A 23-year-old man hailing from Ponmala in Malappuram, who went missing, is suspected to have joined the Islamic State.
Najeeb, an MTech student at VIT Vellore, has been missing since August 15.
“His mother had lodged a missing complaint with us on August 26. In the complaint, she said that she suspected that her son had joined the terror group. Her suspicion was based on the messages he had sent her on Telegram. We have read the messages and a case has been registered,” Binu B Sreedharan, Sub Inspector Malappuram police station told TNM.
He sent messages to his mother, saying that he had reached his destination. “I have made Hijra,” he said, reported News 18.
In a series of messages Najeeb reportedly sent to his mother over Telegram, he cautioned his mother against going to the police.
"No need to search for me...I have reached my destination. Here people are like Sahaba. No other land is worth. Do not go to police. It will be trouble for you, not me. This is the last message, Inshah Allah," one of the messages read.
Hijra refers to Prophet Muhammad's migration (622 CE) from Mecca to Medina in order to escape persecution. The date represents the starting point of the Muslim era.
Najeeb had messaged his mother on August 17 using the name Abu Bashir.
“It is a common name used by those who join IS. The style of the message is similar to the ones sent by those which had earlier joined IS from Kerala,” Binu said.
Another reason the police suspect that Najeeb has joined the IS is because of the use of ‘we’ in his message instead of ‘I’. “Since he was able to send a message we suspect he has gone to Afghanistan. It won’t be possible for him to communicate once he reaches the IS camp,” Binu said.
The police say that on investigating they found that he had obtained a month’s visa to Tehran through the Iranian consulate in Hyderabad.
“On August 16 he flew to Tehran via Dubai from Hyderabad airport. We have written to authorities in Tehran to inform the Indian government if he extends his visa or comes to the airport,” the police officer said.
However, until September 16 he hadn’t renewed his visa.
Najeeb had studied in Dubai after his sixth standard and the police are trying to find if there is any link in Dubai that could have connected Najeeb to any terror group. Najeeb had returned to India a few years ago and had done a course in Hyderabad, before joining Vellore Institute.
“All we were able to understand was that he was leading an isolated life in Hyderabad. He even hesitated to respond to people asking him something,” Binu said.
Najeeb had made his mother download the messaging app Telegram on her phone. Telegram is the preferred messaging platform for the terror group.
“His parents had observed changes in his way of thinking while he was in Dubai. The parents said that he was sent back to India from Dubai after they began noticing the changes. His father, who still works in Dubai, is afraid that the country will deport him since his son is a suspected terrorist now” the police said.
Najeeb is one three children of the couple. The incident came to light after a section of the media reported it on Monday.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is investigating the case as per the report submitted by the Malappuram police.