Mumbai police arrested a 26-year-old Salafi preacher on Saturday from Kannur, on suspected Islamic State links.
Muhammad Haneef, a native of Wayanad and a preacher at a local mosque in Kannur district, was arrested based on a complaint filed by Paramban Majeed, father of one of the missing youths Ashfaq Majeed.
Ashfaq, including 20 others from Kasargod and Palakkad districts, have been missing since over a month and are suspected to have joined IS.
In the complaint filed with Mumbai police, Mumbai-based businessman Paramban alleged that his son was drawn to extremist Salafism after taking part in classes conducted by Muhammad Haneef.
The Hindu reports that Mumbai police recorded his arrest after questioning him on Saturday and that he would be taken to Mumbai on Sunday.
However, Haneefâ€™s arrest caused disbelief among parents of other missing youths as well as other Salafi preachers, The Times of India reports.
Police believe that Haneefâ€™s extremist teachings could have been used to recruit the youths to IS.
The report quotes TP Muhammdali Haji, the custodian of the Salafi masjid in Kalikkadavu in Kasaragod denying that Haneef has links with the extremist group.
â€śHaneef Maulavi has no links with any extremist group. In his khutubas (sermons) he spoke only about Islam not terror,â€ť he was quoted as saying.
Earlier this week, the investigating team probing the missing of the youths said in court that some of them left for Tehran via Bengaluru.
Also read: Kerala's missing 21: Christian couple who converted to Islam, left for Tehran via Bengaluru