The News Minute| July 14, 2014| 7.20 pm IST
The Maharashtra government is in touch with the central government over the disappearance of four Muslim youth from Kalyan town who are suspected to have joined ISIS jehadis in Iraq, Home Minister R.R. Patil said Monday.
The state police have already shared its information and available intelligence on the sensitive issue with the central agencies, he said.
"Yes, it's true that the four youth are missing... there are missing complaints in Kalyan (Thane). There are also reports they may have been indoctrinated into the ISIS. We have shared our information with the central agencies," Patil told media persons in Satara.
Kalyan police, in Thane district, said investigations are underway with reference to the four separate missing complaints filed by the parents of the youth, identified as Arif Fayyaz Majeed, Aman Naik Tandel, Shaheed Farooqui Tanki and Fahad Tanvir Sheikh.
Additional Commissioner of Police Sharad Shelar said the complaints were registered May 25, 26 and 27, and the probe is underway since.
However, despite all efforts, there has been no breakthrough so far, and it is also not clear whether the four were known to each other, police said.
Now, nearly a month-and-a-half after the police complaints, mystery continues to shroud the sudden disappearance of the four youth amidst apprehensions that they may have joined ISIS.
All are educated, are in their mid-20s and cited various reasons, including employment options, for going to Iraq before their families lost all contact with them. Sheikh and Tandel are engineering students, Majeed is the son of a medico while Tanki worked in a call centre.
At least one of them had given indications that he was headed to Iraq to join the ongoing war there along with proponents of the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria (ISIS).
After nothing emerged from the probe into the 'missing person' complaints, their distraught families are now planning to meet or contact higher authorities in the central government, including External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the issue.
Police and state intelligence sources said that the four were reportedly part of a group of pilgrims which left Mumbai for Baghdad May 23. A couple of days later, they separated from the group and are believed to have gone to Fallujah city in a cab.
Though Majeed's family got a couple of calls from him after he landed in Baghdad, when he claimed to have gone job hunting in Iraq, his phone later went dead in Mosul area. A letter Majeed wrote to his family expressed anguish over various issues like "sinning, smoking, taking interest, watching TV, illegal sexual intercourse, intermingling of sexes, not praying or growing beards, lewdness, obscenity, disbelief, living luxurious lives" etc.
He warned his shocked family that "these things will lead to you burning in hellfire".He added that he would meet his (unidentified) friend for "our greatest journey" which would be "a blessed journey for me because I don't want to live in this sinful country".
Police and intelligence agencies suspect that the youths may have been enticed online, through one of the Internet or some chat-rooms where lot of propaganda material has been uploaded on the recent developments in Iraq.