India faces a new threat – return of battle-hardened youth from Iraq: IB Director

  • Asif Majeed returns to India, says he escaped ISIS
  • NIA interrogates the boy, explores various angles
  • According to intelligence reports the release may have been deliberate
  • Security agencies need to be more alert on social media, says IB director

(P Ravi)

arif-majeed

Arif Majeed

The return of 23-year-old Arif Majeed, one of the four engineering students from Kalyan region in Mumbai, who went missing in May and later joined Islamic State’s campaign to create a Caliphate in Iraq and Syria, is creating apprehensions. He is being questioned by investigative agencies.

Arif arrived by a flight via Turkey at around 5.15 am, today. He was immediately whisked away by intelligence officials to an undisclosed location for interrogation to be questioned by NIA and Mumbai ATS.

It was only a couple of days back that his father, a homeopath, Ejaz Majeed met senior NIA officers to tell them that he had received a call from Arif who said he wanted to return to India and that he fled from IS-controlled areas to Turkey after fighting for the Islamist group. His father in turn sought the help of Narendra Modi government to ensure his son’s return.

However, based on intelligence reports it is being suggested that Arif’s release might have been a deliberate one and the Sunni militants may have sent him to India for a special job. A case was registered against him and ISIS under UAPA and Section 25 of IPC informed CNN IBN. Meanwhile, sources reveal that he sounds highly radicalised and may face action. He is now being questioned on how he and his friends gained entry into Iraq, what they did, whether he knew of the 39 Indians said to be under the custody of ISIS militants and also on how he managed to escape.

When Arif disappeared with his friends, influenced by radical literature on internet, saying they were going on a pilgrimage to holy sites in the Arabian Gulf and surrounding countries, it was only to sneak into Iraq and join IS ranks. His families and police came to know about it only later. However, on August 26, Tanki called up his father to tell him that Arif had become a matyr. The family had done the last rites too until they received his call a few days back.

Referring to Asif Majeed, IB Director Asif Ibrahim had said that besides Pakistan-based terrorist groups, the new threat to handle is the return of battle-hardened youth from Iraq and Syria. He was speaking at the 49th annual conference of DGPs, IGPs of all States, Union Territories and Central Police Organisations organised by Intelligence Bureau. He also said that the terror modules created by Indian Mujahedeen are compounded by the developments in Iraq and the recruitments are happening through social media and websites. He urged the security agencies to be more alert online.

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