A Kerala youngster who went missing and went to Syria to join ISIS was reportedly killed in Afghanistan. According to a message received by a social activist in Padane village of Kasaragod district, 23-year-old Hafeesuddhin Theke Koleth was killed in a drone strike on Friday.
The message that came on Saturday via the Telegram app said, “Hafees was killed by a drone strike yesterday. We can consider him a Shuhada (martyr) and Allah knows the best.”
"Other members also are getting ready to become martyrs." the message added. It also said that Hafees’s body has been buried.
The message was reportedly sent by Ashfaq, one of the ‘missing’ 21, who had left India in June 2016 to Nangarhar province in Afghanistan, which is under the control of Islamic State.
Hafees’ sister told TNM that they had been informed about his death by the social worker. “We did not try to contact anyone to confirm the news. What can we do? My parents are just exhausted, not reacting,” she said.
Kasaragod Member of Parliament P Karunakaran told The News Minute that neither the family nor the police had any more details.
“Other than these Telegram messages, we have no clue what happened to them. But there is no doubt that they are linked to Islamic state. They all are educated people. We cannot say it is all for the entire religion, but in the name of religion a particular group is spreading terrorism,” he said.
Of the 21 men who allegedly joined ISIS, 12 are from the Padane village. Hafeesudheen, who used to work in Dubai, quit his job and came back to his village three years ago. In Padane, he was reportedly influenced by the ISIS ideology after joining the Peace International School, where he met Abdul Rasheed Abdulla - believed to be the leader of the Malayalee group.
It was Hafeesuddhin’s father Hakeen who first received a message from his son in June 2016 announcing that they had left Kerala to join the Islamic State.
The message sent via the Telegram app said that he was now in a Sharia country and all was well.
Hafeesuddhin and his friend Marvan Ismail had left their houses in May 2016, they had told their families that they were off to Kozhikode for a class on Islam.
A worried Hakeem had approached Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and very soon it was unraveled that not just Hafeesuddhin and his nieghbours, but 21 people in total had left Kerala as a group.
“I know my son. He does not follow Islam like I do, he is far more radical. I have seen him changing over the last two years, which is why I won’t hesitate to say that he could have joined a group like IS. My son was a simpleton, but I cannot deny that he had changed,” Hakeem had then told The News Minute.