On Tuesday night, Kasaragod Town police station filed an FIR stating that 6 people from the same family in the district had gone missing and were suspected to have fled from India to Yemen to join the Islamic State.
Police took the statement of Mudanulam Kunnil house Abdul Hameed, father of 25-year-old Naseera, who along with her husband Sawad (35) and three children Musab (6), Marjana (3) and Muhammil (11 months) moved to Yemen on June 5th to pursue Quranic studies. Sawadâs second wife Chemnad Rehanath too had accompanied the family.
The police initially registered a missing complaint naming the 6 members of the family. They took Abdul Hameedâs statement and even got Hameed to sign the statement.
However, when media organisations reported that âanother bunch of people from Kerala may have joined the Islamic Stateâ, Hameed came out in the open stating that he had never filed a missing complaint. According to him, his daughter and son-in-law would frequently call him from Yemen and therefore he had no reason to go to the police.
The âmissingâ family who are settled in Dubai where Sawad runs a mobile store, moved to Yemen to study at Darul Hadees, a madrasa attached to the Masjidul Anwer mosque, in Hadhramautâs Al Hami region.
Speaking to TNM from Yemen, Sawad said, âWe came to Yemen on June 5th. Before that, we had informed all our family members that we were going to Yemen as we wanted to do Islamic studies. Even after reaching here, we call my family and my first and second wivesâ families every other day. We called everybody during Eid and I call my father every day. My sisters too chats with me every day.â
Sawad says that according to his father-in-law, Abdul Hameed, he was called by the Kasaragod town police and forcibly questioned and made to sign a complaint.
The police in Kasaragod however say they had reason to worry. In 2016, several men, women and children from Padna and Trikaripur in Kasaragod region had fled to join Islamic State. Many of them are believed to be dead now. And unlike in this case, those who disappeared had not told their families before going to Syria and most stopped all communication as soon as they left India.
When TNM contacted Kasaragod Circle Inspector CA Abdul Rahim, his version of how the complaint was registered was different.
âBefore June 26th, (when the FIR was filed) we had no clue about the whereabouts of the family members who had fled. However, based on Abdul Hameedâs statement in which he specifically said that he could not contact them, we filed a complaint and he signed it,â Abdul Rahim said.
It is from Hameedâs statement that the police learned that 5 members of another family from Anangoor had joined Sawad and family in Yemen, taking the count to 11. However, no missing case has been registered with regard to this family.
Sawad, on the other hand, claims that the family has no plans to join the Islamic State and will come back once the family is done studying the Quranic texts.
âSometime back people had fled from Kasaragod to join Islamic State. But I am deeply saddened by the fact that we are being clubbed with the IS militants. We abhor them as much as anyone else does and their actions are un-Islamic. Besides we have also given proof of details such as day of arrival, period of stay, address in Yemenâ, he said.
Sawad also says that the family has no plans of staying in Yemen forever.
âWe might even come back before we finish our studies, return again and complete. I can never think of settling there because I have my family and my roots in Kasaragod. If my father falls ill, I am the only one who would be able to take care of him. So we havenât come here with the intention of staying forever. We will return home once we are done with the duration of the course,â he said.
Police sources however say they are not willing to take any risks and will ask relatives of the two families to furnish regular updates.