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15 missing Kerala youths suspected to have joined IS

Kochi: The Kerala government on Saturday announced a probe after 15 Keralite youths, who had travelled to the Middle East, reportedly went missing and were suspected to have joined the Islamic State,with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan saying it was a “very serious issue”. The families of the youths, including a couple, from Kasaragod and Palakkad districts have not heard from them for the past one month and fear that they have been radicalised after having gone to the Middle East for religious studies.

The missing youth are below the age of 30 and highly qualified, including medicos. The matter came to the fore with the families of the youths approaching local elected representatives, including an MP, after suspicion that they may have joined the IS. “This is a very serious issue. This has to be examined,” the Chief Minister told reporters in Kochi. While 11 youths hail from Padna and Thrikaripur in the northernmost Kasaragod district, others are from Palakkad district.

Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan said in Kasaragode that a detailed probe would be conducted into the issue. “If they are trapped in their [IS] net and reached in [their territory], it would be a very difficult issue. A detailed probe would be conducted on this issue,” he told reporters. Earlier, Kasaragod MP P Karunakaran said in Thiruvananthapuram that the Chief Minister had directed the police to launch a probe into the matter urgently. Kasaragod District Panchayat member VPP Mustafa said that during Eid, the parents of two missing youths received WhatsApp’ messages saying “we are not coming back. Here, there is Divine Rule. You also should join us”.

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