Since the last few years, several incidents of Islamist migration to war-torn countries like Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria have been in the news. The majority of the cases are reported from Kerala.
Recently, Kerala police authorities have unearthed that a young couple and their four children from Padma Panchayat, Kasaragod District of Kerala, went into war-torn Yemen illegally. The family has been in Dubai for the last ten years. And they entered Yemen through Saudi Arabia.
Kerala police gathered information regarding the family’s departure to Yemen after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted inquiries in the family’s native village of Udinoor in the Padma Panchayat on December 20, 2022. Police summoned the missing family’s relatives to the Chandra Police Station on December 22. Police asked them to file a ‘man missing’ complaint.
The police officer said, “Any illegal movement of Indian citizens to the countries like Yemen should be reported (officially). The missing family’s intention to travel to Yemen is not known.”
Answering a question, the police official said it was impossible to assert that the family went to Yemen as they were attracted to the Islamic State (IS) ideology, which is very active in places like Yemen. The officer added that “there could also be religious reasons for their disappearance from the country. Some religious institutions in Yemen are the favourite destinations for extremely religious people.”
“Since the family was living in Dubai for the last 10 years we do not know when did they go to Yemen,” the police added. The head of the family is the regional manager and trainer of a leading business improvement and management consulting group in Dubai.
The police officer stated, “The company has branches in Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Bengaluru, and Kochi. He was with the Dubai branch and used to travel frequently to other Gulf countries to train staff of his client companies.”
The officer did not open up regarding the nature of his wife’s job. She is from Thalassery, Kannur. Both are MBA holders from Bengaluru. They took their four children, aged nine, six, five and three, to Yemen.
A close family friend of the missing family reportedly said that the family visited their hometown for a week in June when their close relative died. But, the man had stopped communicating with his friends around four months back. The missing family is only in touch with their immediate relatives through messaging apps. They have shared that they have studied Islam and Arabic in Yemen. The family has also told those relatives that they would return after a year.
Bharat’s security agencies are concerned about this missing family because Yemen is a recruitment ground for many Islamist terrorist outfits and is always a war-hit zone in the middle east. The state police had earlier found that many people from Kerala had joined IS during the last several years. Recently two more youths from Vadakepuram in Padna Panchayat have also entered Yemen from Saudi Arabia and Oman. They used to work there before. However, Kasaragod Police is unaware of it.
Those mentioned above indicate this week’s stand that all terrorist activities in any part of the world have a direct or indirect Kerala link. Now, NIA and Kerala Police are trying to trace more details of Mohammed Shariq, the main accused in the recent auto-Rickshaw blast in Mangaluru. The primary investigation is into his Kerala links.
The security agencies are concerned because Yemen is a recruitment ground for many Islamist terrorist organisations, and it is a continuously war-hit zone of West Asia.