Days before he left home, Noor Mohammad Shaikh – the fourth Malwani resident suspected of leaving India to join a terrorist outfit — had told his family and colleagues that he had got a job in Saudi Arabia. A day after he left, he called his wife from Pune but someone forcefully took away his phone and switched it off. Police officials are now tracing the call records.
Noor Mohammad Shaikh
mid-day spoke to his wife, Rahimunissa Shaikh, who said she had sensed that her husband was in some problem. She revealed that he had planned to leave home several days ago. 32-year-old Noor worked as daily wage labourer.
“My husband was a family oriented person. Yes, he had become increasingly silent and extremely religious, but I never thought that he would leave home. We have been married for ten years and have four children. He was the breadwinner of our family. I am extremely worried about him,” said Rahimunissa.
Noor’s boss Naem Shaikh, a contractor, said, “He had been working for me since several months. His last day working for me was on December 13. He told us that he had got a job in Saudi Arabia. He asked me to give some work to his wife and take care of his children and give them money, if needed. All the workers wished him luck.”
Recollecting the events on December 15 — the day Noor left — Rahimunissa said, “In the afternoon, everything was fine. I could not even sense from his expression that he would leave home and never come back. After lunch, he went out with a friend, saying he was going to have tea with him. The friend returned, but Noor never did. I looked for him everywhere.”
She added, “The next day he called me from a new number and said that he was in Pune. He said he misses the children and me and will soon come back. I was just trying to speak to him when someone in the back started yelling, ‘I told you not to use the phone. You are supposed to have no attachments.’ Two more people joined in and disconnected the call.”
“He cannot live without us. I just want my husband back. What will happen to my four children? I just hope he returns home soon, said an inconsolable Rahimunissa, adding, “On Monday, ATS officials came to our house and confiscated his phone and other items.”
ATS sources said that they are currently investigating who funded the group of alleged recruits from Malwani. They are scrutinizing the contacts of the missing people and interrogating them. They believe that Indian agents of the terror organisation may be behind the radicalisation of the group. Sources even said that Ayaz Sultan – one of the suspected recruits (see box) – might have already left the country. Several who were left behind were interrogated by the ATS. Officials believe that more people may be missing.
The Malwani four
>> mid-day first broke the story on Monday, about the men from Malwani who have been missing since October 30 and December 15.
>> Ayaz Sultan (23) left on October 30 saying that he had to go to Pune for a job at a Kuwait-based company.
>> Mohsin Sheikh (26) left on December 15 saying he was going for a friend’s wedding in Surat.
>> Wajid Sheikh (25) also left on December 15, saying that he had to get his name corrected on his Aadhar card.
>> Noor Mohammad Sheikh (32) also left on December 15, to pursue a job in Saudi Arabia.
Pune girl’s nickname was 'Radical Gun'
The 17-year-old Pune girl – who had been radicalised online – had earned the moniker ‘Radical Gun’. She had brainwashed four others as well. A top ATS officer said, “She was only identified as Radical Gun on the Internet and with a group promoting ISIS propaganda. In just four months, she was radicalised in such a way that she later started radicalising other youths. She would teach and convert people. All the contacts in her group are on the radar, several of who are from Maharashtra.” She is currently being de-radicalised by the ATS and Islamic clerics.