MUMBAI: The City Police suspect that three missing youths from Malwani, a distant suburb of Mumbai, might have joined the terrorist organisation Islamic State. The families of Ayaz Sultan, 23, Mohsin Sheikh, 26, and Wajid Sheikh, 25, have filed missing-person complaints with the Malwani Police Station.
According to the complaint, Ayaz has been missing since October 30 whereas Mohsin and Wajid are untraceable since December 16. Ayaz, a call centre employee, had left home saying he was going to Pune in connection with a job offer he had from a company in Kuwait. Mohsin left home saying he was going to a friend’s wedding. Wajid stepped out of his home saying he had to get his name on the Aadhaar card corrected. All of them are neighbours and close friends. According to Ayaz’s mother Raziya, his phone has been switched off since October 30. She told police that Ayaz would spend most of his time on the phone or computer. He wanted to start a computer institute and had mortgaged his house for rS 3 lakh to raise funds for the venture.
Wahid, a graduate, got married 10 months ago. He runs his family’s wholesale business of selling lemons. His wife told police that he was talking of going to Syria and joining IS. She also told the police that they fought a lot after he started getting swayed away by extremist ideology. A team of Anti-Terrorism Squad visited Wahid’s home and found IS propaganda on his phone.
Mohsin, who has a couple of cases against him, is known in the vicinity as a person with rigid beliefs. His friends told the police that he was talking about doing something big for the Muslims. Police strongly suspect that the three men were in touch with each other as they resided in the same area and also because two of them left home the same day.
An ATS official said they tried to crack the password of the email accounts of the three missing youths, but have not been successful as yet. Police is trying to ascertain whether the missing men were brain-washed into joining the IS by someone personally or through Internet. Notably, in May last year, four youths from Kalyan township in neighbouring Thane district had gone to Syria to join the IS. One of them, Areeb Majeed, returned and is currently in NIA custody while the whereabouts of the other three are not yet known.
The ATS last week had stopped a 16-year-old affluent Pune girl from joining IS as a suicide bomber. She admitted she was radicalised by IS sympathisers.