Sunday, August 21, 2016

Family yet to recover from shock of losing 5 members to IS


Mateen Hafeez I TNN


Four Adults & An Infant Among 10 From Kerala Who Left In June 

Mumbai: Twenty-six-yearold Ashfaque Ahmed's extended family is in much more trauma than meets the eye. It is the only family so far to lose five of its members, including a one-and-a-half-year-old girl, to the Islamic State (IS). Ashfaque's family had no inkling as he along with wife and infant daughter, his cousins Mohammed Siraj (22) a businessman and Dr Ejaz Rehman (30), a medical practitioner, left the country together in June.
“This is shocking. Four members of an extended family were inclined to join the banned outfit. We are questio ning preacher Mohammed Haneef, now in crime branch custody , about his role in instigating Ashfaque and others to join IS,“ said a crime branch officer.

In the last week of June, Ashfaque's youngest brother received a message on his mobile from him, saying he had migrated to the IS territory and did not want to come back. “Take care of mother and father,“ read the last line.

His father Abdul Majeed filed an FIR with Nagpada police on August 6, naming Haneef, Abdur Rasheed, a Kerala school teacher (who travelled to Syria with Ashfaque), Navi Mumbai resident Arshi Qureshi and Kalyan resident Rizwan Khan as the ones who “instiaged his son to join IS.“
In the FIR, Majeed stated he belongs to the Barveli sect of Muslims. “However, my son was inclined towards the Ahl e-Hadees sect and converted to it in 2014. He got married in April 2014 and we were in the dark. Ashfaque informed us about his marriage later,“ said Majeed, 60, who owns seve ral guest houses in Mumbai.Majeed has two sons and a daughter. Ashfaque, a commerce graduate, is the eldest.

It is still not clear if Ashfaque took his wife out of India forcibly or if she went with him on her own. But in March-April this year, Ashfaque and his wife went to Sri Lanka for religious education. In 2014, there were visible changes in Ashfaque, Majeed told police. “He stopped listening to music, watching television, changed his clothing style and started sporting a beard. The drastic changes and the people he met had the family worried,“ Majeed said in his statement. Ashfaque would mostly be in the company of his cousins, Rehman and Siraj, and no one doubted their conversations.
While Majeed blamed Ha neef for “brainwashing“ his son, the Mumbai crime branch has not yet found clinching evidence to establish that Haneef sent Ashfaque out of the country .

A source told TOI, “Majeed bought a flat worth over Rs 1.25 crore in the western suburbs for Ashfaque as he wanted him to settle here and look after his business. The day Ashfaque came to see the flat, he inquired about its mode of payment. When Majeed said he had taken 40% of the amount on loan, Ashfaque refused to enter the flat saying he would not stay at a place which was bought with the help of a bank's `interest' money .“

Police sources said Haneef did admit that Ashafque and his cousins would meet him in Kerala. Rehman, who runs a clinic in Kerala, often met Qureshi when the latter visited Padne village. Majeed told police whenever Ashfaque visited Mumbai he would meet Qureshi and Khan. “We are interrogating Haneef and will soon take custody of Qureshi and Khan from the Kerala police. We are going through all records and it is too early to comment,“ said Sanjay Saxena, joint commissioner of police, crime branch.

The Times of India, August 22, 2016

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