related to modules from Kannur and Malappuram moving to Syria to join the IS. In one case, a local group associated with the IS planned attacks in various locations in south India.
In total on record, more than 50 persons have moved to Syria and Afghanistan to join the IS. Agencies suspect the number will be much higher as people working in Gulf countries too might have joined the terrorist organisation, information of which is yet to be received.