"I am safe. I cannot disclose my location. All allegations against me are false and I will clear everything once I return," Ayaz Sultan is believed to have told his family while chatting with them on WhatsApp on Friday night. Sultan, 23, is one of the men from Malwani who had gone missing in the last two months, and is suspected to have joined the ISIS. On Friody, he told his family that the allegations levelled against him were incorrect. However, the state ATS is not buying his claim.
On December 21, mid-day reported that Sultan, along with two others from Malwani — Mohsin Sheikh (26) and Wajid Sheikh (25) — had been reported missing. It is believed that Sultan helped get the others radicalized with help from a Muslim cleric and Indian agent. He was the first among them to leave home. Mohsin and Wajid were later nabbed in Sangli and Pune.
On Friday night, his family says they saw him online on the WhatsApp and sent him several messages — "Where are you? ATS and media is coming every day and harassing us that you have join Jihadi group (sic). People are telling you have join ISIS, where are you? Are you safe?" The family says that blue ticks notified them that Sultan had seen their messages. When the family mentioned that Mohsin and Wajid had held him responsible for their radicalisation, Sultan responded: "All is false, I have joined no terrorist group. I will be back soon. I will clear all things." Before the three were reported missing in the media, Sultan, his family says, had called his brother-in-law wishing to speak to his sister. As per her statement, he told her, "I have reached Iraq, I am safe, don’t worry about me." He hung up after asking about family members.