Islamic State jihadist Areeb Majeed sent to NIA custody till December 8

Arif Majeed, a civil engineering student, went missing in May this year along with three other youths from Kalyan.

By: Press Trust of India Written by Gautam Sandip Mengle , Praveen Swami | Updated: November 29, 2014 4:07 pm
Top: Areeb, the shut window of his home Friday; his parents met the Home Minister this summer. Top: Areeb, the shut window of his home Friday; his parents met the Home Minister this summer.

Thane college student-turned Islamic State jihadist Areeb Majeed, flown home under NIA escort from Istanbul on Friday morning, has provided a graphic account of his journey, police sources have told The Indian Express  — an almost filmic story that involved bullet injuries during a skirmish in the Syrian city of al-Raqqa and a narrow escape when the makeshift hospital where he was recovering was destroyed in an air raid.

Areeb is being questioned by the NIA, Intelligence Bureau and Maharashtra Police anti-terrorism investigators at a safe-house in Mumbai, the sources said.

Also read: Four men from Mumbai believed to have joined Iraq jihad, a father appeals for help

Late Friday night, the NIA filed an FIR against the foreign terror outfit. NIA spokesperson Inspector General Rama Shastri said, “After receiving permission from the government, we registered an FIR against the ISIS under Sections 16, 18 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and Section 125 of the Indian Penal Code. We will take a call on further action shortly.”

The three UAPA sections stand for commission or conspiring to commit a terrorist act and for being a member of a terrorist organisation, while Section 125 of the IPC stands for waging war against a nation which is in alliance with the Government of India.

The Islamic State has not been designated a terrorist group in India, but it has been proscribed by the United Nations, automatically making membership an offence under the UAPA.

Also read: Transformation of a shy boy to a radical: Family, friends search for answers

Officials said Areeb is now being treated as a suspect due to his prima facie involvement with the Islamic State and was likely to be placed under arrest soon. NIA sources said he would face suitable action unless further investigations absolved him. “Not just Areeb, but anyone found to be associated with the IS will have to face the criminal justice system,” said a source.

The 24-year-old engineering student was believed to have been killed in late August — his “martyrdom” hailed on online jihadist forums — after his father received a call from a friend and fellow-fighter in Syria, telling him that his son was dead.

Investigators who spoke to Areeb said he provided details on just what happened after he, along with friends Shaheen Tanki, Fahad Sheikh and Aman Tandel disappeared into Islamic State-held territory on May 23, while travelling with a group of Indian pilgrims in Baghdad — as reported by The Indian Express. The four men, Areeb confirmed, took a taxi to the Islamic State-controlled city of Fallujah, where the militant group arranged for their travel north-west to al-Raqqa.

For the next month, Areeb said the men trained together at a camp housing volunteers of South Asian ethnicity — largely Indians and Pakistanis from the United Kingdom. The four Indians were taught basic weapons operation and combat tactics, before being dispersed among Islamic State units across the region. The men remained in contact, though, over their cellphones.

Less than a week after Areeb was deployed in al-Raqqa, he suffered two bullet injuries during a skirmish. He claimed it was not enemy fire but panicked and indisciplined shooting by Islamic State forces. “He was lucky he survived the injuries,” a source involved in questioning Areeb said.

Following his injuries, Areeb told investigators, he was shifted to a makeshift camp hospital on the fringes of the city, which was brought down in a Syrian air raid two weeks later. Al-Raqqa — the first city to fall to the Islamic State last year — has been under relentless attack for several months, with Syrian air force jets targeting the jihadist group’s infrastructure and communications facilities.

Following the airstrike, having lost contact with Areeb, former call centre employee Tanki called home to tell his parents he had been killed. Areeb, the sources said, had however succeeded in surviving the air strike, and with help from Islamic State cadre, made his way to a relief camp across the border in Turkey from where, out of money and ailing, he called his parents in October seeking help. Ejaz Majeed, Areeb’s father, then reached out to contacts in the NIA.

The NIA, in turn, succeeded in working with the family to help Areeb make contact with the Indian consulate in Istanbul, and ensure his return home.

