Arif Ejaz Majeed, one of the four young men from Kalyan near Mumbai who were thought to have joined insurgents of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has reportedly been killed in fighting in Iraq.
Arif, an engineering student, was one of four men from Kalyan who went missing from their homes in May. Arif’s family — along with the families of the other three men, Fahad Tanvir Sheikh, Aman Naim Tandel and Saheem Farooq Tanki — went to the police some days after they disappeared.
The Indian Express first reported the disappearances on July 14.
Iftikhar Khan, an uncle of Fahad Sheikh, said the news of Arif’s death in Iraq was conveyed by Saheem Farooq Tanki, who called his family in Thane on Tuesday night.
“Saheem called us at 6 pm on Monday and told us about Arif’s death. He was sobbing throughout and asked us to go and inform Arif’s family. He later called us at once again in the night to check if we had informed his (Arif’s) family,” Kashif Tanki, a relative, said.
Saheem’s family passed on the information both to Arif’s family and to the Kalyan police.
Friends of Arif’s family said that his father, who is a doctor, was shattered by the news and was inconsolable. The family performed Arif’s last rites in absentia on Wednesday.
“The Ghaibaana Namaaz-e-Janaaza, which is a funeral prayer for times when the body is not available, was offered after the Zuhr (afternoon) namaaz by the family,” said a resident of the housing society in which the Majeed family lives. Members of the families of the other three youth were present at the namaaz, neighbours said.
The Bazaarpeth police have recorded the statements of Saheem’s family, and were on Wednesday attempting to verify the report of Arif’s death. “Saheem said that he had made inquiries about Arif’s whereabouts and well being, and learned that he had died. Saheem did not have any more details. There has been no official confirmation yet from any of the investigating agencies,” Iftikhar Khan said.
The four families live in the same Dudh Naka-Govindwadi area of Kalyan (West). The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad had picked up laptops and pen drives from the youths’ homes on the evening of July 14. Late on July 18 evening, Arif’s father, Ejaz Badruddin Majeed, had met Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi, and handed him a letter, reportedly seeking action against the people who had radicalised his son and persuaded him to join the jihadis in the Middle East.
Before leaving home, Arif had left behind a letter saying “fighting has been enjoined upon you”, and telling his mother that continued…