Thiruvananthapuram, July 13: Donations collected and diverted to Syria, a Telegram Channel in which the youth conversed with those in Syria. This was going on for over a year and yet the local authorities missed the warning signals. A probe is on to find the trail of nearly 21 persons who have gone missing and are suspected to have joined the ISIS.
Officials have learnt that there was a concerted effort on by several youth to fund the trips of those who wanted to join the ISIS. Donations were collected citing the Palestine cause, but the same was diverted to Syria.
Missing the warning signs
Kerala has been a hot bed of terror activity. The SIMI and the Indian Mujahideen had used this is state as a training ground and also a hideout. In fact the first non Kashmiri Mujahideen from India to fight in Kashmir was also from Kerala. Over the past year or so there have also been reports of the rising Wahhabi influence in the state.
When the ISIS announced the setting up of a Caliphate it attracted the attention of many. Some in Kerala felt the need to contribute to the ISIS cause.
They decided to collect donations in the name of the victims in Palestine and a high amount of money was channelised through businessmen in Kozhikode, Mallapuram and other places. Investigators however suspect now that the money could have been routed into Syria instead.
Another Facebook post had spoken about a Telegram Channel called Brothers From South India who migrated to Sham (Syria). There were messages repeatedly being put out to share with like minded youth in Kerala and the rest of South India.
This was also followed up by another post which speaks about a large number of people from South India leaving for Syria.
Friends and relatives had sought the intervention of the Chief Minister of Kerala after they found their loved ones had gone missing. In some of the cases the relatives have got messages saying that they had reached their destination or requesting them not to look out.
Investigations have revealed that almost all of them had landed in Iran on the pretext of going on a pilgrimage before they allegedly made their way into Syria and Iraq. Investigators probing 21 missing cases have learnt that they had left in seven different batches.
Six batches left separately from Mumbai and Bengaluru while one left via Hyderabad. The travel was between May and July. The last person to have left was on July 5 from Mumbai. The flights they took out from these places were either to Muscat, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. They are suspected to have left for Iran from there.