The NIA is probing the role of a newly-converted UK couple in the radicalisation of 22 people from Kerala, who went missing a couple of months ago and were reported to have reached Islamic State-controlled Nangharhar in Afghanistan.
Interrogation of one of the arrested accused has revealed that the UK couple was running a channel through which it disseminated IS propaganda and motivated youth to join the outfit. “This is a kind of recruiting channel and the UK couple appear to be recruiting on behalf of IS. There are indications that the leader of the group, Abdul Rashid, was radicalised and recruited into IS by this couple. They may have been in touch with others in the group as well,” said an NIA officer.
During custodial interrogation of accused Yasmin Mohd Zahid (29), who had married Rashid as his second wife and was apprehended at Delhi airport while trying to exit India for Afghanistan in July-end, it was revealed that Rashid and his first wife Ayisha were in touch with this couple. “Rashid had asked Yasmin to be in touch with the couple,” an NIA officer said.
The 22 missing people comprise 13 men, six women and three children. They left their homes in Kerala between mid-May and the first week of July. They left India via Bengaluru, Hyderabad or Mumbai airports for Kuwait, Dubai, Muscat or Abu Dhabi from where they are learnt to have travelled to Afghanistan through Iran.
Yasmin has revealed during interrogation that she married Rashid, 30, on May 3 in a nikaah ceremony solemnised over phone. Rashid told Yasmin in the first week of July that he and the other missing people from Kerala had reached the Caliphate in Afghanistan, sources said.
Yasim has revealed that Rashid provided funds to the tune of Rs 1.5 lakh in mid-July. Yasmin has said she used the money to make preparations to travel to Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the sister of another missing accused, Dr Ijas, has said his family received a message from him, saying that he and his wife were blessed with a daughter on September 6.