The family of Sheikh Azhar-ul-Islam, one of the three men deported from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for their alleged links with Islamic State (IS), said he had gone to the UAE seven months ago after he had found a job in the hotel industry there.
A resident of Preng village in central Kashmir’s Kangan, 25-year-old Azhar was doing his Bachelors in Education (B.Ed) course when he left for the UAE. He also has a BA degree from Government Degree College at Ganderbal.
The NIA had arrested Azhar and the other two suspected of having IS links upon their arrival at New Delhi’s international airport Friday.
Meanwhile, the Ganderbal police said there was “nothing adverse” against Azhar in police records. “He has not been on the police radar ever,” said a senior police officer.
Azhar’s father Sheikh Abdul Sattar, who runs a shop, told The Indian Express, “He was a very simple boy. Everyone in the village knows that. We don’t know anything about what he was doing there (in UAE). He told us that he has got a job there in some hotel and left.”
Sattar said his son was in touch with the family all these months and had said he wanted to return to Kashmir. “He would call his mother often. She would tell me that he weeps every time he calls. So, she told him to return to the Valley and he, too, said that he will come back,” Sattar said.
He said the family learnt about the arrest on Saturday morning when a team from the police’s investigation department came to their house asking about Azhar.