The conventional route was fleeing to Afghanistan via Bangladesh or Dubai but with both the routes being keenly monitored by security agencies, the new route of halting at Jaffna is now being explored.
A Mumbai police team will soon visit Kerala in connection with the case against two aides of controversial televangelist Dr Zakir Naik. The two have been booked for allegedly radicalising a Kerala youth.
“During the course of the probe, we will seek their custody so as to interrogate them,” a senior official told The Indian Express. Arshi Qureshi, a guest relationship manager with Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), and Rizwan Khan, a volunteer with Al-Birr Foundation, were booked by the city police under sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Indian Penal Code after the father of Ashfaque Kader Ahmed lodged a complaint with the Mumbai Police claiming that his son was radicalised by the duo to join the banned terrorist outfit, the Islamic State (IS).
Ashfaque is one of the 21 Kerala youths who fled the country between January and July this year to Afghanistan via Sri Lanka to fight for IS. Two more people, including Abdullah Rashid, an imam from Kerala, have been named as co-accused in the case. The case has now been transferred to the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) of the Mumbai Crime Branch.
According to sources, Rashid is the main link between the youths and the two aides of Dr Naik.
“Rashid who is associated with Peace International School, which was frequented by Ashfaque in Kerala was the one who introduced Ashfaque to Qureshi and Khan,” added the source.
“We are probing if Qureshi and Khan provided any kind of financial assistance to Ashfaque while fleeing to Sri Lanka first and then subsequently to Afghanistan,” added the official. Sources also add the route taken by the 21 youths before fleeing to Afghanistan indicate new travel arrangements for IS recruits to enter Afghanistan.
“The conventional route was fleeing to Afghanistan via Bangladesh or Dubai but with both the routes being keenly monitored by security agencies, the new route of halting at Jaffna in Sri Lanka is now being explored. Jaffna already has the past history and has now emerged as the centre for ultra Salafis,” explained the official.
The Maharashtra ATS which had arrested Dr Naik’s aides in a joint operation with the Kerala Police in July has also shared its probe details with the Mumbai Police. (Colombo Gazette)