Twenty-three-year-old Pramod Patil (name changed) was pursuing a diploma in Electric Engineering in a college in Beed district in 2009. There he met a group of friends and got curious about Islam. He began asking his college mates more about the religion and began learning Urdu and Arabic to understand the faith. Patil hails from a conservative Hindu family, and his curious questions about Islam were not entertained at home and he was reprimanded. In 2012, he decided to leave home and set off for Ahmedabad. He left his cellphone at home and logged out of all social media sites. His worried parents lodged a missing person's complaint in September 2012.
Pramod Patil (name changed)
Patil converted to Islam and was given a new name - Umar. He took up residence in a madrassa in Ahmedabad. After a year he moved to a madrassa in Uttar Pradesh., where he taught Mathematics, Science and English to the students for two years before returning to Ahmedabad. It was during his second stint in Gujarat that he was coaxed by radical elements to join their cause.
"People kept trying to brainwash me everyday and I saw them do that to many youth as well. I had started wearing kurta pyjama and also kept a long beard."
He was offered marriage alliances to lure him into the network, and told that Allah had summoned him for Jihad.
"I was too involved in studying and learning to realise that I was being used. In 2015 I moved to Pune and started living in Kondhwa."
He gathered courage and met his family in September 2015. He was called by the ATS in October 2015, and with the help of Islamic clerics and maulanas, he was made to understand the difference between the radical path and the truth. With his knowledge of Urdu and Arabic, Patil now helps screen and translate suspicious material, both printed and online, whenever the ATS summons him.
Patil's mother told Sunday mid-day that she was relieved that her son had returned and thanked the ATS.