PALAKKAD: The NIA recorded the arrest of Riyas Aboobacker, a native of Kambrathachalla in Muthalamada, Palakkad, on Sunday after questioning him and searching his house for four hours the previous day. Riyas, according to the agency, used to follow the videos and speeches of the mastermind of the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka, Zahran Hashim, who is the head of the National Thouheed Jamaath and was also planning a suicide attack in Kerala.
It was also stated he was in touch with Kasargod native Rashid who had joined the IS. Riyas, who had studied only up to Class X, was initially employed at an aluminium fabrication unit in Kanjikode. While working there, he used to regularly go and offer namaz at the Salafi mosque and hear speeches.
“As Riyas had not undergone religious education in his childhood, it was easy to inject Salafi ideology into him. There was a sudden change in his lifestyle and his interactions were with those persons who had professed the same ideologies,” said one of his family members who did not want to be named.
“In recent times, he was mostly engaged in travelling to other states. Earlier, the family was living in Chappakad near Muthalamada and it was two years ago that they shifted to Akshaya Nagar in Kambrathachalla. After his studies, Riyas enrolled for plus two course, but discontinued after a year. This was an isolated area located near the border with Tamil Nadu and the family members were unaware of the activities of their son,” said Sheikh Musthafa of Chappakkad, a relative.
“He was a quiet boy and sometimes used to be present at their textile shop. But we were literally shocked when the NIA sleuths came in search of him. He was one of the three children of his parents and was a bachelor. His sister is married. His brother, Mansoor, is employed as a worker in a jewellery showroom in Theni, Tamil Nadu. The wife and two children of Mansoor are staying along with his parents,” said Sheikh Musthafa.
On Tuesday, when media persons went to Kambrathachalla, the parents were not willing to speak to anyone and they closed the door. The textile shop of Riyas Aboobacker in Kambrathachalla was also lying closed. An aunt of Riyas (mother’s sister) who lived nearby was sobbing when media persons went to speak to her.
The family members said Riyas did not disclose his travel plans and would only say he was going outside as part of his business. The NIA had been following the social media posts of Riyas for the past one and a half years.