Kerala family cremates son, DNA test shows body was of another man who was abducted

Two young men, Deepak and Irshad, went missing in July. When a body was found in Kerala's Koyilandy coast, police assumed it was that of Deepak. But a crucial piece of DNA evidence turned the case around.
Irshad (left) and Deepak (right), who both went missing in July
Irshad (left) and Deepak (right), who both went missing in July
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Two young men — Deepak and Irshad — went missing in Kerala’s Kozhikode district within the span of a month. When the semi-decomposed body of a young man was retrieved from the Koyilandy coast on July 17, Deepak’s family identified it as his body and cremated it according to Hindu rituals. However, three weeks later, DNA testing revealed that the body was Irshad’s and not Deepak’s.

Deepak, who hails from Panthikkara in Kozhikode, worked in the Gulf and went missing on June 7. Since he had gone missing from home before too, his family filed a missing complaint only a month later. When the body washed up on the Koyilandy shore, Deepak’s relatives identified it as him. The police, after conducting a post mortem, handed over the body to the family. However, since a few people had expressed doubts about the body, the police had kept DNA samples aside before the cremation. It is these DNA samples that have confirmed that the dead body was that of Irshad, a young man who was kidnapped from a nearby area by a gold smuggling gang.

Irshad, who had arrived in Kerala from Dubai in May, was abducted sometime in the second week of July. Fearful for his safety, his family filed a complaint only on July 22. Irshad, the police believe, was a gold smuggling courier who was abducted for handing over the gold to someone else. Two men arrested for the kidnapping — Jinad Mohammed Kutty and Shaheel Hanifa — called Irshad’s parents and declared that they had abducted him; they also sent pictures of the 26-year-old as proof.

Since the police were searching for Irshad, his family had hoped that he would be rescued. However, the first inkling that he may have died emerged when the arrested men told the police that Irshad had escaped from their captivity and jumped into the Purakkattiri river on July 15. The suspicion had become stronger by then that the body recovered on July 17 was that of Irshad. DNA samples were collected from Irshad’s parents and when the results came on August 5, Friday, Irshad’s family’s worst fears came true.

Police say that Irshad jumped out of the abductors’ vehicle to escape them. However, it is still unclear whether he escaped or was killed by his abductors before they dumped his body. Three people have been arrested in connection with Irshad’s death, and police say investigation is ongoing to nab the others in the gang.

Meanwhile, the fact that the body was Irshad’s has provided a glimmer of hope to Deepak’s family, who have asked the police to find him.

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