Nimisha who was converted to Islam and taken to Afghanistan, has left scars in her family. Her mother, Bindu Sambat, narrates the pain to the Organiser
Bindu Sambat, a housewife hailing from Attingal, near the capital city of Kerala, is the mother of two. Her son is an NSG commando holding the rank of Captain in the Indian Army. Ironically, the mother of a brave army-man has been running pillars to post for getting her other child back.
Her daughter Nimisha, a BDS student has been taken away from her by a Jihadi group linked with ISIS. She landed in Afghanistan along with her newly converted husband Isa last year. Since then, Bindu has been knocking the doors of high officials and ministers seeking a helping hand to bring her daughter back. Her efforts have yet come to fruition.
An ordinary Hindu woman with no much exposure to the outside world, Bindu admits she was too late to realise that her daughter had fallen prey to Jihad. She is just one of many devastated motherhoods who live with this trauma of being separated from their beloved daughters. But unlike others, she dared to take on the menace that has been haunting the Kerala society for quite a long time. While other victims rendered hopeless and chose to be silent, Bindu fights tooth and nail for the cause and prays.
Bindu started conversation with a much suppressed but the most important chapter in her daughter’s life, from where her life had taken an unfortunate turn. Though Nimisha married Bekson aka Isa, along with whom she was taken to Afghanistan, it was another Muslim youth who drove her into the trap when she was a medical student.
“What brought my girl to this ‘stream’ is so-called Love Jihad. Sajjad Rahman, then a medico in JIPMER medical college in Pondicherry. He was a class mate of Nimisha in a Medical Entrance coaching centre, Thiruvananthapuram. He was after my daughter and even she complained about that to my son many times. Later, Sajjad joined JIPMER in Pondicherry and my daughter opted BDS in Century Dental College, Kasaragod. Her friends later revealed to me that the relation between Sajjad and Nimisha developed further in the next two years, when she was in Kasaragod,” she recalled.
The role of Sajjad in the story is quite mysterious and malicious as hings unfolded later. “Later I came to know that Sajjad’s mother had met my daughter in Thiruvananthapuram and they had taken her to the Salafi Centre in Statue Junction, Thiruvananthapuram. She insisted that Nimisha should convert to Islam if she wanted to marry Sajjad.” Sobbing mother continues, “She became pregnant. Conceding to the persuasion of Sajjad, she underwent an abortion in a hospital in Mangalore. I don’t know what has really happened to my daughter. She was good in studies but why she behaved like an insane. I was not aware of this part of her life till media persons told me last year. I believe that Sajjad had been blackmailing her. I had no problem if she married to a Muslim. I would have supported her.”
Later on, a police officer also admitted that they were aware of the role of Sajjad Rahman in 2015 itself. Several people tried to pacify me and advised me to spare Sajjad Rahman. Even an advocate apprached me and insisted to meet Sajjad. Instead, I called a press conference. Besides Nimisha, he has spoiled two more girls, including a Christian girl. Sajjad threatened me that he has high influence in Kerala police and nobody can even touch him.
Now he is practising as a doctor in JIPMER medical college after marrying some other girl, Bindu says.
Hiding all these incidents from her mother, Nimisha continued her studies. Bindu suspects that certain faculty members of The Century Medical College, run by a Muslim management, also had to play a pivotal role in it. She passed all semesters with high distinction marks. But she didn’t complete her course with three exams left unattended.
Bindu finds no reason to reckon her daughter as a vulnerable, an easy target for love jihadis. “She was a stage performer, a state-level award winner in Bhagavad Gita chanting and a Bharatanatyam performer.” Moreover, she did her schooling from an eminent institute known for inculcating Hindu spiritual wisdom with modern education. “So how can I suspect her? There should be a reason?” asks the mother.
She recalls a strange incident which fuelled her suspicion, it came as an intuition. “In a morning (on August 1, 2015) I saw a dream, I saw my daughter wearing a burqa.” The panicked mother called Nimisha but she cut the call after a brief conversation. “On November 16 (in 2015), my son called her on phone but she didn’t answer.
After several tries, she attended my call and replied that she was still in the college. To convince me, she said she would hand over the phone to her class mate. But I doubted her unusual behaviour and, on the spur of the moment I asked her friend to give her number. Taken by surprise, the girl gave me her number. Her name was Mariam Ebin Jacob, the wife of Yahiya,” she says. Yahiya (Betson, before getting converted to Islam) appear in the later part as Nimisha’s brother-in-law.
On the very next day, she met the then state Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, and filed a police complaint. “I still don’t know if it was a mistake I committed on my part. My daughter immediately called me and told me that she married a Muslim and converted to Islam. Once the police took over the case, everything has turned upside down and it escalated into out of control. I saw she was taken in a police vehicle.” When Bindu saw her daughter this time, she was in a burqa. “I asked her to remove burqa. She obeyed me without any hesitation. You must remember, till then she didn’t tell me about Sajjad and his successful conversion bid. I didn’t know my daughter was not converted to Islam two years ago,” she paused for a while.
She remembers, a group of Muslims including Yahiya who was later killed in Afghanistan while fighting for ISIS, was present outside the court. “The people over there including some police officers whispered, they were Mujahideens and they hire youth for terrorist activities. They had grown long beards and all. I was shocked and had no idea what to do. I told the Magistrate that I suspect the people behind scene belong to the suspicious background and they may take my daughter away. When she was produced before the Magistrate, he said, nothing can be done since the girl is above 18. The magistrate washed his hands, saying, it’s all over! They sent my daughter with those strangers.”
