Nearly six months after a video purportedly showing alleged Islamic State (IS) recruit Aman Tandel, among others, threatening to avenge the “killings of Muslims in Kashmir, Gujarat and Muzaffarnagar”, a Saturday night call from an anonymous person claiming that Tandel might have been killed recently in the war has left his family shattered.
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Indian agencies haven’t been able to independently confirm the news. Sources in the National Investigation Agency say that they learnt about it from Tandel’s family members.
“One of the family members called us on Saturday night and informed us about the anonymous call wherein the caller claimed that he was calling from Turkey and that Tandel has been killed in the war. However with the current situation in Iraq we are not in the position to confirm the veracity of the information,” said an official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Tandel is one of the four Kalyan youths who fled in May 2014 to fight alongside IS or Daesh as it is now referred by the Indian security agencies. While Areeb Majeed returned in November 2014 and is facing trial, there is no clarity on the other three youths.
Aman’s father Nayeem Tandel received an anonymous call at around 11 pm on Saturday night. A man’s voice informed him his son has been ‘martyred’ in an attack. “How do we react to such a news? We last spoke to him a year ago,” Tandel said. His wife, he added, is in a state of shock but is not yet convinced of the news.
“For us everything has ended. My life has been made miserable because of constant media presence outside my house,” Tandel added. Since May 2014, Aman’s parents have relocated twice, selling a flat in Govindwadi in Kalyan which had “Aman Nayeem Tandel” on the nameplate. Aman, an electrical engineer, was their only son. The couple had tried to convince him to return back on several occasions, but he would allegedly refuse every time.
In May this year, the parents first saw a video of Aman threatening to avenge Babri Masjid and killings of Muslims in Muzaffarnagar, Gujarat and Kashmir. According to a relative, the family hopes just like Areeb Majeed, news of Aman’s death also turns out to be untrue. “The call came from Turkey. But since there was no confirmation from Indian agencies, we don’t know what to believe,” the relative said. The Tandels have not yet conducted a namaaz-e-janaza, funeral rites for Aman in Kalyan.