Three youths from Karnataka, including two from Bengaluru, have died fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
A recent Intelligence Bureau (IB) report from Delhi has confirmed they joined the terror group a couple of years ago, and died in Iraq and Syria.
The report identified them as Faiz Masood of Cooke Town, Umar Subhan of Shivaji Nagar (both in Bengaluru) and Abdul Khuddus Turki of Vijayapura in north Karnataka. All three died during coalition strikes against the ISIS, the report stated.
While Faiz left India for Qatar and subsequently Syria in September 2013, after having applied for a passport in July the same year, Umar travelled to Yemen in 2008, and later joined the ISIS.
The report states that Faiz, after reaching Syria, joined the ISIS. He was one of about 12,000 recruits from 81 countries. Sources tracking the jihadis from India said Turki was also among them. According to intelligence inputs, he travelled to Saudi Arabia in July 2014 and subsequently left for Iraq to join the ISIS.
Express visited the houses of Faiz and Umar in Bengaluru on Tuesday. While Umar’s family has been evicted from the building for not paying rent for almost 15 years, members of Faiz’s family refused to speak to the reporter.
“I do not want to talk about him (Faiz). I do not want any news about him. There is nothing to discuss further,” said a man at the house.
The Karnataka youths went to the war zone much before Bengaluru police arrested alleged ISIS propagandist Mehdi Masroor Biswas in December last year. The state intelligence department and Bengaluru police have no clue about their movements or their death.
“We recently received reports from Central agencies about two or three youths who died fighting for the ISIS. We have no confirmation they were from Karnataka,” a senior officer with the state intelligence told Express.
Coastal Link: Another recruit from south India — Abu Tahir from Palakkad — has also reportedly died fighting in the terror zones of Syria and Iraq. Agencies had earlier confirmed that Sultan Armar, a former Indian Mujahideen operative-turned-ISIS recruit from Bhatkal, may also have been killed in Kobane while fighting alongside the ISIS. Among 11 Indian ISIS recruits identified by the intelligence agencies, four were learnt to be from Karnataka. Areeb Majeed, a recruit from Maharashtra, chose to return to India after he sustained injuries in Iraq and Syria. However, sources believe at least five Indians remain in ISIS-dominated territories.
Optimistic View: Indian intelligence agencies believe the influence of ISIS is waning. “It is clear that their propaganda doesn’t appeal to Indian youth. The few who joined them are believed to be on the way out. Majeed, who returned to India, told interrogators that the ground reality was the mirror opposite of ISIS propaganda,” said a source.
Biswas Case: The news about the death of Indian youths in Iraq and Syria comes days after the City Crime Branch (CCB) filed a chargesheet against Masroor Mehdi Biswas, a resident of Bengaluru, who was allegedly tweeting in favour of ISIS.
The chargesheet, filed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 on June 1, contains about 36,500 pages and 1.22 lakh tweets.