“Thereafter, I couldn’t reach my daughter on phone. Hoping that she would respond to me, I used to leave a post on Facebook asking her whereabouts on daily basis. I started getting replies after 55 days. She told me she is in Palakkad, a northern district of Kerala, with her husband’s family. I managed to get her address and reached there. The parents of my daughter’s husband are Christians but both their sons got converted to Islam. They seemed to have no problem with that.”
“After that, again we started talking to each other on phone at least three times a day. Next month, she called on me in my house. She asked me if she can come to my house wearing a Burqa. I replied, under the veil of Burqa, it is my daughter, my life. I requested her to complete her course somehow. But she refused. After having lunch together, she returned back to Palakkad on the same evening,” Bindu says.
Her husband, Isa once told Bindu that Nimisha had agreed to marry him on a precondition that she should be allowed to meet her mother at any time she wanted. He was aware that Nimisha had also an affair earlier. He told Bindu, he too had married a Muslim girl earlier. “I was more worried about her security because they frequently shifted from one place to the other. I would not have meddled in their life if both of them lived a happy life in a place and her husband had a permanent job,” she shared a mother’s concern.
The mother remembers the day when Isa called her to inform about their departure for abroad. “In a fine morning, Isa called me on phone and said that they were going to Sri Lanka for ‘Carpet Business’. Immediately, I contacted his parents and enquired upon. They too reiterated the same and said, they had given three lakh rupees to their son to invest in the business. In my opinion, the real culprits are his parents. With the connivance of his father and step-mother, he had sold his property worth 60 lakh rupees.” Later Bindu came to know that they used the amount to meet the travel expenses of the 21 people who migrated to Afghanistan-Syria to join ISIS! As soon as the conversation ended, I got a call from Betson. ‘ Why are you so worried? We are safe and secure,’ he tried to convince Bindu. Nimisha too talked to her mother and tried to console her. “It shows there has been proper communication between Betson and his family,” says Bindu. After that, Bindu continued receiving audio messages on Whats App until July 4, 2016. Thereafter no messages at all.
“I visited ADGP Sandhya (IPS) at her office on July 8. She was heading the Intelligence Bureau that time. After briefing her about the whole incident and sharing my concerns, I requested her intervention. She took a note and said, ‘A mother like Bindu might not have allowed her to live with her husband. They might have gone for a honeymoon trip. Besides, it is their festival time, may be they are observing Eid al-Fitr!’” She says she was really appalled by the blatant and insensitive words of ADGP, a woman cop. However, Bindu contacted Sandhya IPS again on July 16. But the response was too cold. “I headed for Palakkad again to meet the parents of Bekson aka Isa, her son-in-law. On seeing me there, they were taken aback. His father tried to send me back somehow. Then came his stepmother with a shocking revealation, “Your daughter was taken to Afghanistan and she would be used as a human bomb!” Her words fell on my ears as if a bolt from blue, a cold shiver went down my spine, Bindu says.
Isa’s real mother, who lives in Pollachi, Tamil Nadu, too could not help me in anyway. But for sure, she too was well aware of what was really happening. I had no idea what to do, whether to inform Police or media. One day, my friend called me up and read out a newspaper report saying the wives of Isa and Yahiya are also among the group who fled for Afghanistan. I was shocked to know the last line of the report quoting the police that none of the parents of the missing people has yet contacted the police! This is what prompted me to come to the public and media. The fact that I had approached the police far before, left unreported.
Nimisha is said to have met her new husband through Mariam. Mariam, a Christian from Kochi, came to contact with Nimisha through Rifala, a final student at Nimisha’s college (Both Rifala and her husband Dr Ijas are now missing). Mariam’s brother-in-law (Isa) was looking for a girl, a newly converted Muslim.
“Later on, a police officer told me that Kerala Police had arrested a man who tried to flee India. When questioned, the accused admitted that he wanted to do ‘carpet business’ abroad. He was later saved by some Muslim groups in the pretext that the accused was a mental patient. Now it is understood that ‘carpet business’ was a secret code. If the police had taken a note early, they could have saved my daughter,” she regrets.
After that, Bindu visited Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and VK Singh in Delhi. Following that, the NIA took over the investigation. On November 12, 2016, Nimisha’s husband called me from Afghanistan. He said, they were safe there. He told me, Nimisha had given birth to a baby girl and she resembles Bindu. She again recieved a voice message from Isa in July, by then his brother Yahiya had been killed in the war in Afghanistan. Thereafter, Nimisha didn’t recieve any message or call. Now she doesn’t know the whereabouts of her daughter and grand daughter.
“I have lost all faith in the state police. I want to fight the case in the Supreme Court but I have heard that it costs too much. I am a trustee of Attukal Devi Temple, known as the Sabarimala of women. A beautician by profession, Bindu says she has got more than 6500 wedding make up works in her 26 year long professional life. But in the last one year, she received only one make-up work. Now I am abandoned by our own people. My own people are isolating me. I have not been invited for a single marriage function for the last one year. All I have done is I came out openly against the injustice meted out to my daughter. If our own people don’t support me, whom should I approach? I don’t know anything about religion or politics. All I know is I want to get my daughter back,” the hapless mother laments.