“He’s voiced no regret over his decision,” an officer involved in Areeb’s questioning said. “He believes fighting for the Islamic State is a religious obligation, and does not see his actions as terrorism.”

The sources said Areeb made clear he was not motivated by any organisation or clerics to join the ranks of the Islamic State, saying he and his friends made their decision on the basis of information gathered from the internet. In postings on his Facebook page, he demonstrated strong Islamist convictions, urging Muslims to unite in a Caliphate “as one Ummah [nation]”.

“Upon reaching Mumbai, Areeb called his father Dr Ejaz Majeed and told him that he had reached the country and was safe and sound,” said a source close to the family. Areeb’s father immediately called a relative and told him, “Apna Guddu mil gaya (Our Guddu has been found),” referring to his son’s nickname. He then left with his wife for Mumbai, where they are now with Areeb at the safehouse.

In the compound of Sarvodaya Society in Kalyan, where the Majeeds live, scores of people gathered on hearing about the development.

 

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First Published on: November 29, 2014 4:20 am
  1. J
    JAMSHAD
    Nov 29, 2014 at 4:45 pm
    Dear Mr/Ms. IndianY r u trying to mergeall other Muslims to this terrorist. Is all crimes are doing by Muslims in India,most of the guys commented here they were trying to blame Muslims for thisf##king guys stupid decision. Once you reach 20 years or more y u guys are forgettingthe pledge that we took in our school, i hope u guys did the same what i did inmy school. It was starting all Indians are my brothers and sisters not # all non-Muslimsare my brothers and sisters #. Y u guys are forgetting that u had at least a Muslimfriend in your life (most of you). Blame the accuse not their religion
    Reply
    1. I
      IndianWellWisher
      Nov 29, 2014 at 6:11 pm
      Brilliant thought! Join IB!
      Reply
      1. I
        IndianWellWisher
        Nov 29, 2014 at 6:09 pm
        Brilliant! You should join IB!
        Reply
        1. I
          IndianWellWisher
          Nov 29, 2014 at 6:12 pm
          Thank you Armaan, I appreciate your courageous stand!
          Reply
          1. I
            IndianWellWisher
            Nov 29, 2014 at 6:03 pm
            “He’s voiced no regret over his decision,” - Who will pay for all the expenses incurred? Inshah Alla!
            Reply
            1. H
              Harry Achari
              Nov 30, 2014 at 9:49 am
              He came back from isis. He is young and brainwashed. I don't believe any one can escape alive from claws of Isis not even Isis terrorists. ISIS produce no weapon but still they get money and weapons and ammunitions from so called nice and wealthy countries who sponsor terrorism as their tools and they sharpen their weapons with religion. I firmly believe this boy is being shot ( not a killer shot) by Isis juz to make reason he escaped so that he can recruit more jihadist in his motherland, on behave of Isis. It is most likely he got training there to use in India. Whatever he says is not trustworth. Isis may also hijack Indians in Mideast to release him. Complicated !!! I think he should be sent back to Irak. it is possible he could be get killed by his own Isis because of mistrust. It is very unfortunate many strong power sponsor them. One thing is sure they don't get Russian weapons although they use AK 47 via former socialist republics
              Reply
              1. K
                KrishnaBhagawan
                Nov 28, 2014 at 8:53 pm
                he needs to be tried for abetting murder
                Reply
                1. M
                  Manoj Jha
                  Nov 28, 2014 at 5:50 pm
                  It seems that he must have realized that what a mi stake he has done after reaching and called his father somehow who talked to indian authaurities to bring him back. Should Tax payer's money be used for these purposes?
                  Reply
                  1. P
                    PChrome
                    Nov 28, 2014 at 12:57 pm
                    His return creates a lot of dilemma for the government. There probably is not much evidence of any of his crimes on a foreign soil. But if he is released, there is a good chance he will commit terrorist activities on Indian soil. I wish he was killed in Iraq.
                    Reply
                    1. A
                      Aaron
                      Nov 30, 2014 at 6:43 pm
                      Right same should be done with Col. Puro and Pragvi terrorist of Malegaon Blast !
                      Reply
                      1. P
                        Prithviraj Chauhan
                        Nov 30, 2014 at 8:09 am
                        Extract all information possible from him and shoot him saying he tried to escape!!! but in no ways should he be allowed to roam free among the public. Put him in a undeground cell accesible only to air and moderate sunlight with no human contact at all! He should be made into an example and not at all be treated with leniency. For all we know he might have come here with ulterior motives..sucide bombing or worse.doctrination and recruiting! lots of islamic fanatics roaming around anyways waiting for an opportunity.
