Thiruvananthapuram, July 10: Seventeen men and women are missing from Kerala's Kasargode district, and a police officer said on Sunday they were probing reports that they may have joined the Islamic State.
Various central agencies are also engaged in determining the veracity of the reports.
The missing include at least 10 men and six women, mostly from Kasargode, in the extreme north of Kerala.
Officials from the central agencies have reportedly got in touch with families in Kasargode.
Kasargode police chief Thomson Jose said that they have registered two cases.
"What we are told is there are 17 people missing from Kasargode. We have also come to know that officials from central agencies are also here. We will now register more cases in the coming days," he said.
Meanwhile, former Home Minister and Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said Sunday that all missing persons cannot be linked to the Islamic State.
"Just because they are missing does not mean they all have joined the IS," he said.
According to published reports, most of the missing appeared to have had close links with 35-year-old Abdul Rasheed, an engineer by profession who has been missing since May.
Another person reported missing is a medical doctor, Ijaz Ahamed, who got his medical degree from China and till recently worked at a hospital near Kozhikode.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said that reports on the missing people, including women, was a serious matter and that police were doing their job.
On Sunday, M.K. Bindu, mother of a young woman Nimisha, called on Vijayan at his office here and sought help to locate her daughter.
Nimisha was studying at a college in Kasargode and got close to a young man, Eeza. Both are missing.