                        Reply
                        1. T
                          Trying to
                          Nov 30, 2014 at 3:48 am
                          I have no doubt that the judicial system in India will deliver the appropriate judgement based on the findings of the NIA and other relevant agencies of the government. India's judicial system exists not only to punish the perpetrators, and rehabilitate those who have reformed and paid their due, but also to deter others from committing similar crimes.
                          Reply
                          1. T
                            Trying to
                            Nov 30, 2014 at 4:00 am
                            You have shared some good sentiments. Unfortunately ISIS it seems has excellent smen who have misled a lot of young people from many countries. Some of these people may have already been psychologically imbalanced, or unduly influenced by unethical teachers, mullahs, money-lenders etc Kasab was influenced by others in his country who were never brought to justice. Are there some in India who unduly influenced Majeed to follow the path he took?
                            Reply
                            1. S
                              Sincere NRI
                              Nov 28, 2014 at 2:58 pm
                              It is a shame that Indian Muslim community has not come out strongly to criticise their own joining ISIS. Infact Islamic countries' leaders from Indonesia (The world's largest muslim community followed by India), Malaysia and Saudi Arabia have condemned ISIS.
                              Reply
                              1. A
                                Armaan
                                Nov 29, 2014 at 3:16 am
                                I am a Indian muslim and i feel is that how is Majeed any different than Kasab? If Kasab had somehow managed gone back to his country , he would probably be a hero there. But its not the same case here in India. We don't support terrorism. Indian govt should deal with Majeed very strictly. How dare he leave this country and join extremists. Other countries will feel that India has no control over its youth and anyone can join radical organisations. Make an example out of him so that people will think hundred times before taking such steps.
                                Reply
                                1. w
                                  we_believe_injustice
                                  Nov 29, 2014 at 6:04 am
                                  Investigation must be carried out from the angle of a larger conspiracy by ISIS to send back such radicalized youth to increase the tribe of terrorists in home country.any lethargy in this regard can lead to major catastrophe in future.
                                  Reply
                                  1. K
                                    K.Karunanidhi
                                    Nov 30, 2014 at 9:13 am
                                    Rose is a rose is a rose, likewiseA terrorist is a terrorist, always... added to it this terrorist don't even have any remorse.. keep in jail for the rest of his life, if we cant, give him to USA, they'll be more than happy to "B U Y" him...
                                    Reply
                                    1. S
                                      Saji Kumar
                                      Nov 29, 2014 at 12:38 pm
                                      hang this b**r.
                                      Reply
                                      1. B
                                        Big
                                        Nov 28, 2014 at 8:55 pm
                                        This guy is very dangerous for India. He must be detained as an enemy combatant. He must have surely learned the use of sophisticated firearms and other destructive devices.
                                        Reply
                                        1. B
                                          Bob Willis
                                          Nov 29, 2014 at 2:56 pm
                                          Wish that the useless fellow had died there. Now his parents and the Muslim community will start raising their voice and displeasure about how he is being treated. Releasing him will only hurt India - lock him up for 50 years, for the unrepentant fool that he is and let everyone know that we mean business.
                                          Reply
                                          1. V
                                            Vas Bha
                                            Nov 28, 2014 at 2:42 pm
                                            What is wrong with these dirty minds? Why dont they see lot of Film personalities, art & music, science, literature, responsible & respectable individuals from muslim community showed how to live & love? Why anyone will tempted to do such thing? It is (ISIS) their own political / social issue of that region, why someone from no where connected to the subject go out just for the sake of a religion? will more going to go? or gone? what other places too? Your foolish act is a dark spot on our nation's pride & recognition.
                                            Reply
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